Corporate Strategy + Business Unit + IT = Successful Business


We had launched a Device Subsidy program through which the Customers could procure Smart Phones at lower costs. In this program, the subscriber had to come to our stores and claim a subsidy. The CSR would enter his/her MSISDN and decide whether or not he/she was eligible for the subsidy claim. If he/she were eligible, the promotion would be applied. If not, the CSR would propose the applicable promotion. The subscriber would have the choice to claim the same or not.

So, we had a program which if provided a MSISDN could decide the device subsidy plan applicable for the subscriber. So, if the program could decide the same for a given MSISDN, then the program could be run in some form of loop to do the same job for any set of MSISDNs. Further, we had criteria for determining what set of MSISDNs this subsidy could be applied to based on the consumption by the subscriber.

Then why did we not do the following?

  1. Apply the eligibility criteria to decide the subscribers who could be included in the campaign.
  2. Run our program in loop to decide applicable promotion for the eligible subscribers.
  3. Send information of the applicable promotion to the appropriate subscribers by SMS or email or whatever other communication channel we used.
  4. Receive feedback from the subscribers online to decide whether or not he/she wanted to subscribe for the promotion. On receiving positive feedback, apply the promotion and set up rendezvous for supply of the associated hardware. On receiving negative feedback, continue with this set to further push the campaign.

The following could have been the benefits of this proposition.

  1. The Customer Experience could be better. This is especially so because the wait time at the any operator stores is very high. We could have completely eliminated this wait time by interacting with the customer over the air.
  2. Our cost on this Sales activity could have been lowered due to less human interfacing required through this process.

So, why did we not adopt this strategy? Simply because the promotion was perceived and devised the by the Business Unit without taking inputs about possibilities from the IT.

Now, why were we selling these devices at lower costs? We were not device manufacturers and so why were we willing to compromise on our commissions from the device sales. If a customer was spending money on his mobile phone, which is of decent size for us, then he had the money to spend and this was useful for us. However, he was spending this money without using a Smart Phone. So, most of the revenue was being generated from such customers was from the Voice services. So, this was a huge chance that if he/she was switched over to a Smart Phone, he/she could start consuming more data services and thus increase our revenue.

Also, why were there different subsidy plans? Simply because subsidy was computed based on the potential revenue from the customer.

From the above, the following changes come to my mind for an organisation.

  1. If such information could be percolated down to IT, then IT has a better chance to partner with the Business Counterparts in formulating better products. IT will, most probably, not add anything to the business perspective of the product and I am sure that IT definitely respects that Business Units have the best knowledge of the same. However, IT has better knowledge than Business Units about the possibilities available through the existing set of solutions. Using this knowledge, IT can help Business create better product which could be also handle other dimensions like Customer Experience, Sales Process Optimisation, etc.

Another paradigm is if the consumers know about such strategies, will they consume the products of a Telco? My understanding is that they will definitely consume the products with such knowledge provided the Telco is utterly sincere with them. If the Telco carries out such campaigns laced with educating the consumer with exact usage and benefits of consuming data services, he/she will consume the product more because

  1. Out of emotional connection that he/she has been enlightened by the organisation about such possibilities and thus the organisation has actually contributed to enhancement of his/her knowledge. In my opinion, everyone in this world wants to be smart. And anyone who can help in this process is the best friend for any consumer. (I can vouch for this emotion as I have been and continue to be an absolute idiot and yearn to be a bit smarter tomorrow).
  2. Honesty is a universal value, which only adds to the emotional bank account.
    When I was in Jataban Telecom Brunei, our system produced wrong bills for 3 months. Cash Flow should have been a major headache for the CFO. However, we devised a primitive method of outstanding calculation using Excel and announced it to the public and requested them to please cooperate till the system was ready. The public paid without any question. I realised that this was not because of any dictate. But simply because the public connected with JTB emotionally and JTB’s emotional bank account was so rich that they could encash it at that moment.

Would you agree?

English: Iphone 4 Deutsch: Iphone 4

English: Iphone 4 Deutsch: Iphone 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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