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Reaching the value others can’t reach

Posted on: Monday 23rd of May 2016

One of the things we’ll be talking about at our Achieving Growth Through Trust conference in London, Sept 29, is the power of PIMS (Personal Information Management Services) to transform competitive landscapes and brand/corporate fortunes.


New dimensions of value

The special thing about PIMS is that they reach dimensions of value that traditional products and services cannot reach – consumer needs that, so far, have not been met.

Traditional products and services may be brilliant at meeting a particular consumption / usage need. But finding, collating and sifting the right, reliable information to inform decisions about this need is not something that companies/brands have traditionally done. Likewise, the need/desire to streamline and automate information intensive tasks from the mundane (‘renew parking permit’) to the life changing (‘get married’, ‘move home, ‘plan and prepare for retirement’).

The main reason these needs haven’t been addressed so far is we didn’t have the information processing capabilities (or if we did have them, they were too clunky and expensive). That constraint is now being lifted. And with it, a whole new market is emerging.


Fork in the road

For most consumer-facing brands this new market has created a fork in the road. Those who embrace PIMS have a huge opportunity to move up the relationship pecking order – to become more important in their customers’ lives. This is because, by definition, PIMS help customers deal with many different suppliers (helping to choose between different products, organising and aligning the inputs of a suite of different suppliers).

Those who fail to embrace PIMS risk the opposite fate of commodification and disintermediation. Take a simple example. A PIMS that helps me ‘manage my money’ does so by integrating, analysing and managing information about my financial activities across a range of different suppliers of financial products: current accounts, loans, mortgages, savings, pensions, credit cards, insurances, investments etc. They sit ‘above’ each of these separate input providers bringing them together to create a higher order dimension of value.

In such a world, a specific input such as ‘current account’ still remains essential as an input. But it is no longer the linchpin of the relationship or the driver of added value.


Transforming competitive landscapes

There are three interesting things about PIMS of this sort.

  1. First, they are much closer to their customers than the products and services that they commoditise, and tend to have ‘stickier’ relationships (because they rely on ongoing information sharing over time).
  2. Second, they open up new revenue streams (for example, ‘clipping the ticket’ when the customer sources a new service).
  3. Third, they place a much greater premium on trust and trustworthiness. For customers to willingly enter this sort of relationship they need to be confident that a) the data they share won’t be abused (ending up in the hands of some unknown third party for example) and b) that the PIMS provider will use the information to genuinely help users achieve their goals, rather than bamboozle them.

That’s why we (Ctrl-Shift) are focusing so hard on this theme of ‘Growth Through Trust’, because this fork in the road – separating the wheat of higher trust, higher value offerings from the chaff of lower trust, lower value offerings – is becoming so important for brands.

We’ve learned a lot about what makes PIMS tick, how they add value, how they make money, and where to find the biggest value opportunities. We’ll be sharing our learnings, with lots of case studies at our conference on September 29. Don’t miss out.