Roundtable on Digital Strategies

The Software-Driven Service Revolution

Topics: Apps Big Data / Analytics Culture Entrepreneurial Tech XaaS

November 4, 2016 • Berlin, Germany • Hosted by Volkswagen

Much has been written in recent years about the increasing importance of services and how they are changing business models and enabling customer engagement. But the latest wave of change is largely driven by the power of software.  A World Economic Forum report on how software will transform global society highlighted the impact of software development on the economy, the concept of ownership, and the nature of work and jobs amongst others—and the role of services is key in this as it is for revenue and profit generation for most industries, B2B and B2C.

Discussion in this roundtable will address how the powerful combination of digital technology developments of the last few years is enabling new service delivery models, creating new service opportunities through connected products, and opening the possibilities for new partnerships to deliver services via APIs and apps. The discussion would not focus on service delivery within information technology, but rather on the customer, the market offerings: How service delivery models for the enterprise to its B2B partners, customers and end-consumers are changing through software, thus creating an opportunity for new approaches, offerings and partnerships. Included in this would clearly be the increasing role of IT in customer-facing delivery of services (and products). It will also include discussion of the lessons to be learned from the development of the sharing economy and the potential future impact it may have.

Some of the questions we will seek to address are:

  • What new models involving services are we all creating to respond to the potential opportunities presented by the digital world? Are some services stand-alone or all built on / adjacent to connected products? How many involve APIs, apps or artificial intel?
  • Are customer journeys at the heart of this? How are expectations changing and is there a different level of customer understanding expected in services than in pure products?
  • What parts of our businesses are being challenged by the introduction or enhancement of service models of new entrants or changing models of competitors or partners? How does this fit with software-driven services?
  • What impact does the sharing economy have on each of your businesses? Is it influencing your own product/service strategies? Is it an opportunity to turn your products into a service or make your products key to a service? Is software becoming the service?
  • Will we see a large increase in usage-based models? How does this change our businesses and how do we prepare for this?
  • How central is the role of data in all this? How do we create/support business opportunities where data/info/analytics are the service? How do we use AI to enable or drive such opportunities?
  • A September 2016 HBR article posits that service firms could embed “products” in or “productize” services. What can we learn from this (and is it a threat in any way)?
  • Forrester’s Jeffrey Hammond posits that the key features of successful shifts in business strategy are: a focus on customer experiences, software product thinking, rapid iterative development, and ecosystem business models. Is this especially true for services?
  • Roundtable on Digital Strategies | Tuck School of Business Center for Digital StrategiesWhat are the key elements of creating a software-driven service mindset in a traditionally product-focused organization? How tied to customer-centric thinking is this? How does one organize to support such an approach? Who drives this and how?

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