Thursday, November 16, 2017

Was Reliance Jio introduction a BPR exercise in India ?

Business Process Reengineering is defined as the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical measures of performance such as cost, quality, service and speed.(Hammer and Champy, 1993)
One of the big questions being asked these days is whether the recent introduction and success of Reliance Jio telecom was indeed a great re-engineering exercise or disruptive innovation ?

Disruptive innovation is a term in the field of business administration which refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products, and alliances.  -

Prof. Christensen of Harvard Business School has this to say  about Jio introduction ..

The introduction of Reliance Jio was no doubt catastrophic, it resulted in loss of almost 75,000 jobs in the telecom industry and loss of business for the industry worth more than $700 billion, almost INR 50 lakh crores. (Malayala Manorama, 16 Nov, 2017) In spite of this huge economic and social shakeup of the telecom industry, it did bring benefits to the customer in terms of better technological infrastructure, advanced technology, lower costs, better service, overall resulting in delivering -higher value for the customers in the country.

Here are a few points being listed to support the argument that Reliance Jio qualifies to be termed as a very successful re-engineering exercise.

1. Fundamental rethinking - for telecom calls all this while we have been paying cash on a minute or second basis depending on whether the calls were local or across states inside a country. Reliance Jio has transformed that thinking, by reaffirming time and again that telecom calls within an area or within geographical boundaries within a country can indeed be FREE ..

2. Radical redesign - by making use of the latest technological developments like fibre optics cables to communicate using optics technology through cables laid on land and under the sea, the quantum of data that could be communicated has increased manifold.

3. Introduction of Advanced Modern Technology / methods : Adopting the latest 4G technology, though the technology was very nascent in the country. 4G mobile phones are offered at cheap rates. The advanced 4G technology has been implemented across the country much earlier than it has been accepted in many of the advanced nations of the world, it speaks enough of the performance aspects of BPR.

4. Effective Customer Service Network : Reliance Jio had already set up the needed sales and customer service networks through Reliance Digital stores and through a wide network of service and marketing personnel across the country, the push to reach the customers physically and through the media was very evident right from day one.

5. Promise of provision of auxilliary, related value added services : It gave great expectations in the customer by promising not only the needed bandwidth, fibre optics infrastructure and software functionality, it kept telling the public through the media about its extra spare capacity in its fibre optics cables and intention to start more high speed services like Broadband Internet and DTH services. This gave the reassurance to the customers that Reliance Jio was seriously intent on serving the customer with heavy investments in the country.

Having invested heavily in infrastructure there was no option to Reliance Jio but to give superior service to the customers and capture the market. The customers knew this and embraced Reliance Jio with open hands.

6. No negativity in actions and words : Reliance Jio never gave any negative news about how competitors were getting impacted by its presence in the market, but kept communicating to the people the benefits and privileges the customers would be entitled if Reliance Jio was accepted  as the primary communications network. This was a very positive move from Reliance Jio which endeared it to the masses.

6. Introduction of Low cost tariff plans : After the almost 9 months free usage period to woo customers, the release of new tariff plans to suit the rural customers pockets, even going down to about Rs 149 for a 30 day talk plan with minimal data, was very reassuring to the telecom subscribers of the country.

7. End to exploitation of customers : The constant thoughts within the customers/ minds on how all the telecom companies in the past were exploiting the customers with high and exhorbitant charges and poor service was at the back of the minds of the customers and they wanted to get released from this setback for ever.

8. Discounting future customer exploitation : Some of the customers did have the feeling and fears that Reliance Jio would give low charge plans initially to garner more subscribers and then increase the charges later on, thus virtually imprisoning customers to its networks were totally belied when Reliance Jio released its final tariff plans a month back, which were very reasonable.

9.  Providing great customer value : Reliance Jio never took up any negative advertising but instead only concentrated on providing great value to its customers. Customers across the country appreciated this Jio tactic very much with more Jio sims on their phones and porting existing numbers from other telecom service providers to Reliance Jio network.

10. Rewriting global telecom market cost parameters : Reliance Jio rewrote the market for voice calling in the world by making it totally free within the country and to be the first country in the world to offer such an offering.

11. Increased customer confidence : Overall customers were assured of the best technology, best customer service, affordable costs, FREE calling and low cost huge data usage of upto 1GB daily (and low speed thenceforth for the next few hours of the day till 2AM when plans rolled back to the initial stage), all added to the customers confidence in the company and its offering to the Indian public.

Having invested almost $33 billion in the most advanced Indian telecom network in India (not challenged yet by any telecom company in the any other part of the world, even in China or US), Reliance Jio has really set a one time total disruption of the telecom industry in India and the world.

Global telecom majors are now scared to invest in the country and the existing global players are looking for alliances and partnerships to stay afloat in India. The Indian customers do not need any more confidence building measures from Reliance Jio to assure them and are more than convinced that Reliance Jio is going to stay in the Indian market and will serve them well in the coming years.

To ensure Reliance Jio does not have a total monopoly in the telecom and data transmission markets, these foreign companies are kept surviving by the Indian public with good revenues and customer base so as not to have them exit the country.

The minimum time and dexterity with which this one-time technological disruption and radical change delivering high value to the customer at the lowest cost has been brought about in the smoothest way and shortest time period, indeed leaves no doubt in the minds of the Indian public that Reliance Jio introduction and disruption of the telecom market in India is a perfect example of Business Process Re-engineering at its best ..

Lets see whether the next BPR exercise in the country would come from within or would be implemented by an MNC .. This technological and commercial disruption of the telecom industry has been the biggest in the history of Independent India and for that matter anywhere in the world, and that adds more importance and weight to this exercise !

