Lessons from M-banking

V. Kasturi Rangan of HBS explains the case study in which he compares the lessons learnt from Mobile banking in two different countries. Moreover, companies structures  are also different.

The Harvard Business School case study Mobile Banking for the Unbanked explores two very different examples of mobile financial service models:WIZZIT, a third-party startup that teamed with a major bank to provide standard banking services via mobile access to impoverished residents of South Africa; and M-PESA, an initiative launched by the mobile network operator Safaricom (in conjunction with Vodafone) to offer a new type of financial service to the poor residents of Kenya.

Ultimately, the more successful of the two, M-PESA, realized that the intended customers didn’t really want bank accounts at all—they wanted effective ways to send money home to their families.

The case’s key lesson is the importance of meeting the real needs of your target audience, not the needs as you perceive them, says professor Kash Rangan, who authored the case with research associate Katharine Lee and teaches it in his second-year elective course Business at the Base of the Pyramid.

The mistake a lot of us make is to look at the folks at the base of the pyramid and assume that they must need the same types of services we need,” Rangan says. “Everybody needs food. We need education, and so do the poor. We need banks, so they must need banks. But that’s the wrong way of approaching it. The ecosystem in which they live is very different from ours. They’re on weekly or even daily wages, and their family circumstances are different. So we’ve really got to dig in and figure out what their real needs are and their pain points.”

Read the piece for more details

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: