Over the last decade, the pace of change in South Asia has been phenomenal. From reaping the demographic dividend, to leveraging a rapidly growing network of mobile and internet connections, to helping individuals see technology as an enabler – the region has certainly levelled-up.

One of the milestones demonstrating South Asia’s changing landscape is the rise of super-apps. Typically, these mobile applications offer a number of services and solutions, tying several vendors and partners together, into a tight-knit ecosystem.

Our client – a prominent retail bank in one of the nations in the region – has built a successful super-app. As they scaled up to offer new services and solutions, they turned to Cisco to ensure a seamless experience for users.

To visualize this super-app, think of a mobile application that allows customers to view the balances and transactions of their savings and checking accounts, generate statements, request for checkbooks, manage their credit and debit cards, and so on. Now, add in the ability to pay utility bills, buy credit refills for their prepaid mobile connections, purchase movie tickets, and even make inquiries about investment opportunities through partners.

For a retail bank, building and managing such a super-app can be quite resource intensive. But it also brings in a great deal of ancillary income. Most importantly, it makes the application an ‘everyday essential’, boosting stickiness, retention, monthly active users, and lifetime value – all of which are critical to success in this competitive digital age.

Working with Cisco brought visibility and observability

Prior to working with Cisco, the challenge the bank faced was that the team had no visibility into how the application performed.

When a transaction failed, or when customer couldn’t log into their account, or a myriad of other issues cropped up, the bank found out about it when someone phoned their contact center. And even then, tracing the problem to identify the root-cause and remediating it was a challenge – without the right tools.

In some cases, the obstacle to completing a transaction on the super-app was the customer’s own network (poor connectivity). At other times, it was a system error, or a network error, faced by the bank.

Understanding this was the first step to delivering a great experience that kept customers logging back into the super-app.

Thanks to a host of Cisco solutions that work seamlessly together, such as SDN, UCS, AppDynamics, DNA Center, and Intersight, the bank was able to upgrade the experience it provided to the users of its super-app.

The team went from being reactive to proactive. No longer did they need to wait for someone to call their contact center and report an issue. They had access to sophisticated technology with simple dashboards, that showed them, at-a-glance, the status of their super-app and a summary of all the transactions being performed and all the users accessing it.

The Cisco solutions work together to flag any issues before they become a pain-point or impact users at scale. In many cases, thanks to our advanced observability capabilities, they even help identify points-of-failure before they affect any users, ensuring a stellar experience for all, at all times, across all devices and networks.

They Cisco Intersight layer made things simple for their IT team as well, allowing them to focus on resolving issues, instead of wasting time trying to track the root-cause. It allowed them to drill-down into issues to see with clarity. For example, if there was a lag in the application because the server was running on limited resources, had logistics limitations such as slow RAM, higher utilization of memory, and so on, or there was a security patch that not deployed, their dashboard can now identify and reveal with just a few clicks.

Ultimately, this makes it possible to gain more visibility into the product lifecycle of the super-app and its various components. Customers benefit from a delightful experience on the nation’s popular super app, and the bank wins on many fronts – re-establishing its relevance in the digital era.

Behind the scenes: Super-app powered by business managers

Given the sparse technical resources at the bank who have other channels to handle, the use of Cisco’s integrated solutions has made it possible for product managers – who are non-technical business managers at the bank – helm the super-app.

The team has read-only access to the dashboard which makes it possible for them to safely navigate various data streams and drill-down to find answers to any questions they may encounter. Not only does this give them the power they need to deal with customers’ queries about glitches and issues (when customers are re-directed to them by the contact center) but also allows them to get the data they need to create new features and solutions for the super-app.

When the team, for example, notices the number of retail customer’s transacting with a specific partner – say a florist – it is easy to see the affinity towards that vendor and spark ideas about onboarding them onto the super app to provide exclusive-offers that benefit all parties involved.

With business-minded executives managing the day-to-day of the super-app, it’s bound to spark new ideas. Since dashboards are interactive, easy to use, and don’t have a steep learning curve, adoption has been fast, allowing technical resources to focus on troubleshooting where necessary – or on more important tasks such as upgrading other workflows and rearchitecting legacy infrastructure.

Ultimately – in any industry – only one thing matters when building a super-app, and that is uptime. With a slew of well-integrated solutions in place, the bank can be sure to minimize downtime as far as technically feasible, delivering the best experience to customers, winning their hearts, each time they want to spend any money online.