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.