Thursday, May 26, 2005

Its a question of lifecycles

I have just got back from Athens having presented on the potential for mobile commerce to European bankers for HP. The event as a whole was interesting in that it provided me with a view on a sector todate that I have had little to do with other than as customer. The main theme was Transforming Payments, which although mundane was interesting when split between Wholesale and Retail. The interesting thing is that a business started 600 years ago by Italians is very much resistance to change even when forced by regulation and law. The similarity with the mobile telecoms world is that some of those that have been behind the times are making leaps of faith to jump ahead in banking.

Today in talking over my experience someone pointed out that the management teams in Mobile are focused on the day-to-day business and to them ten months is a cycle whilst ten years is a cycle in Banking and as such any change is slow and resisted even when forced. In debating this point he highlighted that trying to get his group to look at the medium term (next three years) he was told that in such a period they could all have lost their jobs twice and so lets focus on the hear and now! More than one of the Industry Speakers had over thirty years experience with their current employer (would I like the pension they have from such service.)

As for my views on M-Commerce well the launch of SIMPAY this summer in Europe will hope seed the education of subscibers following the failure of m-pay by the networks. The focus will be on payments below €10 and it will be for content based services rather than face to face transactions in order to limit the need for dispute resolution. Outside the developed economies we could see services such as G-Cash in Phillipines that remove cash from the system with text messages used for token exchange of funds without the need for expensive card transaction services.

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