The connected car and customer experience reveals a new opportunity for carmakers to dial into real customer behavior and desires around connected cars and autonomous cars. The Connected car and the autonomous car are powerful services that will help transform how people move around, and they are emerging during an era of unprecedented volatility in markets. I’ll wager that there’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a carmaker because opportunities and threats have never been higher. I’ve been fortunate to meet product managers and engineers who are pioneering connected and autonomous car services. I’ve also been meeting leaders in the Internet of Things (smart devices), of which the connected car is a part.
My crystal ball says that the connected car is a bet-the-brand proposition for carmakers because it directly addresses competing on customer experience, the most disruptive trend of all. As I detailed in The Social Channel, we have moved from a product/service-based economy toward an experience economy. Even IT analyst Gartner has proclaimed that customer experience is the final battleground for firms. Established […]
Disrupting the Automobile explores how several ventures are changing the rules of an intractable industry.
The automobile is a personal manifestation of the ultimate promise of the Industrial Economy—that physical power is essentially free—because it enables people to move quickly and easily. People just love cars because it is immensely satisfying to glide effortlessly (traffic notwithstanding ,^) from one place to another with a high degree of individual freedom.
However, as 2007 draws to a close, autos’ current reliance on fossil fuels makes it increasingly obvious that we need to change the rules. First, new wealth in emerging markets is dramatically increasing auto ownership and its concomitant demand for oil. Increased demand and uncertain supply will undoubtedly prove unsustainable in the medium term. Second, and even more daunting, is the carbon/climate change problem, which is far more life-changing in the long term. Petroleum and coal are the largest contributors to man-made carbon emissions.
Retrofitting GM, the Quintessential Industrial Economy Enterprise reflects Knowledge Economy disruption as production-focused enterprises languish as customers continue to forsake them.
As readers of these pages know well, I estimate that one of the most poignant changes that faces Industrial Economy enterprises is shifting their primary focus from production and operations to the customer. The Industrial Economy mechanized work and production, and by any measure it created unprecedented wealth by drastically lowering per-unit costs of any kind of product you can name, bringing more products within the means of more people. This worked extremely well while demand exceeded supply: customers were excited to have their first car/house/television, and they were happy with what producers brought to market.
However, Industrial Economy CSFs (critical success factors) look extremely stale in the Knowledge Economy (also see Transformation: From Self-contained Company to Networked Global Organization). The e-business revolution has vastly enhanced communications, decreased cycle times and moved the mass customization model closer to reality.
Big Dealer to Detroit: Fix How You Make Cars (The Wall Street Journal, 9 February 2007) spells out the problem extremely well:
“One of the toughest […]