Good morning, Claude. Thank you for taking the time for this interview coffee break. Before we start, could you please introduce yourself and your company?
Sure. My name’s Claude Vanbeveren, I'm the managing director of Tweddle Group Europe, a company that deals with information solutions. We primarily work for the automotive sector, in particular in the field of technical information: owner and service information: how to repair, maintain and service your products.
I'd like to think of us more as a user experience company where we deliver the right content to the right people.
What kind of problems does your company typically solve for your customers?
We want to provide trouble-free access to technical information. Our customers should not have to concern themselves with how to access technical information. The main thing we do is connecting silos of content. What we see with most of our customers is that they have a lot of content, in disconnected silos, containing a lot of information. People can't access that information because it is stuck in the silos. We put a layer on top, to connect all the silos. All of a sudden, the customer has genuine access to the information that was already available. Once we have connected all the silos, what we typically do is look at information gaps between the content or the information available and what the stakeholder or consumer needs (as an internal user or a customer).
How do you approach the topic of digitisation at Tweddle Group?
That’s a very good question. First of all, digitisation is actually a way of thinking and a way of developing information. Our digitisation strategy is basically an information architecture strategy, looking at how you structure that information and what actually needs to be delivered digitally to certain groups of people. The cornerstone of this strategy is a topic, a stand-alone unit of information that delivers a message in itself. We take that topic, that little nugget of information I can use in a different context, and basically add metadata on top of it. The metadata says, “you can use this specific nugget of information in this context or these circumstances”. When a consumer comes in, there are actual building blocks, with which you can produce a fairly custom solution that remains very affordable.
I guess this requires a strong collaboration with your customers?
We typically have very good conversations with top-level executives. And I think we also have the support of the implementation people, because we re-use lots of their basic tools. These people have built many legacy applications. We re-use their legacy solutions and just connect the dots. Senior management also need to see the potential for cost savings and customer retention, the latter being even greater than the former.
For Tweddle Group, User Experience is more about customer intimacy and how can we come as close as possible to the customer and their needs at that given time, don’t you think?
Yes, you’re right. For us, a good user experience lies purely in good information architecture. If your information architecture is right, you will have a good user experience. Things like head-up displays, voice recognition and text-to-speech are merely means of conveying information. They're very important, but the content needs to be got right first.
Is it an opportunity or a threat for Tweddle that Google is now ubiquitous in people’s cars?
For me, the fact that Google is available in cars is actually more a channel than a threat. In fact, it's another way to deliver information.
Yes, Google can be used to search the entire web for anything, but searching for OEM-specific or brand-specific information is much harder. Their search engines would need to be fine-tuned for those specific OEMs and I think that's where we come in. For us, the information architecture will be specific to a certain OEM for a specific product, whereas Google actually opens the search up. Of course, both options can co-exist. You can use Google in your car to book restaurants and theatres once they open up again, but if you need specific information or have a specific question about your car, the last thing you want from an OEM perspective is Google directing you to some extremely popular (and therefore high-ranked) YouTuber saying how shitty a car or a feature is.
There must be a balance between both search options, each providing added value.
Claude, I’d like to thank you for your insights and your time.
Thank you for this opportunity. Let’s keep in touch.