Digital Marketing Presentation

Digital Marketing is the promotion of an offering using all forms of digital advertising media to reach the target segment. Today, theoretically, these channels of promotion include Radio, mobile, Internet, Television, social media marketing and other less popular forms of digital media. However, when speaking in a generalized manner, digital marketing is synchronously connected with marketing using the web or internet.

Most of us strive to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums. This presentation / ppt is for all those who are searching for a crisp yet highly informative presentation/ebook on digital marketing.

Check out this ebook/presentation on the theory behind digital marketing and search engine optimization. Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

DOWNLOAD THIS PRESENTATION NOW TO UNDERSTAND THE MANAGEMENT THEORIES BEHIND DIGITAL MARKETING.

In this presentation, the main focus is on 6 different sub-topics in digital marketing

  1. Theoretical frameworks which affect digital marketing strategy development
  2. Digital branding theories and frameworks
  3. Digital Marketing Research, the roadmap for success
  4. Optimizing through Web Analytics
  5. Promotions and Advertising Channels
  6. Finally the eye of the Apple: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. Here we discuss in details about how it is done, the best practices, what’s done and what’s not done, and so much more..

Here’s a sneak peek to the slide of contents for all those who are still deliberating whether to download this ebook  or presentation.

Do let me know how this presentation may be improved upon. Your feedback is very valuable to me. Do refer this ebook to your friends and link back to this page, if you benefited from this ebook. Also, subscribe via email to this blog, to get more business management lectures and updates.

Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

This week we have a special gift for all our email subscribers. You have special access to the “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for free. To download your free copy, subscribe via email. The footer section of the newsletter contains the download link for the guide, which will boost your understanding of digital marketing. It is short and crisp, and will help you to deliver. It is a 32 page document which will provide enormous insight on how to brand your offering, how to do market research and how to optimize your web-site using SEO tactics to ensure greater visibility on web. In fact the SEO section has been designed to ensure you have a deeper understanding on how to deliver greater value to your business.

Do contact me if you face any problems while downloading the free E-Book. I will mail it to you personally. Also, feel free to get back to me if you have any query after reading the same.

Business Fundas has been revamped

To all our thousands of subscribers, we thank you for being there for us patiently. We have finally revamped the Business Fundas website, after its database crashed at the hosting server. Do mail us your comments and suggestions on how we can improve the look and feel of this blog.  A wordpress based new theme has been implemented, and we have made a substantial effort to speed up the page loading time. Also, we have minimized the external links to social media directly. Hope all these changes would ensure a better readability from all places, including work.

Pricing models for Outsourcing and BPOs

Outsourcing in current times is more value adding exercise done to enhance competitive advantage by focusing on the areas of core competency rather than just a cost saving practice, as it used to be. Its role as a business-value-creator is established across the world in terms of long-term gains like increased customer satisfaction and decreased customer churn along with short term cost cutting. Along with changes in outsourcing objectives and practices, the pricing models also keep changing in the outsourcing industry.

A transaction based pricing model is based totally on the number of transactions. It draws theory from the concept of economics of scale from resource sharing and usage based pricing. In this pricing model the client typically pays the service provider for individual transactions or per unit of work performed by the resources deployed. In such a model, SMEs benefit drastically from resource sharing with overall lower cost of outsourcing. An average base level of transaction is defined in the SOW, the fluctuation from which impacts the per-transaction base level pricing, in this model.

Similarly, an FTE based pricing model is one where the client pays for the time & material invested directly by the service provider. Often in outsourcing contracts, this is further broken down into multiple categories dependent on the expertise of the resources deployed, complexity of tasks performed (which impacts turn-around time of task completion), degree of domain experience and onshore/offshore presence. Typically these are fully loaded costs with often standardized SOWs including factors like number and level of resources deployed; infrastructure and external dependencies bundled into the price points.

While another variation of pricing models that can under serious contemplation is the Risk/Reward sharing pricing models, where the benefits and the losses of the services outsourced are shared amongst the partners. This is a move towards greater collaboration between separate partners in a value chain. However, for such a pricing model to be really successful there has to be significant maturity in the process level which can then be mapped to quantifiable benefits. As of now, since the services rendered by BPOs/KPOs are yet to reach the required level of maturity, these pricing models are yet to be adopted as industry standards.

Next comes the big question: When to choose which pricing model? Typically transaction-based pricing models would be more suitable for Small or Medium sized organizations where transaction count would not be significantly high. In such organization, keeping a dedicated division (with active resources) would be more cost-intensive than sourcing it to third party service providers. Thus in such scenarios, a transaction based costing would be more beneficial. Similarly, if the transaction volume is on the higher side, a FTE based pricing model (and outsourcing SOW) would be more cost effective and thus more suitable for the organization. Also, if the transaction levels are subject to high degree of fluctuation, a transaction based model (and thus the SOW) is more suitable and beneficial for both the parties involved in the deal.
Do let us know if you have any feedback in this context.

Principles of Google – The Chrome Story

For years Google has tried to hunt down Paid link exchanges and Black Hat SEO tactics by penalizing websites investing on paid links to rank higher in Google search, by getting back juice from back links. Has the time come when the internet major is caught red handed involved in practicing exactly what it punishes others for? The “Is Google Evil” question has again returned to haunt this innovator which has given us a new life through its innovative web based offerings.

While this goof-up may have not been done intentionally, in an attempt to promote Google Chrome, it has got into a mix up, when paid bloggers in-inadvertently placed -do-follow links instead of no-follow links to the Google Chrome download page. This created a huge influx of juice to the Chrome page when a video advertisement of the same was launched. It was an attempt from Google to become the market leader in the Internet Browser industry, by re-branding and relaunching Chrome.  This happened after Google hired Unruly Media, an international media agency, to get a number of paid bloggers to promote a video for its Chrome browser featuring a US flour company. However, another SEO firm named Essence Digital has “come to the rescue” of Google by declaring that it acted as an intermediary between Google and Unruly Media.

However, to clear up this “mistake” Google has now lowered Chrome’s position in the Search results, in an apparent effort to correct the mistake. However, it is interesting to note at this juncture the degree of strictness with which Google penalizes bloggers and webmasters for indulging in link exchanges, link purchases or even black hat SEO tactics.

In an era where management principles are often scrutinized for ethical legitimacy, this blunder by our favorite Web Prodigy, will no doubt leave a lasting impact on its fans like us. While Google “might not have” authorised this campaign directly, it is indeed in violation of their own webmaster guidelines, and thus the managers of Google should be held liable to fulfill a higher ethical standard, given the fact that they take such a strict action against similar defaulters.

How Technology will change Small & Medium sized Business

And here come 2012. The era of computing has seen some dramatic improvements in 2011. But what is interesting is the evolving focus of technology majors from large enterprises to small and medium sized businesses. So what could be the major movers and shakers for the next two years as we gear ourselves to ride this wave of technological evolution, more in terms of focus and perspective?

  1. Small and Medium Enterprises (Popularly called SMEs) will ride the wave on e-business offerings. The time has come when even the smallest service provider will leverage m-commerce to advertise his service range for the customer in serviceable range, with the growing popularity of location based services. Everyone with a mobile is potentially reachable through this technology, which is fast increasing in popularity. The fact that Forrester Research predicts m-commerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 39% through 2016, and that tablet adoption will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 56% per year through 2015, indicates Location Based Services have a really bright future.
  2. With the increased popularity of SaaS models in Information Technology offerings, small business can today harness the power of costly powerful technological resources, shared by multiple users, without shelving off millions of dollars. I foresee more and more focus of offerings in the domain of Business Intelligence, which are in a cloud model, for SMEs from the technology service providers. With the resources moved to a cloud, it would be possible to harness the power of ever improving processing capabilities to the available data and then leverage the information and knowledge and gain competitive advantage. The offerings of Business Intelligence on the cloud, should be of the greatest boon to the SMEs and should have a great rate of technology adoption.
  3. With the increasing access and penetration of the internet, the years to come may witness a growing proliferation of web based start-up ventures, which may operate purely on a click first e-business model. There may be a splurge of knowledge disseminating service providers or web-based internet marketers leveraging the power of affiliate marketing. However, it would remain to be seen whether this time the wave survives longer than the last wave which crumbled during the dotcom burst of the late 1990s. These pure-click e-business models may be further boosted by the integration of such business with the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the likes of which have seen a faster adoption amongst the consumers than any other technology.
  4. With a greater focus on web-based offerings, very soon SMEs will start harnessing the power of open source resources and applications, in the regular operations and transactions. Job monitoring, scheduling, live meeting and communications in general will start being more accessible to the SMEs without deep pockets. This may see a fast growth amongst businesses who are able to assimilate the benefits of the increasingly accessible technological offerings.
  5. Last, but not the least, technology may again be leveraged in providing social services. With the increasing focus on social marketing, and the issues centered on triple bottom line, sustainable governance structures may evolve amongst the SMEs which would be heavily leverage on the power of technological advances in general, and e-Business models in particular.

In short the next few years promises to deliver a lot to us. But to what extent the technology evolution and revolution will witness an adoption and assimilation in the SMEs will be interesting to monitor. What do you feel about this era of technological evolution and its impact on SMEs? Write to us.

