What Customers Want

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What Customers Want

Zeid Shubailat, Sales Director, Infobip MENA, Turkey & Pakistan, talks digital information gen Z, super apps, and the future of cloud communication technology in the Middle East.

Could you explain the role of cloud communication technology in the digital transformation journey?

The whole cloud part is about enablement and getting to markets in a faster way. What used to happen is that if you wanted to actually introduce a type of digital service, you would have to actually go out and purchase hardware, establish the data center, and all other telecom components.

That still happens, but cloud spans different concepts as it can be public, private, hybrid, local, or global. So, the focus of people who provide services now has been ‘how do I adapt to the needs of these customers?’ Developing solutions that are adaptable and can be deployed in different cloud environments becomes crucial.

There are also regulations that we have to work with. In certain cases such as governments, they have data sovereignty requirements, in which data needs to reside inside of the country. The way that we have architected our products, if clients require local sovereignty over their data, then we are able to use and partner with the local providers. We deploy all of our solutions inside locally hosted cloud providers, or if needed, at a global level.

Infobip provides cloud services for our customers and where their customers are, and it has to be aligned with all regulatory and security requirements. Whether it’s security, privacy, or deployment requirements, you will find that all of these things are available worldwide (public cloud) or through our partner country providers to comply with digital sovereignty.

What are your predictions for cloud communication technology post pandemic?

What’s interesting is during the pandemic, there has been a shift in how people started to interact with companies. Reaching customers had to change as more people stayed at home, needing their requests to be met and their inquiries to be answered in a fast, efficient, and authentic way. As a result, companies had to figure out how to communicate with their customers in a new way.

A lot of the digital transformation for companies happens in the background, such as in data centers built with non-client facing infrastructure. But in cases like the unbanked population, companies had to find ways to offer new payment methods as well as establish new accounts virtually. In this way, the shift went from the digital transformation that focused on company data centers to the digital transformation that focused on customer interactions.

Looking into the future, the concept of super apps, a single application where users go to fulfill all of their needs, is expected to boom. This is the place where all communication can happen. A super app does not focus on how to download an app; but rather about we how we communicate via the app. That communication part is the most exciting part because we at Infobip manage to bring all of those communication channels under one roof.

What opportunities exist for cloud communication implementation technology in the region specifically?

People want more, and we see this as an opportunity. Going back to the whole notion that super apps are not necessarily applications but a medium of communication between customers and corporations, our strategy moving forward is to provide all of the toolsets that enable this type of communication under one roof.

It will be up to the company to decide what type of tools they’re going to use but they’re going to be influenced majorly by where their customer is. Thus, we don’t force customers into channels of communication and do super apps; they tell us what they want.

Can you explain how partnering with telecos works? What are the benefits of this partnership?

We will be focusing on partnering with telecommunication providers and offering services like white labeling. Telecoms don’t really have to invest as much in research and development but rather make partners that will enable them to provide additional services to their networks.

This is exactly the way the telecom industry works. It’s not about how you spend more and more money and create your own intellectual property. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we provide the best breed of services for our clients.

As far as our strategy goes, it is a continuous development of value-added services and providing omnichannel capabilities while working with our partners (telcos), helping them grow their customer base, and expanding their service base for their existing customers.