Thank you for this great post, Hans. This seems to be a typical BSSE case in which it is hard for the incumbent to disrupt its business, since the innovation may threaten the current profitable business. And the new business model may require a very different RPP (traditional money transfer process vs. transfer via blockchain). I also agree with you that the competitive advantage of Western Union is a broad network of retail footprint across the world. Most of the customers for remittance service (e.g. Filipino workers abroad), they need to bring physical money somewhere, and most of the fintech companies in remittance space don’t have their own channels (they often partner with local kiosks). Western Union can leverage such physical presence to win this new innovative space.
Thank you so much for this interesting post. I agree that digital transformation will be both opportunities and challenges for consulting firms. One of the challenges I faced in digital transformation project in consulting is capability building of clients. Although capability building is important in any of consulting projects in order to ensure the implementation of the strategy, it is particularly challenging for digital transformation. They cannot build the capability just by having training, instead they need to hire talents who have a solid expertise in digital space (e.g. data scientists). If clients fail to hire such talents and to implement the digital strategy, they don’t appreciate the work done by consultants, hence limit growth opportunities of consulting in the digital space.
Thank you so much for this great post. I didn’t know that BCG has such a wide range of initiatives in digital space. As an ex-consultant, I wonder how traditional consulting firms can adopt a new approach to solve clients’ problems. In McKinsey, the firm I used to work for, some generalists struggled adopting themselves to the new approach. For example, while many generalists take a hypothesis-driven approach, the approach by big data scientists are often like “let’s put all the data, and then the algorithm will tell you the right answer”. It is especially important for partners, who worked for the firm for a long time, to unlearn the traditional approach and adopt to a new problem solving approach.
Thank you so much for this interesting post. People analytics is a very interesting space and I agree that it can be a threat for traditional consulting firms. I wonder the acquisition is a potential option for big firms like BCG. Maybe DV can invest in multiple start ups in people analytics area, and pick up the winner through acquisition? In this class we often discussed how challenging for a big firm to build a new technology, so the acquisition may be a better strategy here. McKinsey, a firm I used to work for, has been very active in acquiring start ups in data analytic space in the past few years.
Thank you for this interesting article. For urban traffic congestion, I wonder whether the data provided by Didi represents the whole traffic situation in the city. Is there any chance that traffics generated by Didi drivers are skewed? (e.g. users tend to use Didi for moving between two areas in center area, instead of commuting between suburb and central area) In that case, the policy may be favor of solving congestion for Didi users, but not necessarily for the entire citizen. I don’t know whether China has a local version of Waze, but such players might have a better data set for the city government to work on.
Cathy – this is such an interesting article! I fully agree that how to communicate insights from the data is getting more important as the quantity and complexity of data increases exponentially. I really like the idea that using arts as a way of communicating such insights, and the examples you showed in this article is powerful. I also hope that big data gives some inspiration to artists and there are more collaboration between data scientists and artists to make use of the data and communicate them effectively.
Thank you for this very interesting article. I wonder how the HR can adopt to a new operating model for hiring, promoting and retention using this model. I suppose most of the HR decides the promotion based on his/her performance and tenure, but if you start building in “likelihood of leaving the company”, it makes the criteria more complicated and it will be harder for them to hold the accountability of such decision. Although I like the idea of using data analytics for talent retention, similar to many cases in the class, the implementation of this tool seems to be harder for many of the organizations.
Thanks for the great article, Liza! I did not know that Quora has many authority figures in the platform like former President Obama. It is also very interesting to see a sequence of choices the founder made to make the platform successful, as you laid out. In Japan, Yahoo! Answers is by far the most popular website on this type of platform, having almost 200 million questions and 500 million answers so far. However, as the platform expands, the quality of questions and answers got worsen – some of them were very biased and offensive, and such participations disincentivise high quality users to be engaged in the platform. I wonder how Quora tries to address this problem?
Thank you for such an inspiring article! I wonder how learning effects will fit into this model. I assume there are some overlaps in documents required for translation (e.g. many refugees seek to get their medical documents translated). If we rely on crowd-sourcing model in which people who will translate documents are different every time, such learning effects may not be accumulated effectively. Is there any function to avoid such loss, e.g., matching certain type of documents with people who have translated similar documents before?
Thank you so much Hans – such a well-written article. Waze is popular in Southeast Asia too, especially in the Philippines as you may know. It is interesting to see how Google Maps and Waze have different value caption strategy even though they are under the same corporate umbrella. As far as I understand, Google Maps doesn’t really care about capturing the value, if customers keep engaged in platforms offered by Google. Or maybe Google Maps also starts capturing the value in a direct way, like advertisement, as Waze is doing right now?
Thank you for the great post, Eliza! I wonder what really motivates people to write 40 million articles in 299 different articles. Although I use Wikipedia very frequently to search something, I would never spend time on writing articles. Like Weathernews, the fact that billions of people use Wikipedia may motivate people to contribute to the platform, but it seems like there is no interactive function between users and writers. Are they just intellectually curious to write about something they are interested?
Thank you for the great post, Raina! It is very interesting to see how Opentable charged very different prices into two sides of the platform. I wonder there is any way for Opentable to leverage its leading position to differentiate itself from incoming competitors. For example, now Opentable has lots of data about consumers, what type of customers booked which restaurants for which occasion in what timing, and which restaurants they consider booking before booking your restaurant (and which restaurant they ended up booking instead of your restaurant). These insights were highly useful for restaurants, and increase the stickiness of restaurants.
