Archive | October 18, 2014

Digital Transformation Project Group 13: Better serving of niche customers in the retail banking industry.

The sector that we have examined in our assignment is the retail banking industry, with a focus on core banking services, which most people use on a daily basis. Starting with the financial crisis of 2007/08 commercial banks had to undergo a series of challenges and changes. This led banks to restructure costs, internal processes and redefine their customer strategies.  Nowadays, the banking environment is harsher than ever before and everything is revolving around a customer-centric business model with the purpose of achieving higher understanding of what clients want and improve the overall customer experience. As the new set of challenges for banks have been coalesced, retail banks have turned their attention towards differentiation from competitors. Exploring new customer segments and winning the loyalty of overlooked customer niches can be a means to such a goal.

This paper introduces arguments for a digital transformation project as the first steps towards realizing the stated goal.  To capitalize on the potential of a potential disruptive change in a comparably conservative and traditional industry would bring surprising benefits to an organization, counting increased brand trust, customer centricity and setting a new standard in the branch strategy of banks in general. For this assignment we offer a detailed look into the niche market of the hearing impaired.

Communication is a problem and specialized help for these customers is scarce. The problem is made more difficult due to the closed community which, compared to the blind community, features no universal language. The hearing-impaired communicate by sign language but every country has its own signs and smaller districts have their own dialect. Making it hard even for people whose first language is sign language to communicate with each other.

To overcome this challenge, ING Bank Śląski has undertaken the immense task of accommodating such individuals by offering a service which many of us could not even imagine living without – basic banking.  Having control over personal finances is elusive for the hearing impaired due to the nature of the commercial banks. There is a recorded case in which the Poland legislation has prevented a man from resolving an issue with his bank caused by an identity error from the bank’s server. During a phone call, the deaf man’s wife offered to act as an intermediary on his behalf on the telephone, however due to the bank’s strict policies, the bank was unable to discuss his private finances with her. Finally the couple arrived at the bank and in the presence of a bank lawyer they were able to solve the rather straightforward problem.

This type of behavior has been challenged at ING Bank Śląski and has been addressed in commercial banking in Katowice for the first time. As Mirosław Forystek, Bank Director responsible for IT Department at ING Bank Śląski has remarked in an interview “As a company socially responsible, we offer practical solutions where we can improve service quality and comfort. We hope, that we will create a new standard of hearing-impaired customer service.”

Since June 2014 ING Bank Śląski has officially started a partnership with Migam.pl. The company has shown great potential and talent in developing software for translating Sign language into plain text through the help of Microsoft’s gesture-capturing technology – the Kinect camera.  Their ongoing development efforts promise a cross-language service that will, in the future, incorporate most of the Sign languages in the world and be able to enable communication between people who communicate in different sign languages, as well as orally.

In our assignment we propose a business plan implementing a digital translator by using Migam’s software in combination with Microsoft’s Kinect. ING Bank Śląski would benefit greatly from being the first company to extend their core banking services to hearing impaired customers through this digital transformation. However, some comments need to be made. Too early adoption rate will not be rewarded, and shareholder expectations might not be realistically met. Furthermore the risk of overinvesting or relying on the technological value chain completely can create high switching costs.

The grounded next steps follow a cautious and incremental extension of the service in the branches. By leveraging current infrastructure and cheap iterations such as the project currently being developed, ING can control the direction of their standard in banking, as well as create trust and brand recognition.

NFC all the way! – Digital Transformation Project Team 22

We have examined a real life sports centre, we call it ‘Sports Centre X’. It houses different kinds of sports and sports facilities. The management of the sports centre itself manages the tennis- and squash departments. The other departments are leased out to other firms, so every firm is specialized in their own businesses. The combination of these different businesses makes Sports Centre X one of the largest sports centre in the surrounding areas.

Sports Centre X faces fierce competition from other, specialized, sports parks. Many other sport parks are nowadays providing an easy electronically reservation system for their customers. Therefore it is important for Sports Centre X to keep up with the current technology to provide the best services possible for their customers and to keep up with the concurrent firms. There is a real life problem regarding the reservation system of the in- and outdoor tennis courts and the squash courts. It is digitally enabled but the reservation of the various courts, especially the confirmation of the reservation, is considered as a hassle by many of the customers.

To create extra synergy between the tennis, squash en restaurant departments, we propos a new system with the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. With the new IT solution, the customer will get a NFC-card with their data on it, and they can use the card to make and confirm the reservation for the tennis- and squash courts. Therefore, the process of reserving and confirming a court will become less time consuming and less of a hassle. Therefore it will eventually increase the customer satisfaction of Sports Centre X. Also the restaurant will be integrated in the NFC-card. It will be possible to store an amount of money on the NFC-card, and to pay with this card at the cash desk of the restaurant.

To generate a more smoothly transition of this new technology, the basics of the current system will remain and are extended with new features. This makes that the users of the old system, doesn’t have to learn again how to use the system. Just the confirmation of the courts will be much easier, this can be done by holding your personal NFC-card in front of the NFC-reader. In this way, the downsides of the current system will be redesigned and new features regarding the restaurant are added. Also the NFC-chip will provide the customer the possibility to make a reservation for the outside tennis courts, which was not possible before.

Essentially, the NFC-card will increase the service level of Sports Centre X and therefore the customer satisfaction will be increased eventually. Also, Sports Centre X will in the future be able to use the data generated by the NFC-card to better target customer segments and provide their customers with different bundles of goods and services. The combination of all these factors will strengthen Sports Centre X position on the market and it will be better prepared for future competition. All this factors will strengthen their service level, which is the main objective for the sports centre.


Note: Our chosen company wants to remain anonymous, hence the name ‘Sports Centre X’.

Using drones to stay competitive – Digital Transformation Project PostNL

PostNL

PostNL is an evident player in the mail and parcel market.  Their mission is to build long-term relationships with their stakeholders and always enhance the quality. The four current trends in the market are (1) the use of mobile phones and internet, (2) influence of consumers on business, (3) efficient dealing with stock and (4) increasing international trade. PostNL wants to stay market leader in the Benelux with a focus on profitable growth. Their operations are organized in three segments: mail in the Netherlands, parcels and international mail. They focus both on the B2C and the B2B market. The volume of mail is declining but the volume and revenue of the parcel and international mail segment is increasing. The company has 2550 post offices and 6 distribution centres.

Their competitor the segment mail in the Netherlands, Sandd, is small. It only has around 10-20% of the market share. Their competitor in the parcel segment is DHL, and they have quite large competitors in the international market (mainly UK, Germany and Italy). To compensate for the declining volumes in mail PostNL regularly increases the prices of their products.

