Placement Based Research ProjectResearch Project SectionBA (Hons) International BusinessWilliam Scott - 07083290Date of Su...
This project is submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of BAwith Honours in International Busines...
Table of Contents1 Executive Summary ................................................................................. 42 ...
1   Executive SummaryThe aim of this report is to identify a problem or opportunity within IBM, and morespecifically the P...
A project commentary at the end of the report details all limitations and issues thatarose whilst undertaking the project,...
2     Organisational Context2.1    An Introduction to IBMIBM is the abbreviation for International Business Machines Corpo...
2.2       Organisational Analysis – The PowerNet ProgrammeIn order to fully understand IBM and the PowerNet Programme, a S...
Similar programmes from competitors, e.g. Sun, HP          Continued recession may lead to smaller companies choosing not ...
3     Project Report3.1    Problem/OpportunityThe problem that has been identified within the IBM PowerNet Programme is th...
There are multiple business benefits that could come out of this project, the first onebeing a range of new ISVs and/or bu...
folded in half to form an A4 sized booklet. Whilst this allowed a large amount ofinformation to be printed, it had also pr...
Above left: The previous ‘PowerNet Triangle’Above right: The newly designed imageThis was then sent back to Purple Agency,...
business partners and clients are invited. The figures showed that in the periodbetween 2005 – 2008, the number of ISVs wo...
Figure 3: Year Total Revenue Revenue from new ISVs % 2005   $14,219,900 2006   $16,378,522             $8,439,298 52% 2007...
PowerNet is involved in 6 large events over the course of a year; two ‘PowerNetKick-Offs’, two ‘Mid Market Conferences’ an...
3.5   DeliverablesThe findings have shown key areas that need work, in order to prevent any furtherdecline in the PowerNet...
3.6   Evaluations/Limitations/Future DevelopmentThe outcomes that have been achieved through this project are satisfactory...
Another drawback was that no numbers could be printed on the flyer. This couldhave proved a big selling point, because it ...
4   Project CommentaryWhilst undertaking this project, although it was deemed successful, several issuesarose. There was s...
5     Appendix5.1    Appendix A – The PowerNet Flyer                                         20
21
5.2                             Estimated     Activity                Time (Weeks) Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Dissertation Part 1 - Research Project

195 views
147 views

Published on

Part 1 of final year dissertation, focussing on the IBM PowerNet UKI marketing strategy.

Published in: Education
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
195
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
5
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Dissertation Part 1 - Research Project

  1. 1. Placement Based Research ProjectResearch Project SectionBA (Hons) International BusinessWilliam Scott - 07083290Date of Submission –18th October 2010
  2. 2. This project is submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of BAwith Honours in International Business at the Manchester Metropolitan UniversityBusiness School.Title: The number of ISVs involved in the PowerNet Programme has recentlydeclined. This project aims to assess this from a marketing perspective and producea suitable piece of marketing material aimed at resolving this issue.Name: William ScottDate of Submission: 18th October 2010Statement of Originality and Authenticity:This Project is an original and authentic piece of work by myself. I have fullyacknowledged and referenced all secondary sources used. It has not beenpresented in whole or in part for assessment elsewhere. I have read theExamination Regulations, and am fully aware of the potential consequences of anybreach of them.Signed ……………………………………… Date ………………………… 2
  3. 3. Table of Contents1 Executive Summary ................................................................................. 42 Organisational Context ............................................................................ 62.1 An Introduction to IBM ...................................................................................................................... 62.2 Organisational Analysis – The PowerNet Programme ..................................................... 72.3 SWOT Analysis .................................................................................................................................... 72.4 PEST Analysis ...................................................................................................................................... 83 Project Report........................................................................................... 93.1 Problem/Opportunity .......................................................................................................................... 93.2 Aims, Objectives & Outcomes ...................................................................................................... 93.3 Project Process ................................................................................................................................. 