Apple Card forces companies to view themselves as an ‘ecosystem’

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Apple is officially in the credit card game. While the company has traditionally used its flashy launch events to debut new handsets, accessories and other innovative devices, this week’s event took it to the next level with the announcement of Apple Card, a “new kind of credit card” that’s “built on the principles of simplicity, transparency, and privacy.”

But how exactly did Apple make the Apple Card happen? In short, it all comes down to how Apple understands, invests in and leverages the power of its business ecosystem.

Let’s start at the beginning: Apple built a phone that can secure your information so well that nearly every user is comfortable not only storing personal information, but also financial information like bank accounts, credit card numbers and more. While Apple cannot see the details of your personal information, it can see what you’re doing and where you’re spending.
Then, the company took a closer look at its vast ecosystem of customers, partners, suppliers, third-party systems and technologies — which includes the global network of secure payment devices otherwise known as iPhones — and saw a huge opportunity for improving the customer experience by helping users make more informed choices to become their best financial selves. But Apple couldn’t do it alone.

Enter Goldman Sachs. While the Apple Card is based on existing technology and understood processes (everyone knows how to use an iPhone and pay with a credit card), the ecosystem was missing a critical component — the banks and the financial institutions that manage the money flows and ensure they are going in the right directions. In this case, the Apple-Goldman Sachs partnership was the last piece of the puzzle, making Apple Card a reality.

Essentially, Apple Card was born by Apple asking a simple but important question: What are our customers doing with our current products and services, and how can we better support them in those interactions? Once Apple looked at the state of its existing ecosystem, it identified a space it could uniquely deliver on, and activated the partners needed to make it come to fruition — a perfect example of the concept of ecosystem enablement.

Apple is just one of several companies expanding into the payment space; Amazon’s credit card offerings and Costco’s home financing services are two other notable examples. Time will tell how Apple Card plays out, but it’s time for every company to think about themselves as ecosystem players — and consider ways to create value for their organizations by leveraging and integrating their ecosystem in new, innovative ways — like Apple.

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