Drones

Drones are unmanned flying device that can be controlled by a pilot or computer system. They are currently used in four ways: (1) as toys for kids, (2) as more advanced consumer products for hobby purposes, (3) in companies for certain difficult tasks and (4) the most advanced drones are used in the military. PostNL would use the second category which has a price range of 400 – 30,000 euro, depending on the features. Drones are already used for deliveries by their competitor DHL and Amazon and Google use them in this way too. The difficulties which could arise when making use of this technology are the weather conditions, animals like birds or pets, and also legislation about where these devices may fly.

Implementation

Margins on mail and parcel delivery are currently low. When using drones PostNL could cut employee costs and costs in terms of delivery time. Using drones goes much faster than distributing mail by car in some parts of the Netherlands.

There are some risks which PostNL should take into consideration. First implementation costs might be higher than expected. Good cost management is necessary. Secondly malfunctioning of the drones could appear because the technology is relatively new. PostNL should make sure that they have more than the required amount of drones available. They should also watch out for accidents during the delivery and they should guard the security. Drones could easily be used for espionage or terrorist activities. Lastly PostNL should take into consideration all external factors which could cause damage to the drones or the delivery process, like bad weather conditions, obstacles in the air or on the ground, environmental impact, nuisance or theft.

In order to achieve a successful implementation, management should take into consideration all challenges and issues related with the drones. A detailed cost forecast should be made. Pricing policy and costs are the most challenging factors related to the implementation of drones. High cost savings could be made, but in order to do that high costs must be made. And finally management should determine which part of delivery should be done physical and which part by drones. At least in the beginning drones are not able to take over the whole delivery process.

In short the transformation from traditional physical delivery to delivery through the air is a complicated, risky, but also innovative and promising way to carry out PostNL’s mission and vission.

(This report is made by team 40)

Drones applied to agriculture: KMWP – Digital Information Project team 25

KMWP is one of the largest agricultural firms in the Netherlands. The current business of the cooperation is to cultivate crops and to sell them via auctions. Crops are a classic example of substitution goods. The price is determined by the interaction of supply and demand. It is almost impossible to differentiate crops in such a way that buyers will pay a price above the current market price.

Therefore efficiency has always been the most important part of agriculture. KMWP applies precision agriculture. Precision agriculture means doing predictive analysis based on a collection of real-time data of weather, soil and air quality, crop maturity and equipment and labor cost and availability. KMWP writes short- and long-term growth plans, both are based on the data collected by GPS measures and IT analysis.

Drones transform the current business

Drones are yet designed to perform a great share of tasks currently performed by traditional machinery, as agri tractors, and humans. We recommend KMWP to invest in agricultural drone technology on the basis of:

  • Examined value of the drone technology within agriculture;
  • Analyzing and monitoring of land and crops is currently accomplished through personal visits by employees, consultants and suppliers;
  • This process contains the highest cost within analyzing and monitoring crops;
  • Competitive advantages: cost savings and improved product quality;
  • KMWPs CEO assigns to the use of drones after been informed about our research into the use of drones within the agriculture: “If the information proves to be reliable, relevant and applicable, it will be of very great value”;
  • Innovative nature of KMWP;
  • Implementation costs of €5,000 – 57,500.

With the necessary addition of the follow managerial implementation recommendations (tackled risks):

  • Control, possibly by an external party, whether or not the company is financial capable to invest in the technology, with the help of our cost indication. Also, a study should be done to make reliable estimations of cost savings as a result of the implementations of the drones, based on the KMWPs financial data. (3)
  • An exemption at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment in order to get a permanent permit to be able to start operating with drones on their lands. (4)
  • Develop a long-term relationship with a drones- and of the necessary applications producer to reduce development costs by dividing these specific costs. This structure is likely possible because if the product performs well, the producers will increase their sales in all likelihood. (5)
  • Develop, implement and use the drone in first instance for one specific crop that starts growing in spring and will be harvested in autumn. This strategy will reduce switching cost and will ensure that it is easier to test the technology. (1&2)
  • Use the technology initially as an addition to current precision farming processes. It probably will not go well at once, therefore it is important to have a backup for analysing and monitoring the crops.
  • Do not give up the technology if it will not meet the requirements initially, because the development of drones is gaining momentum.
  • Review the process every two months to determine whether or not the drone become profitable in use and/or the investment still makes progress. If neither of these requirements tests positive, then we recommend to stop the investment and the use of the drone, and to wait for new innovations within the drone technology. (5)
  • Train two drone operators (regulated requirement). (4)

Apple products too expensive? Not anymore!

The ‘Apple’ brand stands for luxury, reliability and style. When you buy an Apple product, you experience a certain feeling of class and style. You can expect the product to be of high quality. Therefore, many people would like to own an Apple product.

However, there is also a downside related to this brand. You pay a lot of money, if you want to own a MacBook. For instance, you pay €1329 for the cheapest MacBook. In comparison, you can also buy a computer with the same functions for half the price. Most people find a MacBook too expensive. This means that Apple loses out on sales, due to the fact that people cannot afford to buy a computer of their brand. (http://www.nu.nl/tech/3748427/apple-komt-jaar-met-goedkope-imac-en-dure-iwatch.html).

Luckily, Apple has found a solution to the abovementioned problem. Early next year, Apple will launch a new MacBook, which is specifically developed for people who would like to earn a MacBook, but do not have a lot of money to spend. The motive behind this idea is to be able to sell the MacBook to more people (http://www.nu.nl/tech/3748427/apple-komt-jaar-met-goedkope-imac-en-dure-iwatch.html).

What Apple is going to do, is make use of the concept of ‘versioning’. If a company applies the concept of versioning, it offers the same product in different versions to the public. For the company, this is a positive phenomenon because they will be able to offer the same product for different prices based on diverse levels of quality (bron article).

At the moment, Apple already applies versioning to their Ipads. A customer can choose to either buy a small Ipad (the Ipad mini) or a regular Ipad. The smaller Ipad is more affordable for customers who have less money to spend (http://store.apple.com/nl/ipad).

From January on, Apple will also apply the concept of versioning to the MacBook. So, for everyone who would like to own a MacBook, visit Apple’s website regularly!

macbook

Resources

Articles

Shapiro, C., and Varian, H. 1998. Pricing Information.pdf. In Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press

Websites

http://www.nu.nl/tech/3748427/apple-komt-jaar-met-goedkope-imac-en-dure-iwatch.html

http://store.apple.com/nl/ipad

Digital Transformation Project team 26: KLM

The “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij” (Royal Dutch Airlines) was founded in 1919. It is the oldest airline company in the world, still operating under its original name and is focusing on three core activities: passenger transport, aircraft maintenance and cargo. With the company’s vision they aim to be at the front of the industry. KLM wants to be a company that grows profitably for its shareholders, to be an attractive employer for its staff, and wants to be the customers’ first choice (KLM, 2013). We also see customer service as an import part of a business model since service range does not cover this part of the business entirely. Customers with questions or problems, regardless of their service range, should be treated equally and fair. Furthermore, we think the most important parts of the aviation business model, are the network structure – with Schiphol as their main hub – and the services they offer to distinguish themselves from the competition.

