Monday, June 16, 2008

Leveraging of Web2.0 in Banking/Financial Vertical

Launch of Web 2.0 totally change how web works, how it operates and how it can influences every bodies life. In layman terms, Web 2.0 empowers the END-USER to create and publish its own content, which can be used by other communities or groups on Web. The thriving Web 2.0 applications like blogging, video publishing, bookmarking , social networking etc. have given technology user an edge to express one thoughts and share them with the outer world.

But the question is, How Web 2.0 platform can be leverage for Banking and Financial Industry ?
The question is quite tricky, as Web 2.0 is more user itself, so how can be used by the an Industry which run on some pre-defined set of rules and standards. Let's explore this issue little bit, and segregate Web 2.0 platform based on the application supported by this platform.

1. Blogging : Blogging provides a platform for a user to express his thoughts, it also provide a platform to bring together all like minded people, actually thinking about the similar thoughts.

Now the question is, How blogging can be useful to Banking and Financial industry?
Banking Industry has numerous financial products, normally the knowledge of the products lies with the sector who launches or maintains the product. In order to make their product more competent and more risk averse, the bank should try to spread as much as knowledge about that product to its employess, so that the involvement of large section of intellectual people may make the product more rewarding to the client of the bank. This can be possible, if bank try to implement somekind of intra blogging concept, where people can discuss about their products, their prcing mechanism, advt. strategies etc. and at the same time expect comments and advice from their colleagues.

2. Maps : Every other day, google comes with its newer version of Google Maps. Where it not only provides a comprehensive data of city locations and paths, but its also empowers users to edit and add information about their locations. Now how banks can leverage this technology to their benefits ?
Now the kind of business the banking industry does is changing, now client does not go to banks, but banks come to clients. In order to make sure the bank and its services are accessible, the banks should provide efficient way to reach that services. For e.g. nowadays every banks has large number of ATM machine, they can be widespread throughout the city. Bank should provide detailed information about the ATM location, its accessibility, information about nearby places etc.

3. Social Networking : Social Networking sites are flourishing very fast in Web 2.0 space, sites like Facebook, My Space, Orkut etc. are a big hit among the consumers especially the youth. Banking industry can try to formulate such a platform, where like minded intellectual consumers can come , make friends, discuss about the bank's financial product offering, it's short term and long term benefit. They may also involve in putting ideas in improving the current product . Thus involving consumers directly in developing a financial product and getting their response for the existing products.

The main reason of Banking industry still did not leverage for Web 2.0, it's may be due to security and customer secrecy concerns. But as Web2.0 platform become more standardized and secure proof, no bank stalwart will hesitate to use this platform in their favor. Hope to see more use of Web 2.0 in banking and financial industry.

Mohit Kumar

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Battle of Titans : MTN Vs RCOM

Indian corporates are now no longer limited to Indian sub-continents, they are coming to acquire global firms and that too in a big way. Forgot about Wipro 100-200million $ acquisitions, forgot about Tata billion $ acquisitions of Corus steel. But Indian Corporate parlance will certainly going to remember and for the long time if MTN and RCOM(Reliance Communication) 50 billion $ deal worked out.

But deal between MTN and RCOM will not be that easy, it will face plenty of hurdles legal, financial, political, etc. Prior to RCOM, Sunil Mittal promoted Bharti was in the race for acquiring MTN. But the talk between two telecoms biggies ended abruptly due to difference between the demand of MTN and offering of Bharti.

But the question is can RCOM will able to tap the unpredictable MTN?

Though RCOM has started an initial 45 days talk with the global telecom player, and during this process employed some of the best Investment bankers and International advisor's to sort out the terms of the deal between the two companies. The acquisition of MTN will not be easy, but the way Amabani's do their business, my gut feeling is that this time Mr. Anil Ambani will certainly acquire MTN. FYI, Mr. Ambani failed to acquire Hutchison Essar, which went to Vodafone.

If Mr. Anil Ambani is able to tap the MTN deal, then with the user base of more than 115million, his telecom conglomerate will become one of the biggest telecom companies in the world. It will put give his company an access to some of the emerging telecom markets, where still the tele density of user is negligible, as compared to other developed nations. Besides, this deal will certainly give Indian companies to think big and execute even bigger.

So I earnestly wish best of luck to Mr. Anil Ambani for his global acquisition.

Mohit Kumar
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