We’ve sketched the basic outlines and processes of the Inxeption platform. Now what? Believe it or not, the first step actually is not about technology.
Because Inxeption is a software platform, it may seem like it might be the sole domain of your chief information officer or systems manager. We believe Inxeption is a c-level platform, not a technology platform.
In fact, over and over we hear from CIOs today that they spend an inordinate amount of time protecting their organizations’ databases, email, and other systems from hacking and fraud and other digital threats. They are focused on their digital defenses or "firewalls" and building a fortress with thicker and thicker walls.
There is no question that security is an essential function. The trouble is that you’re only using half the potential of your information systems if you only focus on defense. It’s hard to use technology to grow your business and collaborate in new ways if you’re obsessed with keeping people out.
Our motto is Blockchain That Means Business because the enhanced security and distributed ledgers of this technology can take over many elements of that security function much more effectively and efficiently. Inxeption will allow the management of your company, including the CIO, to think "beyond the firewall" about sharing information that gives you a strategic advantage.
So the important first step in figuring out whether and how Inxeption can help you, is to imagine an ecosystem where sharing is the goal, not a threat. Imagine security has been solved. Sit down and think about the fundamentals of your business that generate data you might want to share with customers and partners.
Let’s go to a white board and break it down. Zero in on the basic business "modules" of what you do. For most manufacturing businesses, there are four basic kinds of business activities that involve data.
* A database of products you sell.
* Technical specifications
* Components and ingredients of the products
* Relevant processes involved or used (i.e., organic, laser-carved)
* Advertising and positioning language
* Target market data
* Potential growth market analysis
* Universe of primary and secondary suppliers
* Specifications and provenance of components and chemicals
* Relevant certifications or guarantees
* Order status
* Current distributors/resellers
* Internal customer-facing positions and processes
* Currencies and payment methods
* Return process
This list does not need to be confined to just these four modules, but it’s a good start. Eventually, what is going to happen is that Inxeption manages this data in a system that not only enables but encourages sharing. It breaks down the barriers inside your company that exist between these functions, and then it is going to allow your customers and partners to interact with you and your data in new and more productive ways.
For example, let’s go back to Colorwheel. It’s clear your customers are very interested in those high-temperature paints, but they want to make sure what you’re selling has been tested and proven to work with specific metal alloy bike frames. When you capture all the data above in one system, it becomes very easy to give customers access to the specifications and data that you have; the data also becomes a useful tool to show potential suppliers what customers are asking for. The nature of customer questions informs the product positioning and ad word buys. Perhaps your bicycle company customers reach out to see if you’d like to join them in co-sponsor a big desert endurance race, and that suggests a whole new visual theme for your website refresh.
Ultimately, your success with high-temperature paints for bicycles, if it happens, raises the question of whether you might find new customers by selling the same high-temperature paints for motorcycles and ATVs. And as you develop that brand extension, you’ll use Inxeption to data mine the ups and downs of this introduction to avoid costly mistakes.
Most of these possibilities are not about technology, they are about business connections and opportunities that technology enables. After you break down and categorize the data that forms the backbone of your business today, it’s useful to think about other basic business questions such as:
- What are your competitive threats today? (Getting Amazolled certainly comes to mind, but perhaps your traditional competitors seem to be changing their relationship to customers or growing at your expense as well.)
- What dynamics are changing? (Are new laws going to demand that you document chemicals in a different way, or are tariffs suddenly raising the cost of goods such that you need new suppliers?)
- What customer behavior is confusing or frustrating you? (Are customers asking why you don’t have web or mobile app ordering? Are customers holding up Amazon’s prices and asking why you’re charging more?)
- What is keeping you from delivering on your goals? (Have you lost customers because their technical questions were not well answered in a timely way?)
- How and where should you grow? (Should you buy new product lines or develop them in house? Should you expand product offerings outside your core business?)
- Are your current partners getting the job done for you? (Are your distributors or resellers giving you the information about customers you need to serve them?)
- How and where can you trim costs? (What are returns costing you? With advance notice, can you get better shipping rates?)