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Paul Hamshere

Systems Approach (Success Factor 2 of 20)

An ecosystem of products and services provides a competitive edge, customer engagement and generating viral awareness.

Systems Approach (Success Factor 2 of 20)

What is the ideal outcome and what benefits will it bring?

Delivering an exceptional customer experience relies on the seamless integration of various products and services within an ecosystem. This integration encompasses the core "saleable" product (i.e. what the customer pays for), the "enabling" products (often provided free of charge, such as mobile apps), and the “foundational“ products that ensure a smooth and efficient customer journey (i.e. technology enablers and processes).

Companies that embrace a product ecosystem approach, rather than solely focusing on the ‘saleable’ products, achieve higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This approach allows them to showcase greater value and differentiation to customers, while also unlocking operational efficiencies throughout the entire ecosystem.

What changes have we seen in the market?

In today's highly competitive market, relying solely on core “saleable” products is no longer sufficient to stay ahead. The intense competition often leads to price pressures as a means of differentiation. As a result, there is a growing trend to deliver value through alternative means. Organisations are increasingly realising the significance of embracing an ecosystem approach, where product teams collaborate closely with sales and marketing teams to promote the value proposition across both core “saleable” and “enabling” products.

To fully leverage this opportunity, businesses are adapting their internal operating rhythms and prioritisation frameworks to facilitate cross-product collaboration.

What successful examples have we seen?

According to Salesforce, 73% of customers now expect companies and their products and services to understand their unique needs and expectations. An ecosystem of products provides companies with the flexibility and opportunities to meet these needs and expectations vs relying solely on the ‘saleable’ product value.

Take a look at the car industry…

In the automotive industry, car brands are not only delivering high-quality vehicles but also providing a range of “enabling” products within an ecosystem. This includes infrastructure solutions, remote apps which allow drivers to monitor battery levels, remotely control in-car climate, and more. Customers now experience added value beyond just the car itself, leading to viral awareness and satisfaction. This shift represents a fundamental change in the industry, focusing on a holistic customer experience and creating new opportunities for revenue and partnerships. As a result automotive companies have…

  • Improved Cross-Selling and Upselling: Ecosystems enable this driving increased revenue and customer lifetime value through digital engagement.
  • Enhance Operational Efficiencies: A systems approach enables streamlined operations, improved efficiencies, and optimisation of resources.

Where should you start?

  • Do you approach your "saleable," "enabling," and "foundational" products with distinct strategies or considerations?
  • What level of priority and support do your various product teams receive to ensure their success?
  • Who is accountable for ensuring a seamless end-to-end customer ecosystem experience?
  • What potential opportunities exist for generating unexpected value through your "enabling" products?
  • At what point are you currently positioned on this maturity scale, and what benefits would your customers and business gain by advancing further?

Systems Approach is one of IE’s 20 success factors. To learn more, read our first article, ‘Winning in a Product-Led World’.

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