103.4 Findings & Analysis ......................................................................................................................... 123.5 Deliverables......................................................................................................................................... 163.6 Evaluations/Limitations/Future Development ..................................................................... 174 Project Commentary .............................................................................. 195 Appendix ................................................................................................. 205.1 Appendix A – The PowerNet Flyer .......................................................................................... 205.2 Appendix B – GANTT Chart showing the flyer production process ........................ 22 3
  4. 4. 1 Executive SummaryThe aim of this report is to identify a problem or opportunity within IBM, and morespecifically the PowerNet Programme. The problem identified is a lack of marketingmaterial within the PowerNet Programme, which has lead to a decline in new ISVs.This problem will be looked at from various angles and analysed in as many ways aspossible. The main focus of the report will be on the PowerNet programme, howeverin order to fully understand issues that could arise, it will also focus on related areasof IBM. A SWOT and PEST analysis in Section 1 of this report will help give aclearer understanding about the PowerNet Programme and what problems andopportunities there are.The primary objective to the problem identified is to produce a single piece ofmarketing material, which can be easily distributed and can be used as a platform forlarger, more detailed marketing campaigns. This will be in the form of a flyer, whichcan be used both electronically and in printed formats. The project will map out theprocesses undertaken to produce this material, looking at issues which arose duringthe process, and the specific steps taken to ensure what was being achieved wasboth suitable and feasible.Findings and analysis of the opportunity are then looked at, and the full extent andcause of the problem is examined in detail. This is done to fully understand wherethe problem has stemmed from, and how the solution can help to rectify the situation.This includes looking at numbers of ISVs working with the PowerNet Programme,and critically analyses the number of new ISVs joining. It also attempts to analyseevents in which PowerNet marketing material has not be present, and see howeffective it could be.Following on from the findings and analysis, are the deliverables, which is primarilythe PowerNet marketing material that has been produced. This looks at the outcomeof the project, and the effects it hopes to have on the identified problem. Theevaluation and further developments section looks at how successful the project was,and how IBM can look to build on what has been achieved. 4
  5. 5. A project commentary at the end of the report details all limitations and issues thatarose whilst undertaking the project, and examines the effects these had on theoutcome. It also examines the value of the report to IBM, and whether or not thetopic chosen to focus on was appropriate, and if the methods undertake to achievethe end result the right ones. Finally it looks at whether or not the project has beendeemed a success, and what has been learned from what has been achieved. 5
  6. 6. 2 Organisational Context2.1 An Introduction to IBMIBM is the abbreviation for International Business Machines Corporation, which is theworlds fourth largest technology company and second most valuable brand.Founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company, and later becoming IBM in1917, it has a proud history in the technology and computing market and has fastbecome the world’s biggest provider of IT services and consulting, alongsidemanufacturing and selling both hardware and software. With 2009 revenue of$103.630 billion, as well as operating in over 170 countries world wide, and withnearly 400,000 employees, it is clear to see why IBM is a leader in the InformationTechnology Services market place.In the UK, IBM began in 1951 in Scotland, where they assembled electronictypewriters and time recording equipment. IBM now currently has 20,000 employeesin the UK, in over 25 locations.The area of the business focused on in this project is the PowerNet programme,which is part of the UKI ISV business, and sits primarily under the Systems andTechnology Group (STG) division of IBM. Formed in 2004, the PowerNetprogramme has grown at a rapid rate, and is now a starter platform for many otherprogrammes within IBM. The purpose of PowerNet is to drive new business byworking alongside a number of business partners, resellers and IndependentSoftware Vendors (ISVs). This new business is known within IBM as White Space,meaning the customer has not bought from IBM within the past 3 years. If thecustomer has bought from IBM in the past 3 years, the business is then classified as‘IBM House’. In order to drive as much White Space business as possible, thePowerNet programme aims to target businesses in the Mid Market, which is definedas a business with less than 1,000 employees, and can be anything from a cornershop to a hospital. There are, however, exceptions to this, as many biggerbusinesses that have not bought from IBM within the past 3 years, come back to IBMthrough this programme. 6