George Easaw

Ref : 1. Hammer, Micheal and James Champy, Re-engineering the Corporation - A manifesto for Business Revolution, Collins Business Essentials, 1993.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Lessons from India's demonetisation for other countries of the world ..

I was reading the article by Prof Bhaskar Chakravarthi of Tufts Business School , Harvard Business Review, November 2017 on the lessons of India's demonetisation exercise for the rest of the countries of the world.

The lessons as highlighted by Prof Bhaskar made interesting reading. The underflow of the paper was the intellectual hollowness of the whole process. The fact that a very important economic decision was taken by the Indian Prime Minister, relatively less experienced, who had manipulated the Indian population through his provocative election speeches, had literally misfired, did harm the economy in great measure.

The damages to the economy were great and very disastrous. Loss of almost 2 million jobs and loss of economic output in the country of almost INR 4.5 lakh crores resulting in the drop of Indian GDP growth to 5.9% in the past four quarters (not forgetting additional expenses of almost INR 30,000 crores, $4.5 billion, for the demonetisation exercise) has been catastrophic and devastating  to the economy.

The unintelligent acts of this person ..
At first though the objective of demonetisation exercise as claimed by Mr Narendra Modi was to eradicate black money and corruption, it floundered. Almost 99% of the Rupees 15.44 lakh crores ($239 billion) of demonetised notes in circulation came back into the banks and the whole exercise backfired. To escape from the blame of an unplanned, poorly executed move and to deflect popular discontent on such a floundering economic step, the objective of the demonetisation exercise was immediately changed to help bring a digital cashless economy in India. To add insult to injury, the experience of the past three quarters show GDP growth declined.

People silently endured the sufferings and hardships.

Lesson One : Choose the economic experts of the country carefully. Sidelining the top global economic experts for less educated and less experienced roadside peddlers, did damage the economy to a great extent.

Lesson Two : Get to understand and assess the economic fundamentals and the monetary policy of the country correctly. If in doubt, check with economic experts how global economy works and how national economy in linked with the international economy.

Lesson Three : Understand natural human behaviour, faced with a crisis of losing their hard earned money, legal or illegal, it is human reaction to devise innovative ways to ensure that the money is not wasted and gets deposited in different accounts in the banks.

What a great loss of manpower standing in queues
Lesson Four : Promoting the objective of a Unified Digital Payment Interface in the country at the cost of great pain, suffering and economic hardships of the people by going to the extent of even withdrawing 86% of the currency in circulation in not an objective worth the pain and hardships of the people. More worthier objectives should have been put forward.

Hope the other nations of the world would learn from the Indian economic blunder carried out on November 8, 2017. If not for any benefits to the host country, let this exercise have some global lessons for the other countries of the world on avoiding economic blunders.

Did India really need demonetisation, was demonetisation implemented after thoughtful deliberations, has this step helped black money hoarders convert their black money to white with government support are all questions the nation and the world are waiting for an answer ..


Monday, November 06, 2017

Comparing Amazon Echo and Google Home Personal Assistants

" Alexa, what is the news ? " 
Let me introduce to my friends the two AI assisted (virtual) Personal Assistants in the market, Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

Two days back, I got the AI powered Amazon Echo Dot, having the cloud based service through the Amazon Personal Assistant Alexa.

Amazon Echo dot, INR 3150,
Slowly getting used to having a personal (virtual) assistant. The virtual personal  assistant, besides doing a lot of information related chores, can help simplify our digital lives. Amazon Personal Assistant, as explained is known by a very popular name, Alexa. Echo is the hardware and Alexa is the software ..

Amazon Echo Dot, has been in the market for more than 2 years and accesses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) through a wi-fi connection while the Google Home is the new entrant released just last year and has access to the vast Google knowledge repository and also great services like Youtube .. (which is a big shortcoming for Amazon) ..

Click here to know more about the best Alexa skills and commands..

For information gathering and retrieval tasks, Google Home is more powerful but for tasks like shopping, networking with other devices using IoT Amazon Echo has the upper edge. 

A hot battle is on, whichever is better, will dominate the AI assisted personal chores segment in the coming days. The yet undefined roles of the Personal Assistant, as the field is still in the evolutionary stage, is also a clear indication of the tech future assisted by artificial intelligence, which is to come to our homes and distort, disturb or assist our personal online lives..

Google Home about INR 10,000 on ebay ..
I am still experimenting with Alexa, like playing radio, getting the latest news, asking time, date, greetings, info query from Wikipedia, info on places, people, events, objects etc ..

In the next few days and weeks, I will be able to explore the additional features of Amazon Echo like IoT by working on integrating more home devices like TV, lighting, Audio systems etc to the Amazon Echo. I find AI capabilities in Echo and Google Home limited, but in the growth phase.

Echo is simple to setup and use ...
As of now as regards networking and reach, Amazon Echo is much more capable than Google Home. Google Home, other than information, has a long long, long way to go to catch up with Amazon echo. In the coming days, am sure more AI related apps would be released on Amazon Echo and on Google Home too.

Cost wise, in Bangalore, Amazon Echo dot comes at INR 3150 while Google Home mini costs almost INR 8000.

Google Home mini, INR 8000 on ebay
Click here for a good comparison of Amazon Echo and Google Home..

Here is a Techcrunch comparison of Alexa, Google Siri and Sonos .. 

While Google and Tesla / Toyota / Ford are fighting it out on who will dominate the driverless electric car market, this fight between Amazon and Google is set to get  more personal ..


Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

My popular posts over the last month ..