Monday, April 28, 2014

Mobility solutions from Mobicule for Utilities in India

Mr. Siddharth Agarwal, Founder
& CEO, Mobicule
The global market has experienced a paradigm shift with the introduction of SMAC technologies. The letter ‘M’ which stands for 'Mobility’ has changed the opinion of undertaking business and has been dominating in the minds of technocrats, businessmen, and the investors. It does not surprise us to perceive industries shifting to mobile devices where India accounts more than 900 million subscriber base. Catching with the trend various innovative mobile apps has been developed leading to interesting business case. It is believed that mobile app download will grow exponentially and if this is the scenario, one of the biggest beneficiary of these technologies can be Indian utilities aiming to improve their efficiency and streamlining their operation through more focused customer engagement.

pManifold team recently spoke to Mr. Siddharth Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Mobicule to understand how the mobility solution is changing the landscape of Indian utility markets. The below shared are author's personal views and not to be associated with any of their company's association.

  • What increasing role ‘Mobility’ is playing in Indian utility markets, across what all processes, and how the adoption differs in Indian markets vs. Global Utility markets?
     Mobility will play an increasing role in the Indian utility markets to improve key processes like Billing & Collection Automation, Customer Acquisition, Customer Servicing & Customer Relationship Management. Adoption will be faster in India and other developing markets compared to developed markets. Due to lack of internet penetration, more service calls per customer, lack of billing transparency mobility is the fastest and only way to reach consumers in the developing markets like India.
  • What are the key drivers for next adoption and growth of Mobility in Indian utilities? What utility processes will make higher ROI for shifting to Mobility solutions? Describe your experience with Indian Gas Utility?
     Key drivers are reduced hardware, connectivity cost of mobility hardware, easier learning curve and adoption of mobile technologies by employees. Processes like meter reading, billing, collections, and customer sign up and meter installation and customer relationship management are the key areas which can become more effective and deliver ROI to utility companies. We work with the largest gas utility in Indian in terms of number of subscribers and our implementation is already delivering huge ROI for meter reading and collection processes. They seem to be on the fast track to adopt such technologies to ensure better and accurate revenue realization.
  • Who are the bigger players in Utility Mobility in India, and how is Mobicule uniquely positioned?
     It is still early days in this sphere and there is no clear defined competition except for large services companies. Mobicule with its product offering “msales” for all key processes in utilities along with proven implementations is uniquely positioned to drive market share in this area.
  • With few big names in utility ERP solution and many of the utility service adopting their solution, how do you see the market evolving for various mobility solution providers like yourself? Do you going forward plan to raise you own integrated utility ERP IT solution?
     Mobicule does not plan to offer core ERP functionality and will augment existing ERP solutions already deployed with effective and accurate field operations an end to end solution to our customers integrated with their ERP. The key is to provide an end to end solution integrated with the ERP. We have partnered with SAP to provide the same to the Indian Utility Market.
  • What has been your experience when dealing with Indian utility operators? What are old systems and thinking that needs to be changed, to make business case understood? Will be great, if you could give some cost-benefit example from deploying your solutions in Utility? Describe your experience with Power and Water sector.
     There is definitely a need to move away from pen and paper based or offline systems which are not foolproof. Mobility solutions can deliver foolproof and validate data in real time and is a must have to remain competitive. Power and Water sector have an equal need for these solutions given their spread is much larger already compared to Gas utility companies.To cite one example, approx. 30% of the billing queries were reduced after implementing photograph based meter reading solution for one of our client in turn delivering ROI by reduced Customer Servicing Cost.
  • Mobility has its value when dealing with masses, and hence ‘Customer Engagement’ seems like hot topic area. What innovations you have seen in this space across sectors and globe, which you intend to bring to Indian markets?
     Customer engagement is the key area for implementing mobility as that is only way you could stay in touch with your consumers. Today consumers expect all information to be available on the go be it via SMS, Email or mobile applications. Having a mobile application for your consumers will make it easy to educate them on safety and emergency procedures. Also all billing related data made handy to the consumer can reduce a lot of customer’s calls at the call centre. Besides having the routine features in terms of easier sign ups, address or other changes, payment related information etc.
  • In your growth phase, what types of business opportunities you eyeing with utility operators in power, water, waste, gas etc.?
     Our vision is to become the de-facto option for all mobility needs of the utility industry and to define best practices through our product features. Single window solution combining technology & feet-on-street which will make the cost, per transaction &  predictable to utility companies.
  • What areas for further strategic partnerships you are looking to drive to support your expansion?
     We are looking to partner all manpower or service agencies which are currently working with utility companies. We believe our technologies could deliver accurate data, faster revenues and more control to these agencies and the utility companies they serve.

     Posted by: Kunjan Bagdia @ pManifold

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