  7. 7. 2.2 Organisational Analysis – The PowerNet ProgrammeIn order to fully understand IBM and the PowerNet Programme, a SWOT and PESTanalysis are vital. These will both help show the internal and external factorseffecting PowerNet and aid the understanding of the Programme.2.3 SWOT AnalysisStrengths: · Long standing relationship with business partners and ISVs · Good reputation within the market place – 6 years of business · Specialist expertise with certain partners · Variable locations of partners allows new, White Space customers to be easily sourced out · Good USPs Competitive rebate attracts more partners and resellers ‘Custom’ packages can be built for all customersWeaknesses: Reliance on business partners for revenue Many opportunities not won Lack of marketing control Low number of new ISVs No relevant marketing material to handOpportunities: New ISVs New business partners ‘Power 7’ launch Potential inclusion of ‘IBM house’ in rebate target Future events - marketing material could be distributed and targeted at newISVs/business partnersThreats: Niche market – demand could deteriorate 7
  8. 8. Similar programmes from competitors, e.g. Sun, HP Continued recession may lead to smaller companies choosing not to buy new IT products, which would lead to a drop in customers and potential revenue Potential over reliance on IBM house rebate by business partners. This could lead to a lack of White Space wins2.4 PEST AnalysisPolitical:The new Coalition Government in the UK could have a possible effect on IBM;depending on what policies they change from the Labour Government. An increasein taxes, for example, could mean that customers may chose to go to smaller firmsfor their IT products and services due to the increase in price they will have to pay forIBM’s product.Economic:The current recession is having a major effect on spending, which means businessesmay decide to cut back on computing upgrades or equipment, meaning there may beless of a demand for IBM’s products and services.Social:There is currently a large demand for companies to be ‘Greener’ and moreenvironmentally friendly. IBM have taken note of this and are using their ‘SmarterPlanet’ initiative to both increase their brand awareness but also show that they’refocussing on trying to make the company more environmentally friendly.Technological:New technologies and solutions are being created everyday, and the demand fornew ideas is constantly growing. IBM is a market leader in the technology and ITfield, and this is down to them continually meeting the standards of the demand andproducing new products and services to not only rival their competitors but alsobetter them. 8
  9. 9. 3 Project Report3.1 Problem/OpportunityThe problem that has been identified within the IBM PowerNet Programme is the lackof marketing material, which in turn, has lead to a lack of new Independent SoftwareVendors (ISVs), working with IBM.The PowerNet Programme runs by selling ‘solutions’, which are essentially a piece ofIBM hardware, combined with software from a selected ISV. These are sold to thecustomer as a solution at a combined price, which benefits both IBM and the ISV.The problem at the moment is that the PowerNet Programme has been working witha number of very similar ISVs for a number of years now, and has not had themarketing material in place to advertise the programme to other ISVs who may wantto join. As a result of this, many of the solutions on offer have remained the sameover the past few years and the number of new ISVs joining has dropped.Having some marketing material available, such as a flyer or case study, wouldmean that IBM would have something to give out to prospective business partners orcustomers at business events. This should then have a positive impact on thePowerNet Programme being able to recruit new ISVs and increase their amount ofnew business, as it would an extra way of promoting the programme.3.2 Aims, Objectives & OutcomesThe primary aim of this project is to produce a piece of marketing material for thePowerNet Programme, which can be used to help attract new business for IBM. I willaim to do this by working alongside my team leader, marketing manager and anoutside agency, which will produce the material.Before this is done, however, a budget for producing the material must be agreed,and the content discussed within the PowerNet Team. Decisions must also be madeas to what kind of marketing material needs to be produced, how it is to be done, andwho it should be aimed at. 9
