At the same time that services and software businesses are converging, we're seeing a transformation of service industries. These transformations (or disruptions) are largely enabled by software.
One of the most successful services companies of our current time is Uber. While everyone loves to cite Uber as a defining product category ("Uber for [x]"), we like to use Uber as an example of a "full stack" services business.
Chris Dixon wrote a blog post on the Full Stack business
in 2014, where he explained that a new category of startups is building "a complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses existing companies."
In this article Dixon states, "The challenge with the full stack approach is you need to get good at many different things: software, hardware, design, consumer marketing, supply chain management, sales, partnerships, regulation, etc. The good news is that if you can pull this off, it is very hard for competitors to replicate so many interlocking pieces."
While Dixon and his VC firm Andreessen Horowitz view this emerging model as attractive for startups (more on this topic
), Castle sees this full stack approach as strategic consideration for the "existing companies" in a market. Existing services businesses likely already have the "supply chain management, sales, partnerships, regulation etc." — perhaps the only thing missing in a bigger strategic vision is the enabling technology.
While the full stack model may not apply to every service business, there is certainly opportunity for every company to evaluate the total customer experience and business process to determine what can be consolidated and controlled to yield higher returns. How full stack can your business be?