Blockchain and financial inclusion: winning CEO think ahead, part 1

If you are a financial institution CEO, your unwritten job description is to keep the eyes on the ball — the long-term game to play and win. What are you investing in today to position your bank as a market leader in 5 to 10 years’ time?

Great CEOs operate like Club managers of competitive sports like football -always on the lookout on the right team formation to win matches. Whereas the players keep their eyes on the ball throughout the match, a club manager keeps their eyes on the players who optimize their chances for the success of the team. When it comes to business, the CEO’s ball is technology as a business driver. What are the emerging technologies and how to optimize it?

As you play the current game, you must think about winning in 3 – 10 years. That means every CEO needs an inner circle of thinkers, who keep scanning the environment for new ideas, test them and keep re-inventing and pushing innovation to the new levels. Otherwise, all you will have are copy and paste ideas that rarely set the bar.

Your cake has new eaters

Take an example of telecoms. Today, every telecom company is thinking about value-added services (VAS). First, it was mobile money. But few companies saw mobile money as a platform. It took long for there to realize so. By the time they woke up and provided for public API integration, everyone else had done the same. This delivered less impact.

Now telecoms are in the race to drive data use. And the focus is on LiveTV streaming, live music streaming, etc. You have seen Airtel launching a mobile app for video on demand.  And so has MTN. All telecom companies are into projects that will make their subscribers use more of their data. As we prepare for 5 Gs and reduced internet connectivity costs, telecoms with products and services that drive data use will win. High definition video is the biggest data eater. So are games. And so are virtual reality applications. Airtel India launched Airtel TV way back in 2017! It has taken Airtel Uganda to wake up this new reality – that is a cool three years later. It is not forgivable – as such is a slow rate of technology transfer. Such an inability to optimize from parent innovations is not good for business.

Just a day Airtel announced the launch of the TV, MTN Uganda also did the same. This levels things up. If you want to win, follow the “Blue Ocean” way, do things that make the competition irrelevant.

But this is a warning to television companies. Telecoms are coming. They are a modern monster. They are into banking. Into television. Into agency banking. Into insurance. Into education. Heck, they are everywhere. Are you ready?

To be continued…

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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