  10. 10. There are multiple business benefits that could come out of this project, the first onebeing a range of new ISVs and/or business partners potentially working with IBM andthe PowerNet Programme as a result of this marketing material. Secondly, it willprovide IBM with a starting point, from which they can further market the PowerNetProgramme. As there is no marketing material currently in place, a low key piece ofmaterial which is looking to be produced could lead to bigger campaigns in thefuture, should it prove successful. The content of the material will also hopefullymake the process of educating people about the programme, much more simplerand straight forward.3.3 Project ProcessIn order to successfully complete the project, certain deadlines will have to be metand time scales will have to be put in place.The first stage of the project was to discuss what needed to be produced. Thisinvolved meetings between myself, the PowerNet marketing manager, and teamleader. Various options were brought up, including a flyer/handout, web basedadvertising and email marketing. After discussion with various people, and fromlooking at past marketing attempts, a flyer was decided to be the best option. Thiswas down to the fact that it could be easily distributed at events, and that a digitalversion could be produced which we could both send out to customers/businesspartners and put on the PowerNet webpage.Along with deciding what to material was to be produced, a budget also had to beconsidered. Discussions with the STG marketing finance division took place, and a£3,500 budget was allocated for the project. The next step was to find a suitableagency to work with, preferably one that had worked with IBM in the past. Afterdiscussing this with the STG and PowerNet marketing representatives, it wasdecided to get in contact with an agency called Purple, who had previously workedwith IBM to produce marketing material.Once emails had been exchanged with their project manager, who had worked withIBM in the past, a conference call was set up so that myself, my manager, and thePurple Agency team could discuss the project further. At first this involved simplyoutlining what wanted to be done and the various routes that could be taken. Theprevious marketing material the PowerNet Programme had used was A3 sized, and 10
  11. 11. folded in half to form an A4 sized booklet. Whilst this allowed a large amount ofinformation to be printed, it had also proved fairly impractical when given out atbusiness functions and events as it was deemed too big to take away. In light of thisthe decision was made to have an A4 tri-fold made, which contained lessinformation, just stating the basic outline of what the PowerNet Programme involves.The next objective was to decide on exactly what content the hand out needed toinclude. As it was discovered that PowerNet had not worked with many new ISVsover the past few years, producing something aimed at new ISVs made perfectsense. The obvious content that needed to be included was an outline of whatPowerNet is, how it works, how it can benefit the ISV or business partner, and finally,how you can join. The idea of including examples of revenue made through theprogramme was also discussed, however this was deemed to be too confidential topublish. Another idea put forward was that including quotes from current or pastISVs and business partners, to serve as an example of how the programme canprove successful, would be a good selling point. This proved popular and so theteam set about finding suitable quotes to publish.Once all the content was written up for the first time, it was sent off to Purple Agencyfor them to convert it into its hand out form, and to send back in a PDF file as a firstdraft to be reviewed. After receiving the PDF a meeting was arranged to discusswhat changes would need to be made. The first change was to design a new‘picture’, which represents what PowerNet is, as we felt the current PowerNetTriangle looked out-dated. The change here can be seen in the images below.Parts of the content also needed a slight rewording; however as large amounts oftime had been spent working on what to write already, there wasnt a lot to change. 11
  12. 12. Above left: The previous ‘PowerNet Triangle’Above right: The newly designed imageThis was then sent back to Purple Agency, for them to produce a second draft, whichwas then edited by IBM for a second time. There was an opportunity at aforthcoming PowerNet Team Meeting to gain any extra input, which could be usedbefore the sending the final draft off to be produced. The overall consensus from theteam was that it was concise and clearly explained the concept of PowerNet, whichis exactly what was being aimed for. Quotes were provided from an ISV and IBMbusiness partner to be used on the flyer, so all that was left was to send these toPurple agency, to be added onto the flyer.When the final draft had been edited and received, it was presented to the managerin charge of the project, and a purchase order was raised from the financedepartment to have the material printed.A full GANTT Chart of the processes can be seen in Appendix B.3.4 Findings & AnalysisThe main issue tackled in this project, is the lack of PowerNet related marketingmaterial available to the programme. This problem was discovered when lookingthrough the figures relating to the number of ISVs PowerNet had worked with overthe past 5 years since it’s creation in 2005. This was done in the early part of 2010,when gathering material for the annual ‘PowerNet Kick-Off’ event, to which many 12
  13. 13. business partners and clients are invited. The figures showed that in the periodbetween 2005 – 2008, the number of ISVs working with the PowerNet Programmeincreased year on year, however in 2009 this figure dropped. There also seemed tobe a correlation between the number of ISVs working with PowerNet, and thenumber of new ISVs joining the programme, with the number increasing over the firsttwo years but dropping in 2008. Figures 1 & 2 below shows the numbers of ISVsworking with PowerNet, and the number of new ones joining each year.Figure 1: Year Total Number of ISVs Total New ISVs 2005 42 N/A 2006 56 25 2007 77 37 2008 94 24 2009 80 21Figure 2:In finding that the number of new ISVs joining the programme was declining, it wasdecided to take a look at the amount of revenue made each year from new ISVs, andmake a year on year comparison to try and discover what effect this decline couldhave on the PowerNet Programme. This is shown in Figures 3 & 4 below: 13
