Thursday, May 28, 2009

Enterprise brands vs Consumer brands

Anyone interested in mobile banking and payments would agree that one is confronted by so many brands. Regional groups, small companies, great ideas, innovative products. As you start unravelling the puzzle, it becomes more and more complex and confusing. Who should you be talking to and why? What I have seen happens is that some-one new to the industry starts talking to every-one and the more they talk the more confusing things turn out to be.

So here is my advise: decide if you want to find a consumer product that you may want to use or re-brand or partner with, or if you are looking for an enterprise brand - a company that will help you to develop your own mobile banking strategy and help you deploy your own product. This is one of the first decisions that must be taken.

Consumer brands are usually somewhat regionally baised. For instance MTN banking is a Africa, Middle East brand, whereas m-Pesa is of course well-known in Kenya, while mChek is predominantly and Indian brand. These companies offer specific products to end-subscribers and they have lot to offer in terms of their actual consumer products.

On the other hand, when considering a enterprise brand, it is important to be clear about the ability of the company to support your own specific needs. You should ask yourself if they will be around in future to support and enhance your investment in mobile banking. It is important to select a company with critical mass and with good procedures in support of enterprise companies. Few of these are around.

The most dangerous companies are those with a consumer brand and trying to be enterprise solutions too. You would not know if they are helping you or competing against you.

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