KLM stresses the importance of Information and Technology in their 2007/2008 Smart Leadership Annual Report by stating:

“Information and communication technology is essential for an airline that aims to offer safety and reliability on a 24/7 basis.” (KLM, 2008)

Two of the most important objectives that KLM tries to achieve through its IT goals is operational reliability and security, because “without advanced ICT systems, our company would be unable to operate”, according to Boet Kreiken, Executive VP of Information Services and Chief Information Officer. (KLM, 2008) Next to cost-reducing innovations such as electronic check-in, the annual report mentions the importance of its customer relationship management systems that are vital in ensuring the best possible response to our customers’ wishes (KLM, 2008). This is translated in one of KLM’s core strength, namely interaction with their customers via social media. Recently, KLM stated that the company earns €25 million per year through its social media activities (Leeuwen, 2014).

Because of KLM’s strong focus on service we believe that we can add value by introducing a new technology in this area. There are many technologies emerging or potentially disruptive right now. We decided to hold on to their social aspect and their incredibly high service level when looking into the potential role of a new technology for KLM. Therefore, we choose the Virtual Reality experience as disruptive technology because it fits KLM’s existing business model. The Virtual Reality experience fits in because it can help improve the overall travel experience by making the idle time more useful for passengers. Air travel is considered to be a commodity. KLM differentiates itself by focusing on offering a better service range. By offering a better experience and service than its competitors that are competing on price, KLM will be able to maintain a higher ticket price. Unique experiences such as the proposed virtual reality experience will help realize this goal.

As a first mover in the area of virtual reality technology, KLM will be able to reap the benefits from their first mover advantage while this technology will evolve over time, having the potential to create even more value than projected at this moment.

Sources:

Air France KLM, (2013) ‘Our achievements’, Annual Report 2013, pp.10-14

KLM, (2008). Annual Review Smart Leadership 07/08. Retrieved October 6, 2014 from KLM: http://www.klm.com/corporate/en/images/annualreport07-08_tcm729-335892.pdf

Leeuwen, R. V. (2014, September 8). KLM VERDIENT JAARLIJKS 25 MILJOEN VIA SOCIALE MEDIA. Retrieved October 6, 2014 from MT: http://www.mt.nl/591/87177/innovatie-in-2014/klm-verdient-jaarlijks-25-miljoen-via-sociale-media.html

Android Lollipop

Recently Google Inc. has released its latest operating system nicknamed “lollipop”.  Advertised as a new colorful and fun interphase, Google Inc. tries to capture the attention of the masses for its new operating system.  The marketing campaign seems to be working well as never before has public been intrigued by the new release of an operating system for an Android phone.  Nevertheless, its level of success is highly dependent on its ability to compete with Apple’s iOS 8 also released just a while back.

The Android Lollipop would be Google’s biggest operating system upgrade thus far.  Compared to its predecessor Android KitKat, massive improvements were made to enhance the user satisfaction.  However, the main concern for Google would be how it compares to the latest iOS 8 as Apple remains to be its biggest competitor.

Lollipop’s main distinction from its predecessors is its new “Material Design” aesthetic.  The “Material Design” aims to animate the device making the screen look both flat and 3D.  Together with bold colors and fun animations, the Lollipop aims to increase user satisfaction through its newly upgraded interface.  Other noticeable changes include improvements in its notification systems, lockscreen features, multi-tasking functions, processing time, battery life, etc.  However, as we compare both operating systems side by side, there is really not much of an added advantage to using the new Android Lollipop by Google.  The new “Material Design” seems to be all there is to it as other improvements on its functions are nothing new when compared to the iOS 8.  However, a major strength of the Android system compared to Apple’s is its battery life.  The iPhone has been associated with poor battery life over the years and iOS 8 fails to show any strong improvement in this area.  In contrast, Lollipop has added a dedicated battery saver mode which will mean an extra ninety minutes of usage per charge.

All in all, Google Inc. would need to be able to create a more distinct outperformance in its operating system if it aims gain a large market share.  At present, the chance of Google narrowing its gap compared to Apple does not seem very promising.

Digital Transformation Project Team 20: A Digital Transformation at Taberna Dushi Restaurant

Introduction:

Taberna Dushi is a small restaurant located in the heart of Rotterdam, founded in 2003 by Henry and Erna Garces-Colina, a long time married couple. Taberna is the Latin word for a “casual dining”, a meeting place where guests can casually eat and drink. Dushi means “tasty” in Papiamento, the owner’s language. Thus, the name Taberna Dushi represents the desire to create a restaurant that combines both atmosphere and cuisine of the Mediterranean and Caribbean region (Garces-Colina, 2014).

When looking at the current use of IT at Taberna Dushi, we found that there is an extreme lack of use of information systems and technologies in the daily business operations. Traditional modes of communication are still in place. Inventory tracking, order registration, and staff scheduling are all done manually on sheets of paper. The key disadvantages of this traditional way of working is that it results in a very time-consuming business with important data getting lost. In order for the company to thrive in today’s competition and be on equal footing with bigger players (chain restaurants/fast food), it is time for Taberna Dushi to enter the digital work from the analogue one, but keeping in mind the innate culture of Taberna Dushi which makes it special. By doing so, operational efficiency will be increased by streamlining certain business processes. With our digital transformation project paper we aim to provide a recommended business plan for Taberna Dushi by implementing an overall digital transformation to the business to capitalise on the IS strategic potential. The business operations identified are:

  1. Inventory management
  2. Order management
  3. Internal communication
  4. Online presence and Marketing

Given the nature of the restaurant and its owners, certain constraints have been placed to adhere with the norms and values surrounding Taberna Dushi. The IT solutions ought to be easy to use in terms of complexity and learning. Given the fiscal restraints, the budget is limited therefore cheaper alternatives that provide the same/similar output are opted.