  14. 14. Figure 3: Year Total Revenue Revenue from new ISVs % 2005 $14,219,900 2006 $16,378,522 $8,439,298 52% 2007 $23,758,329 $9,619,040 40% 2008 $35,781,356 $5,206,219 15% 2009 $26,726,544 $4,635,904 17%Figure 4:From the above, you can see that for the years 2006 & 2007, a large proportion ofrevenue was driven from new ISVs, however this figure dropped quite significantly in2008 & 2009. This may be down to the fact that the programme was stillexperiencing significant growth due to it being a new scheme and offering a new,easy route to market for many smaller ISVs. This is not proven, however, so lookinginto other explanations was necessary. Other reasons discussed, included that theprogramme was now well established and the solutions offered by the current ISVswere highly competitive, that there were a lack of new ISVs providing a sellablesolution, and that there was no material to market the PowerNet programme with.This was believed to be a key factor in the problem, but also to be a great opportunityto work on. Having attended a number of key business events in which PowerNetwas involved, it was decided to take a look at the kinds of people we were interactingwith and whether or not having some marketing material to distribute could have aneffect on the problem. 14
  15. 15. PowerNet is involved in 6 large events over the course of a year; two ‘PowerNetKick-Offs’, two ‘Mid Market Conferences’ and two ‘Business Partner Organisation’events. All of these events are targeted at educating both current and potentialbusiness partners/clients about what IBM can offer them, and each involves apresentation or talk by the PowerNet Programme.The figures below are taken from the previous Mid Market Conference in October2009.Mid Market Conference: Attendance Numbers:524 Registrations441 Attendees (159 IBM’ers & 282 Business Partners – ISVs, Agencies, Clients etc.)PowerNet Elective Session: Attendance Numbers:77 Attendees – just over 1 in 522 IBM’ers5 Current PowerNet Contract Holders represented31 ISVs represented11 ‘Others’– agencies, customers, business partnersWhen looking at the above figures, it is clear to see that there was a great interest inthe PowerNet session at this Conference, with nearly half the attendees representingan ISV. This provided enough evidence to see that some form of marketing materialwould be of significant use at events like this, as whilst a presentation on somethingcan give the audience some idea of the concept, this is often forgotten when theyleave the room. A handout or flyer that could be taken away would hopefully act as areminder to follow up for those who may be interested.All of this material was presented to the manager in charge of the project and it wasagreed that there was an opportunity and need to produce a form of marketingmaterial to attract new ISVs to the programme. 15
  16. 16. 3.5 DeliverablesThe findings have shown key areas that need work, in order to prevent any furtherdecline in the PowerNet Programme, and boost the number of ISVs being workedwith. This has resulted in the piece of marketing material being produced to helpeducate potential business partners about the programme, and to sell the idea tocustomers.It became clear during research that a marketing strategy was needed, as relying onword of mouth, reputation and contacts is not enough to keep a programme growingin the modern day business environment. The marketing strategy undertaken aimedto target the primary business partners who make the programme what it is– theISVs, as without them there is no business. By having a large number of varied ISVsworking with IBM, you are able to offer a greater range of solutions in your portfolio,which makes you more attractive to a greater number of customers.The material has also been written in a way that customers are able to understandwhat the programme can offer to them, and how it can help them work with IBM.Having something, which can be distributed to a variety of audiences, allows IBM tomarket the programme on a large scale, whilst not having to create tailored materialfor specific groups.Along with having the flyer printed, it has also been produced as a PDF file, whichhas been distributed to different people within IBM to send to appropriate clients.This will also enable IBM to ‘e-market’ the programme, again reaching out to clientsthey may not have been able to reach previously.Further investigations would be needed to see the full effects of the of the material onthe number of ISVs working with the PowerNet Programme, however, a test e-marketing campaign is already underway and a number of positive responses havealready been received regarding content and suitability. This gives the impressionthat at first glance, some positive effect should be visible once a large number offlyers are distributed. Whilst there will be no immediate effect on numbers, a positiveincrease in contact between IBM and ISVs will show that it has been distributedcorrectly and targeted at the appropriate audience. (A full version of the flyer can befound in Appendix A.) 16
