Monday, October 12, 2009

Mobile banking death by spotligjht

It is common knowledge for performing artists that it is significantly more difficult to perform in front of a live audience than doing a recording in a studio. The tension of making a mistake can lead to stuttering and a performance that is not as good as it can be. In looking at deployments of mobile banking and when they are successful and when not, I have come to the following conclusion: "Spotlights can kill a mobile banking deployment". While exceptions exist, it is often those deployments that people do not talk about too much that are becoming profitable.

Mobile banking is such a hot topic. Conference organisers are constantly looking for successful case studies and researchers for guinea pigs to disect. This means that immature deployments are often scrutinised to such a degree that it fails partially because of the massive amount of visibility.

I believe that this is because of a combination of the following reasons:
  • The owner of the mobile banking deployment is now so busy touring the international conference circuit that he/she does not have enough time to focus on a complex/delicate business.
  • Visibility of a deployment, inadvertently also leads to scrutiny and criticism. This in turn impacts the bullishness of stakeholders and the energy and commitment to making the venture work starts to decline.
  • By publishing insights and competitive aspects about a service in a specific market, pre-warned competitors now have time to respond, often limiting the positive impact of the service.
I can think of examples of all of the above and I am convinced that (maybe contrary to popular believe), it is actually better not to talk about your mobile banking deployments and to just get on with the job to make it a success. By doing this, you have a better chance of meeting your objectives.


Chrissy said...

This is a very interesting observation. Can you please offer some examples? I am sure you are correct, and would like to look into it more. Thank you!

Hannes@Home said...

Hi Chrissy, the problem with failures is that people do not want to talk about it. I also do not want to publish confidential information. But let we give you some examples without referring to names:
1. A retailer and bank partner to launch an innovative mobile payment solution in the Middle East. It is widely published and the executives talk about the solution often. Interest and take-up is disappointing and the initiative is ultimately closed down.
2. A mobile operator launch mobile banking in a very competitive market with a lot of marketing. One of the competing banks immediately make their mobile offering free.
3. The investor in a large European mobile banking company withdraw funding after many successes and visibility.