A Changing Landscape

Owning a distinctive and attractive service in any given industry is always the goal for business owners. Latest trends, however, make services less industry-centered. The key driving force is, of course, digitalization and all the possibilities that come with it. Is Uber even a transportation service? It’s rather a platform for such services.

Owners Becoming Collaborators

While such businesses are obviously creating value by building platforms for the actual providers, other companies are experimenting with new relationships. The fashion brand Gap joined forces with Visa to introduce Gap Mobile4U, which sends Gap members personal offers for deals at their nearest store.

Leading banks in Spain are teaming up with corporations to launch Red Lyra, a cross-industry platform using blockchain technology. With Red Lyra, banks, mobile payment providers and a telecommunications provider are working together to create new opportunities through digitalization. For such ventures, previously closed ecosystems must be opened, databases must be shared and platforms must be built.

Partnerships also enable better omni-channel experiences as more touch points become available. A new mindset is necessary as collaboration results in shared suppliers, clients and customer experience.

Information Connects Partners

The rise of Big Data and the abundance of information that comes with it helps companies link previously unconnected industries. Digitalization across organisations is rapidly building up new databases that can provide fresh sources as well.

Open information layers, APIs are helping stakeholders form these connections and share data.
End-to-end will no longer mean in-house solutions, but something that is co-created in a service design process.

Collaboration Through Design

Businesses will still own the domain knowledge required to start shared services, but it will require new strategies on the highest level. Since the rise of smartphones, UX became an increasingly popular term. Firms across all industries are slowly changing their modus operandi to be more customer and human centered.  Even in B2B, UX is something the C-suite started to recognize. Still bound by legal terms, policies, shareholder needs, these new design methods are being tested and implemented by many companies across all industries.

Companies like Telekom, IBM, PepsiCo or GE already use frameworks like Design Thinking to spark conversations and prototype new ideas.

In the cross-industry environment, with several stakeholders in place, it’s hard to be customer centered without applying Service Design methods on a strategic level. That’s where design consultancies can jump on board and help with facilitating the collaboration. Professional designers have the skills to co-create prototypes, strategies and business models with the active involvement of all stakeholders.

While completing projects is more efficient with such expert partners, it’s important to sensitize the in-house team through design trainings to be more customer-centred. Of course, cross-industry collaboration on its own needs a company-wide shift of mind.

It seems the benefits of such partnerships are obvious, and while the borders between distinctive industries won’t disappear anytime soon, it will begin to fade fast from the customer’s perspective.