Software is our Service
The transition from a hotel booking agency to a technology provider means, among other things, adopting a new mindset at Hotelzon. While we have provided our hotel booking platform to numerous corporate clients and travel agencies for many years, we have always seen ourselves more as a travel industry service provider rather than a technology provider. Don’t get me wrong, providing technology doesn’t exclude being a service provider. In our case we provide Software as a Service, so we are still very much service providers in a sense. It just changes the way you provide your services and set priorities for developing these services.
Let’s take an (perhaps slightly exaggerated) example. A service provider might provide a call center service; as long as you have enough staff to handle the calls you get, you are offering a good service. Right? As a technology provider you would instead have a support desk. A support desk handles mostly issues and change requests, something a technology provider wants to reduce as much as possible. You want a stable, easy to use, product that does not cause a lot of issues, and you also hope that your product meets customer expectations so that the number of change requests isn’t very high as down the line this means customers are not getting what they need. A service provider makes money providing services when a technology provider makes money selling technology. See the difference? Both want happy customers, so in the end many things will be done the same way, but you look at the world from slightly different perspectives.
A technology prodvider prefers projects. Get in, get out, get paid. At least in theory. In reality you often start considering your larger customers as partners and it sometimes becomes hard to know when one project ends and the next starts. Again, this is not something bad and it doesn’t differ that much from someone who is providing a continuous service. The analogy here could be taking a walk. A service provider keeps on walking at the same pace in the same direction until someone tells them otherwise. A technology provider only walks when the goal is known, and you don’t continue walking after that until you have set a new goal. If you set your next goal before you reach the previous you will just see two persons walking on, but in reality one walks from goal to goal while the other walks because nobody has told them to stop.
Being a technology provider on one hand, and providing our own technology as a SaaS solution to our customers, also means that we pay close attention to the stability, usability and performance of our products. Return on investment is not always about money. For someone like us it means that a change must make more customers happy than it causes interruptions due to degraded stability, usability or performance. Sure, somewhere at the bottom of this is the notion that happy customers will make us more money, but it’s not always easy to put numbers behind the risks that a requested change brings to the solution.
Why do I rable on about the subtle differences between service- and technology providers? Didn’t I just say that in most cases you would not see the difference? I want to talk about this topic as I am excited about it. I feel that our new approach allows us to focus our energy and to proactively work for our customers. I want to solve issues, prevent problems and ensure smooth operations. When I walk, I want to have a goal. And as the weather starts getting colder here in the Nordics as we go into the dark season, I want to start running in order to keep myself warm.