Of the eight  fastest growing mobile money deployments in the world, seven manage mobile money as an independent business unit. Coincidence? Or is this organisational choice a key success factor?
The operational challenges in launching and growing mobile money programs have been well chronicled on this blog – building effective distribution networks, marketing the product effectively, managing the risk of fraud, among others. But success or failure in these areas hinge on more than just operational know-how. The size, structure, and placement of the mobile money team along with the roles and incentives of the individuals within (and external to) the team are equally important. The wrong organisational conditions impose an additional burden on an already difficult business. The right ones unleash the business’ full potential.
In MMU’s latest publication, “Organisational Design to Succeed in Mobile Money,” we have undertaken analysis of high performing mobile money deployments and interviewed senior executives to understand the success factors and pitfalls in organisational design. The interviews revealed that best practice in organisational design for the mobile money industry has begun to emerge. Different deployments, across different geographies and corporate cultures, have independently arrived at similar conclusions on how to approach resourcing a mobile money team, including:
- The complexity of the mobile money business necessitates a degree of organisational commitment not typically required by other VAS or supplemental products.
- It is advisable to create an independent mobile financial service business unit, reporting to the CEO or CCO, rather than manage mobile money within the VAS or GSM sales and distribution teams.
- Creating a dedicated sales and distribution team for mobile money is recommended, rather than leveraging the GSM sales and distribution team.
- Mobile money KPIs must be in place not only for the mobile money team but also for other senior executives. The cross-functional demands of mobile money require buy-in and support from many parts of the organisation.
- Organisational design must keep pace with a moving target, the natural evolution of a mobile money program. Management will need to anticipate expanding headcount and skills requirements at least six to twelve months in the future.
This paper addresses both the higher level organisational principles relevant for top executives and also more granular considerations within the mobile money team. Sample organisational diagrams have been anonymously provided by successful mobile money operators, including scaling ratios to anticipate headcount requirements as deployments evolve.
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