So much of business is being scrutinized through the lens of uberisation that it would be an omission (and possibly a dangerous one) to neglect a quick squint at business continuity.
Unless you have been living an extraordinarily sheltered life, you will already have heard of Uber – if only because of the way taxi drivers complain about it.
Uber is a new business model that connects customers with providers in one-time supply relationships, as and when services are needed. Uber does it specifically with taxis, putting customers in contact with private car drivers, although the concept is now also being applied more widely. But what does this have to do with business continuity?
To answer this question, let’s look more closely at how Uber works. Besides being inspired by the idea of customer convenience (Uber founders started the company one evening when taxi cabs were unavailable), Uber also runs without assets, digitally, and at lower cost. Customers use the Uber app on their smartphone to ask for service, wherever they are and whenever they want it.
Do you already see some business continuity here? An available service provider responds and provides the service (drives the customer from A to B). Payment is taken out of the user’s account by Uber and an agreed fraction of that payment is paid into the driver’s account. Uber pockets the difference.
Now, back to business continuity. An organisation with workforce requirements could conceivably use an Uber-style solution to bring in contractors on an as-needed basis. Legal, medical, catering and other sectors already have Uber-style services in operation.
There are of course many questions to be answered first. For example, would such uberisation only apply to easy to learn or unskilled work? Could organisations modularise their work requirements to be able to use standardized contractor profiles and finally get around specific skills shortages?
Is uberisation a threat to stable employment or an opportunity to provide work to those who otherwise would go without? Will your competitor leverage Uber-style services and drive you out of business by being more responsive and less expensive for your customers? Stay tuned for further developments…