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Introduction

MMI is an electronic money transfer program that is aimed at increasing the competence of the chosen firm, Vodafone. This is the company that was termed as best in the telecommunications industry in 2011. MMI seeks to make money transfer an easier activity. Although it may seem to be new in the industry, it has already been applied in some companies. Its effectiveness prompted the writing of this essay, as well as the choice of the service for Vodafone. It is a service that is worth giving a try by any telecommunication firm.

Problem Statement

To start with, Vodafone is a profit-oriented company. The quest to make more profit cannot be denied by any organization as large as Vodafone. In the telecommunications industry, introducing of a new product comes with enormous profits. In the few companies in which MMT has been used, it has proved extremely profitable. Therefore, this would be an ideal service for Vodafone to adopt. MMI addresses a number of problems. The problems that the service solves can be divided into two parts – the problems of consumers and those of the company. In the recent past, money deposits and withdrawals were a main challenge in the banking industry. It was difficult for people to deposit and withdraw money from the long queues in the bank. However, the introduction of electronic money transfer changed everything. People were able to acquire automated teller machine cards and withdraw money at their convenience. However, these advances in technology have missed on one aspect in the monetary world – the transfer of money. The advancement in technology has only focused on the convenience of money to an individual. However, this is not enough for the industry. There is a need for more innovations and inventions.

When people are far away from each other, the different methods that they use to send money to each other prove convoluted. People have to put up with the long queues, which can be considered as a problem or as a failure on the side of Vodafone. As the leading telecommunications company, it is expected to solve such problems with considerable ease. Attaining of such a position for a company can be easy; however, maintenance of that position can prove to be hard (Hughes, 2007). Therefore, the company needs such radical changes and inventions that can make it remain competitive in the telecommunications industry. Therefore, MMT has the ability to solve these two problems by making the consumers’ money easily manageable and convenient for customer use. It is also beneficial for the company since it can help increase its rating in the telecommunications industry, as well as the number of consumers that would prefer Vodafone to its competitors. This company also sells its products and services all over the world. Therefore, money inconveniences could also be causing fewer sales of these products and services. When the money transfers are made more convenient, it can make sure the sales of the company will go up, as well. However, this would happen to all the companies in the market. The most fundamental solution is that of consumers who would have an easy time transferring their money from one place to another (Birdsall, 2011).

Method Used

The service is quite new to the industry. Therefore, the methods used had to be specific to various regions of the world. It also required a lot of time to come up with the findings of the report. This is because it was not just like any other report where information could be received from the internet. There had to be a lot of traveling, as well as interviews with the persons who had used the service before. All these were conducted systematically. The first method was visiting the internet for any information on the companies which could have already adopted the service into their system. This included visiting websites of various telecommunications firms to find out whether they used the service. It also included searching for information on people who were seen as leaders in the telecommunications industry. Such people include Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, whose wealth can be accounted for his indulgence in the telecommunications industry. This was the primary method since it opened the gates for investigation of the other methods of collecting data.

The internet offered valuable sources of information on the service. This helped in determining the places and areas to visit in order to gain more information. Visits were made to the different regions where the service was already in use. The research was conducted in two ways. The first way included interviewing of the people in the region who had the chance to use the service. These are the people who were in a position to give first-hand information on the advantages and disadvantages of the service. The interviews were random in any region of the identified countries. All the respondents’ views were collected and taken into consideration in recording the findings. However, the interviews were only done with the people who were found in the actual act of money transfer. This provided information from the people who surely had knowledge of the service (Omwansa, 2012). This method also went hand-in-hand with observation. Some of the agents were monitored and observed for a long time. This helped in determining the popularity of the service and the efficiency of the same. After this observation, the findings were recorded.

The second method used to collect information in the countries was consulting with high ranking members of the select companies. This required prior appointments, since these were influential people who did not have much time. The interviews with these officials were also scheduled for the weekends for the same reason. These interviews were with people like the IT specialists, who were responsible for the database of the whole program, top officials and leaders in the companies, as well as other members of the companies (Morawczynski, 2008). This required thorough concentration to grasp all the facts that the people were trying to put across. For the IT specialists, demonstrations were used to better explain the complexities of the service. This included the use of computers and other visual illustrations to explain how the database is managed. Although observation had been done on the ground, it was hard to grasp the method that was being used in making the money transfers. Therefore, these people provided more information on the process and procedure of money transfer. They also explained the advantages and shortcomings of the service from the company’s perspective.

Lastly, the research involved visits to the libraries of these select companies. This is because the regular libraries would not be of any help in this undertaking. The idea was not known to many people in the world. Therefore, the only libraries that could offer secondary sources for the research were those of these two companies. The books that were mainly borrowed from the library were the most recent. This is because the research proved that the service had just been adopted by these companies. Information on the product was in abundance in these libraries’ books. Journals and newspapers of the region were also influential in offering information on the service. They sequentially showed the development of ideas in the industry. After visiting the libraries, there was one particular book that seemed to have many answers required. Therefore, an interview with the author of the book was scheduled. The service and the idea were new in the industry. Therefore, the few authors who had already published books on the service were of immense importance to the research. These must have been people who had the first-hand information on the service (Cheung, 2005).

Findings

The findings were form the internet. There were a few people who had some credible information on Mobile Money Transfer. However, there were still some people who had some idea of the service. This showed that the idea was fast spreading to other parts of the world. These findings started with the identification of the regions that had already adopted the service. The service was only being used in about three East African countries. These included Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The idea originated in Kenya, where the first company to use the service, Safaricom, introduced M-Pesa. Pesa is a Swahili word that represents money. Prefix “M” means mobile money. From the Kenyan company, it spread to the other two countries. Therefore, the rest of the research was based in these three countries, especially in Kenya. This is a new idea that has not yet been adopted by many companies. Any such new idea should be utilized by the involved company to the fullest (Nancy and Francis, 2011).