Pricing of Telecommunication Network Services

Pricing is one of the key components of services marketing. Service providers like that of telecom service providers, often are at a major dilemma, how to price their offerings? What would be a sensitive price point for converting a potential target customer into an actual consumer? The divide between perceived value of  a service and its perceived cost would often vary across segments of customers for the same service offering.

So how should a pricing manager go about pricing network services?

Typically some of the more classical approaches in pricing Telecommunication Network Services are as follows:

  • Maximization of consumer surplus
  • Welfare maximization
  • Peak load pricing
  • Pareto optimal pricing
  • Ramsey prices
  • Cost based pricing

Here the objective of the pricing manager would be to set a pricing technique which depends on measurable parameters

  • Fully distributed cost pricing (preferred by regulator)
  • It may obscure the fact of inefficient technology
  • Over provisioning of infrastructure
  • Long run incremental cost approach
    • It may be costly to implement

    This pricing technique must ensure that if not at an individual service level, at least at a service bundle level, the price bundles post consumption must be profitable to the service provider.

    Another  major challenge for the pricing manager is how to apportion the cost when same resource produces two services (voice and video). This becomes extensively critical when a cost based pricing mechanism is used. It is important to note at this point that decisions, if not prudently taken, would turn a Business Unit of the service provider into a potential cost center without strategic deliverables. Cost apportionment is especially problematic and questionable in an industry marked by production not directly proportional to input materials (as all services are, where the intellectual capital matters a lot more than tangible artifacts).

    To take care of this challenge, one may approach this dilemma using the following approaches:

    • Subsidy free (very difficult to decide on the price)
    • Sustainable (Ramsey pricing)
    • Activity based costing : It is based on a hierarchy of four levels and is a refinement of FDC approach

    Another major issue is Pricing Services Bundles. Pricing is a major decision point in the adoption of service bundles, especially when the key differentiators are extremely intangible in nature. That again is another ball game. If you find that interesting, you can go through the following article of mine: A Model for Bundling Mobile Value Added Services using Neural Networks, 2012, International Journal of Applied Decision Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 1.

    Do get back to me if you have any queries.

     

     

    Location Based Services

    Location-Based Services (LBS) typically are information based or entertainment providing services, accessible with mobile devices like smart phones, web-enabled phones, PDAs, Notepads and Palmtops through the services of a telecom network provider. Typically these services utilize the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device. These services are getting immensely popular as a tool for services marketing for B2C focused businesses.

     

    For example, you are at location X. You suddenly need servicing for your car or gas. Also you are hungry. With Location Based Services enabled on your mobile device, you can be guided to the closest place at the time of your need to the junction that can service your needs in the best possible way. It may be a Gas Station with a food joint.

    This is not all. Location Based Services have a very high potential for cross-selling and upselling new services and lower cost of customer acquisition. Intimation of location specific services may be offered to potential customers, and conversion of leads to sales may be extremely high, in certain services. For example, close to a highway, if a joint is present that provides refreshments, and the travelers are intimated of the same during a journey about the same, this may rake in huge benefits.

    With the increasing popularity of cloud computing in the era of information technology enabled services (more often internet enabled services), Location Based services are one of the more promising services technology majors are focusing on, due to it extremely high potential revenue generating future. Started first by the 3 majors in 2000, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia,Location Based Services and the research on the service science on the domain has never looked back. The first major full-scale commercial Location Based Service was launched by DoCoMo in Japan , based on triangulation for pre-GPS handsets in 2001. Services like Friendfinder, Yellow pages, houseposition, emergency call location etc. were the first few services that harnessed enormous acceptance from its targeted consumer base across geographies.

    Today technology majors like IBM have their own extensive solution for work-force management, that uses platforms for location based management systems. The recent acquisition of GoWalla by Facebook is another such indication that even Social Media majors are considering potential revenue from advertisements from such services. The potential profitability of such services are encouraging the trend, and as more and more focus is increased on the Cloud Computing, these services are bound to be a major revenue earner for technology giants, and can be a crucial ace for the players in the IT services and IT enabled services industry.

     

    Debt Crisis in Europe

    The woes of the economic slowdown and financial crisis in 2011 is largely attributed to the debt crisis in Europe. This is not a recent happening and bubble started growing from as early as 2009. The 3 of the highest exposed countries; namely Greece, Ireland and Portugal, collectively account for six percent of Eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP). (more…)

    Agile software development methodology

    Agile software development is a model for development of information technology systems based on iterative and incremental development, based on feedback from the clients.  In this methodology the requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams who work in close liaison with the clients. (more…)

    Supplier selection criteria and models

    Purchasing is among the most important activities in supply chain management, since it is the primary point of contact with most supply-chain partners. A major area in purchasing management is that of Supplier Selection Problem (sometimes called the Vendor Selection Problem). Research in this domain started in the early 1960s and over 175 studies have attempted to address this highly critical issue of procurement management. “Vendor selection criteria and methods” have reportedly been the highest area of interest in operations management research.

    A wide variety of selection criteria have been used in different studies for the evaluation of suppliers which have varied due to the differences in requirements in different industries and also often had been purely firm specific. Typically the variety of supplier selection criteria that has been used has exceeded 50 criteria in over 65 research papers working on finding new criteria for evaluation of suppliers. These criteria have been enlisted in the matrix shown below.

    Some of the most popular criteria in supplier selection which has been used in over 10 research papers and have also been widely cited are relative price, compliance with the delivery schedule, quality of the delivered goods to specifications, production capabilities of the supplier, geographic distance (of the warehouse), technical capability of the supplier, management capability of the supplier  and financial position of the supplier. All these supplier evaluation criteria have found massive application in the studies in this domain and are marked by subtle differences in terms of relative importance, as perceived by senior procurement practitioners.

    Similarly another area of keen interest is the models which has been used to provide decision support to the supplier selection problem. Over 35 different mathematical models have been used for providing decision support to this extremely critical issue of procurement management. A study by Ho, Xu and Dey (2010) reveals that the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Mathematical Programming and Data Envelopment Analysis are the top 3 modeling paradigms used to provide decision support in supplier selection problems. Many other novel techniques like multi-attribute-deterministic models; mixed mathematical programming, outranking techniques; weighted sum of products; interpretive structural modeling; fuzzy set theory, neural networks; intelligent agent based techniques; TOPSIS, fuzzy multi-attribute frameworks; rule based reasoning models and multi-objective programming models have also been used. Typically the evolution of supplier selection models have been as described pictorially below, due to the evolution of the nature of selection criteria, from quantitative to a mix of quantitative and qualitative criteria.

    As the trend highlights, there is a paradigm shift in the nature of the mathematical models used for supplier selection with a change in the requirements in the nature of business, mostly in the manufacturing industries and the maturity of the discipline. No wonder the area has attracted so much of attention to the consulting practitioners and theory developers in academia alike.

    Do mail me if you have any queries regarding this post.

    The content in this article is an original piece of research made to further the purpose of education only. You may NOT copy, distribute and transmit the work for any purpose without the express written permission of the author. Neither you may alter, transform, or build upon this work without express written permission from the author (arpan.kumar.kar@gmail.com).

    BSC – The Balanced Scorecard

    The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a framework for strategic management, used to monitor and align performance of an organization or a division of the same. It is a semi-standard yet more or less structured report, supported by some established design methods and tools, that can be used by management executives to keep track of the execution of plans / assignments by the staff within their control and to evaluate the possible consequences arising from the execution of these plans. Introduced by Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and popularized by Bain & Company, the Balanced Scorecard has become one of the most popular frameworks for project monitoring and management and align the same to the vision and mission of the organization, be it an industrial, government, or nonprofit organization.

    Ref: Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, “Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System”, 1996, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 76.

    Balanced_Scorecard

    There are 4  major process that needs to be balanced in BSC:

    1. The Learning & Growth process
    2. The Business process
    3. The Customer process
    4. The Financial process

    The learning and growth process involves all the plans and programs an organization or a department is undertaking in terms of training and development related to both individual and corporate self-improvement. It extends the concept that in a knowledge based organization,people or the human resource is the most critical resource to organizational development.  This section posits the use of metrics to evaluate performance, progress and development of the human resources of an organization.

    The Business Process takes into consideration to develop metrics to measure the performance of the internal processes of an organization. It helps to map development in process efficiencies with incremental changes in internal processes. Process management metrics and workflow management metrics are used in this process to evaluate performance vis-a-vis improvements. Incremental improvements the the processes in terms of meeting targets (say process efficiencies) are measured and how the implementation of plans to meet such targets were conducted, is scrutinized in this process.

    The customer process takes into account the philosophy of customer orientation in an organization. In current times, there has been an increasing realization of the importance of customer focus and customer satisfaction in any business. The focus in this process is predominantly Customer Lifetime Value management and in the next stage, harness the Customer’s network value. Incremental improvements in each objectives in terms of meeting targets is measured and how the implementation to meet such targets were planned, is scrutinized in this process.

    The financial process is another crucial dimension in the BSC. Although managers using the BSC do not have to rely solely on short-term financial measures as the most important indicators of the division’s performance, financial measures are none the less, extremely relevant and are often recognized as the most critical process by many practitioners. Measures such as financial ratios, total revenue from sales, total cost, cost structure improvements, and indirect sources of revenue are scrutinized against their targets, in this process.

