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From legacy to PaygOps system: stories about data migrations

In recent years, the Paygo industry has seen the expansion of new business models which are helping more low-income customers access a wider range of essential services such as solar, health, agriculture, clean cooking or water access. With Paygo systems and software platforms that used to come with locked-in ecosystems, last-mile distributors often had to juggle with multiple Paygo platforms to record important data, and manufacturers struggle to integrate different devices with each software provider. Overall, this lack of interoperability was increasing both operational costs and complexity across the industry while limiting the reach of Paygo-ready products on offer to low-income consumers. Open source technologies, such as the OpenPAYGO Token, are now paving the way for interoperable ecosystems that are more accessible and adapted to end-users’ needs.

Understanding the needs of increased interoperability and transparency to better serve last-mile customers, PaygOps has been supporting distributors migrating their operations from different legacy IT infrastructures into PaygOps. Through this, distributors can work with a flexible CRM platform that can provide them with a reliable and cost-efficient data management framework, while offering end-users a wider range of products and services.

How to import your operational data into PaygOps?

In order to make the migration process as smooth as possible for distributors, while ensuring that the customers’ data is securely taken over into PaygOps, an in-depth ad hoc analysis is preliminary required on a case-by-case basis to assess the complexity and requirements for the migration. The following checkpoints have been identified as required for the migration process:

  1. Exporting the data from the current CRM Platform/solution (this can be done by the distributor through a CSV file)

  2. Mapping of the data to match the fields (such as hubs, clusters, villages, users and offers) from the CRM Platform/solution with those available in PaygOps. (PaygOps makes available a ready-to-use template, but can support distributors making adjustments in the data depending on the current setup).

  3. Setting up the distributors’ platform in PaygOps, and proceeding to the necessary integrations and configuration to ensure the continuity of service such as with the Mobile Money and SMS providers.

  4. Configuring the actual devices to be available on the distributor’s PaygOps platform (for both Paygo and non-paygo devices, additional hardware integrations)

  5. Importing the complete clients’ data from the current CRM Platform/solution into PaygOps.

  6. The distributor’s PaygOps platform is now ready to receive payments from clients, generate tokens for the devices, and send notifications by SMS to the clients!

At the end of the migration, distributors see their customers’ data history entirely captured in PaygOps, without having experienced any interruption of services throughout the migration, and their clients are able to send payments, receive confirmation SMS or activation codes directly from PaygOps, and the staff is ready to register new clients and run after-sales operations.

Field Stories about data migration

1. Migrating clients and sales data into PaygOps

With operations throughout Africa and a growing database of more than 6000 customers in Burkina Faso alone, the Foundation Rural Energy Services (FRES), a pioneer in bringing off-grid solar energy solutions to rural Africa, identified a number of pain points in their operational efficiency. Many processes were manually intensive and therefore error prone. Client data communicated by field agents through paper forms and WhatsApp were tracked and entered by the managers in spreadsheets. This often resulted in errors, inconsistencies and data loss. As a result, FRES decided to import its client database into paygops, along with the repayment status, contract offers and product activation. The biggest challenge was to support FRES in reviewing and cleaning the available data to ensure its consistency before the import into PaygOps. Indeed, many typos could be found throughout the operational spreadsheets, with inconsistencies in the data collection such as the name of villages that would be written with more than one spelling, and/or missing information such as phone numbers or addresses. Following that step, the data could be imported into the corresponding fields of PaygOps. All important client information and device serial numbers were then captured in PaygOps and the history of payments aggregated into one single payment representing the total amount repaid so far, so that the remainder of the lease can be tracked in PaygOps.

2. Migrating after-sales interactions history into PaygOps

One of PaygOps’ trusted partners in Africa, who was already running operations with thousands of customers through an in-house spreadsheet-supported Mobile App, decided to migrate all client data in PaygOps to secure data collection and increase overall efficiency. After importing the clients database heavy of a few thousand contracts and after-sales data, PaygOps had to assign each device to a client through PaygOps back-end and the device cloud, the distributor being running non-paygo operations. In addition to importing the clients’ data (contract history, offer type, lease repayment status), the main challenge will remain in the migration of after-sales interactions data history required by the distributor and that will include data such as installation reports, battery issues and accessory sale. All after-sales forms will have to be converted for PaygOps, to import the historical data. Thanks to the migration, the distributor is now increasing the access to financing and essential services for its customers with a flexible and reliable tool that simplifies data collection, the monitoring of clients and leases repayment, and improves after-sales services. Using PaygOps, this distributor will soon be able to swap his client's products for Paygo-enabled devices.

3. Migrating from other interoperable Paygo platforms and/or locked-in hardware

PaygOps has been supporting a distributor in Eastern Africa to migrate its data from an interoperable Paygo platform into PaygOps. The distributor already had a large customer base and operated devices (SHS and Solar Lamps) that were not yet integrated with PaygOps. The key to the puzzle was to implement a communication protocol that will allow PaygOps to integrate with any of the third-party devices at once, as well as supporting the distributor with the Mobile Money integration or migration of account with the distributor’s PaygOps Platform, to ensure the continuity of the service and payments. Once implemented, all the distributor’s clients database was successfully imported into PaygOps, along with any history on the clients’ contracts and current repayment status, custom forms, or even after-sales data, while using the same device. The main advantages for the distributor were that he could still run his operations using the same devices with the same tokens and payment methods, but all the operations are now managed in PaygOps.

Data migration can be an essential step towards the digitalisation of operations for last-mile distributors, to gain in process efficiency, transparency, and cost-effectiveness. In view of the fact that with each process comes with a specific tool, migrating from one platform to another can be complex as it requires an Ad Hoc analysis of the current company processes and mapping of the available data points to match the data requirements and processes of the new solution. The fact that PaygOps is flexible and editable as a core feature is greatly increasing the scope of possibilities to support those willing to enrich their processes and IT infrastructure. To this end, PaygOps customer support team is committed to support distributors through the migration, working together to find the best solutions to adapt their processes to PaygOps and customise PaygOps features to their own business challenges.

Contact PaygOps to find out more about data migration requirements and prerequisites.


About Solaris Offgrid:

Solaris Offgrid supports distributors of essential services to build strong customer traction and greater relations with investors through flexible and inclusive Paygo solutions, designed for last-mile operations. Adopting a bottom up approach in the design of its solutions and creating synergies with a strong network of partners to solve last-mile challenges, the company has already deployed Paygo solutions in more than 30 countries through PaygOps, Solaris Offgrid in-house software solution built “In the Field, for the Field” and its product development services. Leading reference in the off-grid solar market, PaygOps, is engineered to deliver modular and interoperable solutions to address off-grid energy access challenges and distribution complexity. For more information on PaygOps, please contact [email protected].

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1 Comment

Sep 30, 2020

The real problem is how to operate different SHS from a platform. In other words what do you need to integrate in your platform the communication/ operation with SHS from other manufactures without supporting the open comm/open token?

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