dtacblog

How to crowdsource your way out of a problem

Some organizations feel the pressure to digitalize because it’s the current buzzword in business. But too many digital projects lose sight of their customers. The starting point for any kind of digitalization is to solve a customer pain point. Sometimes, that customer can be a real, paying customer. Sometimes, it’s just someone within your organization.

I head a project, Flip For Site, whose customer is internal but whose reach grew to include all of Thailand. It was designed to address one of dtac’s greatest challenge, finding new locations to build base towers. We had teams ready to build more cell sites, but we just didn’t have the locations. Given that network quality is so critical to the customer’s experience, this was an issue I really wanted to solve. And with Flip For Site, we did. Since last March, we’ve collected over 11,000 locations from landowners interested in letting dtac build a tower on their property.

Total Battle3

To get to that point, we looked at recurring models in the digital arena. Netflix is often used to describe an online business where one can rent something instead of owning it. Renttherunway.com, for example, is a “Netflix for designer dresses.” Another model is crowdsourcing, such as Wikipedia or Kickstarter, where small individual contributions are compiled into an impactful final result. Even Uber started as the crowdsourcing of ride sharing.

The crowdsourcing model is what inspired Flip For Site. Previously, our engineers would select where to build the next base tower and hand over a latitude and longitude to the site acquisition team. In turn, they would drive out to that area and start knocking on doors, looking for landowners who are often not at home, or not willing to discuss the installation of a tower in their backyard with a perfect stranger. One day, I told my boss, “What if our 23 million customers could be our site acquisition team, instead of just 25 people?”

Hence came the idea for Flip For Site, which offers 10,000 baht to anyone supplying the contact details of a landowner we successfully manage to sign a rental agreement with. Following the agile method, we quickly rolled out our idea in a basic shape good enough to test it out. By using Google maps and an online form, we were able to enroll our colleagues from within the technology group. Within a couple weeks, over 450 sites were submitted! We then scaled the project to include all of dtac before finally opening it to all our customers. And finally we successfully launched it nationwide, so that anyone can now become a dtac partner and rent their property to us.

Flip4

Projects like Flip For Site would have been very difficult a few years ago, when dtac was still structured quite traditionally. Today, we have embraced a new “Flip It” culture, meaning everyone is committed to working quickly and collaboratively. I got a lot of support from our legal and regulatory teams, for example. It’s a huge cultural shift for the organization, as new agile methods of working are much more fast-paced and imply a very horizontal organization. But working like this means we can get new products to our clients faster and more often. With the internet of things and 5G on the horizon, dtac’s “Flip It” culture will be key to become our customers’ favorite digital partner.

property1

Projects like Flip For Site would have been very difficult a few years ago, when dtac was still structured quite traditionally. Today, we have embraced a new “Flip It” culture, meaning everyone is committed to working quickly and collaboratively. I got a lot of support from our legal and regulatory teams, for example. It’s a huge cultural shift for the organization, as new agile methods of working are much more fast-paced and imply a very horizontal organization. But working like this means we can get new products to our clients faster and more often. With the internet of things and 5G on the horizon, dtac’s “Flip It” culture will be key to become our customers’ favorite digital partner.

231A2531Wannee Peeramanchai is AVP, Head of Service Performance & Quality Assurance Unit, DTAC. To submit a location through Flip For Site, visit http://www.dtac.co.th/mybestnetwork

 

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