Tag Archives: Framework

Comparison of Business Strategy Frameworks

Strategic management literature has established multiple popular frameworks which are used by decision makers to develop a roadmap for business strategy. Some of the popular frameworks for business strategy are Porter’s 5 forces model, BCG / GE McKinsey MatrixPEST analysis and the Ansoff Matrix. However, all these frameworks focus on factors which are external to the firm. In this article, however, we focus on the frameworks which are a mix of the external view of the macro-environment and the internal view of the strengths and weaknesses existing within the firm, namely the Industry Structure view, the Resource based view and the Relational view of the firm.

The Industrial Structure view is somewhat more macro-industry focused. It postulates that firms operate in an environment of competitive forces of rivalry and forces involving barrier of entry (even exit). In general industry structure refers to the distribution of firms in an industry. The existence of a large number of firms in an industry both reduces and increases opportunities for coordination among firms in the industry. Depending on the degree of consolidation or fragmentation in the industry, the macro-economical dynamics affect the firm’s competency in how it deals with the forces of competition.

In contrast, the Resource based view is somewhat more internal focused. It stresses that the competitive advantage of a firm lies primarily in the application of the bundle of valuable resources at the firm’s disposal. To transform a short-run of competitive advantage for a firm to a sustained competitive advantage is like winning both the battle and the war. It requires creation of resources which are heterogeneous in nature and not perfectly mobile across competing firms. This again translates into the fact that the value of these resources arise from the criticality that they are neither perfectly imitable nor substitutable without great effort.

Similarly, the Relational view is a theory for considering networks and dyads of firms interlinked within the daily intercourse of business transactions, as the unit of analysis to study and frame strategies for sustainable competitive advantage. The relational view argues that idiosyncratic inter-organizational linkages are the sources of competitive advantage, whereby relationships play a major role in development and exploitation of competencies in an industry that is traditionally highly competitive.

In the next diagram, a comparative analysis of these important theories has been presented., which present how these theories are not only different, but also complement each other by taking a different lens to view the competitive landscape for a strategic decision maker.

Do let us know, if you have any query regarding more details on this article. We value the feedback from our readers very highly.

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.

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.

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.

Digital Marketing – Theories, Strategies and Frameworks

Digital Marketing is basically promotion of brands using all forms of digital advertising mediums to reach the target segment. This now includes Radio, mobile, Internet, Television, social media marketing and other less popular forms of digital media.

While the talk of the day is internet marketing, the latter is only a subset of digital marketing. While digital marketing does involve many of the strategies involved in Internet Marketing, it extends beyond this by including other channels with which to reach people that do not require the use of the Internet. As a result of this decreased reliance on the web based media, the field of digital marketing expands to include media such as cellular media(sms/mms/phone calls), digital signage (digital banner ads and digital outdoor signboards), and other media like television and radio,  it is thus a much more comprehensive methodology to reach out and engage your target audience, and with a higher conversion rate for most product categories.

Previously seen as a stand-alone marketing strategy because of its extension on mediums which it covers, it is currently visualized more as a marketing effort that covers most, if not all, of the more traditional marketing areas such as direct marketing by providing the same method of communicating with an audience but in a manner using the development of science and technology and thus optimizing resources. The spectrum of digital marketing is now being expanded to support the “servicing” and “engagement” of customers, and thus cover not only customer acquisition but also customer retention.

So how should firms go about planning their marketing strategies for a successful digital marketing program? While there is no such common strategy which fits the requirement of all firms like a glove, there are few generic strategic and economic issues that firms need to keep in mind while designing their marketing program.

The first grid has three elements of your proposed strategy. Does your strategy match with the vision and mission of your firm? Does the strategy assembling platform match with the knowledge that is within your marketing team? Is that knowledge formally managed using any platform? Then comes the question of how you are delivering the value transfer from the production of value, to the assembly of value to the end value consumption in a value chain. Is your firm geared to take charge of such a business model?

As in the second half of the architecture, the business model dimensions need to be evaluated based on the digital marketing capabilities. Most important dimension for serious consideration is whether your organization structure is geared to handle the marketing methodologies you are planning to implement.  The dynamics of knowledge distribution also needs to be looked into based on this framework.

Hope this helps your company to chalk out a successful digital marketing program. Do let us know what you think of the article, with your valuable comments.

Have you read our article on the 4 P’s on Social Marketing?

Also did you read our article on the The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies?

These articles are highly popular posts in our educative blog.

How to build a Successful Business Model or a Business Plan?

Business Models are crucial for the success of an enterprise or even a startup. So what do you need to focus on while building up your business from scratch? A Business model or a Business Plan (B-Plan) helps you to plan this properly.

  • What are the firm’s core capabilities?
  • How does the firm deliver value to its clients? How does the network with its partners/collaborators (value chain) add to its core competencies. How does the value chain model collaborate with the firms current strategies?
  • What is the cost structure in the business vis-a-vis that of the firm?
  • How is the value proposition unique and sustainable in the long run?
  • How does the firm manage its distribution channels and relationships / liasons with the customers?
  • How is the targeted customer contacted, acquired and retained?
  • What are the sources of revenue and the structure of the same?
  • How does the vision/mission statement adhere with what the firm is doing now and what it is planning to do in the future.

A winning framework for market entry strategies

A market entry strategy is the planned method of delivering goods or services to a new target market and distributing them there. When importing or exporting services, it refers to establishing and managing contracts in a foreign country. Few companies successfully operate in a niche market without ever expanding into new markets but most businesses achieve increased sales, brand awareness and business stability by entering a new market. Developing a win-win market entry strategy involves a thorough analysis of  multiple factors, in a planned sequential manner.

When an organization makes a decision to enter an new market, there are  various issues that needs to be thought out. These options vary with cost, risk and the degree of control which can be exercised over them. The simplest form of entry strategy is often exporting, using a direct (agent) or indirect method (counter trade). More complex forms include truly global operations which may involve joint ventures, or export processing zones.

An organization wishing to enter a new market faces 3 major issues:

  1. Marketing - which markets, which segments, how to manage and implement marketing effort, how to enter – with intermediaries or directly, with what information?
  2. Sourcing - whether to obtain products, make or buy?
  3. Investment and control – joint venture, global partner, acquisition?

Firms can follow the mentioned steps in sequence to create that successful blend of strategies while entering a new market.

Planning these few steps in details would ensure that firms face less risk while entering a new market during expansion. Although there is no absolute success mantra to enter a new market, these activities would significantly lower the risk exposure of the firm and create a winning scenario.

Have you read our article on the Porter’s Five Forces analysis of industry competitiveness? This is a must-read article for anyone planning to get into a new market.

Read more about market entry frameworks.