    These processes are mapped against each other to check how the organizational vision and mission are being adhered to within a division while implementing ploys and strategies. These help in providing a way to construct a concrete step-by-step path of development for the executives of a division or of an organization.

    However, the limitation of the Balanced Scorecard is that it has been severely criticized by scholars  for its inability to link a company’s long-term strategy with its short-term ploy. It has become overused in many organizations, sometime not in the most desirable way, as it was conceived when developed.

     

    industry, government, and nonprofit organizations

    Services Process Mapping

    Typically services are characterized by the 7 Ps of services marketing namely Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence.

    One of the crucial success factors for a service to gather acceptance amongst its target market is that of a proper mapping of one of the crucial dimensions of the 7 Ps, namely the Process.

    Process mapping in services marketing is simply a sequential workflow diagram to display a clearer understanding of a series of sequential processes or series of parallel processes that takes place while a service gets delivered to the customer. Processes are important to deliver consistency in quality in a service. Services being intangible, processes become all the more crucial to ensure standards are met with.

    Relative to a services marketing strategy, mapping of service processes ensures that a quantifiable way is used to determine where and in what amount current resources are being allocated. Once a service delivery manager knows exactly how the current resources are being used, he can optimally allocate resources in the future. It also helps to uncover inefficiencies and non-value added activities.

    Service process mapping also helps move services process from a reactive to a proactive mode. Bottlenecks in service delivery may be identified and the exercise helps to ensure that quantifiable structured improvement in the service delivery may be achieved by the service provider.

    Service-Process-Mapping

    The above framework gives a step my step description of how services should be mapped to ensure consistency in service quality delivery, which plays a key role in fulfilling customer expectations and thus ensure customer satisfaction.

    The benefits of following a services mapping exercise are as follows:

    • Focuses the workforce on the customer’s perspective of the service process.
    • Ensures more reliable and consistent service delivery processes across all units.
    • Increases cross-functional communication.
    • Improves the start-to-finish project time.
    • Serves as an excellent training aid for new employees.
    • Uncovers inefficiencies and non-value added activities.
    • Identifies obstacles and bottlenecks that are hampering the service delivery.
    • Provides management with the scope to make structured improvements.

    I hope the details provided in this article would be sufficient to chalk out a mapping for the processes of a service, prior to delivery. Do let us know if you have any query.

    Globalization – Impacts & Effects

    Globalization is the unification of the economies across the world beyond the barriers forged by the geographies, so as to to stimulate wealth generation, exchange of goods and services and mutual inclusive growth through an division of labor across nations characterized by efficiencies arising from international relations, specialization and competition. Typically the forces of globalization are driven primarily by economic, sociocultural, political, and technological factors although other factors have also played a significant role in the process.

    Although the empirical evidence on the benefits of globalization on inclusive development is not very clear, the share in aggregate world exports and in world output of the developing countries has definitely increased due to this phenomenon. The emergence of global markets which has triggered a much wider access to a range of products both for consumers and firms has definitely triggered a kind of major industrial revolution. There has also been a stimulated growth triggered by access to better financial resources due to the liberalization of economies and thus the increased liquidity of financial resources.

    A major impact of the globalization has been the stimulation of the Green Revolution, which has managed to address the needs of the burst in population globally. It is felt that without the green revolution, stimulated by the exchange of information, agro-products, fertilizers, seeds, bio-technology and expertise, much of the sudden burst of population growth would have suffered severely from lack of access to food, clothes and medicines.  The development of agriculture and agro-based industries has had a major positive effect on the lives of billions of people on this planet directly and even more so indirectly.

    The realization of a global market, based on the freedom of exchange of goods, information and capital, and thus setting up the preconditions for perfect market conditions  has been one of the major benefits of globalization. This has actually stimulated a shift of monopolistic economic power from the United States (and European nations) to fast developing economies like China, India, Brazil and other similar countries, which are growing at a rate exceeding 8% year on year. The emergence of China and the Eastern tigers (Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore) as a manufacturing super-power and the emergence of India and Brazil as a services hub has been extremely significant in this shift of political power.

    A major trigger in the impact of globalization has been the adoption of internet based products and services. This has triggered a substantial increase in information flows between geographically dispersed locations and stimulated the formation of global markets. Today, consumers of lesser developed economies have access to all the products of developed economies through the establishment of e-markets like Amazon and e-Bay.

    The social effects have been significant too in the context of globalization. English, although the third most popular language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish, has become the Lingua Franca (official language) of the global economies. The access to global information, products and services has triggered the growth of cross-cultural relationships and facilitated the development of a new order consciousness and life-style stimulated from cultural diffusion, improved standards of living and access to foreign products, services and ideas. This development of “World culture” has been most significant among the Netizens triggered by fraternity shared on online forums which has stimulated the exchange and diffusion of ideas.

    However, globalization has also triggered the brain drain from developing economies to developed economies to access better employment opportunities and also the formation of Sweatshops by the advanced economies in developing economies to take the benefits of cheap labor. The globalization of the jobs has a negative impact in developed countries where many of the jobs (especially the low knowledge centric ones like BPOs and KPOs) have been outsourced to economies where labor is comparatively much cheaper. Also, many argue that globalization has actually a negative impact on inclusive development of backward economies and the rich gets richer by taking advantage of the resources in the disposal of the poor by utilizing it better. Also, globalization has triggered many illicit trade activities involving drugs and trafficking and this has added to the woes of under-developed economies.

     

     

    Windows 7 – The Mango Phone

    Microsoft has finally launched the next generation operating system for the smartphones.

    Once the leader in the Smartphone operating system developers, Microsoft has currently a penetration lower than 5% in the smartphone market towards the end of 2011, currently ruled by Android. Android now has a third of the global market share  (33%). RIM’s share has plummeted to 29%. Apple is barely holding at 25% and Palm, which is barely worth mentioning anymore, fell another point to 2.8%.

    Microsoft is targeting to gain considerable market-share upto 10% for the time being and slowly regain its otherwise lost competitive advantage. By collaborating with HTC (Radar), Samsung and Nokia, Microsoft is targeting a mass market where it can reach out to its potential customers.

    A question that may worry many technocrat is that with all the added GUI that microsoft has pumped into the Mango phones (Windows 7 and Windows 7.5), how will the added power consumption be handled by the high end processors added to these really smart phones (1 GHz processors are the norm now). Smartphone users are often plagued by the battery support that forces them to recharge their phones every alternate day or even everyday, if one talks for 4-5 hours. While, due to this very specific need, smartphones from Blackberry (RIM) and Nokia Symbian Smartphones are still in the market, its time to realize that business users of smartphone often value these hard performance factors over GUI improvements.

    Another major area of focus is connectivity, especially over web. Most of these smartphone sucker out while being connected over 3G. If you are online, in most phones, if not all, you are likely to need to recharge your phone everyday, and effectively after a year, your battery starts showing signs of stress. I personally sometimes miss those days when I could charge my mobile once a week and that would satisfy all the phone-calls I needed to make. While I thrive on the web, it has its costs too.

    With other features in the mobile market going for a rat race (like cameras, internal memory, etc), a major decision point in the purchasing behavior may be these factors. Also another decision factor may be the accessibility to services and distribution channels, something which Microsoft is targeting in a very focused manner by collaborating with Nokia, which has one of the most extensive servicing and distribution channels.

    While in the days of cloud computing, what everyone else is using is also adding drastically to the experience of using a smartphone, it is necessary to understand that jumping into the smartphone bandwagon should be a decision taken more judiciously for every user, based on a smart analysis of one’s actual needs.

    It remains to be seen who will win this fight for market-share in the operating systems market. It indeed is getting intensely competitive. Will Microsoft be able to turn over its bad times with this Windows 7 series? Only time will say. What do you think?

    PEST Analysis

    PEST analysis stands for “Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis“. It is a framework for Strategic analysis of markets to evaluate macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component. Some analysts add the Legal factors to the analysis.

    Thus when the PEST analysis is expanded to incorporate legal and environmental factors; this is called a PESTLE analysis or a PESTEL analysis.

    • Political factors pertain to how the government intervenes in the economic functioning of the country (market) and more specifically how it affects the firm strategic decision making. Political factors such as tariffs, tax policy, labor laws, trade restrictions,environmental law, and political stability. Political stability is a major factor which affect the firm’s strategic decision making and overall legal framework.
    • Economic factors consists of interest rates, government bond rates, risk free rate of interest, economic growth, inflation rate (adjusted) and exchange rates.  These factors have major impacts on how a firm can operate in a market. Inflation rate and potential GDP affect the demand and prices of goods.
    • Social factors include the cultural dimensions of the population in which the firm will operate and include gender consciousness, gender based product/service bias, population growth rate, age spread, health consciousness, career attitudes and risk appetite of the target segment.
    • Technological factors consists of factors such as research and development focus in general industries, intellectual property protection laws, technology adoption rates, change assimilation culture, automation and the rate of technological change. They affect entry barriers, technology enabled products and service assimilation,  product prices, quality, and innovation.
    • Environmental factors consists of factors like ecological and environmental aspects such as forestry  and  climatic conditions which may especially affect industries such as tourism, farming, and insurance.
    • Legal factors focus on discrimination laws, intellectual property protection laws, labor laws, consumer laws, antitrust laws, employment laws, health laws, safety laws and social security laws which can affect how a firm operates, its bottom-line (cost structure) and the demand and distribution for its products and services.