Solutions:

  1. SLIMis and Google Spreadsheets: SLIMis is the digital inventory management system for Sligro, the main wholesaler of Taberna Dushi. SLIMis automatically replenishes inventory in time and always aims to maintain the right stock level (Sligro, 2014). As Sligro is not the only wholesaler, we also recommend the use of Google Spreadsheets to track the remaining inventory.
  2. CloverTwo: A mobile ordering app for the waiters to take the orders from the guests.
  3. Google Spreadsheets and Google Agenda: These Google Application are an easy and cheap way for Taberna Dushi to improve its  internal communication, including staff scheduling and making implicit knowledge explicit to all staff members.
  4. Weebly and Social Media Management: Weebly enables Taberna Dushi to offer a mobile- and search-engine optimised website, which is fundamental in the 21st century. Moreover, time should be devoted to online standing of Taberna Dushi, with a particular focus on social media and reviews.

The report elaborates more on the suggested solutions. By adopting the different IS solutions to the current business operations we expect a significant improvement in operational efficiency in terms of time saving and cost cutting, while expecting an increase in sales by better managing the information in the business via business intelligence and data analytics in the system.

References:

– Garces-Colina, H. and Garces-Colina, E. (2014), Interview Taberna Dushi 09-10-2014

– Sligro, 2014. http://www.sligro.nl/slimis.htm  

– CloverTwo, 2014. http://www.clovertwo.com/producten/

Smart locks – not the key to a smart home?

Just this week another smart home gadget was brought to market, gaining attention in multiple media sources. August is a new smart lock concept designed by Yves Béhar, a renowned designer behind many tech products. But is the design enough for this lock to rise above the rest? Many similar concepts have come out in the last years, none of which have become hits the same way another smart home device, the Nest thermostat has.

My first encounter with smart locks was probably about 10 years ago already during a visit to a housing expo in my hometown in Finland. Swedish lock manufacturer, the largest lock company in the world by sales volume, ASSA Abloy, had just brought their house central locking system to market. Similar to the newer designs, the system would be installed on top of an existing lock. Smartphones weren’t out yet at the time, so it would work with a fob similar to car keys with locking and unlocking buttons. Quite high tech at the time, but attention was taken away from it at the expo by the intelligent sauna that could be turned on with a text message. We love our saunas.

As a big fan of the show Shark Tank, when I first heard of the new August lock I thought it was the same company that got an investment offer on the show. Turns out there are a few entries to this market already. UniKey didn’t end up taking the Sharks’ money, but was brought to market together with a traditional lock manufacturer. Kwikset manufactures the locks whereas UniKey will provide the application to control the lock, the “key”. Why cut margins by not manufacturing it by themselves? UniKey’s founder Phil Dumas says the value is in the services provided, not the actual lock. Most smart locks allow for sending keys to people who need temporary access to your home from your smart device and the systems collect information on who has entered the home, so for example a parent can know when their child has arrived home from school. Having a larger network of people with the smart lock installed reduces the need to educate the user and they will have the app already installed on their phone. The more users they will gather on their lock platform, the more likely they are able to convert users of the app to lock owners. The smart lock companies will make their money in the long run based on the levels of service the lock will offer the user. They could eventually become the locksmiths; you can pay to create keys or pay a subscription fee to support the amount of keys you need.

The new smart locks still have the same flaw, which made my parents go with the traditional lock and key when they changed their locks. They are all powered by batteries which have to be replaced. In the case of August this would happen every year. They are not maintenance free and when it happens to break or the owner’s phone dies, you still need to rely on a traditional key. It’s not a complete replacement, but interestingly it could be an enabler for the new sharing economy. AirBnB locations installed with smart locks could reduce hassle with handling keys. Band training spaces and other shared locations could also benefit from both user access control as well as the records kept of each entry.

The big difference between smart locks and the smart thermostat is that the thermostat ends up paying itself off through reduced heating expenses. This is based on the information it gathers about the inhabitants of the home and their movements, adjusting to their heating needs. As the thermostat already knows when you are in the house, a smart lock isn’t needed for this purpose. It only makes it easier to grant access to your home. They are nice to have, but they do not add much to the security of the home and the value in the smart home ecosystem is low. The cost of one lock is about 200 US dollars so it is quite a price for not having to take your key out of your pocket (you’ll still carry one).

Sources:
http://pando.com/2013/05/08/life-after-shark-tank-the-real-story-of-how-unikey-finally-came-to-market/
http://gizmodo.com/are-smart-locks-secure-or-just-dumb-511093690/all
http://gizmodo.com/heres-your-smart-lock-of-the-future-today-510358843
http://www.wired.com/2014/10/august-smart-lock-review/

Go fund yourself

A few years ago, crowdfunding was only a buzzword, which was not known for the mainstream public. Over the last few years, Kickstarter has changed this totally. The company has attracted more than five million contributors pledging close to $1 billion, funding more than 55,000 individual projects. Crowdfunding has become a common way to gain funds in times when banks are not eager to lend money and where people are looking for projects to invest in. A lot of succesfull crowdfunding campaings excist which solve real problems and provide good examples for regular marketing campaings. With an effective pitch and an ambitious goal, pledges (Kickstarters’s word for supporters) are surely coming your way.

A lot of good examples can be told about crowdfunding on Kickstarter, making it the number one crowdsourcing platform in the world. However, the platform also attracks loads of less succesfull initiatives. Without the right motive, crowdsourcing platforms are doomed to fail. There are a lot of examples where people seek for pledgers to subsidize a healthy income. For instance, a Kickstarter project excisted which wanted money for writing a Christian cartoon using a free drawing programme. A lot of bands also try to get funds for recording albums and come out empty handed.

Recently, Southpark has devoured a whole episode on Kickstarter, ridiculing projects like beforementioned. The boys start up a company called ‘The Washington Redskins’, named after the football team. It is hilarious to see the prejudices about crowdfunding coming by. It also stated again how relevant Kickstarter is in the present society and that people will always have to be critical about projects on the platform.

http://www.southpark.nl/full-episodes/s18e01-go-fund-yourself

Do you think that crowdsourcing will become even more popular in the future or will people go back to the traditional form of funding through banks and private investers?

References

– http://www.southpark.nl/full-episodes/s18e01-go-fund-yourself

– http://www.forbes.com/sites/amadoudiallo/2014/01/24/crowdfunding-secrets-7-tips-for-kickstarter-success/

– http://www.buzzfeed.com/cconnelly/the-15-worst-kickstarter-projects-of-all-time-s3x

3D printing as a disruptive technology for LEGO, team 3

As recent examples have proven, success for companies is only temporary, thus, pro actively detecting the signs of the times and reacting accordingly is of utmost importance for a company survival. In light of increased IT pervasiveness, our paper analysed current business model and supporting IS strategy, recognized potentially emerging 3D technology, evaluated its impact and developed an action plan and a set of recommendations for the LEGO Group.

