Addressing what’s next in the on-demand economy

Businessman by window

Growing customer expectations are fuelling an on-demand economy and the need for compelling experiences. In response to this trend, Zebra Technologies has decided to change the way it talks to its customers.

TechRadar Pro sat down with the company’s global CMO Jeff Schmitz to better understand its new approach and learn why it has decided to focus on the ‘human’ element of its work.

1. What is Zebra's “new focus” and company message to industry and clients and why?

It is a brand repositioning to clarify Zebra’s global position in the marketplace as an innovator at the edge of the enterprise. We have a rich legacy of enabling enterprises to succeed and thrive in an increasingly data-driven world. Delivering meaningful, actionable insights has always been at the heart of what we do. With nearly 50 years of technology expertise and cutting edge innovation Zebra has continually enhanced its capabilities to deliver industry-tailored, end-to-end solutions that intelligently connect people, assets and data to help our customers make business-critical decisions. The new brand positioning expresses how we engage with our customers, putting their front-line business at the centre of our narrative. 

Our new brand is all about empowering performance at the front-line in our key verticals – retail, manufacturing, transportations & logistics and healthcare. This means that our devices and solutions are designed to deliver a performance advantage at the edge of the enterprise. Devices are designed with front-line users in mind. These solutions create smart environments and optimize operations through connected, collaborative workflows. When the front line is empowered with the required solutions, the customer experience will drastically improve.

2. Can you talk a little about the repositioning – what it is exactly; what does it include and why are you implementing it?

The on-demand economy is driving enterprises to look for new ways to serve customers. Innovation is exploding at “the edge” where employees make real-time decisions and interact directly with the people they serve. Zebra has long been a pioneer at the edge of the enterprise: we brought the physical world into the digital world with by bringing barcode to the mainstream. It was time to update our role helping customers digitally transform and capture their performance edge.

Over the past few years, we have evolved from being “just” an Automatic Identification and Data Capture company into a solutions provider that helps businesses achieve their long-term digitization goals.

Together with our global ecosystem of partners, Zebra’s products, software, services, analytics and solutions are used to intelligently connect company assets, data and people in collaborative mobile workflows. Leveraging our purpose-driven design and data-powered environments delivered by a solution ecosystem, businesses can sense what’s happening, analyse or anticipate the implication, and make best-action decisions based on real-time guidance.  Zebra is empowering the front line to be better, faster, and smarter.

3. What's the future for Zebra in terms of focus and technology, and why?

Zebra is focused on five specific areas to deliver business outcomes to our customers: 

Purpose-driven design in our product offerings - designed with front-line users, workplaces, and workflows in mind, integrating ease-of-use, reliability, and ruggedness.

Data-powered environments - enabling customers to evolve to smart environments on the edge of enterprise, better reflecting reality rather than traditional systems of record.

Collaborative mobile workflows - ensuring those on the front line have optimised in-motion operations through connected and collaborative workflows.

Real-time guidance - linking teams, assets and systems in real time to deliver best-action guidance for business-critical decisions.

Solution ecosystem -  innovating and delivering industry-tailored solutions for the enterprise edge.

4. How will this ensure benefits for company and clients, and tackle fewer challenges for both?

Zebra strong legacy of predicting and solving tomorrow’s problems and the brand repositioning further validates this by addressing “what’s next” in the on-demand economy. Along with our partner ecosystem, Zebra provides customers with the solutions they need to create seamless and frictionless experiences – from nurses who administer precise treatments for patients whose lives are on the line, to retail associates who exceed shoppers’ expectations by locating the missing items they need in a store, to warehouse workers who pick inventory so that the right items get to the right customers at the right time, and even to NFL coaches who need to draw up the perfect play to win the game.

Jeff Schmitz, Global CMO at Zebra Technologies

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.