IPS e Services: Creating India's Largest & the Most Robust Services Retail Chain

 Shan Azam,     Founder & CEO

Shan Azam

Founder & CEO

Being the largest democracy as well as the second most populated country in the world, India is governed by a hierarchical ruling system. Therefore, implementing government policies across the tiers has always been a steamy affair for us. After witnessing a significant gap in terms of policy awareness and access; where all policies are directed towards bringing things on digital platforms, Shan Azan (Founder & CEO, IPS e Ser-vices PL) implemented his technological proficiencies to craft effective services for the common people to help them reach out to the government schemes and policies in a more transparent, easier and speedy manner. With the level of digital literacy not being at par, not to mention the scarcity of employability opportunities in the rural and semi-urban even today, Shan was determined to provide a collective and magnified solution through his dream venture IPS e-Services. Important parameters like the range of products and services, scalability, and the lacunae of social touch with the consumers or the target audiences in rural and semi-urban areas are also given fair consideration while designing contemporary solutions for the common residents via this innovative e-governance platform.

Shan positions his initiative/enterprise as working in the ‘LAST MILE OPERATIONS' domain. Irrespective of the degree of challenges, he says, "we want to offer our services in the LAST MILE of the residents, using technology to bring access, speed, and transparency".

Starting its journey as an e-Governance firm, IPS e Services caters services pertaining to various e-Governance projects like UID-Aadhaar, Slum Survey, and so on. Acknowledged as a Seeding Agency as well as an Enrolment Agency by UIDAI, Government of India, IPS e Services has been empanelled with various banks and other agencies for banking and other services. “We have launched a very long awaited well-defined chain of citizen services retail chain with the brand name `HAMARA KENDRA', through an in-house developed robust digital platform in a franchisee mode across India. HAMARA KENDRA is India's most robust chain of citizen services centers. Each store is appointed for an approximate population of 20,000 to secure the sustainability of the franchisees. As an organized entity, we are working towards utilizing India's unemployed youth with this model of HAMARA KENDRA. The model, which we have at present, is the most robust and sustainable one for the target audience whom we are targeting as franchisees” states Shan.

In terms of market size also,IPS e Services is gaining acknowledgments and appreciation in the form of opting for the services, from all walks of life. Most of its end consumers or clients are government/non government agencies like UTI, IRCTC, UIDAI, NSDL, Amazon, Infi Beams, TATA Indicash, L&T, TATA Power, and so on, for its physical retail brand HAMARA KENDRA specifically and our company, IPS e Services in general.

The Model of HAMARA KENDRA & the Future: Ensuring Convenience to Consumer
Apart from offering transparency and speed (through its digital platform) in terms of
operations of services, the innovation of IPS e Services lies in the process of deploying a third party agency called 'SUPPORT AGENCY'. These are implemented locally for approx. every 20 HAMARA KENDRA physical stores and their notion is to handle tech and operational support in that territory. So, if there is a technical issue at a HAMARA KENDRA center, IPS e Services has a local authorized partner who can provide support even by visiting the outlet physically, and that HAMARA KENDRA can be back to function within a defined TAT. A large bouquet of services under one umbrella has also become a USP for the firm, ranging from Fintech services like money transfer, AEPS, and e-Governance services like PAN application, Aadhaar enrolments to e-Commerce functionalities, like purchasing any consumer goods of Amazon through the digital platform and so on.

IPS e Services is aggressively working on adding a very wide range of services across its offerings, starting from healthcare to social security schemes, website domain names, server space, digital lockets, online testing, online education, and the list goes on. “In the e-Commerce sector, we have been working with Amazon since last year. Until recently, e-Commerce as an industry had only two percent penetration across the rural and semi-urban areas and its presence has been increasing since they started partnering with retail partners like us. Apart from that, leveraging our presence of HAMARA KENDRA, we have also been executing flagship projects like Smart Meter Installations by GOI, ultimately enhancing the sustainability of these franchises. We have recently completed an Economic Survey project leveraging our retail penetration of HAMARA KENDRA”, avers Shan.

Within a diameter of 10-15 kilometers, on average, IPS e Services have 15-20 HAMARA KENDRAs. So, to cater to their technical and operational support, the firm has created this support agency infrastructure where people work in an Opex model. As long as HAMARA KENDRA is transacting, they get the commission. So, the model is created in such a way that it works on its own, rather than working on a push and pull basis.

“There's a reassurance that I can see in the minds of the consumers towards the technology backed products and services. One of the advantageous aspects of the recent pandemic is that people have started opting for digital based services, which means it has helped people cross the digital barriers. Even though the unemployment resulting from the pandemic has reduced the amount of money in every individual's pocket, our business is not much affected because a majority of services offered by us are in the essential services category, be it banking and financial inclusion services or e-governance services. Unemployment due to the pandemic has allowed us to choose better and quality franchises because now many people prefer to find employment opportunities in their locality itself rather than moving to metros, cities, and bigger places”, states Shan.

IPS e Services has mapped the entire pan India locations on its digital platform wherever it has to deploy the HAMARA KENDRA stores based on various logical, dynamic, and local factors. Currently equipped with more than 5000 HAMARA KENDRA stores spread across the north, east, and west India at large, IPS e Services is planning to open a maximum of 75,000 physical HAMARA KENDRA stores across the length and breadth of India by 2025. For every one physical HAMARA KENDRA, IPS e Services plans to have an average of 10 `HK Express' which are the home delivery brigades, and in its very first initiate, the firm has crossed the level of 15,000 physical HAMARA KENDRA stores. So, as the sub-brand of HAMARA KENDRA, HK Express is a virtual substore connected with the nearest physical HAMARA KENDRA store and will be handling the initiation of the home delivery of HAMARA KENDRA services through the Android based `HAMARA KENDRA Business' mobile app.

“Another subbrand of HAMARA KENDRA is 'HK Premium' which is also to be opened physically. Here, we are going to have premium services, if permission is given, like passport Seva, driving licenses, and many more services which need to be filtered and better resources to handle the privacy and confidentiality of consumer data. Deployed in the cities and towns, HK Premium will be linked to the HA-MARA KENDRA stores in their allotted territory. We intend to start this HK Premium, once we cross the deployment of 35,000 physical HAMARA KENDRA centers”, signs off Shan.

Shan Azam, Founder & CEO, IPS e-Services
After completing his MBA in 2006 in marketing and communications, Shan commenced his professional venture with an advertising agency and soon paved his path through various other sectors such as marketing, entertainment retail and so on. Plunging into a less traveled domain to emerge as a newage entrepreneur, he is currently engaged in providing 'LAST MILE OPERATIONS' of ‘citizen services' through an inhouse developed digital platform in an assisted manner to the common citizens of India via his technology backed brick and mortar retail brand of HAMARA KENDRA, using his business venture IPS e Services.