Harsha Solanki, Managing Director of Infobip (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal) in an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Post, elaborately discussed on how the digital driven market is changing the landscape in business communications in Bangladesh.
The excerpts of the interview is as bellow:
Bangladesh Post: Please tell us about your role in Infobip and how it started?
Harsha Solanki: I began my career in 2005 as a manager of marketing and sales at Starcorp. Since then, I have been associated with several brands before taking charge as Managing Director at Infobip India in 2017. My journey started with being a part of several key projects under the brand bSmart, an Infobip-owned company by then. In my current capacity at the organization, I supervise India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
With an innovation-centric perspective and excellent CPaaS infrastructure, Infobip can grow leaps and bounds. The global pandemic has altered consumer behavior, be it their living arrangements or purchase decisions. I am presently working on strengthening the company’s position by adjusting to the changing demands. Contributing enormously to Infobip’s growth, I envision making it one of the largest IT companies in Europe.
Bangladesh Post: Can you tell us about your journey through this market?
Harsha Solanki: With Infobip’s expansion in the region, we were successful in broadening our presence in India and Bangladesh with a scaled workforce of over 200 employees, while the Nepal and Sri Lanka’s Telecom Operator and Enterprise ecosystem is well-catered through our direct associates. Thereafter, Infobip kept adding some of the largest enterprise logos to the customer list and then, there was no looking back. In the last five years, the region has always been on the growth trajectory with the turnover being quadrupled and more than 300 successful enterprises on board. We have established our presence in almost every industry vertically through our world class solutions, unmatched professional services and relationship with partners and network operators.
Bangladesh Post: Given that this industry is still in its infancy in Bangladesh, can you help us understand how and in what areas the industry operates?
Harsha Solanki: While Infobip has been present in Bangladesh since 2015, we opened an office in the country in February 2017 to expand our local footprint further. Bangladesh is one of the fastest-growing telecom markets in the world. Between January 2020 and January 2021, the number of mobile connections in the country grew by 1.7 million, while internet users increased by 19%. Therefore, as a cloud communications platform provider, we aim to help businesses improve their communication strategies to serve their customers seamlessly.
Businesses unsupported by cloud technology have been facing difficulties in dealing with the changing customer demands and inquiries. Therefore, they now seek support across various communications platforms, including Facebook Messenger, email, SMS, WhatsApp for Business, call centers, etc. Moreover, studies show that most users prefer social media when communicating with businesses. The number of social media users in Bangladesh increased by 3 million between April 2019 and January 2020.
Bangladesh Post: How has the journey been so far? How has it been different from others in the industry?
Harsha Solanki: In these years, we’ve already partnered with major telecom operators and technology companies in Bangladesh. With a vision to strengthen our presence further in the country, we aim to build an industry-specific sales team to build a next-level business communication and customer engagement ecosystem.
At Infobip, we are equipped experientially and technologically to help brands analyze the evolving preferences of their target audience. It helps them to create personalized communication strategies, thus enabling them to build genuine human interactions. Moreover, our cloud-based products are scalable and easy to deploy. Therefore, neither the brands have to invest heavily in hardware nor need tech skills experts to use our services. Our native language-based local consultancy with 24/7 technical support is another factor that gives us a competitive edge over others in the industry.
Bangladesh Post: What gaps, if any, does the local industry have compared to the global arena?
Harsha Solanki: While any such gaps between local and global industry are universal in nature and being one of the first players of our kind in the Bangladesh market, it will take some time for the country’s enterprises to become familiar with our solutions. In fact, I see the challenges more as opportunities; as per the recent guidelines, the country has opened the gates for players like us to partner with telecom operators and regulators, more collaboratively. This will eventually strengthen our partnerships in the country. While Bangladesh exemplifies an economy on the growth track, enterprises have started preferring to associate with players like Infobip, that can offer omnichannel services. We, being a multinational organization with vast experience in building solutions for MNOs, understand our customer sentiment and requirements better, leaving no room in the game for other retail service providers.
Bangladesh Post: How has the pandemic affected the growth of the sector? How do you support early-stage ventures who probably do not have big budgets?
Harsha Solanki: Nothing has put more pressure on the global telecommunication sector like the pandemic. Overnight, the world transitioned to remote ways of working, learning, and socializing. Cloud networking, data security, and faster 5G and WiFi networks are irreversible factors for the telecommunications infrastructure.
While Infobip has been serving Enterprises globally and has built a credibility in that space, for early stage ventures we have a global initiative known as StartUp Tribe, with unparalleled growth tools and resources that can take these companies to the next level. Under this program, Infobip supports select startups and provide them with tools at its disposal to make sure they succeed in their vision and mission.
Bangladesh Post: How is technology evolving the Phygital sector? To what extent is Infobip integrating technology into its own business model?
The global pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology-enabled interventions. It has moved from being good to have to be a necessity. Over the last two years, the brands have been looking for newer ways to stitch offline and online channels to give their customers a hassle-free and seamless experience. Customer behavior is also increasingly driven by technologies like IoT and cloud, among others. To put it simply, the era of omnichannel and phygital has truly arrived. At Infobip, we are working towards the omnichannel presence of companies to stay well-connected with their customers. With 24*7 call-centers and platforms like Viber, Facebook, and WhatsApp, we are committed to revolutionizing Bangladesh’s global business communications landscape by enabling businesses to deliver the right content over the right communication channel at the right time.