The analysis of LEGO’s current strategy revealed several things: 1) Market competition in LEGO’s prime market is fierce, due to its maturity stage. 2)  Within LEGO’s prime market, LEGO’s core customer segments are shrinking 3) LEGO’s value proposition is under attack from competitors, as the interlocking brick patent, which is the essence of LEGO’s value proposition, has expired. 4) LEGO’s current strategy is still betting on offline retail channels, despite the growth in e-commerce. 5) LEGO has already invested heavily into their back end software to support their business processes and hence only small efficiency gains are expected through additional IT investments in this area. 6) LEGO has already experience with customer co-creation through its LEGO Idea platform. 7) Emerging trends such as hyper differentiation, resonance marketing as well as making use of the long tail have only been rudimentary tested by LEGO through their LEGO Idea platform. 8) Toy industry is a newly vulnerable market, and that new entrants, which have been enabled through 3D printing will potentially become the biggest threat for LEGO. Despite changes in the market, LEGO still has enough time to pro-actively react, especially since mainstream 3D printing is still 5 to 10 years away from now. Our recommendations were as follows:

LEGO should approach key companies in the domain of consumer-oriented 3D printers to evaluate their offerings.  As the quality of individual printers cannot be verified, quality can be ensured by standardizing the plastic-based input.  Licensing of one model in the initial stages will decrease the risks associated with implementation and allow LEGO to evaluate the economic feasibility of the 3D printing concept. This would also facilitate testing and general quality control due to the strict control of production vehicle.

As consumer-oriented 3D printing will take at least a decade to reach adoption rates, it is important that initially printers are available in the general area. Finding such printers would require an Internet-enabled search platform. Creating a new platform would be too costly, and hence partnership with an existing 3D search platform, such as 3dhubs.com, and the creation of a LEGO branded section would be more suitable.

The current LEGO Ideas platform serves as a crowd-sourced ideation platform for LEGO fans to submit designs. As this serves as the primary ‘design’ portal, an extension of this platform would be appropriate for the needs of this project.By implementing the 3D printing concept on a small scale LEGO will be able to evaluate the feasibility of 3D printing for its products and its potential as a disruptor.

Digital Transformation Project Group 18: Transforming HousingAnywhere B.V.

Our Digital Transformation Project revolves around the student housing market. As most of you know, the student housing market in the Netherlands as well as in most university cities is fierce and especially for exchange students and international interns, housing is often difficult to find. Finding appropriate housing remotely and for a limited time period can be very difficult, since the traditional way of looking for housing entails the viewing of several rooms and usually housing contracts have minimum durations that are longer than university exchange semesters last.

The company that we have analyzed is Housing Anywhere B.V., a local start-up company founded in 2009 in Rotterdam by two former students of Erasmus University. Through their website, they provide an online platform which aims at solving the afore mentioned problem.

The current business model of the company intends outgoing students to sublet their rooms to incoming students, enabling them to find appropriate housing. For both, the housing-suppliers and the housing-consumers, the platform is free to use. Nevertheless, HousingAnywhere’s business model entails several weaknesses and threats, as the revenue created does neither originate from the housing-consumers nor the housing-suppliers but is generated through contracting a third party, namely the relevant universities in each city, who pay for their students to have a positive experience.

Overview of HousingAnywhere’s platform structure:

HousingAnywhere

Since these universities do not directly benefit from HousingAnywhere’s offer, this system creates dependencies and threats to the sustainability of the growth and competitiveness of HousingAnywhere. Integrated in the problem of the dependencies on the universities is the problem of a limited adoption rate of the platform and a limited revenue because the current business model focuses on students as platform users on both sides and excludes many potential suppliers of rooms, as controlled by the universities. Thus, a critical mass on the supply side is missing to ensure a fast growth of the network.

In order to counter these identified problems, we propose several changes in the overall business model, such as broadening the possible supplier base and changing the revenue model from a sole dependency on the universities to a model where the housing-consumers generate the main revenue stream. Additionally, we suggest to subsidize the supply side not only monetarily but also through the offering of value-adding services.

Along with a change in the business model, HousingAnywhere has a need for an information strategy that accompanies its transformation. Thus, we present three information systems that will help HousingAnywhere to add value to their offer and attract more users on both sides of the network: (1) A data system, that shall analytically add value to the data gathered by HousingAnywhere’s platforms, (2) an automated payment system, that provides a more secure payment environment to housing-consumers and suppliers, and (3) an automated contracting system that shall help suppliers around the world to easily set up and exchange contracts with their respective customers online. The analysis of benefits, costs and risks encourages us to suggest to implement all three solutions in order to improve HousingAnywhere’s business model.

In order to leverage the benefits of the proposed solutions as early as possible, we suggest that HousingAnywhere starts the planning, development and implementation of the systems right away, thus increasing the potential for growth and a sustainable competitive advantage in the market.

Nevertheless, in order to reduce the risks incorporated with such a major change in the business model and the information strategy, we recommend HousingAnywhere to plan the implementation of the new information systems incrementally and run pilots before fully rolling out the systems. Together with thorough market research and an aligned marketing strategy these recommendations can help HousingAnywhere to defend their competitive position against new market entrants and to grow.

Digital Transformation team 38: Cloud based desktop virtualization for Allianz SE

Allianz SE is a global financial service provider and among the world’s largest insurance companies. To facilitate its employees in working as effective as possible, they currently under achieve in terms of their IS. Their IS outdated, leaving employees with outdated equipment and also missing out on other benefits.

Due to Allianz’ outdated IS strategy, a digital transformation is recommended. It became quite clear that cloud computing along with desktop virtualization is the IT innovation Allianz needs. At the moment, Allianz uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN is a network that uses the local internet connection to access the company’s network. Hence, Allianz employees are already able to work from home and different locations. But cloud computing combined with desktop virtualization has many more advantages; it is faster, more secure, higher efficiency on IT support and could save costs.

Basically, the concept of cloud computing combined with desktop virtualization is the delivery of virtualized applications and hardware over the internet to the end-user. These applications and hardware are stored and run in massive data centers. Allianz already has two data centers, one in Munich, the other one in Frankfurt. This new system would not only benefit Allianz on productivity, but also result in cost savings on IT support, energy bill, licensing and hardware purchases.

The business model of Allianz is not going to change because of the digital transformation. Allianz is able to provide the same services as they used to do, only now more efficient. The changes are more visible internally. The employees of Allianz gain more independency and are more able to work at home, which will lead to changes in the role of the manager.

