Harsha Solanki, Managing Director India, Infobip

Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey at scale, with easy and contextualized interactions over customers’ preferred channels.  With over a decade of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to include 65+ offices on six continents offering natively built technology with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile Presenting a standardized product offering to the market devices and ‘things’ in 190+ countries connected to over 800 telecom networks. The company serves and partners with leading mobile operators, messaging apps, banks, social networks, tech companies, and aggregators. In a conversation with CXO Outlook, Harsha Solanki, Managing Director India, Infobip, talks about the challenges Infobip helps brands address, the company’s vision for the future, Infobip’s customers and much more.


What does Infobip do?

Infobip is a global cloud communications platform committed to resolving both existing and emerging need-gaps in the global business communications landscape. Through its portfolio of cutting-edge SaaS solutions added to its robust CPaaS platform, the company is empowering its clients to deliver an omnichannel, connected experience to their customers. The Infobip platform allows businesses to facilitate easy and contextualized interactions over their customers’ preferred channels, thereby bolstering the customer experience at every stage of the engagement journey at scale. By simplifying the complexity of business communications, the brand is enabling its clients to grow their business and drive loyalty rapidly, securely, and reliably.

What are the challenges Infobip helps brands address?

It is challenging for businesses to reach out to their customers and hold contextualized conversations with them. Typically, there is a tendency among businesses to reduce customers to mere numbers, which hyper-aware customers of the post-internet age do not appreciate. The challenge is compounded by the fact that the digital revolution, marked by an exponential increase in smartphone and internet penetration, has diversified the playing field like never before. Today’s customers are exerting their digital presence across a range of social media platforms, preferring some portals more than others in tune with their unique sensibilities. In order to reach out to digitally active customers, brands need to come up with personalized, omnichannel engagement strategies to target each customer over their preferred online channels. Doing so can make each customer feel valued, thereby maximizing the click-through rate as well as the chance of conversion. This is precisely what Infobip is empowering its clients to accomplish.

Infobip is strengthening the communication and engagement strategies deployed by its clients in a way that cuts across the boundaries between customer service, marketing, decision-making, and other departments. Aligned with this mission, our full-stack of offerings powered by automated and analytics helps our clients to get a deeper understanding of the needs of their customers while enabling them to fine-tune their strategy implementation to optimize service delivery. Through our latest solution Answers, for instance, we are providing a conversational user interface to brands, enabling them to deploy chatbots to provide the necessary and timely support to their customers on the platform of their choice.

Tell us more about the simplicity of the product and how this differentiates you?

Infobip has enriched its already strong CPaaS platform with relevant SaaS solutions to empower its clients to deliver an omnichannel, connected experience to their customers. These products include Moments, Answers, and Conversations. These solutions are differentiated by their seamless accessibility and ease-of-usage, with brands provided with the benefit of leveraging these services through a single platform.

Answers is a self-service chatbot solution. It is designed to help modern brands to deploy automated chatbots over a single conversational user interface that provides 24/7 support to customers on the platform of their choice. By using Moments, on the other hand, brands can develop a deeper understanding of their customers’ continuously evolving needs and sensibilities while enabling them to meet these requirements optimally. To achieve this, Moments allows brands to categorize their customer base into relevant segments based on a host of parameters. Each segment can then be targeted with highly personalized campaigns to maximize engagement as well as conversion. The goal is to deliver optimized experiences at each step of the customer journey.

Finally, the launch of Conversations marked the occasion when the brand extended its services from an A2P communication model to a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) model. Through this solution, businesses can tap into person-to-person (P2P) communication through a full-stack customer experience center. It empowers brands to drive omnichannel messaging from a single interface, the engagement enriched by insights mined by the platform from past interactions and context. This enables businesses to seamlessly deliver a unified, connected experience to their customers via conversational messaging.

Where is it headquartered and how many offices does it have?

Infobip is headquartered in Vodnjan, Croatia. Its global commercial hub is based out of London, UK. Building on its strong local presence, the company is offering its services from more than 65 offices on six continents, reaching out to over seven billion mobile devices and ‘things’ spread across 190 countries and connected to over 800 telecom networks.

How many employees does it have in India?

Infobip extended its operations to the India region in 2013. Since its arrival, the company’s employee base in India has only strengthened. Currently, 180+ professionals are associated with Infobip India, helping Indian brands to optimize their engagement strategies to better reach out to their target demographics.

What is the company’s goal or vision for the future?

Infobip envisions establishing its leadership in the global CCaas and CPaaS markets. It aims to empower businesses the world over to augment the customer experience across all stages of the customer journey by reaching out to their target audiences with seamless, contextualized conversations over the customer’s preferred channels. Building on its remarkable growth trajectory, the company is looking to double-down on innovation and development to become a pioneer for B2B and B2C players.

In which sectors do you see growth or potential growth?  