    The PEST framework has been recognized as an extremely popular framework for market analysis. It is a part of the external analysis conducted while demonstrating an in-depth strategic analysis during new market entry or doing market research for a new product launch or even sometimes during a product extension, and gives an overview of the different macroenvironmental factors that the company has to take into consideration. It is a useful theoretical tool for estimating market growth or decline, business position, potential and direction for operations.

    It is an important complementary extension of the Marketing Mix strategies and often it is used as an alternative analytical tool for Porter’s 5 forces model (although not appropriate for the same).

     

    What is Quality Research and a Good Research Paper

    Often a question that plagues many a beginner research student is the major question: What is good research or How to write a good research paper. Often, this becomes a major headache for students striving to complete a dissertation for their masters programme or even their doctoral programme. So what are the dimensions of a high quality research or a high quality research paper that one needs to keep in mind while writing the same?

    Typically, as I would go about it, a good research should follow a simple methodology which should transcend to a publishable good research paper. So here are the few basic steps which one should follow while writing a good research paper.

    1. First challenge is choosing the topic of the research. How does one identify what topic is actually a good topic of interest? A major point to ponder would be is the problem statement significant enough? How relevant is the context in the current scenario? If there is substantial past literature which has been already published, then it is likely that it is a good research topic, broadly. I would advise students who are yet to establish themselves in the academia to refrain from choosing topics which may be interesting, but would have very less literature to support the building blocks of the same.  Choose a title for your work, which brings out its essence within 5 to 12 (maximum 15) words.
    2. Research studies typically have 3 important dimensions: Applicability (relevance of the study to the outer world), Rigor of methodology (to allow replicability of the study and the findings and thus the falsifiability of the theory), and the generalizability of the findings/results/theory generated through the study. However, many senior researcher feel that it is difficult to address more than 2 of these dimensions stringently while conducting a research, without compromising the 3rd dimension.
    3. Next start with a thorough literature review in the area in which you are planning to do a study. Typically remember, most quality research papers would have more than 30-50 citations and these researchers would have gone through 3 times the number of cited literature while developing the study. Not only a detailed literature review clarifies what could be the possible contribution in the paper, but also will help you to get a very strong idea on what could be the possible ways to go about the research methodology for such a problem. While conducting a literature review, it is of paramount importance to validate the degree of authenticity of the sources based on which you would build your work.
    4. After a thorough review of literature is conducted, it is time to define the contribution of your study. Always remember, the best research works are often those which strive to make a small yet significantly clear contribution. Attempting a huge amount of contribution often affects the quality of the work.
    5. Next is the step of designing a research methodology.  Every research would be having an ideal methodology based on the focus of the study, the limitations of doing research in the problem domain and replicability of the methodology across other studies with a similar focus. typically research is often evaluated based on the methodological rigor with which the contributions are evaluated and subsequently highlighted.  However, due to practical reasons, one needs to remember that limitations of available resources like access to data, technology, connections and other factors often limit the scope of following a “tailor made research methodology” and this often is an inherent issue of the problem under investigation. Not all studies can follow the ideal path due to lack of resources available to travel on the same. However, research methodology is of paramount importance and care should be taken to ensure that the best possible methodology is undertaken while planning out the research design.
    6. Then comes the major question of going about with the planned methodology. In various studies, this phase would be different. Sometimes methodologies need to be modified from the one that was planned, in due course of progress in the study. In social sciences (business management, other social sciences) this would essentially be the data collection phase, while in the domain of technology, this may entail the development of algorithms/hardware to meet the objectives to extend existing theories. This is followed by the stage where the analysis is done (on the data collected, or through the new proposed algorithms or using new technology) and the results need to be rechecked with existing literature for their validity on how they concur yet extend the same. Every details in these steps should be noted so as to allow the replicability of the study by another research following your methodology on a similar problem.
    7. Finally the last question is how to go about writing a great dissertation paper. Ideally the paper should have few mandatory sections like a brief introduction to the topic highlighting its significance and what you contributed, and the boundaries of your study. Next important section is the detailed review of existing literature in the topic so as to be able to bring out the existing gaps in the same. Next important section is writing in details about the contribution of your research and compare the same with the existing literature, and highlighting what existing theories it takes forward or contradicts. Then comes the theory section where you should describe in details what is your main proposition (including the model) in the paper, by building on the blocks taken from existing literature. Then you should give a detailed explanation of your research methodology through which you attempted to provide empirical validation to your propositions in your study. Then you should discuss the results of the research after it is conducted. Finally in the conclusion section, you should discuss the significance of your propositions/findings and highlight how it concurs with existing body of knowledge and yet takes it further, or disagree with the existing body of knowledge, suggesting reasons for the the same. Some research papers would also like to end with few notes on the limitations of the study and future research directions for someone to extend your work.

    Hope this helps all the students who are writing their dissertation paper. Do get back to me if you feel any important dimension which has been missed here, can be added back. Also, if you have any clarification, feel free to shoot them to me.

    How to write a Resume or CV – Tips and Sample

    The most important facet while applying for a job is presenting one’s competency through a resume or CV. So how should one present one’s CV so that the first barrier, of getting noticed amidst hundreds of applicants, is successfully crossed. Here are few tips every professional should keep in mind while writing the curriculum vitae. Always remember, the first round while selecting a candidate through the CV is via elimination, while the second round to finalize a hire is through selection via interviews. (more…)

    Business Negotiation – Tips to improve Skills

    The Art of Negotiation

    A ‘negotiation’ is a conversation between two or more parties where the outcome has yet to be decided. Many people enter ‘negotiations’ with a clear and defined outcome in mind and the intention to accept nothing less.  Making demands and negotiating are not interchangeable or even similar and you should be clear which activity you intend undertaking.

    Most negotiations are stunted or hindered as both parties seek to gain advantage over the other.  These ‘aggressive’ exchanges often result in the focus becoming personal and subjective rather than impersonal and objective. Properly conducted, a ‘negotiation’ can be a very positive experience for all parties involved and not just during but long after the discussions are completed.

    What is Negotiation

    Every negotiation will result in one of 4 outcomes.

    The objective of all parties conducting the negotiation would be to arrive at a Win-Win situation for both.

    So How to play a Win-Win game?

    Be Yourself.

    People like to do business with people they can engage with and trust.  Make sure you’re open, honest and be very conscious of your non-verbal communications too. Sitting forward and encroaching could be seen as aggression; sitting back and slouching could be seen as disrespectful and flippant.  Avoid looking disinterested or resting your head on your hands.

    Be attentive, sit up straight and maintain friendly, comfortable eye contact.  Use active listening skills such as nodding in agreement, making audible sounds of acknowledgement, gently imitate body language and speech rhythms and ask relevant questions.
    If it’s appropriate, share some personal information.  Talking about family or interests could establish a rapport but be careful not to offend or alienate the other party with extreme views.

    Never Lie
    Don’t overstretch the truth; don’t over exaggerate and never ever lie!  You will be found out at some point and, when you are, all trust will be lost and you will never be in a position to negotiate again.

    Be Present
    Be present and in the moment, listening to everything that’s said and picking up on subtle verbal and non-verbal clues.  Use questioning to ensure you understand everything and don’t make assumptions. Understand fully your opposite number’s position – what are they proposing; what are they asking for; what do they want and not want; why they want it.

    Establish Common Ground
    Establish the common ground and then use this commonality to build on.  Where are the shared interests, goals, objectives?  How can you help them whilst also helping yourself?
    This also affirms your positive listening skills, demonstrating that you’ve placed the wishes and desires of your opposite at the very centre of the conversation.

    Show Respect
    Show that you respect your opposite by taking some time to consider their views, desires and perspectives.  Dismiss nothing out of hand and be prepared to explain why you are rejecting something, giving them the opportunity to understand what matters to you.

    Make your offer
    Now you’re ready to make your offer and this should be based on your expectations but also on the preceding discussions reaffirming that you’ve been listening and that you’re trying to encompass your desires with your opposite’s. This is also the perfect time to discuss where you could negotiate further and what’s non-negotiable but it also helps to explain why some aspects are non-negotiable.  If you can’t move on price because of overheads, say so but explore where you could offset this (perhaps with reciprocal marketing or something mutually beneficial).
    The ‘Art of Negotiation’ is quite simply getting a good deal for all parties involved or reaching a consensual agreement for mutual benefit.
    Be careful not to compromise too much – this is a business transaction and whilst mutual respect, honesty and flexibility will aid the process, the outcome may be that the deal on offer isn’t for you and you walk away, happy that you’ve explored all options and haven’t betrayed yourself or your organization. That doesn’t mean you don’t respect each other, in fact quite the opposite – you respect yourself as much as you respect them.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    This article was authored by Collin Millar (Twitter @colin_millar), a guest blogger at Business Fundas.Colin is the Chairman of Chartered Management Institute (CMI, Glasgow), an EFQM Business Excellence Practitioner & Accredited Assessor.  Colin Graduated in Management from the Open University Business School and has held several senior positions including Head of Criminal Records Bureau for a Scottish Police Force and Head of Operations for a Scottish based charity.

