In the Economy of Things (EoT), the product world is being digitized. A digital product may be enhanced with a vast array of Services. Lawn mowers do not only mow any more, they are able to measure humidity or the length of grass, to turn on the irrigation system, to submit error codes to another device, to be telecontrolled, etc. Furthermore, connected items collect data constantly. This information can be translated into other Services. The potential Service Portfolio in the Economy of Things is abundant. But often, less is more.
Content is King was the misbelief of earlier Internet years. If the content (or the functions) were only good enough, the customers would come by themselves. But: a good product does not sell itself alone, instead it needs massive sales support. And this costs money – especially for manufacturers who take over the distribution in the Economy of Things for the first time on their own.
Service portfolio in the Economy of Things: Reach vs. Content/Functionality in the Connected Car market
EoT Service/Content portfolio: Less is more
Source: iq! Managementberatung; Analysis 2017
iq! analyzed the Service offer and the reach of different connected car providers in Europe, the US and China. Almost all OEMs have a broad range of Services in different categories (e.g. traffic control, entertainment, security, etc.). But when it comes to reach, Google with Android Auto and Apple with CarPlay dominate the market. Interestingly, they only offer a very selected range of Services. Their easy to use, OEM-independent offer convinces the customer.
EoT Service/Content portfolio: rules of success
Less is more. This simple rule applies not only to the Automotive industry but other product families and markets as well. But why is it better to concentrate the offer to some key USPs?
- Reduce development time: a focused offer allows a fast time-to-market scenario and minimizes R&D time and investment
- Don’t ask to much for the customer: Customers are more likely to understand and therefore accept a small set of Services. Today’s IoT product systems are often so complicated to install and to use that potential users shy away
- Set a low entry barrier: a selected offer makes it easier for the customer to choose. Entry prices may be much lower than for more complex Service arrangements
- Concentrate on customer needs: Fulfilling customer needs has to be the key priority when designing a convincing EoT Service portfolio
- Make a few good ones: selecting the most promising Services gives EoT companies the chance to focus on quality and optimize Services fast
- Gain reach fast: Increasing the own installed base fast may be the decisive factor in the run of market shares
- Reach first, extension second: The EoT Service portfolio should be extended carefully as soon as a sufficient reach base is installed in order to stabilize market shares and bind customers
- Save Money for Sales: in the Economy of Things, many manufacturers become service providers. They have to create Sales structures for selling the Services convincingly to the customers. That is complex and expensive.
There are many convincing reasons to start with a simple, reduced but very relevant IoT Service portfolio. Choice of Service should be based above all on customer needs. The probability to gain reach fast is much higher with a limited set of Services. Once the installed based is satisfyingly large, additional services may enrich the offer. It all sounds so simple, but a surprisingly high number of IoT offers are very technology and data focused. But it is neither necessary nor wise to tap the full potential of technological possibilies. It makes companies often forget the customer and how simple it can be to enhance product usage with a few key features.