Concerning the employees, cloud computing enhances their flexibility and mobility. Mainly, because they have access to their own digital workspace anywhere in the world, whenever they want, if they have access to the internet. Of course, this brings along changes. Location becomes less important, because Allianz employees can easily work on different locations or even at home through cloud computing. Allianz should decide how much freedom within this increased flexibility and mobility, they would like to give their employees. Furthermore, the phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been discussed. This allows Allianz employees to bring the device they like and are familiar with to work. With cloud computing it is easier to outroll BOYD.

Despite the fact that this digital transformation will cost much time and many resources. It is believed that the future of Allianz with cloud computing will be beneficial. With the proposed system Allianz will have a reliable IT system for the decade

TUI & Virtual Reality: DTP Group 8

The travel industry is characterized by change and fierce competition. For the past years, companies in this industry moved more and more towards an online model. The move towards the internet lowered the barriers to entry, since the capital invested is now considerably lower with the disappearance of brick-and-mortar stores. This brought an even fiercer competitive environment with it, with new entrants such as Airbnb and Booking.com. These companies, in contrast to the traditional and already established companies, solely have an online presence. Another change going on in this industry is the increase in disintermediation. The added value of the travel agency as ‘booking-agent’ is decreasing, as travelers no longer need this intermediary party to book their holidays. Plane tickets, hotels and trips can all be booked separately online, where the customizability is mostly higher than with travel agencies. Therefore, the travel industry is an interesting and dynamic industry to incorporate a digital transformation in.

TUI Travel PLC

TUI Travel PLC is a large player in this industry. The company is aware of the changes that are going on and is trying to play into the ongoing trends by finding innovative ways to serve their changing customers. With a focus on personal service, inspiring technology and an increased customizability, TUI hopes to successfully change with this market, while focusing on their core capability: providing an all-in service for a care-free holiday.

Emerging Technology: Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is slowly but surely becoming a reality. This emerging technology has been in development for quite a while, but the official launch is coming, if all goes well, in the summer of 2015. Next to its many contributions it could make in the healthcare industry, this device can of course also play a major role in a more ‘fun’ way. While the travel industry is undergoing changes due to the development of the Internet, virtual reality might be just the technology for this industry to take the customer experience to the next level. With the implementation of this technology, holidaymakers can get an even clearer picture of their travel destination and accommodation. TUI can leverage this technology to attract potential customers to their stores, thereby increasing their offline brand awareness and online sales. As it is highly feasible this technology will be ready for use soon, this is the time for companies to experiment with and implement virtual reality into their value proposition and market strategy.

Recommendations

Based on our findings we want to provide several recommendations to TUI’s management. These recommendations provide insight into the implementation of our proposed technology and can be carried out directly. In addition, we provided future perspectives for the management to execute in subsequent years.

  • The introduction of Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets in its next-generation stores. We recommend a set of two headsets per next generation store at the implementation phase.

Future – Expand the amount of stores using the headsets.

  • Investigate the most popular destinations that are chosen by customers of the next generation stores. Based on this data, we recommend to start filming these holiday destinations first, including the hotels and the environment.

Future – film the other, less popular destinations. In addition, obtain data about the preferences of customers in regular travel agencies.

  • Provide trainings for the next generation store employees about the proper usage of the headset. In addition, the headsets need to be correctly installed into the store.

Future – Employees from regular travel agencies need to receive a training as well. In addition, employees should participate in courses to refresh their knowledge when large changes are made to the headset.

  • Plan and execute a marketing campaign to create awareness of this new service. This campaign can be added into the current marketing campaign executed for the next-generation stores.

Future – Plan and execute marketing campaigns to draw more attention to (and sales) to destinations that do not prove to be popular. The usage of big data is very important here.

Group 27 DTP: Augmented Reality at a Grid Manager

Dear readers,

Our Digital Transformation Project revolved around the company Alliander and its subsidiary Liander, a Dutch electrical grid manager. Let us have a look at the company and its environment first. Alliander is an electrical grid company. The company is formed by three sub companies: Liander, Endinet and Liandon. Together they are responsible for maintenance, renewal, expansion and modification of the energy transmission network. The total net revenue and profits after tax of the conglomerate for 2013 is respectively 1.744 million Euros and 288 million Euros. Liander, one of the daughter firms of Alliander, is responsible for the management of electricity and gas grids in its service area. Its service area consists of the provinces Gelderland, Noord-Holland, Flevoland and big parts of Friesland and Zuid-Holland. Liander takes care of the construction, maintenance and renewal of the electricity and gas grids. They handle the transport of electricity and gas to respectively 2,9 million and 2,1 million households, companies and institutions via these grids.

Liander and the industry are facing several problems. The environment, in which utility providing companies like Liander operate, is uncertain. The consumers’ energy needs have been shifting and they are producing local energy through windmills and solar panels nowadays. The current state of the energy-delivering infrastructure requires high capital investments but the margins are low and unpredictable which discourages investors to invest in this market. Environmental concerns, CO2 output, the smart grid, ageing workforce, security, the financial crisis fallout, power demands that increase in the cities and decrease in the rural areas all contribute to making this industry unpredictable. Yet, the delivery of electricity is vital to our everyday continuity.

Lianders current IT application is a smart meter for customers. The smart meter is a digital energy meter, which is automatically registered for electricity and gas usage. The smart meter is a recent, innovative tool that supports societal, technical and ecological developments and keeps energy utility affordable to all consumers. The smart meter is basically a digital energy meter, which automatically registers the electricity and gas usage of an individual consumer. The main benefit of this is that consumers gain more insight in their energy use and are able to reduce energy consumption.

However, in order to transform the way the company operates, we propose that Liander introduces an augmented reality head mounted display for its groundwork activities to help the construction workers locate the energy infrastructure that lies underground. This will help the company to prevent accidental damage to the infrastructure, which will result in a higher reliability of energy supply and a higher consumer satisfaction. Liander has an average annual expenditure of €15 million because of these accidents and 19% of the energy downtime in Liander’s service area was caused by construction work. This will be reduced significantly by our proposed augmented reality system.

Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. It integrates digital information with live video of the user’s environment in real time. Real-world environment elements are augmented by a computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The best examples, through which augmented reality can be manifested, are devices such as smartphones, tablets and Head-Mounted Displays.

When there is less damage done to the infrastructure, there will be less time required repairing defects, which ultimately results in less downtime and power outages of the energy grid. This is in line with Liander’s goal to reduce downtimes as much as possible to guarantee quality service to the customers, which is one of Lianders main priorities. Also, when mechanics and construction workers are equipped with and using devices that support the application, they can work more precisely and faster. They will know where the electricity cables and gas pipes are located, which will save time when digging. This makes their operations more efficient. The AR system is also something that falls neatly in the same category as their existing IT based solution of the smart meter.