 The research showed that the service required agents from all parts of the countries. These agents were the ones who were responsible for most transfers in all parts of the country. This made sure that all the people in the region were served by the service. The main companies that had already adopted the service were Safaricom, Airtell, Yu and Equity bank (Horan, 1976). Apart from Equity Bank, all the others were mobile networks. The research shows that Equity Bank has also partnered with Safaricom to make money more retrievable and transferable for their consumers. The consumers seemed to spend five to ten minutes with different agents before they were served. At the agents’ desks, there were no queues because there were enough agents in all regions. On interviewing the consumers, they emphasized the greatness of the idea, as well as its advantages. They gave an impression of a helpful and well-thought idea, which had the ability to transform their lives. Therefore, more interviews were held with them in order to obtain the details of the suitability of the service from a consumer’s point of view.

The consumers said that the service made their lives much easier. They could send and receive money at any time and any place in the country. However, they complained that the service experienced delays every now and then. However, the advantages that they mentioned were more than could be imagined. Apart from saving them from the long queues in the bank, the service saved a lot of their time in many other ways. For example, the payment of electricity bills could also be performed through their phones. Buying airtime did not require then to go to the shops. They only had to take their phones and buy airtime though this service. The appreciation of this service was much outside large malls and supermarkets. This is because people need money in these regions. Therefore, the service has proved helpful in such situations and the general view of consumers on the product has been positive. Some of the agents functioned for 24 hours. On interviewing the agents, they said that it was a profitable business for them. That is why some of them preferred to work around the clock.

The process of the transfer was hard to understand by mere observation. Therefore, the IT specialists explained it in details and proved that it was not a hectic process. They also explained the criteria used in the money transfer service. Consumers register their SIM-cards with Safaricom or any of the other mobile networks using their national IDs or pass ports. After registration, an MMT menu is updated on the customer’s phone. Registered customers are able to send and receive money, pay bills, loans, and utilities, and also buy air time. (Tonny, 2012) Customers can also access their commercial bank accounts if they register their mobile numbers with their banks.  This is where Equity Bank came in. To withdraw the money from a mobile account, the customer approaches an agent and initiates the transaction through an agent code.  The customer and the agent then receive a message that a specific amount of money has been withdrawn. The agent then gives the customer the specified amount of money and the transaction is completed. To deposit the money in the mobile account, the customer approaches the agent with the amount of money they want to deposit, the agent deposits the money, and both receive a confirmation message (Hughes & Lonie, 2007). Below is a graphical representation of Mobile money transfer. The picture was taken during the research. It shows a consumer withdrawing money through his mobile phone. The money was given to him by the agent who had just received a confirmation message to give the funds to the customer. This service took about five minutes, and the consumer had already withdrawn the cash.

There was a chance to interview some of the executive members of the companies. They were able to name some of the advantages of the service to the company. They also named some of the disadvantages that the company faced as a result of the service. However, the comments of the Chief Executive Officer at Safaricom proved that the advantages overshadowed the disadvantages. He commented, “M-Pesa is the greatest and most profitable invention in the history of Safaricom” (Michael Joseph- CEO Safaricom). Michael explained that M-Pesa created employment in the country and earned revenue for the government. Above all, it was causing immense profits to the company. However, he mentioned some of the disadvantages of the service as well. He explained that the people in the region took a considerably long time to adapt to the new service. The service also experienced some delays, especially during servicing. However, these disadvantages were said to be minimal and less evident. Some of the details were provided by a lecturer Tonny from a local university. His book proved more helpful in the research than any of the other sources.

Analysis

First, the findings prove that the idea has not yet spread to many companies in the telecommunications industry. It is only being used in some few East African countries. This is a better reason for Vodafone to adopt the service. It can boost the profits of the company by a margin that is unimaginable. This service has proved profitable over a small region. Therefore, when conducted on a large scale, it can yield better results. The findings also prove that the service becomes popular to consumers as fast as they learn about it. Therefore, after the launch of the service and advertising, it would not be hard for the company to gain more and more customers. From the findings, it is clear that the service took a short time to achieve extraordinary success for companies that adopted it. Also, other companies preferred to join in the service and partner with the original founder of the service. Therefore, this is a service that con not only attracts consumers but also other companies that may be of immense benefit to the company.

The disadvantages mentioned are insignificant compared to the profits made, employment, and other positive factors. If the small companies are able to remain with only a few bearable disadvantages, a bigger company like Vodafone can deal with the disadvantages completely (Patrikis, 1993). Therefore, this is a service that has the potential to produce results for the company. The service requires significant commitment of attention and funds. For example, the findings reveal the importance of IT experts in the management of the database. However, this is an initiative that is worth a try for the company. Therefore, the company should be ready to meet all these costs in the adoption of the service.

Relations with other companies are extremely valuable. This service is able to build up strong relations among the groups that are involved. For example, Equity Bank has a close relationship with Safaricom as a result of their collaboration in the electronic money transfer. Therefore, the service would cause better relations between Vodafone and other organizations which may be interested. These relations are most beneficial in the running of any business. Considering all these factors, this is a service that is worth giving a try.

Conclusion

The essay above proves the suitability of the proposed service for Vodafone Company. This is a service which can be used to boost the economy of a nation, as well as the profit margin of the business. It also makes the lives of consumers easier by keeping their money safe and, yet, at their disposal and convenience. Therefore, it is a service that Vodafone should adopt with immediate effect, of course after the necessary considerations. This can prove to have a positive impact on the company for a long time to come.

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