    Business Process Re-engineering

    Business process re-engineering is the analysis and re-designing of workflows and business processes within a firm. Business process re-engineering is also known as business process redesign, business process change management, or business transformation. Typically Business process re-engineering happens in 4 sequential steps , in a firm, as described below.

    1. Typically, the first step for a BPR is planning for the same. First of all the deliverable of the process under scanner needs to be clarified. Then it is important to define the scope of the project. Often it is seen that projects fail to have a well defined deliverable and scope, and this creates major management problems. Then within the project, identifying the critical mini-projects and their major drivers is crucial for success of a business process re-engineering operation. After the major drivers are identified, then the focus should be to identify the slack resources, which are less utilized and possible bottle-necks in existing processes.
    2. In the next step, a deeper study of the existing business processes is required. In this stage, normally the focus remains on gathering internal information about the processes, map existing capabilities with resources and more important map processes with under-utilized resources and slack variables. This often helps to determine the bottle neck in the operation of the macro process. Then a mapping needs to be done of the IT capabilities of the process with the process stages and internal capabilities (of the work force)
    3. In the third step, major process issues need to be identified. Often it may appear that there are multiple optimal solutions. Process gaps need to be identified and areas of major restructuring needs to be identified. Also focus should be to identify and nullify slack resources at every stage.
    4. Then a cost benefit analysis of all the possible optimal solutions needs to be conducted thoroughly. While analyzing optimal solutions, it is extremely crucial to investigate inter-process and intra-process linkages which may get disrupted during the implementation of the business process re-engineering plan. Finally a road-map or a blue-print for the implementation of the best business process re-engineering plan needs to be chalked out. Then a case study is developed in the last stage to set tangible targets during the business process re-engineering process implementation.

    The processes for a successful BPR has been described thoroughly pictorially in the diagram below.

     

    After a business process re-engineering project is completed, a major challenge that the management faces is that of change management. Organizations have a culture and an identity of their own. After major changes happen through the implementation of a business process re-engineering plan,major disruption of the culture and organizational harmony is likely to happen if substantial measures are not taken for managing the change. Substantial effort has to be taken by the top management to drive home the change, without coercion. Extra efforts on training the work-force and regular intervention of the top management to facilitate the process will create a major impact on the success of a business process re-engineering process. Efficient change management is the biggest factor which causes a business process re-engineering exercise to be significantly successful.

    Finally, it is important not to forget the main goals for which the business process re-engineering was conducted in the first place. The project needs to be managed and metrics should be driven in place to ensure the proper management of the project post re-engineering. Also it is important to remember that performing BPR as a one-off exercise with limited strategy alignment and long-term perspective is unlikely to deliver any real benefits for the firm.

    Do let us know what you feel about the article.

    Have you read this article : 4 Cs of Marketing – The Advanced Marketing Mix

    Top Business Schools of India

    The top business school rankings of India is again out. The rankings are based on the survey done buy Pagalguy, the premier platform where B-School aspirants, alumni, faculty and industry forms a part of the ranking. We agree more or less to the rankings brought out in this survey. The B-Schools have further been color coded in bands, based on our perception. The bands are made based on the perceived potential level of openings that a student coming out of these institutes may have, once he joins the industry. It has been assumed, that the opportunities within a similar band to top jobs or top career prospects, will be homogeneous for students within a band, in an abstract manner.

    Those interested in what India has to offer in terms of Business Schools should not feel intimidated if they are located far from the area. It may not be as difficult as one would initially assume to plan a trip to India on the internet. There are plenty of travel services, like Expedia for example, that allow tourists (or anyone wishes to study abroad) to easily reach their destination while potentially saving them some money and time in the process. Simply looking at what is available is completely free, so don’t hesitate to look into a travel plan. It could quite literally change the course of one’s career.

    1  (IIM Ahmedabad) Indian Institute of Management –  Ahmedabad  
    2  (IIM Calcutta) Indian Institute of Management – Calcutta, Kolkata  
    3  (IIM Bangalore) Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore  
    4  (ISB Hyderabad) Indian School of Business Hyderabad  
    5  (XLRI Jamshedpur) Xavier’s Labour Relations Institute Jamshedpur  
    6  (IIM Lucknow) Indian Institute of Management – Lucknow  
    7  (FMS – Delhi) Faculty of Management Studies – University of Delhi, New Delhi  
    8  (SPJIMR, Mumbai) SP Jain Institute of Management and Research Mumbai  
    9  (IIM Kozhikode) Indian Institute of Management – Kozhikode  
    10  (IIM Indore) Indian Institute of Management – Indore Indore  
    11  (MDI Gurgaon) Management Development Institute, Gurgaon  
    12  (IIFT, Delhi & Kolkata) Indian Institute of Foreign Trade New Delhi & Kolkata  
    13  (NITIE Mumbai) National Institute of Industrial Engineering Mumbai  
    14  (JBIMS Mumbai) Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies Mumbai  
    15  (SIBM Pune) Symbiosis Institute of Business Management – Pune Pune  
    15  (NMIMS Mumbai) Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies Mumbai  
    17  (SJMSoM, IIT Mumbai) Shailesh J Mehta School of Management – IIT Bombay Mumbai  
    18  (IMT Ghaziabad) Institute of Management Technology – Ghaziabad Ghaziabad  
    19  (TISS Mumbai) Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai  
    20  (XIM Bhubhaneswar) Xavier’s Institute of Management Bhubhaneswar  
    21  (DMS – IIT Delhi) Department of Management Studies – IIT Delhi New Delhi  
    22  (MICA Ahmedabad) Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad  
    23  (SCMHRD Pune) Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resources Development Pune  
    24  (IIM Shillong) Indian Institute of Management – Shillong Shillong  
    25  (VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur) Vinod Gupta School of Management – IIT Kharagpur Kharagpur  
    25  (TAPMI Manipal) TA Pai Management Institute Manipal  
    27  (MBA, IIT Kanpur) Industrial and Management Engineering – IIT Kanpur Kanpur  
    28  (KJ Somaiya, Mumbai) KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research Mumbai  
    29  (SIIB Pune) Symbiosis Institute of International Business – Pune Pune  
    30  (IRMA Anand) Institute of Rural Management Anand  
    31  (IMI Delhi) International Management Institute New Delhi  
    32  (SIBM Bangalore) Symbiosis Institute of Business Management – Bangalore Bangalore  
    33  (IIM Ranchi) Indian Institute of Management – Ranchi Ranchi  
    34  (Nirma, Ahmedabad) Institute of Management – Nirma University Ahmedabad  
    35  (Great Lakes, Chennai) Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai  
    36  (IIM Raipur) Indian Institute of Management – Raipur  
    37  (GIM, Goa) Goa Institute of Management Goa  
    37  (IIM Rohtak) Indian Institute of Management – Rohtak  
    39  (DMS – IIT Madras) Department of Management Studies – IIT Madras Chennai  
    40  (XIME Bangalore) Xavier’s Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Bangalore  
    41  (SIMS Pune) Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies – Pune Pune  
    42  (LIBA Chennai) Loyola Institute of Business Administration Chennai  
    43  (FORE, Delhi) FORE School of Management New Delhi  
    44  (DMS – IIT Roorkee) Department of Management Studies – IIT Roorkee Roorkee  
    45  (BITS Pilani MBA) Management Group – Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani  
    46  (MBE, Delhi University) Master of Business Economics – University of Delhi New Delhi  
    46  (MIB, Delhi University) MIB – Delhi School of Economics New Delhi  
    48  (We School, Mumbai) Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research Mumbai  
    49  (LBSIM Delhi) Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management New Delhi  
    50  (IFMR Chennai) Institute for Financial Management and Research Chennai  
    51  (XISS Ranchi) Xavier’s Institute of Social Service Ranchi
    51  (MHROD, Delhi University) MHROD – Delhi School of Economics New Delhi
    51  (ICFAI Hyderabad) ICFAI Business School – Hyderabad Hyderabad
    54  (MFC, Delhi University) Master of Finance and Control – University of Delhi New Delhi
    55  (FMS – BHU, Varanasi) Faculty of Management Studies – Banaras Hindu University Varanasi
    56  (BIM, Trichy) Bharathidasan Institute of Management Trichy
    56  (UBS Chandigarh) University Business School Chandigarh
    58  (SIMC Pune) Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication – Pune Pune
    58  (SRCC GBO, Delhi) Sri Ram College of Commerce (Global Business Operations) New Delhi
    60  (IMT Nagpur) Institute of Management Technology – Nagpur Nagpur
    61  (IIFM, Bhopal) Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal
    62  (SITM Pune) Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management – Pune Pune
    63  (DMS – NIT Trichy) Department of Management Studies – NIT Trichy Trichy
    64  (SIMSREE Mumbai) Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship Education Mumbai
    65  (SCIT Pune) Symbiosis Center for Information Technology Pune
    66  (DSM – DTU, Delhi) Delhi School of Management – Delhi Technological University New Delhi
    67  (BIMTECH, Noida) Birla Institute of Management Technology Noida
    68  (PUMBA, Pune) Pune University MBA Pune
    69  (SIOM Nashik) Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management – Nashik
    70  (Christ MBA, Bangalore) Department of Management Studies – Christ College Bangalore
    71  (ICFAI Mumbai) ICFAI Business School – Mumbai Mumbai
    72  (VIT Vellore) Vellore Institute of Technology University Vellore
    73  (NIBM Pune) National Institute of Bank Management Pune
    73  (NL Dalmia, Mumbai) NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research Mumbai
    75  (IMDR Pune) Institute of Management Development and Research Pune
    75  (ISBM Pune) International School of Business and Media Pune
    77  (ITM Navi Mumbai) Institute for Technology and Management Navi Mumbai
    77  (DMS – NIT Durgapur) Department of Management Studies – NIT Durgapur Durgapur
    77  (Alliance, Bangalore) Alliance Business School Bangalore
    80  (IISWBM Kolkata) Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management Kolkata
    81  (ICFAI Gurgaon) ICFAI Business School – Gurgaon Gurgaon
    82  (SDMIMD Mysore) SDM Institute for Management Development Mysore
    83  (Osmania University MBA, Hyderabad) Osmania University College of Business Management Hyderabad
    84  (Amity, Noida) Amity Business School Noida
    85  (SPM, Gandhinagar) School of Petroleum Management Gandhinagar
    86  (NSB Delhi) NIILM School of Business New Delhi
    86  (SIESCOMS, Navi Mumbai) SIES College of Management Studies Navi Mumbai
    88  (BIMM, Pune) Balaji Institute of Modern Management Pune
    89  (IP University MBA, Delhi) University School of Management Studies – Indraprastha University New Delhi
    89  (NICMAR Pune) National Institute of Construction Management and Research Pune
    91  (MET Mumbai) MET Institute of Management Mumbai
    91  (IMS Indore) Institute of Management Studies – Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalala Indore
    93  (IFIM Bangalore) IFIM Business School Bangalore
    93  (AIM, Kolkata) Army Institute of Management Kolkata
    95  (KIAMS Harihar) Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies Harihar
    96  (NIASoM Pune) National Insurance Academy School of Management Pune
    97  (IPE Hyderabad) Institute of Public Enterprise Hyderabad
    98  (Asia-Pacific, Delhi) Asia-Pacific Institute of Management New Delhi
    99  (PSG, Coimbatore) PSG Institute of Management Coimbatore
    100  (SCMLD, Pune) Sadhana Center for Management and Leadership Development Pune