In order to successfully develop this application we recommend that Liander focuses on the following subjects to increase the chances that the application will become a success and mitigate the risk.
• Involve every possible stakeholder and incorporate his or her needs.
• Database completeness and a centralized database: It is crucial the database contains every piece of information available on the current state of the different underground infrastructures and not only the information about Liander’s energy infrastructure. A centralized database is more flexible and enables quicker data exchange trough updates and prevents multiple versions that could exist with decentralized databases.
• Communication: Thorough internal and external communication about the project will create the right expectations about the capabilities of the system and what everyone requires. This will increase commitment on all levels.
• Training: It is crucial that ground workers and subcontractors are trained and instructed to use the new system. Their input and feedback is vital in creating a value adding system.
• Security: The centralized database has to be secure to avoid malpractice and abuse of the information. Copperthiefs, terrorists and other people that do not have the right intentions should not be able to access this information.

If Liander takes these conclusions as a serious guideline, the chances of success for this project will be highest. Changing old routines and working styles is difficult in any large and well-established workforce and there will be inevitably some resistance by the workers. The key point here is to communicate the benefits and reduce their uncertainty. It should be clear to them that this option helps them complete their work faster and does not increase their workload or responsibilities.

The use of the beacon technology as a disruptive innovation of the RET! Digital Transformation Project (Group 12)

This Digital Transformation Project will evaluate the use of the beacon technology for the Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram (RET from now on). The RET is active since 1878 as a Dutch public transportation company. At this moment, the RET has 2685 employees and 10 offices in the Randstad. In 2013, RET had a net profit of 10.9 million euros, compared to a net profit of 10.3 million euros in 2012.

The RET’s main focus are its customers, for whom RET aims to provide a high quality traveling experience and therefore RET always tries to improve customers’ experience and convenience. The mission statement ‘On the right tracks’ aligns with its customer focus. RET’s business strategy prioritizes customers at all times.. The customer satisfaction rate had an average of 7.5 in 2013. In order to maintain and improve travelers convenience RET needs to innovate frequently

The beacon technology was introduced in mid-2013. The beacon can be seen as a transmitter. When a device, for example an iPhone, comes in range of a beacon, the beacon will send out a signal with a universally unique identifier. The beacon system works with Bluetooth Low Energy, which is very energy efficient.

Read More…

Moving to the cloud: the digital transformation of Eastman (team 2)

east

Introduction          

Eastman Chemical Company is a company that specializes globally in chemicals. It produces a broad range of advanced materials, additives and functional products, specialty chemicals, and fibers that are found in products that the consumer uses every day. The company was founded in the United States in 1920 and its headquarters is currently located in Kingsport, Tennessee. The firm has 14,000 employees and has manufacturing sites in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. In 2013, the sales revenue was 9.4 billion dollars. Eastman is divided into five business segments: additives and functional products, adhesives and plasticizers, advanced materials, fibers, and specialty fluids and intermediates (Eastman, n.d.).

Eastman does not heavily rely on Information Technology in their core business model. However, IT plays a large supporting role in their daily operations. Therefore, Eastman´s current information strategy is using its IT to support the business strategy. At the moment, IT plays a crucial role in determining how the company:

  • Performs analytics, Planning and Promotion
  • Interacts with potential and current suppliers and customers;
  • Provides a platform for internal activities such as collaboration between employees;
  • Manages, saves and secures all important documents.

Solution          

From the interview with representatives from the company, it is clear that Eastman intends to transfer all of its business and IT activities to a cloud.  Due to the increased need of mobility of employees, Eastman needs to support access to applications and data from different locations and from different devices. Our interviewees indicated that Eastman wants to move technologies such as SAP and SharePoint to the cloud. In addition, Eastman also wants to improve the CRM application company-wide. Currently, the CRM application is using the SAP platform but Eastman is considering other platforms such as Salesforce. The solution that we are going to present in this section is two-pronged:

  • First, Eastman needs to implement the disruptive technology of cloud computing throughout the entire firm;
  • Second, Eastman needs to combine cloud computing with mobile mobility management.

We will be discussing two technologies for our solution. We will start with the disruptive technology of cloud computing after which we will discuss the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) approach and tool.

Conclusion

The role of information technology in the business model will remain unchanged: IT is still used to support the existing business strategy. However, we do believe that the solution we proposed will have a significant impact on how Eastman can deal with the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that were identified in the SWOT-analyses conducted and the movement around the five forces of their industry. Therefore, the fit between the proposed solution and the current business strategy is good: implementing the solution will help Eastman gain a stronger and better stance against the competitors in the industry and it will assist Eastman in executing their current business strategy of differentiation, since relationships with clients and customers will be maintained more easily and effectively, while innovations can be done more efficiently.

Sources

Our digital transformation project
Eastman, n.d. Company profile. Available at: http://www.eastman.com/Company/About_Eastman/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Digital Transformation Project Group 35: Using GPS data in Big Data analytics (Achmea)

Companies have difficulties dealing with the fast rising amount of data and the process of deep analytics, while the mining of (un)structured data offers big opportunities for firms to gain a competitive advantage. Our report offers a solution for Achmea to gain such a competitive advantage.

Why Big data? Because the topic of Big Data is extremely hot. The trend can be seen everywhere like with the Bonuscard from Albert Heijn or the scanning social media by advertising companies. Even our BIM master is recently offering a Big Data elective. See this graph of Google search trends on Big Data:

Big Data trends

Why the insurance business and why Achmea? The insurance industry is big, with over 54.000 employees and 75 billion euro premiums in The Netherlands in 2013. Achmea possesses a 25% market share in this industry. The core business consist of non-life insurance, health insurance, income protection insurance, term-life insurance and investments of the premiums contributed. Following the current trends and developments in the insurance business Achmea has to stay up-to-date with this rising and emergent technologies in order to deal with the fierce competition and to fulfil customer needs. Information Technology has also taken an important role in the current business model, because most insurance companies invest a lot of money in IT and lots of sales are done online.

Achmea

Insurance has always been a data intensive industry. Regulation has pushed insurers to push data governance and data quality across the organisation. The more forward looking insurers have seen it a opportunity to get more value out of the data. Coupled with that insurers now have access to new source of data, such as GPS data. Data has been an important topic for insurers for a long time, which makes insurer professionals really data savvy already. Some of the key challenges and benefits are:

Challenges:
– Creating a single organisation wide view
– Very large volumes of unstructured data, great insights and great value, but locked away and hard to get to

Benefits:
– Significant reduction in fraud rates
– Improved pricing: higher pricing for higher risks but also lower pricing for lower risks
– Improves process efficiency

Big Data and also GPS data are a valuable addition to the current data management. Adding GPS data to the enormous pile of information and analyse it will help increasing the value of this information. Namely, because GPS will add the components ‘time’ and ‘place’ to the huge amount of information already available. We argue that the best solution to do this is by including a GPS feature in the phone of the client. It is not said that GPS is necessary but it is argued that GPS is a valuable contribution to the total process of deep analytics.