The global CPaaS market is projected to grow with a CAGR of 34.3% between 2020 and 2025. With the pandemic having accelerated digital transformation across sectors, the scope of adoption of CPaaS and SaaS solutions by organizations has also expanded significantly. In fact, a recent survey by McKinsey asserts that digital transformation in global organizations has crossed the tipping point, i.e., it is no longer possible or practical to reverse this development. Against this backdrop, we are anticipating the rise of omnichannel as the preferred mode of engagement in the global communications landscape. With a suite of innovative communication solutions under our belt, we are prepared to tap into this development in the market.

How big is the market that Infobip is addressing in India and neighbouring countries? 

India holds the distinction of being the world’s second-largest telecommunications market, besides being home to the second-largest population of internet users across the globe. According to IBEF, the telecom sector generated gross revenue of INR  66,858 crore (US$ 9.09 billion) in Q1 FY21. Astride of growing mobile-phone penetration and plummeting data costs, the country’s telecom sector will add 500 million new internet users. Discerning communication brands such as Infobip are poised to capitalize on this high-potential market opportunity.

When it comes to Sri Lanka, the number of internet users in the country grew by 399 thousand (+4.1%) between 2019 and 2020. It boasted of an internet penetration level of 47% and 10.10 million internet users, 6.40 million social media users, and 31.80 million mobile connections as recently as January 2020. The social media penetration in Sri Lanka during this time frame stood at 30%, with the number of mobile connections corresponding to 149% of the total population.

The case of Nepal also presents a burgeoning growth opportunity to new-age communication solution providers. As recently as 2020, Nepal had an internet penetration of 35%, with 10.21 million internet users, 10.00 million social media users, and 42.85 million mobile connections. The total number of internet users was equivalent to 148% of the total population. While the social media penetration in Nepal stood at 35% in January 2020, the percentage is growing.

Finally, Bangladesh saw the number of internet users in it grow by 5.8 million (+9.5%) between 2019 and 2020. The internet penetration reached 41% during this period. In January 2020, the country hosted 66.44 million internet users 36 million social media users, and 163 million mobile connections. During this time, the number of mobile connections in the country equalled 99% of the total population.

As is clear, the Indian region is home to rising digital economies, providing digital services brands with unparalleled market opportunity.

Who are Infobip’s customers and in what industry sectors?

Infobip’s client portfolio currently includes more than 250,000 enterprise customers from across a range of sectors such as retail, banking, and on-demand service companies, among others. That said, Infobip’s solutions are sector-agnostic, and any organization in need to up the ante of its communication strategies over digital and telecom channels is a potential client. Moreover, Infobip is working with more than 650 direct MNO partners to handle A2P messaging. These include names such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica, and Tele 2, among others.

Name some customers that are recognised globally how Infobip has positively impacted their business objectives

Uber: Infobip is helping Uber to enhance and extend its safety initiatives, including improving the privacy of all riders and drivers. To achieve this, Infobip leveraged number masking technology, enabling Uber riders in the United Arab Emirates to communicate and coordinate with the drivers using a virtual phone number without revealing their personal phone numbers.

Zendesk: Infobip added SMS messaging functionality for Zendesk’s customers, helping the company drive greater flexibility and responsiveness in terms of communication. For instance, following this addition, Zendesk was empowered to receive and respond to support alerts while on the move.

Costco: Infobip helped Costco, one of the world’s largest chain membership warehouse brands, with API-linked chat solutions to optimize Costco’s customer engagement. Infobip’s intervention enabled Costco to tap into the extensive network of WhatsApp reaching 1.6 billion people in over 180 countries to communicate with its member customers in Mexico and the UK. In South Korea, on the other hand, Infobip enabled Costco to reach out to its customers over Kakao Talk.

Emirates UBD: Infobip facilitated seamless customer dialogue by leveraging the WhatsApp Business API solution for Emirates UBD. The integration enhanced several use-cases such as call centre support, account balance notifications, and payment reminders to name a few.

Strava: Infobip empowered Strava to increase the adoption of its product, Strava’s Beacon, by introducing a safety feature that enabled the wearable devices to send and receive messages. By making Strava users including runners and cyclists feel safer irrespective of their location, the new safety feature enabled by Infobip also helped the brand drive customer loyalty.

Muthoot FinCorp: Infobip’s omnichannel capabilities enabled Muthoot FinCorp to deploy and monitor automated, multilingual, and personalized campaigns across SMS, email, WhatsApp, and voice-based solution. This allowed the financial conglomerate to accelerate its digital transformation by ensuring its omnipresence across digital channels, making digital adoption easier for its customers on the channel of their choice, and delivering efficient and real-time customer support.

Milaap: Using Infobip’s WhatsApp Business solution, Milaap was able to enhance the success of its fundraising projects. After joining hands with Infopib, the crowdfunding platform drove better user engagement, improved click-through rates, and amplified the influx of donations.

BankBazaar: Infobip helped BankBazaar enrich its SMS-based engagement strategy by leveraging the RCS (Rich Communication Services) solution. Following the implementation of RCS, BankBazaar drove a 130% higher CTR as compared to previous SMS campaigns.

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