Driving Success for SMEs:
A Platform Approach
We cooperated with a large German software solution provider who serves small and medium enterprises in order to help them run their businesses processes smoothly. The company aims to provide additional value-adding services to their customers, which are covering their needs and also achieve a positive business impact.
Summarizing, we began with the following, broadly framed Design Thinking challenge:
“How might we enable small businesses to focus on their beloved core competencies?”.
We started the research phase by focusing on representatives in the target group of SMEs and to gain a better understanding. Our findings showed that the people running their businesses show a great passion for their work.
Persona profiles guiding the project (excerpt).
They would like to concentrate on their core competencies, but often they have to juggle several functions and need to make sure that capacity utilisation is high. Their values center around open communication and transparency towards their customers. Customer satisfaction is for them a priority number one and quality is highly ranked. When problems occur, solutions need to be found - fast and - if needed - in a pragmatic way, with the goal to satisfy the final customer. In the ideation and prototyping phase several ideas centered around fast problem solving and exchange.
The final prototype enables SMEs to build connections to other SMEs. Within this segment close partnerships are often established and we want to bring the exchange also to an online context. The new platform builds relationships by inviting to help each other, collaborate and exchange.
Screenshot - Renting Equipment Map
All this is achieved by providing an main service, which is sought for across the entire target group: providing the possibility to exchange business resources (e.g. personnel, equipment, knowledge).
Testing with Customers
The prototype has been tested and three key aspects were very positively received: better resource utilization, reduction of ecological footprint and closer network amongst SMEs. Currently, this solution is being implemented at the client side.