How Business Systems Need to Adapt to the Sharing Economy
While there is no doubt that the sharing economy is growing at a phenomenal pace, there are a few external factors that are battling to keep up with this rapid explosion of growth. Government legislation is one of the major hurdles but the area we will look at here is the technology needed to drive these dynamic companies.
The sharing economy relies heavily on fast and flexible business systems. Legacy technology would never be able to cope with the rapidly shifting requirements of most companies in the sharing economy. It is the technology that is at the very core of their business model and will largely determine the success or failure of the venture. It is therefore essential that business stems adapt to the sharing economy.
What is the Sharing Economy?
Given that it is such a diverse and dynamic model a simple definition is difficult. The easiest way to explain it is that it is a peer to peer exchange or sharing system that has been monetized.
Uber and Airbnb are probably two of the best-known examples but there are literally tens of thousands of examples in a wide range of fields. New ones are popping up every day all over the world.
The concept of sharing resources, property and skills is nothing new, even early man did this to a large extent. The rapid growth and evolution of the smartphone and internet availability have made it possible to create a lucrative business model out of the idea.
Why business systems need to adapt
Historically, businesses grew at a slow steady pace. Very often, little changed even over many years. The sharing economy is the exact opposite of that. Rapid and massive changes take place often and expansion happens at lightning speed. Business systems so critical to the business need to be able to adapt and scale at the same pace.
Key requirements for Sharing Economy Business Systems
The consumer uses a wide range of operating systems and devices. The business system needs to operate perfectly across all platforms and devices. The majority of transactions will be mobile so it needs to function exceptionally well in this regard.
Agility and flexibility
The system needs to ability to scale rapidly and adapt quickly as the business expands and evolves. Ease of use and quality online support is also necessary as the system is deployed into to new areas with new staff.
Outstanding user interface
Customers using the sharing platform will have a range of skill and ability levels. Often you will have younger children or the elderly needing to interact on the system. It is critical that the system is highly user-friendly. It needs to be fast, intuitive and easy to use.
The ability to leverage data
While technology provides the user interface, it also needs to process and leverage a vast amount of data in order to operate optimally and ensure maximum profits. This function needs to be fast, accurate and up to the second.
Consider the massive amount of data used to instantly adjust Uber’s dynamic pricing over tens of thousands of locations multiple times a day.
At the same time, the data also needs to enhance the user experience for the customer.
Old and inflexible business stems will find no place in this rapidly growing economy and it is important that modern systems are as agile and flexible as the industry they wish to serve. The sharing economy is disrupting practically all business models with great success and shows no sign of slowing down. Apart from new businesses, existing established companies are adapting all or part of their business to a sharing-type model. There will be great demand for business systems that fit the bill.