  17. 17. 3.6 Evaluations/Limitations/Future DevelopmentThe outcomes that have been achieved through this project are satisfactory incomparison to the objective set out at the start. The marketing material producedhas proved to be well received within IBM and more specifically, the PowerNetProgramme.A first e-marketing campaign has taken place; with the digital version of the flyerbeing sent out to various distribution lists of current and past business partners, ISVsand customers working with IBM. The response received has been of a positivenature, and a large number of companies have requested more details about theprogramme, more specifically, how they can get involved with the PowerNetProgramme.Whilst this is not going to immediately increase revenue, it is a positive start torecruiting more business, and increasing the solutions portfolio.A PowerNet Kick-Off event has also been planned for the start of September, andthe first steps of marketing the event are underway. This has involved contacting anumber of parties who may have an interest in the event, and sending them an invite,along with an electronic copy of the flyer. The event is perfect opportunity to furthermarket the programme using the printed handouts, and for members of thePowerNet Programme to further discuss what it can offer, with any businesses thatmay be interested.If the PowerNet Programme can continue to distribute handouts at future events, andset up a targeted e-marketing scheme, this could prove to be a large step in gettingnew ISVs to work with IBM, driving more revenue for the programme.Whilst the project has been deemed a success, there were some limitationsencountered. The production and creation of the marketing material took a long timeto complete, and this meant that various events took place where the material wouldhave been put to good use, yet it was not available. This meant that opportunitieswere missed, and potential business was lost. 17
  18. 18. Another drawback was that no numbers could be printed on the flyer. This couldhave proved a big selling point, because it allows the reader to have an immediateidea of what sorts of revenue and business the programme can drive for them.In spite of these limitations, however, the material produced can easily be developedon a larger scale should IBM wish. The content it covers is adaptable for multipleuses, such as a web advertisement, posters or presentations. This project was setout as a platform, and springboard for future marketing campaigns, which can nowbe easily done, building on what has been produced so far. 18
  19. 19. 4 Project CommentaryWhilst undertaking this project, although it was deemed successful, several issuesarose. There was some organisational change within the PowerNet Team during thefirst few weeks of setting out what issue wanted to be dealt with in the project. Thisparticularly affected the project, as that main change was with the marketingmanager and team leader, which in turn made decision making quite difficult as theyboth took time to fully adapt to and understand the role they were in.The objectives that were set out to be achieved at the start of the project were all metto a satisfactory standard, however, if there had been a larger time frame, and theorganisational change had not taken place, I believe that more could have beenachieved and the project could have been further developed. This could have beeneither in the form of following up on the work already done, by looking further into theresults achieved, or by developing another marketing plan, based on what had beenproduced.The topic chosen was appropriate in relation to the business at the time, as a lack ofmarketing material was having a clear impact on the way the programme wasrunning. All the methods used were researched and discussed, to ensure they werethe best possible way of doing things. I believe that the project was very valuable toIBM, as it highlighted a missing area of the business that needed attention, and bysetting a realistic target, the project allowed us to address the highlighted issue. Itwas also of great benefit to myself, as it gave me a much further, more detailedinsight as to how marketing works within a large business such as IBM, and allowedme to get much more hands on then I would have been able to in more normal day-to-day role.Overall, I feel that the project has been a good success. All the objectives set out tobe achieved have been met, and whilst there were some limitations and obstacles inthe way during the project process, the end result was very satisfactory to both IBMand myself. It has given me a much better understanding of how the businessoperates, as well as a desire to get a greater insight to marketing processes withincompanies, and the different effects they can have on the businesses undertakingthese processes. 19
  20. 20. 5 Appendix5.1 Appendix A – The PowerNet Flyer 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 5.2 Estimated Activity Time (Weeks) Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Decide on material 2 Discuss budget 1 Find & confirm agency 1 Set out content 2 Produce first draft 1 Second draft 1 Final draft 2 Finalise and print 1 Appendix B – GANTT Chart showing the flyer production process22

×