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One of the biggest disruptors in technology is the on-demand solutions and services that have followed the trailblazing success of Uber. On-demand apps are presently dominating in multiple industries – fitness, ride sharing, courier and last mile delivery, food, grocery, laundry, logistics, beauty & spa and many other maintenance services. Not only have on-demand services ushered inconvenience for the users of services, but the business model has also helped multiple small-sized businesses to be a part of aggregators, tasting success. A model where all stakeholders find immense benefit, the on-demand business is purely technology driven.
- Key features of an On-Demand Business
The standout features of an on-demand business are often the key features that make it different from regular business models, helping to drive value to the customers. A typical on-demand solution comprises a booking module, a delivery scheduling tool, an option to order on the go, delivery tracking feature, in-app payments, shopping cart history, in-app calls and messages, locational information, review of service quality/feedback and dashboard information for use by the businesses/individuals delivering the service. These features offer on-demand businesses the additional value and convenience that is generally unavailable in a typical business model.
- On-Demand Services in the Context of a Data-Driven World
We are officially in the digital era and the ecosystem is on the path to complete digital transformation. And driving this huge transformation are humongous volumes of data that are exchanged between devices. The number of devices in the world is four times the number of individuals, and it will not be hard to imagine the amount of data that will be generated and in transit between devices. While Big Data has traditionally evoked a contextual meaning of something big and expansive, it is important to understand that Big Data is a lot more than just the dimension of size.
- Making Sense of Unstructured Data from Disparate Sources
A broader definition of data in the ecosystem will cover the unstructured data from disparate sources in different formats. Systems, solutions and services that rely on data-driven processes need to cleanse, analyze, integrate and use the data in a manner so as to make sense of the data. Extraction of the information is the primary and the most challenging of processes that deliver successful solutions. The speed with which data is cleansed and analyzed for use in processes determines the success of the solution. This challenge will evolve into different dimensions, as more and data and different types of data are used as inputs.
- On-Demand Services Receive Multidimensional Inputs
On-demand services receive multi-dimensional inputs which are then used or extracting information to deliver services. The processing of these multi-dimensional datasets is the key to the success of the business solution. For instance, a ride-sharing app will rely on data including the OTP of the user, the GPS coordinates, the payment gateway, the fare calculator, route allotment, reviews and driver earnings. Putting all this data into a seamless and effective solution is certainly a challenge. Similarly, an on-demand food delivery app requires inputs such as menu choice that needs to be correlated with visuals, GPS coordinates of the customer, delivery assignment and route optimization of delivery executives, payment gateway, timed deliveries, and special instructions. For users of the services, it’s the convenience that counts and designers of solutions and services look at the various problems and expectations of users while designing the solution. This prompts the need for using the inputs from as many sources as possible to deliver the desired level of efficiency and convenience. For instance, payments made through UPIs may require the need for scanning a QR code. This makes that an additional input for the overall process. However, it is the inclusion of different options that work seamlessly, which makes on-demand services popular and convenient to use.
- Processing Data of Different Types in a Unified Solution/Platform
Data in the past usually referred to digital information that was created/transferred through an input device. The nature of inputs has changed, making it necessary for the processes to change. All the data from different sources need to work cohesively and in tandem to create the unique experience that only on-demand services offer. And behind the shine and success of on-demand solutions, lies the data that is at the very heart of the solution. Without data, no on-demand service will work. For instance, an aggregator site for maintenance services needs to be in a position to be aware of the actual location of the maintenance personnel who are a part of the service. And the service needs to know more about the requirement of the customer. All of these real-time updates and processes need to work at high speeds and superior efficiency levels to offer a competitive advantage and convenience to users. Without the flow of data, it’s impossible for on-demand services to flourish.
Conclusion – Data is the New Oil that Keeps On-Demand Businesses in Business
Typically Big Data is defined as belonging to two different categories as follows – (1) new data that is generated by social media, machines and mobiles and (2) transactional data from customers and from the supply chain. There are two requirements necessary for handling this data. One is the technology necessary to tackle the volume and the speed with which this data is generated and transmitted. And the second is the need for storing and archiving the data safely as part of regulatory and compliance needs. Without the right technology in place for handling and storing the data, on-demand businesses will not find the success they are striving to achieve.