With Microsoft where I work (disclosure) currently running several employee and partner related events (Ready and Inspire) with many new announcements, I felt the need for some sense making. This DanelDoodle (and Data Doodle) is the culmination of that. More in the breakdowns below.Continue reading Deciding on business outcomes with Microsoft three clouds
I’ve not had a chance to post for a while and there has been a fair bit of activity in the space so I have quite a bit to share.
I have also run a few numbers through the data visualisation machine and come up with the infographic at left – feel free to use and share.
So herewith some of the best posts from recent weeks.
New SaaS Delivery Models Require New Customer Success Delivery Models. A solid piece on how Customer Success roles need to change in the maturing SaaS space. Sticking with the SaaS space, this article does a really good job of explaining how to manage your vendor if you use a SaaS product: How to manage SaaS Vendors in the Subscription Economy. And for some other really good posts on these themes:
- 5 Blisteringly Successful Customer Success Strategies
- New research report by Gainsight: The State of the Customer Success Profession 2019 (sign up required)
- A practical guide to understanding and reducing SaaS churn – an investors perspective
New entrants to the space
- Hertz who launches a monthly car rental subscription.
- Then there is Sanofi who turns to subscriptions to offer patients insulin at $99 per month.
- And Volkswagen rolls out subscription model in the UK.
- Last but not least, Urban Outfitters Inc are to start renting out clothing.
This collection of announcements above 👆 shows the sheer breadth of industries effected by the As a Service trend – nothing is off limits.
Industry specific news
There were a batch of articles and new research:
- New research highlights how increasing interest in the subscription economy will revolutionise the automotive dealer service experience.
- From McKinsey: How sharing the road is likely to transform American mobility.
- Great opinion piece by Kara Swisher in the New York Times: Owning a Car Will Soon Be as Quaint as Owning a Horse.
- The Rise Of The Industrial Subscription Economy
- Forget Games as a Service, We’re Headed Towards Consoles as a Service
- Apple is now the privacy-as-a-service company
- Fashion as a Service
Here is a good summary of the trend which includes commentary on all the different industries being effected by the subscription economy: Subscription Services Draw Companies Closer To Customers. As with so many of the posts that I reference to the subscription economy, this one points to its darling Zuora, as you can see from the source of the chart. But their standing at the top of the subscription economy heap (as a company that powers the economy) may be under threat as new entrants join the fray: Stripe billing launches in Europe to power subscription companies across the continent.
There are other signs of a growing consolidation and integration in the Subscription Economy and Customer Success industries with the announcement by Medallia of their Strikedeck acquisition. Also Customer Success leader Gainsight’s announcement of the broadening of their portfolio into a “Customer Cloud”.
Nuggets from the last few weeks. If you have any similar announcements, reports or good articles, please share in a comment as I’m collecting them for a new eBook / trend report 😁
- New EV startup Canoo will only sell cars on a subscription basis. The interesting thing here is not so much about a new entrant in the electronic vehicle space but that it chooses a subscription only model.
- The Subscription Economy: Powering the Next Era of Gaming. The big news a few weeks back that is behind this post was about Google’s new gaming service they announced the launch of (Stadia). A cornerstone of their new service was of course subscriptions and they are not alone in their strategic thinking.
- Apple was another company with big subscription related announcements. This article does a superb job dissecting the announcements and showing how they need to look to services for growth (since their products have hit a wall): Apple’s Services Event. This article title pretty much nails it: Apple’s Two-Word Plan for the Future of the Internet: Subscribe Now
- Industry specific
- Auto: Car Companies Face ‘End of Ownership’ Crisis
- Retail: The Netflix model – How Philips and Husqvarna are embracing the subscription economy. Another one was an announcement from Burker King – Burger King Offers $5-a-Month Coffee to Woo Breakfast Crowd
- Some really good general analysis here on the trend: The subscription economy is changing the mindset of a generation
We don’t all have the luxury to question why we are working and to what end.