    Global financial & economic crisis in 2011

    The financial crisis in late 2000, sometimes referred to as the Credit Crunch or the Global Financial Crisis, is generally considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The financial meltdown resulted in the collapse of super Financial institutions with power status, the bailout of mega-banks by the central governments, and plummeting stock markets around the world. However, in 2011, the world may be witnessing something which may be equally big, or maybe even bigger.  The WWII economic crisis and conditions are still extremely fragile. Probably turning short-term debt into long-term loans was the biggest trigger for this economic recession in 2011.

    Some may call me to be somewhat more pessimistic in my outlook than is required, but here are my reasons to believe so.

    • The economy in US is in dire straits. The housing sector is yet to recover and high unemployment is troubling the super-power. The US is drowning in negative equity and job-less homes. Tax cuts may be short term evasive measure, medium and long term fiscal reforms may be necessary to pull US economy through this period. The recession in 2008-2009 is still making its presence felt in US, by depleting the reserves of the economic super-power. The tremble caused by BNP Paribas and Lehman Brothers is yet to subside full. Recently, US has been downgraded from its rating by Standard and Poor. The economists are suggesting long term reforms in banking,  such as raising capital ratios and switching from wholesale to retail funding, while filling in short-term gaps in capital. However, the banking industry would be subjected to a slow recovery in this track.
    • Japan has lost its AAA rating long back. The growth prospects for the once economic super-power is pretty poor.  Currently Japan’s national debt actually in excess of 200% of its GDP but its bond yields remain extremely low, since the growth prospects are not looking bright. As an effect of this, Japanese production has declined by over 15% in recent times.
    • The major debt that Greece is facing and the crisis thereof  not cured by the massive Eurozone and IMF bailout. The current bailout support may expire by 2013, and there has been no major financial restructuring in Greece. While the Greece government is sold out to Germany, this is even a bigger cause of concern because now the government will not even be able to print bills to increase inflation to depreciate its own assets. With the huge debt on Greece, the rest of EURO-Nations are equally strapped in the rear to come out with policy changes that may liberate them from this dire straits.
    • The crisis in the Irish national banking sector far from over. Even after receiving a staggering level of bailout assistance from the EU and IMF to cover the country’s insolvency, thanks to the Anglo Irish Bank and the other minor Irish banking institutions, the Dublin decision makers were forced to inject nearly $5 billion into Allied Irish Banks, another bankrupt institution. Ireland policy makers really need to figure out how to service this public debt, without triggering a shiver down its economy.
    • Europe in general is under severe economic stress. Without a major restructuring of debt, progress seems almost impossible. Debt burdens may continue to spiral upwards, and in several EURO using nations a debt write-down is very likely. German, French, and British banks hold most of the national debts, and a shiver there may trigger a collapse of the balance which apparently is resting on a spindle.
    • China, which seemed apparently less touched by the economic crisis in the west, is suddenly increasing its interest rates in an almost desperate effort to control price inflation. While China, the manufacturing super-power of recent times, strives to control the inflation within, this is almost an indicator of less attractive options to invest, outside the country, and even maybe within the country. Are we witnessing a scenario where the market demand has been saturated and the manufacturing sector is growing wary of the same?
    • India, which is evolving as an open market economy is not free from the crisis. Although Agriculture is still India’s most engaging “career”, most of the recent economic growth has been fueled from the services sector (IT, ITeS, Banking, or even tourism in few states). The welfare of these industries thrive heavily on the welfare of the counterparts in USA and to an extent in Europe, whose needs the service. The IT and ITeS alone has an average exposure of exceeding 52% to US markets and 34% to European markets, as per a report in Financial Times. On an average the services sector enjoy an exposure exceeding 82% to European and US markets. The meltdown of the economy in the western powers may be sufficient to trigger one in India.
    • With the advanced economies under such severe stress, emerging economies, may be slightly  insulated from major impacts, which can cause a huge eruption of their regular life. Worldbank says that the financial stress for the emergent economies may be over. However, since the development in these economies are heavily dependent on foreign direct investments from the economic super-powers, the development is likely to hit a stagnation. Is this an indication that the next financial tremble will arise from the developing economies?

    Who knows how deep we actually are in this mess? Commodity prices are coming down, but that is probably the only brighter news in this downcast. Do let us know what you feel.

    Apple Inc – The Past and the Future

    In the past few days, Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigned and Tim Cook has taken over the company that has held the leadership position in terms of technology development, innovation, admiration, brand value, customer engagement, customer satisfaction and across a multitude of other dimensions. While the technology geeks across the world are concerned at this change in leadership, there is a bigger concern about the change in business dynamics the world may witness with this change of an era.


    However, it is time to embrace the change in leadership and look forward to the Future of Apple Inc, and hope that this leader in technology will continue to delight us as always and Tim Cook will take the company to achieve greater heights in all dimension. The technology major is currently in Dire Straits due to ongoing conflicts regarding IPRs and other legal issues. The the new Chief Executive Officer of Apple see the firm through these troubled waters? What would be the change in the focus of the company and in business strategy? The management gurus across the world will be keeping their fingers crossed in anticipation.

    Both men have recently given noteworthy commencement speeches sharing their life’s wisdom with  those as the beginning of their careers. Both offer great wisdom and are worth reading for every technology and management enthusiast. Both these speeches can have a lot of motivational effects on professionals who are still undecided on their careers. Check them out.

    Steve Job’s Commencement address and Tim Cook’s Commencement Speech
    I hope our readers will enjoy reading these speeches.

    Signing off.

    Arpan

    Strategies for SAAS providers

    Today, increasingly software providers are increasing the focus of selling information technology products as services. Thus there has been a spurt of adoption of SAAS (Software as a service) delivery models. However, switching to a SAAS delivery model requires the adoption of newer strategies, to maintain competitive advantage and sustained growth.

    So what should be the major focus of entrepreneurial ventures offering technology services as SAAS?

    A major success pointer for SAAS business model is pricing their services. Normally a company, which uses SAAS to provide any service should have a 2 tier pricing strategy, a part based on usage, and a fixed (normally initial setup costs). The focus of a SAAS provider should be to provide the benefits of economies of scale at both ends of potential stake-holders. So for a SAAS e-commerce provider, pricing is of key importance. A major successful pricing strategy would be one based on the value of the technology to the user, i.e. value based pricing strategies.

    Next another major issue is reaching out to potential customers and then keeping them. Technology firms keep entry barriers through technology platforms, and so an e-commerce portal may continue using a company’s tech, even if it is higher priced, because costs of switching may be too high. The associated platform or hardware licensing issues may arise in cases of switching. Thus customers, once acquired, often are acquired for life, unless major customer dissatisfaction creates contingent situations.

    Another major challenge for entrepreneurial ventures is moving forward in the PLC curve. While innovation is a must for information goods, there is a cost associated with development. However, once converted customers, are less likely to accept newer pricing strategies easily. Thus, conveying additive value of the new innovations to the customers becomes another challenge. Thus entrepreneurial ventures often start very successfully, but yet, flicker and die out, while attempting to move up the PLC curve.

