The concept of on-demand car functions is already well-known. This includes smartphone games distributed in accordance with the freemium model: the customer downloads a free game app and starts to play. As they progress through the game, add-on features promoted as in-app are purchased to achieve success faster or enable new levels. This concept is equally widespread in the field of large computers for data centres. The customer purchases a device that already physically contains different performance features; but does not have initial access to these. At a later date, the customer purchases a temporary or permanent license to use the selected performance features, such as additional processors.
Automobile manufacturers use comparable concepts. The basic functionalities are acquired with the vehicle purchase. Features over and above these – e.g. additional engine power, seat heating, entertainment, e-range or driver assistance systems – can be added for “on demand”. Often these additional features are provided for a limited period of time (trial mode) after which they can be purchased.
We have been dealing with digital transformation projects for some time now and notice one thing in particular: all projects are fundamentally shaped by three success factors: We will explain these three factors using the example of on-demand functions in vehicles.
Success factor I: Full control of the interplay between different components
On-demand functions are a great example for the complex interplay between different components. For instance, “driver assistance systems” clearly shows that even this fundamental functionality comprises an entire range of competence areas: Sensors and cameras supply the required information, intelligent controls analyse this information and determine on relevant vehicle reactions. In order to trigger a reaction, the relevant control commands must be transmitted to the actors, and the controls must then monitor the execution of the commands. It is indeed conceivable that this scenario would be supplemented with the integration of external data in the future. For instance, it would be possible that traffic lights would provide their status to the vehicles, and that driver assistance systems would prevent driving through red traffic lights based on this information.
The more seamless and purposeful the different components mesh, the greater the user’s appreciation of the added value when he uses the different functions in the end.
Success factor II: From one-off purchase to long-term customer relationship
If a function is purchased on demand or rented for a limited time, further competence areas must be considered to facilitate the development of a long-term customer relationship. First, the manufacturer must provide the customer with the option to obtain information about the on-demand functions, to select the desired services, and then to purchase these functions. In most cases, simply offering the shop functionality in the automobile manufacturer’s portal will not be enough. The provider is only able to offer its portfolio to the customer comprehensively, when other channels, such as mobile apps, dealer portals or in-vehicle functions are utilised. If the customer has purchased a service, a corresponding license management will manage the on-demand functions in the vehicle. The license information must be transferred to the vehicle, so that the corresponding hardware and software is activated and – if the license is temporary – so that it can be deactivated again if required. If a function involves usage-based fees, the vehicle will also transmit the usage data to a management system which can then create the corresponding invoices.
Making relevant information, offers and functions easily accessible for customers, presenting them attractively, and providing them across the key touchpoints are crucial for the successful development of a long-term customer relationship.
Success factor III: Functionality is a must – User experience brings success
The manufacturer’s ability to provide various functionalities is not enough. Apart from the pure functionality, user-friendliness and data security are an absolute priority for customers. The solution must guarantee the user that the vehicle cannot be manipulated or misused, and that the confidentiality of personal and usage data is ensured. Moreover, on-demand services only become great and therefore successful if they offer the customer the expected benefits while ensuring data protection and offering optimal usability. In order to achieve this, all processes must be designed such that the customer is able to understand them immediately, and to achieve the desired results without query, regardless of which components are being provided by the customer interface. Realising the success factor is particularly challenging if liability aspects of the manufacturer, data protection and security, as well as quick and easy operation need to be reconciled. Given the vast range of competitive offers and the complexity of the different functions, the functionality and an intuitive end user experience must be guaranteed.
Knowing and utilising the levers for the successful implementation of the digital transformation
The critical success factors for the digital transformation become transparent on the example of on-demand car functions: Companies must be consistently geared towards the customer experience while mastering the underlying complexity and hiding this complexity from the customer as much as possible. To this end, successful companies expand their competences, integrate partners for specialist issues, and manage the entire undertaking with a consistent orientation towards the desired customer experience. Q_PERIOR supports you in your user-centric idea development – for instance, by means of the design thinking method –, the development of complex solutions in different technological ecosystems, the user experience design, as well as the implementation of on-premise and cloud solutions.