Thursday, July 16, 2009

Homegrown mobile banking solutions

You may have noticed some months ago that CGAP listed an initiative that they supported in Mongolia in collaboration with Xac bank (see some of the announcements here). The support and the excitement generated by the visibility of this initiative enticed a number of suppliers to tender for the deployment of mobile banking in this beautiful country. I am not sure how many companies tried to get the work as we declined because Mongolia was not one of our target countries at the stage.

What was very interesting to me was when I recently saw an announcement of a new solution company, offering mobile banking solutions and using Xac bank as their first reference. This company is called: Noomadic. A little more research indicated that Noomadic is partially owned by Xac bank. Not only have the technology been deployed in Mongolia, but a new solution company has been created! While the deployment of this solution must be a great achievement, creating a solution company at the same time must be questioned. It is my believe that the development of a product and the deployment of a production system is totally two different propositions. Not only is the solution different, but also the organisation that supports a product compared to a production deployment.

Yet, this is not a new approach. The "well-now-that-we-have-deployed-the software-lets-see-if-we-can-sell-it-too" mentality is actually quite common in this industry. It is displayed regularly with not so good results in most cases. (I will not quote examples, but I am sure the reader can think of many themselves from countries like South Africa, the Philippines, US and many more). Why is it that companies think of selling the software when they should be worried about supporting a production deployment?

3 comments:

Amaar said...

Good insight. Must agree with you there. Losing focus is very easy in this industry.

LUKE RYAN said...

Great interesting blog,i will be back soon.

Christophe said...

Dear Hannes, interesting post (as always).

Having followed the Noomadic project for a few months, I would like to add some precision to your relevant point about banks "reselling" a platform they developed.

Noomadic is the result of a joint project between Xacbank and an experienced team in microfinance, banking and telco IT. The resulting mobile FS platform allowed Xacbank to launch their new mobile payment service, and is at the core of Horus Nomadic Solutions, which operates as an independant company.

Noomadic is being further developed by the same initial team (both on the IT side and the consultants), which opens interesting perspective at the junction of mobile banking and microfinance.

Best,
Christophe