    Another major concern for entrepreneurial ventures arises from slow evolution of the multi-tenant architecture, which most SAAS providers use as a basic platform to deliver their service. Horizontal scaling strategies create a barrier to develop and adopt newer technologies and platforms that will provide increased operational benefits both for the client and service providers. Virtualization, while lowers cost, is essentially a barrier towards innovation, and thus the question whether multi-tenancy is necessary for SAAS delivery models is a major topic of controversy. This becomes even a bigger factor for entrepreneurial ventures with less deeper pockets.

    Finally, another challenge for new service developers becomes protecting IPRs. Since the SAAS model ensures that there to a great extent of customization at the end of each client, the scope for differentiating and maintain the differentiation, is somewhat diluted by the intangible nature of services. Thus new innovations are often plagiarized by competitors and this really hits hard to new ventures. While developing IPRs increases cost (which often is a very sensitive issues in entrepreneurial ventures) , it should be understood it also protects the firm’s services from being plagiarized.

    Do let us know if you feel there are more serious areas of concern for SAAS providers, in their focus to develop sustainable business strategies.

    e-Commerce Business Strategy

    With the world full of entrepreneurs, increasingly adopting web based business ventures, a key issue to discuss becomes what is the long term business strategy? Many of the firms, after a promising start are succumbing to the death trap, and fail to grow to a level to sustain the investments made on them. Is it a dogma that haunts them and limits their growth beyond a certain level? Stagnancy in start up ventures is a major concern for most new businesses. Indeed, beyond a point, businesses fail to extend their initial aspiration to compete at a larger level. So what makes some of the firms succeed and sets them apart from the rest. Do we really know what makes the super stars click? (more…)

    Knowledge Management – The way forward.

    The source of a sustainable competitive advantage for any organization is derived from the access and subsequent exploitation of resources, and today, knowledge is being heralded as the most important of such resources that is available to organizations (Drucker, 1993). For the larger and mature organizations, often process capability knowledge is the primary source of advantage, whereas for the organizations seeking to grow and out-grow competition, in addition to process capability knowledge, knowledge management focus would also include market knowledge, rapid product development, or the creation of knowledge through research. However, it is important to recognise that even mature organizations need to create knowledge to avoid falling into the stagnancy pit. This is exactly what knowledge management attempts to provide more succinctly to the organizations. Knowledge management aims are to create conditions under which competitive advantage can be maintained, by creating,  acquiring, retaining and exploiting the knowledge for the welfare of the organisation.

    Knowledge management is the way organizations today are attempting to make the otherwise intangible knowledge tangible and distributable, throughout the organization, in search of the illusive competitive advantage. Today, in this evolving world where insights on data or business intelligence plays an extremely crucial role for the sustainable development of an organization, knowledge management has become a key area of focus.

    Beckett et al. (2000) has provided an interesting framework by which many organizations are actually managing their data within with a growing focus to manage the data outside the organization also. Through research, the authors highlight how effective knowledge management can provide a wider scope of continuous improvement to obtain benefits for the parent organization, by providing higher quality information, better quality information, removing information asymmetry, and subsequently increasing the levels of organisational expertise which can be applied to it to create substantial improvements for the organization.

    The sole focus of organizations today is to convert internalized tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, so that it can be commoditized and less dependency is there on an individual for being the source of knowledge. With a high attrition rate in organizations across industry, it becomes extremely pertinent that knowledge once created within the organization stays inside the organization and does not become unusable once the creator of the same changes base, within or outside the organization. That is the sole objective of the initial knowledge management systems.

    For improving the knowledge management practices within the organization, companies today are increasingly adopting rewards systems, collaborative systems, post-project reviews, knowledge mapping, establishing communities of practice with cross-project learning platforms, creating expert directories, competence management systems, best practice transfer, mentor-mentee relationships, knowledge fairs, formal knowledge repositories, measuring and reporting intellectual capital, knowledge brokers, social media and social network mining systems.

    While it is important for organizations to understand the importance of knowledge management systems, even one aspect that many organizations often overlook is using the knowledge outside the boundaries of the organization, but within the value chain. Realizing this, the recent focus has been the development of customer knowledge management systems, where customer tacit knowledge is use to co-create value for the customer in the best possible way, and finally value for the company. Another group of stakeholders who are being introduced into the knowledge management realms are the supplier networks, where knowledge management is often used to create otherwise non-contactable value for the stakeholders. The way forward for knowledge management systems into the future is to capture the tacit knowledge outside the organization but within the value chain (and within multiple stakeholders) to create value for both.

    Today, it is pertinent that all the senior executives of organizations realize the potential benefits of effective introduction and management of knowledge management systems, that can benefit the organization. Today, while organizations are facing increasing levels of competition due to the effects of greater competition, knowledge management provides an important way for organization to utilize the most valuable resource available to them, to gain competitive advantage.

    4 Cs of Marketing – The Marketing Mix

    R.F. Lauterborn (1993) proposed a 4 Cs classification to address the growing focus of marketing strategist on the consumer. While the 4 Ps framework for defining the marketing mix has been popular for decades, the four Cs have gained in terms of importance, considerably in recent times.

    The 4 Cs consists of CONSUMER, COST, CONVENIENCE and COMMUNICATION.

    4Cs_Marketing_Mix_L

    The roots of the 4 Cs of marketing can be traced back to the classical 4 Ps marketing mix. However, with the onset of database marketing, the focus has shifted in marketing from a consumer transactional view-point to a consumer relationship viewpoint (and very recently consumer engagement). However, the basic focal strategic issues remain unchanged at its very core.

    The details which a manager designing a marketing mix using the four Cs needs to focus on are as follows:

    • Clients / Consumer (customer) is the king. No longer can products be developed and pushed to the consumer in the hope of conversion of a purchase decision. Gone are those days when consumers had to buy products to satisfy needs for a simple lack of substitute. The market is over saturated with great products. Consumer behavior needs to be studied thoroughly from the product development phase itself. The attributes of any product should be almost built-to-order in current times, and substantial inputs should be taken from primary market research.
    • Pricing is crucial. The pricing strategies undertaken by any product development company should keep the perceived value of the product, to the consumer, in mind while deciding a pricing strategy.  Effort should be made to estimate a customer’s  tradeoffs  among  multiple attributes in a product so as to arrive at the perceived total value while  pricing  a  multi-attribute product.
    • Convenience of the service delivery or product purchase location is crucial. The place utility often is a differentiating factor in the success stories of many a promising product. It becomes extremely important especially if the product purchase is a low engagement decision making process, like that of purchase of day-to-day products.
    • Communication is crucial.  As opposed to the initial focus of brand promotion, communication of the brand personally so as create a brand awareness and brand cognition is extremely crucial for a sustainable pull strategy.  Every brand is perceived to have a personality. Communicating the same using proper communication channels becomes crucial for the success of any marketing campaign.

    4-Cs-Marketing

    While the focus of designing a marketing mix has shifted from the 4 Ps to the 4 Cs, it is extremely crucial to understand that the underlying core remains the same. The major shift has been due to a paradigm change of focus from the product or service design to understanding the customer. This is where a 4 Cs strategy scores over the 4 Ps or 7 Ps strategy.

    By the way, did you read our article on the 7 P’s of Services Marketing?

    A discussion of 3 core issues in Information Systems Research

    Information systems research looks at the interface of three aspects of the firm, Technology, Process and People. In this essay, we look at the issues discussed by three of the highly cited papers in Information Systems research.

    The article “A Framework for Research in Computer Based MIS” by Blake Ives, Scott Hamilton, Gordon Davis talks about 5 major research models by “Mason & Mitroff”, “Chervany, Dickson & Kozar”, “Lucas”, “Mock” & “Gorry & Scott Morton”. It also forecasts a model to generate future potential hypotheses for research. In the Mason & Mitroff Model, the focus is on defining the IS as A person of a certain Psychological type who faces a problem within some organizational context for which he needs evidence to arrive at a solution, where the evidence is made available through some mode of presentation. In the research by Chervany, Dickson & Kozar, the focus is on the isolation of dependent and independent variables which determine effectiveness of an IS.  Lucas formed a descriptive model of situational, personal & attitudinal variables & their impact on usage of the system & performance of the IS user, where behavioral issues have been studied in depth. Mock studied how behavioral constraints on system developers and users, impact the usage of the system and their individual performances. Gory and Scott Morton focused on how an IS provides information for management decision making. The authors of the paper designs a model with 3 IS environments, 3 IS processes & 1 IS subsystem, existing within an Organizational & External environment. On the basis of interaction between the variables of these types, the author divides IS research into broadly 5 types, 1 to 5, which again are subdivided into multiple subtypes. The framework focuses on providing a basis to formulate a hypothesis which is relevant to MIS research.

