(Note: After an award-winning career in the media business covering the tech industry, Bob Evans was VP of Strategic Communications at SAP in 2011, and Chief Communications Officer at Oracle from 2012 to 2016. He now runs his own firm, Evans Strategic Communications LLC.)
While it’s been a heckuva long time since the enterprise-tech industry sparked innovations that then jumped into the consumer world, luxury-car maker Porsche is revving up a totally new business model based on the cloud-computing paradigm: Porsche as a Service.
With its new Porsche Passport service, the high-end car maker is looking to do for auto consumers precisely what cloud computing is doing for businesses: unbundle the gritty and unglamorous busy-work and maintenance from the high-value and essential experience.
The app-driven Porsche Passport idea lets consumers pay a flat monthly fee—ranging from $2,000 to $3,000—and thereby gain unlimited access either to a handful of Porsche vehicles for the $2,000 fee or to the entire Porsche fleet for the $3,000 monthly rate.
Now, to be precise, Porsche’s new service isn’t technically called “Porsche-as-a-Service”—hey, the world hasn’t gone totally cloud-crazy just yet—and I guess if you want to get all picky about it, they don’t really every use the “PaaS” terminology, either.
But—there’s no doubt whatsoever that the cloud-computing business model and value proposition that are sweeping the corporate world are fused deeply into the new Porsche Passport approach. Take a look at these excerpts from the Porsche press release announcing the new service:
- “This month-to-month subscription program offers frequent vehicle exchanges, unrestricted mileage, and on-demand access for up to 22 different Porsche models.”
- “With Porsche Passport, we now offer our customers a simple and flexible driving solution at their fingertips.”
- “Membership plans include vehicle tax and registration, insurance, and maintenance, as well as detailing, for the fixed monthly fee.”
- “Once approved, the vehicle will be delivered to the member’s requested location in metro Atlanta beginning November 2017. Users can schedule same day or future vehicle exchanges through the Porsche Passport app.”
Now I don’t know about you—and I mean no disrespect to the wonderful people in the car-insurance and car-maintenance businesses or (most of) those good folks populating Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the country—but if I never again had to deal with any of those folks, and my sole experience with my car was being behind the wheel, then the quality of that experience would soar.
And that, says Porsche, is precisely the goal of its new service, which a company executive said is inextricably fused into Porsche’s long-term strategy.
“Our Strategy 2025 vision is to be the most aspirational brand in a new era of mobility and consumer expectations. Catering to customers’ desire to experience our sports cars in new ways is a part of our core strategy,” said Porsche Cars North America president and CEO Klaus Zellmer in the company press release cited above.
It’s interesting to note that as committed as Porsche seems to be about becoming “the most aspirational brand in a new era of mobility and consumer expectations,” the technology behind the new Passport service is from an outside company.
Clutch Technologies will manage customer interaction as well as the end-to-end service delivery for Porsche Passport,” the company said.
Evangelizing its possible role as a disruptive force in the car-experience business, Clutch proclaims at the top of its website that “Subscription is the future of automotive.”
As businesses jump to the cloud to accelerate innovation and engage more intimately with customers, my Cloud Wars series analyze the major cloud vendors from the perspective of business customers.