Eventually the use of Big data will become standard, so it will be inevitable to use Big Data in best possible way. So, the process of deep analytics, including the use of GPS data is one of the next steps in the future of the insurance businesses. Eventually this should lead to a change of behaviour, services and product of insurance companies.

Digital transformation project team 32

Internet has transformed many businesses. Among them is the housing industry. A process of disintermediation has made it possible for rentors and lessors to find each other through platforms. The company we studied is one of those platforms. Exchange students can rent out their rooms to incoming students through this company’s website.
The end-users do not have to pay for this privilege, all revenue comes from universities attached to this network. Universities like exchange students, they are good for their rankings as well as the atmosphere at their campus. The only problem is: where do you leave them? You can hardly expect the inbound students to sleep in the park and shower in the on-campus gym. Some type of housing facilities needs to be provided. Typically the costs associated with providing students housing are high: one either needs to build housing or agree on expensive contracts with housing providers. Comparatively a membership of this platform can provide some rooms for a fraction of the costs.

IT already plays a large part in the success of the company. The global availability and the low costs are only possible through the internet. Yet, we belief there is even more to gain from technology for this platform. We belief that an implementation of data collection and analysis tools will allow this company to become more successful and efficient.

We would suggest a two-pronged approach. On one hand, we feel that the website can be changed slightly to collect more usage data. On the other hand, we would like to implement a disruptive technology called agent mining. Agent mining is a system where the employees of a company provide extra information to the company. This information shall then be collected and analyzed through software. Once thoroughly analyzed, the information is formulated in a comprehensive manner and communicated back to the agents.

This strategy is particularly useful in this particular business model. The company uses student representatives to approach and sell to universities. They have the most direct contact with the universities and therefore often have the best understanding of those universities. That information should be obtained from the student, because students have a quick turnover and therefore information might be lost. Furthermore, this company operates in many different countries and therefore needs to know a lot about regulation, culture and needs in many different settings. Information of a specific country is not just useful for that particular area, it is also useful for areas that see many students come from that country.

Once the company has obtained the data, there are plenty of uses for it. First of all, it is information that should be taken into consideration in decisions. Secondly, this data should be used to convince other universities to join the platform. Thirdly, the data should be used to attract more end users. Fourthly, this information should be used to create behavioral learning statistics to convince end users to rent (out) their room through this platform.
We belief that these changes, if implemented can assist the platform in its goal to grow bigger and help more students find a room.

Digital transformation project: 3D printing for Nike (Group 30)

This report showed that 3D printing probably will have a large impact on the shoe industry. Companies like Nike and New Balance are already experimenting with shoes that have 3D printing elements. Currently, it is not possible to produce shoe components with 3D printing that are durable and cost-effective. The shoe companies use 3D printing currently for the rigid parts of shoes (e.g. spikes). The next will have to be that semi-rigid and soft components can be produced using 3D printing. Furthermore, the processes of producing all the parts using 3D printing will have to be optimized and will have to reduce in costs. When this will be achieved, 3D printing will have several large benefits, as discussed.

Although Nike already started to adopt 3D printing, the recommendation to Nike is to further adopt 3D printing and to make customization a larger part of their business model. This means that mass manufacturing will have a smaller part in the future business model of Nike. However, Nike should not completely move away from mass manufacturing. This is due to the fact that, 3D printing will not completely replace assembly lines or machines. Instead, 3D printing will serve as a complement to traditional manufacturing. Furthermore, it is the question whether all customers will be willing to buy customized shoes. This reason for this is that they have to go through the process of designing, which slows down the buying process.

The use of 3D printing can change the business model of Nike in several ways. With 3D printing, Nike will be able to extend NIKEiD. This is due to the fact that more complex designs with more details can be made. The role of the physical stores could also change when customization becomes a larger part of the business of Nike. The role of the physical stores could be that they measure customers’ feet and record data for the design of shoes. Another role that 3D printing could play for Nike is the ease of production location. Nike footwear has mainly outsourced production to Vietnam, China and Indonesia. With 3D printing, it could be possible to bring the production (back) to western countries because it is less labor intensive. This would make it possible for Nike to bring the design process and the manufacturing process closer together. As a result, customers can receive their customized shoes quicker because of shorter lead times.

There are several risks that the management of Nike should take into consideration when further implementing 3D printing. First, 3D printing produces unhealthy air emission and this could produce health problems for the manufacturing workforce of Nike. Second, 3D printing systems use a lot of energy. This could lead to high energy costs for Nike and this could reduce the costs benefit that comes along with 3D printing. The last risk is that, in the long run, customers themselves could become end producers of shoes and do not need Nike anymore for the production of their shoes.

Shoes will be 3D printed within 10 years. Therefore, the implementation of 3D printing for Nike should be achieved already in 2025.

Tinder: B2C evolution

B2C is becoming more sophisticated and more inventive. The trend is as follows: more and more creators try to fulfill various customers’ needs, even the most intimate ones.

Now a new mobile application has been introduced. Being perceived as another social networking venture, Tinder appears to be a more innovative one. So what is Tinder about? For sure, Tinder, available for Android and Apple users is a kind of a social network. It’s value proposition is that this very application is the best mean to find the most interesting people around you and to get connected to them.

It works like that: you synchronize tinder with a Facebook account or just upload your photo. When you decide to use it, it shows the people around you with there pictures one by one. If you like the person’s picture, you push “like”. If you don’t like you just push “pass”. If you have mutually liked each other, then the chat opens and you can arrange a meeting.

Several issues are quite interesting in the story of Tinder. First of all, it is quite new that information technologies go so deep into consumer’s life. Previously, the trend of “online dating” was not popular due to its bad reputation. Tinder tried and succedeed in making the online dating not only “not ashamed” but also popular and widespread. Moreover, Tinder’s value proposition allows the application to avoid “useless chats” how they are called by some journalists, who write about a new app. This characteristics make Tinder differ from such a popular social network as Facebook, for example.

No Tinder is proceeding with its internationalization process, trying to expand overseas. According to online dating statistics, the owners of these portals are very profitable despite of the existing unpopularity. So could you only imagine how much money will Tinder bring to its creators?

Sources:

http://www.gotinder.com/blog

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

http://www.apptinder.com/