Thank you so much for this interesting article! I didn’t know about this company even though I’m Japanese. Many Japanese university students waste lots of time applying to 50-100 companies which they don’t know they have a good fit with, so GROW seems to be a very promising solution for them. However I would like to challenge your point that competitor is not likely to challenge their business. For example, Recruit, a Japanese media conglomerate, owns a platform for students to get information on companies and to apply to them, with the registered students of 650K every year. With the scale they already have, I am not sure GROW can compete with them simply by the quality of algorithms they have.
Thank you Gloria for the interesting article. To e honest I am still struggling to understand why bike sharing companies have such a high valuation recently. As you pointed out this is such a capital-intensive business, which makes the business difficult to become profitable. The fact that consumers can multi-home also make competition fierce, and I don’t see one company dominates this market in next 5-10 years. Finally I also wonder whether this business is really good for society – massive supplies of colorful bikes all around the cities ruins the city’s landscape, and obviously the waste of materials, which offset the environmental impact of using bikes.
Thank you for the great post, YZ! It is interesting to see how Uber is going to expand its services beyond ride-hailing. Actually Uber is pretty behind regarding their expansion of service compared to peers in Southeast Asia. Go-jek, a ride-hailing app focusing on motorcycle in Indonesia, has expanded into 10-20 services using the platform (I wrote about their service in last year’s TOM blog: https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/go-jek-motorbike-taxi-changing-the-landscape-in-indonesia/). The reason they expanded its services rapidly mainly comes from a cheap labor cost in Indonesia (if Uber provides a cleaning service by sending cleaning staff to each household, it will probably cost almost $100), but it is interesting to see how the service evolved rapidly in emerging markets. I also wonder the expectation to quality is higher in customers in developed countries in the US, so it also may make Uber difficult expand its services easily.
Thank you for a great article, Liz! I wonder how strong the network effect will be in P2P lending business. In China, there was a massive increase of P2P lending players. Between 2011 to 2013, P2P lending platforms increased from 10 to 800 (Source: “CreditEase: Taking Inclusive Finance Online”, HBS Case 9-316-151 by Michael Chu, Johns S. Ji and Nancy Hua Dai). Once there were funds available, borrowers don’t really care whether the platform itself is small or not it it offers competitive rates. I wonder whether it was the case in the US as well, and if not what made the difference between US and China. Maybe lack of appetite from retail investors as you pointed out?
Thank you so much for such an interesting post. It is amazing to see how entrepreneurs can turn crisis into opportunity like this case. In digital payment industry, it is critical to become the first player to get a critical mass (e.g. M-Pesa in Kenya, Paytm in India), and Ecocash seems to have achieved this. It is also interesting to see that how incumbents reacted to this new disruption (e.g. blocking by regulation) – it is a very typical move for incumbents in emerging markets. I’m very curious to see how Ecocash will be able to maintain its position going forward. For example, once the country’s economy go back to its local currency, will Ecocash be able to adopt such changes? Or will incumbents seize such opportunities to bring back their positions?
Thank you for the great post, AJ. As a Japanese it is sad to see the company like Sony struggled continuing innovation. As we have seen in the GE case today, the shift from hardware to software is very challenging. I think it was particularly difficult for Sony due to the employment practice in Japan. Unlike US, it is extremely difficult for Japanese companies to fire employees, and most of Japanese workers stay in the same company for the whole professional life. The shift to software business will require new talents, but it must have been challenging for Sony to implement this.
Thank you so much for the great post, Shiv. I was in Bangalore the past winter and was impressed how Paytm has penetrated the payment market in India. This is a great example of leapfrogging in emerging markets. There are many unbanked population in emerging markets like India, and digital wallet enabled such population to have transaction in a more convenient, faster and safer way. I’m very curious to see how incumbents such as banks and credit card companies will respond to disruptive players like Paytm, whether they will come up with similar business models, or try to differentiate their own business model from digital wallets. In any case, Paytm seems to have already built a strong position in the market, with the backup of PM Modi’s government.
Thank you for the great post, Rachel! Insurtech is definitely an untapped area and I see huge opportunities there. Although Lemonade seems to have a clear advantage over competitors (e.g. price, convenience), attracting customers will not be easy for them. Many customers don’t feel immediate needs for insurance, and its benefits are often not easy to understand. There is a Japanese online insurance company started by HBS alum in 2006 called Lifenet. Although they had a similar value proposition to Lemonade, they still struggled pulling customers out of incumbents. I’m curious to see Lemonade’s strategy on marketing/sales.
Thank you for the interesting post. I really see this as a great example of how incumbents (i.e. large banks) failed to respond to disruptive innovation. Banks are generating revenue through transaction fee via transfers among banks, therefore building business like Venmo will hurt their profitability. It is also challenging for them to come up with a system in which other banks can agree on, and that is why it took a long time for them to launch Zelle. My only concern on Venmo is profitability. Although they are expanding their business scope as you mentioned, I’m not sure shopping via Venmo will attract consumer needs. So many e-commerce players already exist in the market and I don’t see a strong reason to use Venmo instead of such services.