Since June 2020, Dina Janevski Farcic has been Senior Vice President Marketing at Centili leading a team of content and performance marketing experts, as well as their product marketing function. In March 2020 she was listed in the Top 50 women in FinTech, which credited her role in supporting Centili growth.
Here she discusses the evolution to being an MPaaS, how carrier billing fits into the model and where the company goes next
What is your current role at Centili?
I have been Senior VP Marketing since June 2020. In the second half of 2020, we have established and consolidated digital marketing and communications functions at the company. Beginning of this year we have launched the new Centili brand identity and celebrated our 10th anniversary.
Digital payments providers like Centili can no longer stay just the transaction processors in the ecosystem, and that is a source of great inspiration and motivation for me. We are ready to dream big, to think differently, to shake things up.
Translated into the business reality, it means shaping products based on market insights and understanding of the customer needs. It also means having the courage and agility to move fast and change the whole business model.
Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for Telemedia services?
Asia is a powerful and fast ecosystem with plentiful opportunities for mobile and telemedia services. South East Asia, China and Japan are booming; apps and digital services are created, marketed, and used at a rapid pace. Centili has had presence in SE Asia for eight years now, in terms of local connections, partnerships and teams.
A part of that was built in the early years, while operating inside the structure of our sister company Infobip, the CPaaS unicorn. In recent years, Centili has strengthened its local team and operations in SE Asia further, following the market growth and the booming opportunities we observe.
Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from Telemedia billing and/or marketing technologies?
I think we could see interesting developments in gaming. With mobile gaming projected to soon be worth US$100bn, we expect the ecosystem to adjust in ways that facilitate value and revenue maximisation.
To orchestrate that on mobile devices you need telemedia services at various points. And you need them combined, in ways that remove friction and maintain good customer experience. Besides gaming, e-learning and e-publishing have grown significantly due to the recent pandemic and could further benefit a great deal from bundling and the adjacent pack of services.
Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?
If implemented in the right way, direct carrier billing can solve lots of friction in the digital ecosystem. I believe there is huge potential in making it top choice and even mainstream for certain types of purchases.
Let’s not forget that a huge percentage of the world is underbanked but has a mobile phone. As a payment solution, direct carrier billing has all the features that even the tech savvy customers need: it is simple, fast, and secure. Especially for smaller transactions, it’s much smoother than typing in your personal bank details.
Since the pandemic hit, we have seen mobile network operators questioning some of the traditional premisses of running this business. Some MNOs, banks and other enterprises have taken a different stance and looked at the broader revenue maximisation pool, which could trigger shifts on the ecosystem level.
Centili has focused a lot on Monetisation Platform as a Service (MPaaS) concept in 2020, and has been mentioned as a pioneer in this field. How do you see it evolving in 2021?
Monetisation Platform as a Service (MPaaS) is another concept we believe will shift things further in 2021. It brings together a variety of telemedia services – messaging, engagement, content, aggregation, distribution, and billing. It is offered to mobile operators, brands, and digital companies, enabling them to create, launch, manage and charge on-demand digital services. They can do that quickly, while relying on our 10-year experience in removing the technical, commercial, and legal friction. We believe this model will keep gaining foothold for us in 2021, through both product-level refinements and deployments that will go live in the upcoming months.
MPaaS has important features to recommend it to MNOs in the post-Covid era. One of them is that it is global. It allows MNOs to tap into a wide range of digital services created outside their domestic markets, while skipping complex negotiations and legal work. The second important one is that it can function as a managed service – cloud based, without complex integration to legacy systems or high costs of building your own. It goes hand in hand with the sharing economy and the developments we observe in various industries.
Beginning of this year Centili marked its 10 years in the business. What is next for Centili this year, and in 2022?
Centili has entered the scale-up phase. Under the new visual identity launched in January, in celebration of our 10 years in the industry, we revamped our narrative to emphasise our new position, strengths and innovations ahead. We devoted a lot of energy towards articulating our vision and the core company values that led us to where we are today.
Under our Shifting Gears strategy, formulated last year, we have pivoted from the transactional business to the platform business model. We already see the positive impact, and we expect to feel much broader benefits in the next two years, especially with the growth of some new propositions such as Conversational commerce and the width of opportunities the expanded platform can now offer.
In the next 12 months what key technical developments or innovations do you feel will have the most positive impact on mCommerce (VAS / mobile payments / marketing)?
We see the emerging areas of conversational commerce and platform business as the next big thing. The need for digital transformation which was already maturing across industries before the Covid19 hit has now just accelerated, and many companies are looking for holistic platform solutions to help them orchestrate and manage the processes and playground better.
At the same time, the pandemic has also seen a massive uplift in e-commerce in all markets as businesses look to better connect with customers, engage them, and retain them. Therefore, new omnichannel solutions that help blend interactions with payments in one smooth flow will probably show the greatest impact.