Case Study

Digital business transformation in Silicon Savannah: How M-Pesa changed Safaricom (Kenya)

27 pages
December 2016
Reference: IMD-7-1840

This case study investigates the phenomenal development of M-PESA in Kenya, the world’s most successful mobile phone-based financial service, and the way it transformed its parent company, Safaricom from being an incumbent telecommunications operator to also becoming a digital platform working across different industries and sectors through an extensive business ecosystem.

Safaricom, Kenya’s incumbent telecom operator, developed M-PESA in partnership with Vodafone. The service was launched in March 2007 and has since been used by more than 23 million people in Kenya! It started off as a mere person-to-person remittance service and now provides a wide array of financial services for retail customers, businesses and government.

Nearly a decade after its launch, M-PESA has drastically transformed the daily life of its users as well as Kenya’s economic landscape, where it impacted the banking and telecom landscape, boosted the development of e-commerce and facilitated operations for thousands of small businesses, online and offline. Internationally, M-PESA has become a role model for mobile financial services and payment platforms as well as inclusive business practices.

Learning Objective

The case provides insights about the digital business transformation (DBT) of an incumbent telecom operator through the offering of mobile financial services. It helps to:

  • Comprehend the why, what, and how of DBT; Assess the different dimensions of DBT
  • Appreciate the crucial role in DBT of leadership, lean management, talent development and organizational alignment
  • Understand the business opportunities enabled by leveraging breakthrough innovation, digital platforms, and big data
Digital Transformation, Big Data, Mobile Money, Digital Platform, Innovation, Ecosystem, Telecommunication
Africa, Kenya
Field Research
© 2016
Available Languages
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Teaching note
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