Many are in dead end, soul sapping or even worse, life endangering jobs.
But the reality is they have no choice. No choice but to toil in whatever adversity they find themselves because there is no alternative
On the other hand, many in the first world are spoilt (and I count myself amongst them). We are lucky to have jobs and vast choices with global employment rates at all time highs.
We have incredible jobs, are highly paid and in fantastic industries.
And yet engagement levels at work are at all time lows.
I ascribe this near universal condition of motivation in first world employment to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once our basic needs are met, we will naturally incline towards the higher levels and that is what my enquiry in this post pertains to.
I believe it is in the higher levels that we are falling short and this is leading to so much dissatisfaction and lack of engagement at work.
Dynamics of meaning
I have explored (and still am) many aspects of motivation and meaning because it is so fundamental to outcomes and success in the work I do with customers.
I have taken Maslow’s theory and applied it to organisations and this seems to have resonated: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.
I am exploring that further in a very detailed manner in terms of the things that are measured and how this drives behaviour: Leading the right behaviours through metrics and new work models.
I believe at a practical level, with robots and AI taking some of the lower level jobs that we are going to be forced (or have the luxury – depending on how you see it) to the higher levels: The post robotic AI age and the role of creativity and innovation.
I am not alone. The purpose or meaning driven organisation and defining the elements of its success have practically become an industry. Culture as an important contributing factor too.
Whether out of necessity or luxury I believe this to be meaningful work, to get a little meta.
However, as Maslow suggested and I too believe, we will constantly be forced by circumstance (e.g. losing a job) or simply because its healthy, to re-evaluate the lower levels.
As individuals, it might mean our excessive food intake has become a problem that needs addressing. So too organisations might be forced to re-evaluate their business models when the basis for the industry they are in is disrupted.
Dynamics of the business model
I have suggested in my hierarchy of organisational needs that the business model sits at the lowest level. I posit that it is as basic and necessary for business survival to have a good model as it is for individuals to have food, water and shelter.
And the basic business model of many organisations is under pressure to be re-evaluated and transformed like never before.
One such pressure I am currently exploring in a new eBook / trend report is coming from the subscription economy. Software as a Service has influenced enterprise technology and this has led to a broader As a Service trend (that’s a link to all posts with the tag where you can find material I am using in my work).
Business model transformation and innovation has become an industry in its own right too.
I would argue that this sits within a context and hierarchy of its own. The context is probably organisational transformation and what is currently very much in vogue, digital transformation.
It terms of hierarchy, it probably sits at the apex.
I’m doing some work at the moment around these very elements and have two charts that I use to demonstrate these aspects.
By “elements” you can probably see that I don’t mean those of the business model itself (which something like the business model canvas does very well).
In terms of effort and impact, you can see business model innovation is the hardest to do yet has the greatest impact over time and in value terms. Too often I see the focus on lower level transformations because they are easy.
The thing the diagram at right also points to is the limited impact over time that innovations or transformations have, hence the need to constantly be innovating and transforming.
This brings me full circle to the two pinnacles of my modern organisational hierarchy framework: innovation and creativity. The need to constantly innovate and create (or re-create, in a circle of positive creative-destruction) is key in the future of work.
This also brings me to the motivation element in the subject of this post.
One point I make is about the critical role of meaning in our future work roles, as individuals and organisations. About how we must spend time defining what creates meaning and will make a difference and this means going beyond the basics.
The other point is about how we cannot ignore the basics but in the case of organisational business models, how crucial it is to work on reinventing these for greatest impact. But here too, we shouldn’t waste effort on lower level efforts.
I am highly motivated by all this at the moment. In turn I strive to make it key motivator for the efforts of individuals and organisations I work with because I think it will make all the difference.
As I think more about this whole space and track the developments in it with posts like this, I’m trying to envisage dynamics of the perfect business in it.