    The article “The Identity Crisis within the IS Discipline: Defining & communicating the disciplines core properties” by Isaac Bensbasat & Robert Zmud, focuses on what is IS research all about and how to make it a distinct area of research. He focuses on how to build IS research by investigating closely related areas than distant issues. He states the 3 requirements for IS research, that of claimed central character, claimed distinctiveness and claimed temporal continuity required for IS research to evolve as a discipline. He stresses on the need for an identity in the MIS field by obtaining cognitive & socio-political legitimacy. The authors are concerned that the Interdisciplinary nature of IS cause application of varied theories from multidisciplinary backgrounds which is important for building theory but may dilute the focus of research. They express their concerns of errors of exclusion of core constructs & errors of inclusion of non-core construct in studies of IS and IT artifacts. The core properties focusing on the managerial, methodological, technological, operational, behavioral issues and the impacts of IT should be studied in IS research, in the context of the nomological net. IS research should also investigate relationships involving 1/more core constructs only, and heavy reliance on theories of reference disciplines to achieve legitimacy should be minimized.

    The article “MIS RESEARCH: Reference disciplines & a Cumulative tradition” by Peter Keen also focuses on suggesting a way in which MIS research may evolve into a classical discipline having its own identity. He states that the concept of having microeconomics & computer science as the reference field limits the scope of MIS research. The researchers should focus on defining the dependent variable in their study and build on the work done by predecessors. The research should now focus on building theory from multiple reference disciplines to help IS keep evolving as a discipline and not build frameworks only. The research should not be dependent on technology evolution but focus on management, information and systems issues. Since MIS as a discipline has strong implications for practice, the focus on theoretical research should not be diluted. The focus of the researchers should be to publish in quality IS journals. Research should focus on the management of the use of technology to benefit business processes and resolve technical, managerial & organizational issues.

    All 3 papers focus on mentioning the scope of IS research and what researchers should focus on in the future. They stress on the need for building theory to make MIS evolve as a discipline, and not be too dependent on reference disciplines for the purpose. Also they stress ways to evaluate if a research is actually investigating issues closely related to IS or not. Also they stress on how hypotheses formulation should be done for research in IS and what should the constructs aim to achieve.

    Values and Attitudes: a case study (2)

    Our values are principles or beliefs that serve as guidelines to help us make decisions about actions, behaviors and life choices. They reflect what we value and how we feel about the rightness or wrongness of things. Attitudes are how values are manifested in our actions and thoughts to others. ATTITUDES are our feelings towards certain ideas and dictate how we react in concrete situations.

    In this case study, we analyze the values and attitudes in Lagaan, the bollywood superhit movie of 2007. (Part 2)

    Identifying Instrumental Values.

    Bhuvan’s value of collectivism was in his accepting the challenge.Also Captain Russels individualism and superiority complex was portrayed when he decided to actually lay down the challenge to bhuvan, and this was clearly not appreciated by his superiors.The raja’s values of Dharma over Karma was expressed when he was asked to consume meat,in return of the favour asked.The collectivism of the villagers was expressed when they united to fight against the wrong that was being done towards them.The uncertainty avoiding values of the villagers were expressed when they did not want to tke up the challenge.Then Deva Singh Sodhi’s instrumental values came in the act in his joining the team,against his terminal values of fighting against the british.The values of the caste system became evident when bhuvan invited kachra to play,but eventually bhuvan managed to ignite the collectivism of the villagers. Collectivism was again portrayed when Lakha’s Individualistic act of betrayal became public. The values of winning,at the cost of ethical sportsmanship,was portrayed by the british players during the game.

    Biographical Characteristics:

    Age:  The impact of seniority has been seen throughout the film, especially in times when Bhuvan tries to speak in defiance of the british raj, but the senior villagers prevent him from doing so.When bhuvan actually first started to play the game, an incident occurs, when the ball moves towards gauri, and when she tries to give it back to him, she is ordered by her father to tend to household activities. Throughout the film, it is seen that the important positions in the village social architecture, like the mukhiya, is held by senior persons.It is not as if seniors do not let the juniors to speak out their perspectives and views, but the status of seniors still remains. In fact, there has been several occasions throughout the movie when the youth can actually make the senior citizens see reason although initially they were less inclined to do so. The age factor has been key in deciding the values of the individuals, with respect to their openness. The youth had been actually portrayed to be more upto the challenge, and ready for a change, while the seniors were not really ready to accept changes in their thought processes.

    Gender:  It has been observed through out the film that feminine characters has been portrayed as those with feelings, and although the society of the village has been purely patriarchal in terms of holding the key positions like the mukhiya,women has been associated with  respectful persona that cared for the rest, and saw to it that the family needs were taken care of. They tended to the old, weak and the injured and sick people.It was especially illustrated when during game practice sessions gauri came with the meals for the players, and even coerced them to eat.During the practice sessions, when the players got bruised, under the guidance of Harikaka, they tended to the players. The behavior of Elizabeth has been a sharp contrast to that of her brother, who was arrogant and unkind, to the core and expressed masculinity.

    Caste: Caste system was prevalent in those days, and that also took a centre stage in the later half of the movie when Bhuvan invited kachra to play in his team. Kachra was referred to as being untouchable or “Achut” and the rest of the team initially was very adamant about leaving him out of the team. It took the inspirational character of Bhuvan to actually convince the villagers to move away from the caste bias and play unitedly and portray collectivism.

    Race: A scene flashes to the inner eye is when throughout the movie, the Indian villagers were mistreated by the british raj as being native and insults were hurled at them at random and they were severely penalized even for small “mistakes”. The Indian villagers were shown to be beaten up, and Captain Russel went to the extent of saying that the natives would for ever live under the soles of the britishers. This shows the complete disregard of the human being and the racist feelings and attitudes that took centrestage when the plot of the movie unfolded. Even the british loyalists were not free from insults, and towards the end of the match, it was seen that even the most loyal Ramprasad revolted due to the constant differential behavior that was meted out to him on a regular basis.
    Our values are principles or beliefs that serve as guidelines to help us make decisions about actions, behaviours and life choices. They reflect what we value and how we feel about the rightness or wrongness of things.

     

    Values and Attitudes : A case study (1)

    Our values are principles or beliefs that serve as guidelines to help us make decisions about actions, behaviors and life choices. They reflect what we value and how we feel about the rightness or wrongness of things. Attitudes are how values are manifested in our actions and thoughts to others. ATTITUDES are our feelings towards certain ideas and dictate how we react in concrete situations.

    In this case study, we analyze the values and attitudes in Lagaan, the bollywood superhit movie of 2007.

    First, an understanding of the needs pyramid is essential for further appreciation of the case analysis.

    The need pyramid typically drives the values and attributes of individuals. The characters  of lagaan are also not free from the effects of this hierarchy of needs, first hypothesized by Maslow.

    Values and Attitudes: The Flow in Lagaan.

    The attitudes in the movie become evident when an argument starts between goli and bhura, reflecting their affection for their children and poultry respectively.Then gauri professes negative affective attitude towards Lakha.The oncoming clouds spark behavioral and affective attitude driven actions amongst the villagers starting a celebration.Then the behavioral component of bhuvan’s towards the british player become evident at the first british-villagers meet.Then the villagers expressed negative cognitive attitude towards bhuvan’s acceptance of the challenge although gauri and his mother showed a positive cognitive attitude.Then the villagers showed an affective attitude when bhuvan’s first shot hit the temple bell.The value to stand by a villager, if threatened by external forces became evident, when bhuvan was then attacked by the other village. Elizabeth portrayed the value for equality of chances when she decided to help the villagers understand the game. Then Ismail’s cognitive attitude became evident on seeing the “gori mem” assisting bhuvan.The instrumental value of deva singh sodhi when he came to play, as against his terminal value of “war” against the britishers.Then the affective value of elizabeth gets portrayed as she confesses to bhuvan,she loved him.Similarly, bhuvan professes his love to gauri.Bhuvan’s behavioral component of equality got reflected when he invited kachra to play in the team,against the negative cognitive attitude of the villagers,which he later managed to change.On the D-Day the affctive attitude of the raja against the british became evident.Then when the villagers came to know about Lakha’s betrayal, their cognitive and affective attitude became evident.The positive cognitive attitude of the british officers towards the village team’s performance,became evident when the game was in progress.During the game, the cognitive,affective and behavioral attitudes of bhuvan’s team became evident,towards the tactics of the Britishers and their own reactions.Finally, the display of affective attitude when the village team won the match.

    Transformation of Attitudes.

    Initially the villagers were very hesitant in supporting bhuvan,but the first shot of bhuvan rang the temple bell changed their veiw,which continued seeing the constant enthusiasm of bhuvan and the support from the “gori mem”.Slowly bhuvan’s self belief and enthusiasm was infused among the villagers.Gauri and bhuvan’s mother was always there to support bhuvan from the very beginning,although in the patriarchal society,they did not have too much say.The support from the “gori mem” was instrumental in arising the feelings of the villagers to stand up against being wronged.Amidst  all this positive changes of attitude, the negative changes in Lakha was striking,when his attentions toards gauri was neglected,who in turn only cared for bhuvan,and this caused him to betray his fellowmen to Captain Russel.In the midst of all the challenges,the villagers became a family,leaving aside their initial values for inequality on the basis of caste,and seniority on the basis of age.Then the game started amidst the emotionally charged atmosphere.Then the villagers came to know about Lakha’s betrayal, and although they initially reaction threatened his life,later on bhuvan’s insistence and lakha’s apology,he was given the chance to prove his loyalty, which he did.Then came the real emotional outburst when the village team won the match thus completing the transformation.