Certain sectors illustrate how leaders can foster inclusiveness of their business model to positively influence their firm’s resilience.
Retail: Non-inclusive, product-centric retailers have been hit hard with the sudden shift away from bricks and mortar shopping and had to shut stores for ever, such as J.C. Penny, Neimann Marcus and Galeria.
In contrast, the digital platforms, with their inclusive model, have been the winners. Amazon posted its biggest profit ever and a 40% revenue jump in the second quarter. Click and collect programmes helped smaller retailers to partly increase their inclusiveness and stop wasting money through inefficient home delivery operations.
Manufacturing: Traditional manufacturers face downward pressure on demand, production, supply chains, especially when the bulk of on-site jobs cannot be done remotely. At the same time, COVID-19 is accelerating the transformation of traditional producers into more digitized, resilient approaches in production and logistics with more connectivity, advanced analytics, automation, and advanced-manufacturing technologies.
Companies that provide value-added services on their platforms, could rely on recurring revenue streams, such as Siemens. The same applies for inclusive Internet of Things (IoT) platforms like Microsoft Azure or AWS IoT platform with their resilient models.
Financial Services: Retail banking is shrinking in times of social distancing and near-zero interest rates, as demonstrated by Deutsche Bank closing every fifth outlet in their home market. In contrast, inclusive platforms have proved their resilience. Chinese insurance group PingAn transformed into an integrated financial services company and platform player, orchestrating healthcare, auto, real estate, and smart city services. Also, family offices, which provide holistic solutions, demonstrate resilience in times of capital markets volatility.
Sports and Fitness: While COVID-19 has forced many fitness studios companies to file for Chapter 11 (Town Sports International, 24 Hour Fitness), virtual workouts are soaring. Peloton could prove the resilience of their fitness platform model and reported +66% in sales in the first quarter, reaching over 866,100 connected fitness subscribers in total, a 94% increase from last year. Apple launched Fitness+, a subscription programme offering personalized workouts for the Apple Watch as part of the Apple ecosystem.
Professional Services: Consulting companies, with their project business model, were expected to have lots of consultants “on the bench”. However in times of crisis they could build on their long-standing customer relationships and now deliver most projects remotely. Some consulting firms even “productized” their project knowledge, built up intellectual property, and shifted into platform business models, such as Infosys. Hence proving business model transformation an effective lever for digital transformation.
As we can see, customization does not increase resilience per se but provides important flavours of additional resilience. Increasing customization means moving from standardized, packaged, and automated offerings to individualized offerings that are co-created by company and customer. The resulting tighter provider-customer bond and the accumulation of domain-specific knowledge bolsters resilience in a time of crisis.