Does your company already sell blankets?

Offering e-business services together with other companies will become as important as an own app or website

Many children have a favorite blanket. A blanket with interesting characteristics: it ensures a good night’s sleep, long car drives get shorter and it comforts them when they are sad.

As a business we need to try to provide our customers with such a warm blanket. In the first place this implies that we need to define exactly with what kind of products and services we can make customers happy. From this selection it quickly becomes clear that as a single company you usually not answer all the needs of the customer.

Take the following example: an aviation company can independently offer a flight to a traveler. But the real need of the customer is the journey: with transport from and to the airport, guidance in the airport, catering, hotel, transportation during the stay, sightseeing, support in time of need, …

To offer such kind of services you have to collaborate with other companies. You need to have more than just a website or a mobile app. As an organization, you have to be part of a digital blanket, a value chain. Through this digital blanket you work together with other companies and organizations to provide your customers with services throughout the day.

To continue with our example: an aviation company can differentiate itself by sharing customer and flight data with other companies. As such, Lufthansa has just released part of its data to hundreds of other companies that are now able to offer related services.

Getting your website on top of Google Search ranking is no longer sufficient as e-business implementation. In other words, you need to investigate how you can offer a digital service blanket together with other companies.

This blanket has several advantages: it ensures that the customers of your partners know where to find you and buy from you. At the same time, you can use the data of your ecosystem to get to know your end customer better and to strongly personalize your services.

Back to our example: your car and petrol stations know when you typically drive, when you rest and how many times you purchase a drink underway. When they share this information with the aviation company the latter can suggest, right before your flight, to go drink a coffee at an affiliated company. Or even hours after your flight, depending on your data.  

Lets assume you’ve had a small accident during your journey, then it’s very convenient that your insurance app knows who you are, how long you’re already been there, what hotel to inform, who to contact through social media, etc. That is the power of the blanket, it brings the necessary ease of mind.

On a technical level we see services such as Android Intents and iOS Apple Extensions emerge to support this digital transformation. The importance of API’s increases. API specialists such as Apigee and MuleSoft arise, and the bigger providers extends their existing middleware products or launch new ones. For architecture and approach you can use frameworks such as Digitecture to commence your digital transformation.

Now it is up to your company to develop and sell the right blanket. 

  • W. De Groote
    Wim De Groote
    Leading in Digital Business
    +32 (0)2 538 92 92