The iPhone analogy for B2B companies

How to apply consumer business experience in B2B companies; The Iphone analogy
Apple a few years ago introduced the Iphone, a tool for embracing mobile access to Web 2.0 *. Iphone has been an instant enormous success, not because of its technical superiority (it actually has a fairly mediocre technical spec, low building quality, low battery life, low durability) or price (The most expensive). No the real reasons for the business success is based on delivering a superior user experience to the customer. It is so easy to use, no programming is necessary and all functionality is smoothly integrated. Launch and go. The iPhone delivers Web 2.0 in one, attractively designed, apparatus. The only one you need in fact, because “Everything” all kinds of “applications” are available via the “app store”. Just click on the menu and the functionality is there, ready and payable, immediately billable to your account.

How is it possible to deliver such a product without massive development resources and costs? It is well known that you cannot be best at everything, but you should always own the customer interface and know his business, because that is where the revenues flow. Apple sells and collects money from the whole value chain up-streams. Since Apple controls a very large customer volume, via all sold Iphones, they become very attractive to suppliers because they offer developers a superior sales channel. A sales channel that shares revenue with its sub suppliers. Further for Apple, this is low risk development, if an app does not sell; it does not cost Apple anything. If it sells well both Apple and the developer get well paid. This means an enormous flexibility for Apple and a great sales channel for developers and sub suppliers of all kinds.

Applied on your B2BCompany market expansion, we, just like Apple need to own the customer interface, i.e. those who make the business decisions. To those customers our B2BCompany shall provide products and services so easy and effective to use that they shall find no reason to choose another supplier for filling their competence gaps or needs.

To produce this we need to orchestrate integration of our own and sometimes other suppliers’ equipment, software and accessories combined with services. Particularly the services are necessary to put our solutions in a useable, quickly deployable context which complement and compensate for the customer’s organizational shortcomings (competence gaps), while delivering what he is supposed to do.

The offerings above are composed and offered to our sales organization, in a modular form and in aggregated packages by the solution manager, who will be the head of a new type of “business area”. The solution manager composes the offering from internal and external sources.

I believe that applying “the Apple way of thinking” will give B2BCompany a great chance to leverage its current position in the market to drive new business.

B2BCompany has great hardware and software, now we need to complement and package it with great services. Once defined, prototyped and sold to early adoption customers, we will find new ways to produce them swiftly without building big and costly development and services departments. We should do like Apple, build an eco-system around B2BCompany and source from there. That will make us attractive and fast, without building a costly (and slow) organization.

* The term "Web 2.0" (2004–present) is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design[1] and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups and folksonomies.