Proprietary technology was once predominantly associated with technology startups and SaaS companies. Recently, there has been a significant uptick in the use of proprietary tech by businesses that were once purely service companies. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Your customers are always online, and they expect you to be there too
People who grew up with computers expect you to have a virtual presence. If you cut hair, customers increasingly expect to be able to book an appointment online. If you sell insurance, they expect to be able to get insurance quotes online. If you cannot provide the instant gratification they are looking for when they pull their smartphone out of their pocket and start the shopping process, your competitors are just a click away.
This is making it increasingly important to have your own website and even your own app. People want to be able to comparison shop from their smartphone. Without a custom app to deliver the information in a phone-friendly manner, you may well be driving away potential customers.
A smartphone can be incredibly frustrating to use online via a browser. The screen is tiny and people complain about stumbling over accessibility issues, even on very simple websites. Developing your own custom app can not only satisfy the needs of your customers, it can be designed from the ground up to frame your company’s services in the best possible light by designing the app around parameters relevant to your company’s branding position.
Insurance companies sell such different products; if you want to do something like compare car insurance quotes online, it is often an apples-to-oranges comparison process. Different companies offer policies and services that are fundamentally different in important ways. Highlighting the characteristics relevant to your company can make clear that you metaphorically sell apples and they are very good quality apples for people looking for exactly that. This can set you apart from your competitors and their proverbial oranges and make it clear why someone in the market for a particular kind of coverage should choose you.
2. Keep up or get left behind
Although it is a recent change, the tech world moves fast. Companies that do not get with the program will be outperformed by those that jump on the trend more quickly.
Big data is one of the technologies revolutionizing the insurance industry. This is true in part because of OLAP reporting tools which are more user friendly than traditional ad hoc report writers. Big data is very much an area where you create your solution in house. Especially for data-intensive industries like insurance, it is critical to be able to grow your own and make it do exactly the things you want and need it to do.
Companies that do not adapt may well die. The edge given by big data is quite large. It can easily separate the winners from the losers, the future industry leaders from the has-beens, and the quick from the dead.
3. Proprietary tech increases efficiency and reduces costs
Case study: In the insurance industry, digital signature capture can set a company apart from its competitors. It not only speeds up the paperwork process, it also cuts costs.
Companies that simultaneously increase efficiency and reduce costs have a dramatic edge over their competitors. The earlier such tech is adopted, the more it saves. This can be the difference between a company that merely survives the inevitable hard times and a company that grows and thrives while everyone else is shrinking and dying.
4. Proprietary technology can make sure everyone is on the same page, both internally and externally
During World War II, U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall sent identical 50-inch globes to England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and America’s President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Christmas presents. This made sure the two countries were on the same page. It made sure that they each had the same information to work with when discussing plans and allocating resources. This seemingly small detail helped them win the war.
Maps are notoriously bad for being inconsistent and out of date. After they come off the press, any new country that is born or old city that dies makes the information immediately obsolete. Over time, rivers meander and change course, so even the terrain does not remain the same. The world is a living world. It remains in motion while a map tries to capture a moment in time.
The business landscape is also alive and a moving target. Today’s business landscape moves faster than ever. Proprietary tech can help make sure your internal customers are all talking about the exact same thing. It can also help make sure your paying customers understand you clearly. That can be the difference between them staying or going elsewhere.
Hyperconnectivity is reinventing the world economy, producing dramatic increases in productivity and economic value. Learn more about its impact on business and the economy in The Digital Economy Infographic.