That gave rise to the DanelDoodle at left. Just some fun and very quick so not sure they are absolutely right. I’ll get a better feel for this as I complete my new trend report / eBook on the subject and it may become clearer and a little more scientific.
Anyway onto latest developments which is always the purpose of these posts in the form of announcements, articles, etc.
- Interbrand and Zuora Join Forces to Help Global Brands Succeed in the Subscription Economy. With Zuora a leading proponent and supplier of solutions for the Subscription Economy and Interbrand a global brand consultancy, this is a significant partnership that will help new players in the As a Service world. They’ll get the technical infrastructure needed to change their business models plus the help to shift their strategy, experiences and messages to customers.
- ‘It’s a battleground’: Why retailers are turning to subscription programs to build loyalty. Focus is on Canada but good McKinsey stats from global activity that supports the growing strength of the play for retailers, on the back of Amazon Prime and others’ success.
- How Apple and app developers will try to entice you to subscribe, not just pay once. I’ve captured in other posts in this series how Apple seem to be transitioning to subscriptions. This proves it. I already have one subscription to an App myself and have had for more than a year now. This is different to Spotify for example and here is how you manage your subscriptions from your iPhone.
- Hate Doing Laundry? No Sweat. Tide Just Announced It’ll Do It for You. P&G brand Tide being extended into this new category is a pretty logical and sensible strategy. I’m sure we are going to see more like this where its not just a subscription play for the sake of it.
- Grover launches e-scooter subscription service. Love that this is coming from Europe.
- The auto industry (and manufacturing more broadly) continues to be the subject of suggestions that they shift their strategy to an As a Service model.
- From McKinsey in this article, the observation (mentioned in the video in the article) that: “The biggest change we foresee is moving from a predominantly product-faced automotive industry to a services and solutions based industry.” That from the same McKinsey that suggested Customer Success 2.0 was the new growth engine.
- And its also affiliated services that should be subject to the shift – some excellent research quoted here: Reinventing After-Sales Service In A Subscription Economy World.
- All is not well though in the auto subscription world as I discovered with GM shuttering its ‘Book by Cadillac’ Car-Swap Subscription Plan. Teething problems like this will abound.
If you have any As a Service examples please share in a comment as I’m collecting them :)
When Ikea considers changing its business model then you know something is afoot. The big news this last week was Ikea thinking about making certain items available on a subscription basis.
Good article on that here where the screenshot at left is from.
It’s looking at doing so on a trial basis so this will be a very interesting one to keep track of and see how things progress.
That article linked to above points to the concept of a circular economy which I was not even aware of but should be in the context of the As a Service trend that this post is about. The pasted paragraph below from the article says it all:
When Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport remodeled a terminal, it didn’t buy light bulbs; instead, the company signed a contract for “light as a service” from Signify, the company formerly known as Philips Lighting. Signify owns the physical lights, giving it the incentive to make products that last as long as possible and that can be easily repaired and recycled if anything breaks. The service is one example of a shift to a circular economy model.
iPhone as a Service
I’m currently on Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Programme which in my view is its foray into the as a Service model. I captured how they are getting a little more tactical in my last Update on As a Service trends. Other than the obvious benefits they are targeting, that tactic shows how important it is to start treating your customers that sign up to a recurring financial commitment, with white gloves, so come time to renew, they do.
Volvo leading the race?
I cannot speak as intimately for Volvo’s execution on their subscription and as a Service promise but they are certainly talking a good talk. By all accounts they are struggling to keep up with demand. I’ve already written about my recent experience buying a car, which is all but a subscription service except in name. That experience is definitely not firing on all cylinders 😬
In my new eBook / trend report I will cover the As a Service trend (see point 9 here for more on that) and the role customer success plays in it. This post and others that follow will document examples of where I see companies exhibiting behaviours of this trend.
I first wrote about them in these two separate blog posts below:
I’ll also capture screenshots and include commentary in a daneldoodle as I have done below – click on each to enlarge.