All posts by Arpan Kar

Dr. Kar is a Professor in Information Systems Management in Indian Institute of Management (IIM), one of the top institutions in Business Management education globally. He has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research. He has over 35 high impact publications. Prior to joining academia, he has rich experience in Cognizant Business Consulting and IBM Research Laboratory. He is the Editor of Business Fundas.

8 Ways to stand out at a Tradeshow

When it comes to running a successful booth at a trade show, there is a big difference between standing out and wasting your time. When people visit a trade show, they are looking for something interesting to grab their attention. The difficult part for business professionals is that they have a hard time determining exactly what an interesting trade show attraction is. As you prepare to invest a great deal of your time and money in a trade show, there are eight ways you can stand out and get everyone’s attention. Continue reading

How to Become a Commodity Broker

Commodities Futures Broker (CFB) and Stock Brokers, both reside in the financial industry, but when you think of the quantity and possibly quality, Commodities Futures Broker are unique. CFB’s are – in a very specific niche of the futures, commodities and options world. There are close to a million stock brokers, and less than a one-hundred thousand CFB’s. Online trading, truly turned everyone into a “stock-broker”, in that, anyone can buy stock, and operate mutual funds. On the converse, when it comes to the actual trading of commodities, there is no general set rule, or a model with commodity trading. However, if you are looking to become a CFB, there are two key avenues to consider, before stepping into this arena of the financial market. Continue reading

Utilizing personal loans to fund your new business venture

For businesses that need a small to moderate amount of funding for start-up costs, getting a personal loan may be easier than getting a small business loan. Because many small business ventures are prone to failure and the assets of the business often secure the loans, most banks have stricter lending policies for small business loans. For example, if you run into trouble and it looks like your business is failing, the bank may ask you to pay back the loan in full whereas that is not as likely with a personal loan. Here are some suggestions on how to obtain a personal loan from sources other than traditional banks and how to use the money to fund your new business. Continue reading

Diffusion of Electronic Banking Solutions for Financial Inclusion

A major pain point of the banking industry is the challenge of how to penetrate the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), a concept which was popularized by Prahlad [3]. This indeed is a sizeable market, consisting of 2.5 billion people who live on less than US$2.50 per day. Technology is being heralded as a major enabler for the diffusion of banking solutions in this segment, and the same is being brought about by different types of electronic payment systems.

It is interesting to note how in emerging economies, diffusion of these technologies are creating benefits for this segment [4]. No wonder technology vendors and service providers are rallying to get a big pie of this cake and research in this topic has increased significantly [1,2]. However, the risks of fraud and perceived usefulness of these technology are slowing down the diffusion of the same in these economies. Another major barrier is internet penetration, which is significantly low, in developing economies, especially in the rural segments.

However, the development of banking solutions which can be used through Mobile based technologies, can significantly eradicate these problems. The adoption and penetration of mobile phones is significantly larger than internet based technologies. Hence technology giants like IBM and Microsoft are investigating significantly on research, so that mobile payment solutions can be made available to this segment. Some of the major technological advancements which are attempting to address this gap are speech technologies like the spoken web. It would indeed be interesting to see how such technologies can bring about inclusive development in the banking and financial services industry. Indeed the adoption of these technologies can bring about financial inclusion for the general masses by enabling banking solutions for this segment.

References

  1. Kar, A. (2009). eBusiness Enablement: Implications for Business Strategy. Available at SSRN 1432433.
  2. Kar, A. (2009). The Past, Present and Future of Information Systems Research. Available at SSRN 1366962
  3. Prahalad, C. K., & Hart, S. L. (2002). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Strategy and Business, 54-54.
  4. Simpson, J. (2002). The impact of the Internet in banking: observations and evidence from developed and emerging markets. Telematics and Informatics, 19(4), 315-330.

7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations

The 7 Ps of services marketing is indeed a popular framework used by marketing professionals to design the critical dimensions of the strategic blueprint while marketing a service. The services marketing mix is dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence. In fact, the 7 P framework is one of the most popular framework for deciding a marketing strategy for services in domains like banking, information technology enabled services or hospitality and tourism, right from strategy formulation to actual implementation.

However, one needs to be aware of the limitations of this framework while applying it in a business context. So in this article, we will discuss some of the major limitations of this services marketing framework.

One of the major drawbacks of the 7 P framework is that it does not address issues related to productivity in terms of both quantity and quality of service delivery. In integral services management, improving productivity during service is a requisite in overall cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential for a service to differentiate itself from other providers. These two deliverables are essentially opposite to each other in terms of goals. A firm would want to pursue a strategy involving cost minimization but still quality maximization. Hence a strategy that manages trade-off between such conflicting goals is needed to be optimized.

Similarly, another major important issue is managing the core competencies embedded within a firm. Services are essentially intangible in nature, by its very definition. Processes like service delivery address only a small part of the larger cake. Drawing from the resource based view, the organizational competencies are not matched through this framework, which is one of the building pillars of developing strategic frameworks which are external in nature. The viewing of internal resources in silos is somewhat a barrier for this framework, if used to develop an actionable strategy.

Another limitation of this framework is that it does not provide a mapping between the pricing strategies that needs to be followed, vis-a-vis the productivized version of the service. That mapping is often one of the most important drivers that can create or break the adoption of a service. A mapping of pricing to the critical dimensions (features) of the productivized service draws its theories from the pricing of services, which are often done in silos, since dimensions cannot be identified which are in unision but not over-lapping to the main delivery. Over-lapping dimensions create a perception of fluctuating utility among the consumers, and since these are intangible, the overall valuation of the importance and value of a service, gets impacted in a major way.

Understanding the limitations of any theoretical framework before applying it to practical scenarios is crucial for the success of the strategic plan. Please let us know, what you feel about this article. By the way, did you read about the 8 Ps of marketing, the new age marketing mix?