Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Digital Telcos are Mushrooming in Malaysia. But Why Digital Telco?

Aside from the rapid rise of e-money issuers in Malaysia with 26 licensees for a country of 20-million adult population, another noticeable digital trend is brewing right now in the telecommunication sector. Tier-1 mobile network operators are taking turn to launch a fully-digital telco! Maxis took the lead by being the first tier-1 telco in Malaysia to digital telco last year, branded as Ooyko. Followed by Digi's Tapp, TM's Unifi Mobile (rebranded from Webe) and now Celcom's Yoodo!

With a list of 20 mobile network operators (including MVNO), it certainly looks like a crowded space. Why then, are the top mobile operators believing in rolling out another new brand, respectively, as digital telco?

The following comments are not representing expert opinions, but my personal views and observations.

Reason 1: Innovate Faster

Being a top mobile operator, it means commanding large market shares. It also means, diverse demographics in customer base ranging from tech-savvy and well-informed youth, to working adults of varying prioritised needs, and retirees who may not even be keen with self-service at all.

For an incumbent telco to transform and embrace full-fledged digital innovations, it will be too costly to cater and support every customer segment's service and support delivery preferences. Simply because a quarter of the customer-base aren't keen with interacting with self-service channels such as chatbot and mobile app, the telco has to maintain traditional customer service channels. Simply because there is one-fifth of the customer-base who prefers to sign-up for services through dealers, the telco has to invest in dealer touch-points, channel management, and dealer’s incentives. It’s imaginably slow to innovate with these constraints.

Whereas, a new brand that sets her foot as fully-digital telco, would allow the company to fully embrace everything that the digital innovations and artificial intelligence technologies have to offer. Because, this brand is clearly targeting the following customer segment:

  1. Tech-savvy. Totally fine to interact with the brand through mobile app, not even the desktop browser.
  2. Knows very precisely what s/he wants. Knows very clearly, the difference between 1GB and 5GB monthly data quota, and what s/he can do with every MB of data subscribed.
  3. Very likely, prefers self-service than talking to a dealer. 
  4. Comfortable with online credit card transaction.
A new brand of fully-digital telco in this case, is a good test-bed for the mothership. Eventually, when the digital innovations are proven successful, the mothership could also adopt similar digital strategies and roadmap. 

Reason 2: Innovate without Legacy Constraints

An established brand that already has millions of subscribers, also means “it shouldn’t ever screw up!” – from branding to customer service perspectives. 

However, contradictory, one of the conditions required for digital innovation is – allowing failure! I mean, a company would try its best effort to never fail. But, if everything must be rolled out in perfection, and doesn’t disappoint existing subscribers, it would be a huge barrier for innovation to happen. For example, when a top mobile operator rolls out facial-recognition based customer self-service, it must design its architecture and infrastructure to support, potentially, millions of users! Compared to a new brand, it could easily assume a comfortable test-bed for tens of thousands of users, and slowly scale-up as need arises. Even when a new feature failed, it would probably affect customers in count of thousands, instead of millions – which then even makes national headline! That is why, it may only take a month for a new brand to surprise the market with new excitements; but it could take a year, or even more, on incumbent brand that commands majority market shares.

Reason 3: Not Fall Behind Competitions

I believe, nobody could relate it better than the “taxi vs ride sharing/hailing” case study in the modern history of public transport.

The successful service providers of today, definitely are very well-informed, and aware of potential threats from new entrants in the world of competition. 

Singapore Airlines launched digital innovation blueprint; OCBC Bank launched FinTech innovation lab; Singtel established S$42.4 million corporate lab with NTU and NRF to accelerate AI and data science innovation. These are examples of efforts invested by well established brands from airline, to banking and telecommunication industry, to NOT FALL BEHIND.  Being the number 1 of today, doesn’t mean the brand can sustain to be the number 1 of tomorrow. 

Digital telco is a strategic approach by the top mobile operators in Malaysia today, to make sure they continue to secure the top positions by staying relevant to tomorrow’s customer’s needs. The rise of tech-savvy customer segment is command more competitive rates while expecting high quality service delivery. The only way forward – is digital innovation.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Appraise the CEO

Who appraises your CEO of your company? For public listed entity, or privately-held company with private equity investors, the CEO's appraisal will be done by a Task Force, or often, the Board.

For Innov8tif, as we have been, and still a self-funded company, there is no Board above the CEO - my partner-in-crime, George. This year, George suggested for himself to be "grilled" by the key management personnel. Here we go, I received a calendar invitation to conduct an appraisal interview for my CEO this week ;)

If you are an Innov8tor reading this post, and you have an appraisal message that you wanted to tell George, yet to remain anonymity, you can let me know!

Monday, January 8, 2018

CSR Contributed by Team Member's Success

Our Director of Strategic Business, Mr. Tan, has coined an interesting idea for how we will be doing social contribution through donations. For every success identified to an individual team member in 2017, the Company will be contributing a sum of money.

Collectively, 20 successes were identified with staff recognitions. What made it more interesting, is Tan's association of some successes to recognise staff's personal achievement, not entirely work related. For example, we have a few foreign talent colleagues who originated from countries with ongoing armed conflicts. The mental distress of these colleagues, and the challenges they have been through to finally settled down in Malaysia - a peaceful land, with their beloved family members, is undeniably a big personal achievement. Besides, we also have a single-mother colleague as part of our growing team. If making a living with 2 income sources (from working husband-and-wife) to support dependent in metropolitan city is challenging, could you imagine the challenges on a single-mom?

A small donation was contributed to Malaysian Association for The Welfare of Mentally Challenged Children. From, The Avengers.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Innov8tif Completes Real IT Acquisition, Strengthening Southeast Asian Market Presence

SINGAPORE – Innov8tif Solutions Sdn. Bhd. today completed its acquisition of the operating business of Real IT Consultancy & Services Pte Ltd – an Accredited Partner of Joget Workflow for the Singapore’s market.

As part of the acquisition process, Real IT has also been renamed to Innov8tif Solutions Pte Ltd. ACRA registration number of the UEN (unique entity number) remains unchanged.

Innov8tif combines this asset with its existing Joget Workflow distribution business to strengthen its position in Southeast Asian market, along with its new joint venture in Jakarta.

All existing customers of Real IT will be seamlessly served and supported by Innov8tif. The two major shareholders and founders of Innov8tif are former co-founders of Joget Workflow, and Innov8tif has accumulated Joget Workflow implementation and consultancy track records since Innov8tif’s inception in year 2011. Today, Innov8tif is equipped with JOGS (Joget Global Specialists) team to serve regional partners and clientele.

George Lee, CEO of Innov8tif, said, “The close of this acquisition represents a significant step in growing the regional scale needed for our software business in the arena of business process digitization. Through this acquisition, we can also expand the reach of our e-KYC solution into one of the most exciting fintech markets.”

George Lee is also leading efforts to expand Innov8tif’s market reach in the largest Southeast Asian economy – Indonesia, through a new joint-venture as PT. Innov8tif Karta Solusi.

Besides Joget Workflow, Innov8tif is also the regional partner of Microblink Ltd. for cutting-edge mobile OCR (optical character recognition) technology, and a partner of Megvii Technology Limited for world-renowned facial recognition API seen in Alipay. Combined with Innov8tif’s e-KYC (know your customer) process, these components form a strategic alliance that is key to today’s and tomorrow’s digital banking experience. Kenwei Lim the CTO and Nathan Cheong the in-house researcher, are driving technology roadmap of Innov8tif’s e-KYC offerings.

As we have just entered a new year – 2018, Innov8tif wishes its customers and partners, abundance of blessings and joy.