Problem Solving Agents

Problem Solving Agents-36
These Super Agents provide re-balancing points where agents can exchange excess e-float for cash and vice-versa.Many deployments also use a ‘Master Agent’ system to recruit, manage and monitor agents.

These Super Agents provide re-balancing points where agents can exchange excess e-float for cash and vice-versa.

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This, in turn, reduces both uptake and usage of the service – thereby decreasing the return on investment for agents and providers alike.

In many cases, the response of agents and providers is to further reduce their investment in the service, thus creating a negative downward spiral.

Alerts can then be sent to agents whose float levels have dipped below a recommended level to encourage rebalancing.

Novopay in India has a Network Operations Centre (NOC) ‘war room’ with an enormous screen that lets its staff see agent behaviour and transactions at different levels, from country-wide, through individual states, all the way down to individual agents.

Agents also worry that they must close their businesses when they have to devote time to rebalance.

Furthermore, many agents cite their lack of resources to buy sufficient float to keep their agencies liquid.Small wonder that for each among GSMA MMU’s 35 “sprinters” (with more than a million active customers), there are eight deployments that limp along, operating in the sub-scale trap.Leading players in the DFS industry, including providers, regulators, aggregators, and technology providers, came together in a recent workshop organised by Micro Save’s Institute.The operations group unanimously identified liquidity management as the primary challenge to agent networks.They began by defining the problems to then devise solutions.Based on insightful inputs from Maurice Oyare (Pesa Point), Joseck Mudiri (IFC), Edwin Otieno (Software Group), George Muga (Airtel-Africa), Edwin Odira (Telkom), Paul Langlois-Meurinne (Optimetrics), Nic Wasunna (GSMA) and Wilfred Ndirangu (Eclectics).The Helix Institute’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) surveys show that agents across the globe cite four key challenges to effective liquidity management.Remote-monitoring of tariff display and branding are done by asking agents to submit date-stamped photos of their outlets.Training, alerts and tips are delivered through the agents’ mobile devices.The lack of fully interoperable platforms implies that non-exclusive agents who service multiple providers have to maintain separate e-float pools for each. Some ways in which the providers may address the issues related to improving agents to liquidity are outlined in the following section. Innovative Agent Platforms Providers need to reconsider existing approaches to agent monitoring and management.These e-float silos compel agents to spread their working capital for agency across multiple providers, which often reduces the amounts held for each. Centralised monitoring systems can help identify agents who consistently fail to hold adequate liquidity.

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