Mahindra digs its own groove in super-app strategy


The group led by billionaire Anand Mahindra will integrate agriculture, finance, automotive and even used cars and tractors under the app.

Mohit Kapoor, chief technology officer of the Mahindra Group, said Mahindra’s products “should not be forcibly inserted into a container and offered to a customer.”

“As we focus on rural and semi-urban areas because of tractors and finance, it makes a lot of sense that we deepen these communities. You might want to call it a super app – I’m just calling it a farming app to stay away from the Super App connotation, ”he said in a recent interaction.

The super apps phenomenon started in East Asia with WeChat, the popular mobile instant messaging app from Chinese company Tencent, which has grown into an “app platform”. Closer to home, large conglomerates such as Reliance Industries, Tatas and the Adani Group are working hard to create great apps as part of a bigger story of digital transformation.

Reliance Retail, owned by Mukesh Ambani, launched a redesign of its My Jio app in August 2021 to convert it into a super app by integrating various consumer offerings, following its acquisition of local search engine Just Dial. The My Jio application brings together more than 20 consumer applications.

Tata Sons plans to invest at least $ 2 billion in its super app, TataNeu, and later raise an additional $ 5 billion from outside investors by selling minority stakes in the digital company. The launch of this application is scheduled for the first half of this year.

Ahmedabad-based Adani Group has created a new division, Adani Digital Labs, to create their awesome app. In keeping with this strategy, the group announced on October 29 the acquisition of a minority stake in the online travel aggregator Cleartrip from Flipkart Marketplace.

The Mahindra group, however, operates differently.

Kapoor said “a great app wouldn’t work for” the group. One of the reasons, according to Kapoor, is “we don’t have a big B2C (business-to-consumer) game”.

“I won’t call it a great app because it’s cliché. Targeted apps sure have room. For me, the farm and finance, which concerns my tractor, my field, my family, my insurance, my home, television, education, medical care … it makes sense. We have to see the farmer as the customer. This is where we are going. “

The idea of ​​Farmer App, still evolving, is to create an app for “the rural-farmer ecosystem”, according to Kapoor. fertilizer and seeds … (and) things we don’t make. We don’t make cold rooms, but my farmer, who has a Mahindra tractor, has a potato farm. Can I offer him a cold room (installation)? Thus, a digital offer focused on the rural world is surely in preparation, ”he added.

Kapoor said the Mahindra Group is working on a five-step strategy to accelerate its digital transformation.

For starters, over the past 12 to 15 months, the group has focused on improving the Customer Experience (CX) in each of its verticals. “Customer journeys are very important for individual businesses,” said Kapoor.

“A CX for vacation is different, a CX for a used car is different, for a car, a tractor, finance, all are different. Equally important is the employee journey. This employee is now also sitting (working) at home. Thus, we focus on collaboration and communication tools like all other companies. The fact that we have 20-25 million customers across the group is sufficient if we keep the CX / UI (user interface) / UX (user experience) high. Therefore, collaboration is the first principle that Dr Shah (Managing Director and Managing Director of Mahindra Group, Anish Shah) put on the table, ”said Kapoor.

For example, Mahindra Group is already working with startups such as “Karza, Perfios and Signzy on the finance side… to use their technology. Rather than coding all of these parts, we just integrate it all. This is our approach, ”Kapoor said. In agriculture, “we are collaborating with a company called Carnot Technologies which is building an“ agriculture as a service ”offer”.

He added that the second goal is data and artificial intelligence (AI). “Data and AI are used to launch new products; set a price for them; decide where to throw; how to predict bad debts in Mahindra Finance; to whom to lend and to whom to refuse.

Mahindra works with three startups in the 5G space, according to Kapoor. For example, he uses the services of a startup called Yello Skye which uses drones to manage inventory. “In Chakan, we have a 40-50 acre factory where thousands of vehicles are parked in the open area. We don’t know the location of every car. So when you have to send 100 Thars (a Mahindra SUV) – all red in color – to Guwahati, how are we going to know where they are? If you do two drone flights a day, we divide the factory into grids and then can automatically use the AI ​​to find out exactly where the Red Thars are. Take your trailer over there, load them up, and set off for Guwahati. “

The third area is to “modernize the IT stack (information technology) … which involves the cloud and APIfication”, he added. “The idea is to publish hundreds of APIs (application programming interfaces) per company externally, and also internally some plumbing for the company’s APIfication,” Kapoor said.

The Mahindra Group plans to launch an “API-based service called India Blue Book.” If you want to check my car’s actual value benchmarks, that will become the bible for anyone to assess, ”Kapoor said.

The fourth area is “cybersecurity and data privacy”, while the fifth is “talent and culture”. he added.

The Mahindra Group also uses advanced technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). “We are currently using AR and VR to train all of our engineers on the XUV 700, which we have just started delivering,” Kapoor said.

As for blockchain, the technology that powers cryptocurrencies, Kapoor said the Mahindra Group is “ahead of our time.” point of view – input trade finance for SMEs. Again, in the agricultural space, if you want to buy seeds, we should be the funder behind the blockchain. So it’s still going to be a farm-to-fork blockchain but with SMEs finance as our motivation, ”Kapoor said.

“The second area of ​​blockchain is in the automotive space – that of a whole new car coming out of a factory to scrapping, which we actually do as well,” Kapoor pointed out. CERO, a joint venture between Mahindra Accelo and MSTC (a state-owned company under the Ministry of Steel) helps users scrap old vehicles, recovering many metals, including steel which constitutes 65 to 70% of a vehicle.

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