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    Dissertation Part 2 - Academic Discussion Dissertation Part 2 - Academic Discussion Document Transcript

    • Placement Based Research ProjectAcademic DiscussionBA (Hons) International BusinessWilliam Scott - 07083290Date of Submission – Monday 21st March 2011
    • Table of Contents1 Topic Area ................................................................................................ 32 Literature Review ..................................................................................... 52.1 Strategic Capability & Reasoning ..................................................................... 5 2.1.1 Pricing Strategy ......................................................................................... 6 2.1.2 Relationship Strategy................................................................................. 72.2 Value Added Business ..................................................................................... 8 2.2.1 Value Net Analysis..................................................................................... 82.3 External Analysis .............................................................................................. 9 2.3.1 Threats to Sustainability........................................................................... 10 2.3.2 Marketing Strategy................................................................................... 113 Findings and Analysis ........................................................................... 133.1 Analysis of Marketing Strategy ....................................................................... 133.2 Analysis of the Strategic Direction of IBM PowerNet....................................... 153.3 Sustainability Analysis of IBM PowerNet‟s Business Model ............................ 164 Conclusion and Critical Reflection ....................................................... 184.1 Recommendations:......................................................................................... 195 References.............................................................................................. 206 Appendix 1 – Ethics Checklist .............................................................. 26 2
    • 1 Topic AreaThe primary topic area of this academic discussion is to analyse the reasoningbehind IBM PowerNet‟s business strategy of working alongside and doing businesswith, small, individual businesses, known as Independent Software Vendors (ISVs),to drive revenue. This strategy is in the form of pairing the software solution of asmall IT firm, with various pieces of IBM‟s hardware, to form a „solution‟. This is thensold to customers both small and large. These customer groups are divided into twocategories, „White Space‟ meaning they have not bought from IBM within the past 3years, and „IBM House‟, defined as having previously bought from IBM within thepast 3 years. The strategy implemented by IBM PowerNet targets the White Spacebusiness, as they aim to drive revenue by engaging in business with new customers.Since the programme was born in 2004, revenue has increased steadily year on yearuntil 2009, where it fell for the first time. Various reasons have been cited for this,including the effect of the economic downturn, and the lack of marketing materialmade available. When the numbers were analysed, it was decided that marketingmaterial was needed in order for the number of ISVs to grow, and this was done inconjunction with the practical part of this project. In making the decision to producemarketing material, it meant that the strategy of targeting new business, with newISVs was to continue for the foreseeable future. The aim of this report is to examinewhether this was a positive move on the part of IBM, and to look at the sustainabilityof the programme in current market conditions.The current market environment is similar to that of the past two-three years, withfirms cutting back on IT expenditure, due to the economic downturn. This willcontinue to have an impact on IBM PowerNet, and so the strategy in place must beable to react to, and cope with these conditions. The marketing material produced inthe practical section of the report has proved successful, helping to increase thenumber of ISVs working with IBM PowerNet from 80 in 2009, to 134 in 2010. Whilstthis is not the only factor contributing to this change, it is clear to see that themarketing strategy was a positive move by the firm.The aim of this discussion is to assess and evaluate whether the strategy in place byIBM PowerNet is a sustainable and positive strategy to continue with. In order toassess and evaluate this, academic sources will be analysed to both critique and 3
    • back up their strategy. Several key areas will need to be examined in order to cometo a suitable conclusion and assess whether or not it is the correct strategy to pursue. 4
    • 2 Literature ReviewThe literature review will primarily address the key aims of the project whilst alsoproviding a foundation from which the research will be built (Saunders et al., 2009).Findings will be drawn from key texts, journal articles and internet sources in order tofully analyse the research aims, and develop a critical understanding of the theoriesand methods used in relation to the project (Rowley & Slack, 2004). Analysis will alsobe made from looking at internal analysis and publications from IBM.2.1 Strategic Capability &ReasoningStrategic planning can been seen to start with a firm examining relationshipsbetween the firms “environment, strategy within the environment andstructure”(Chandler, 1962). These three elements allow a firm to study the variousways in which a strategy can be formed, by not only looking at the internal businessenvironment, but also the external. (Ansoff ,1977). Environment Structure Strategy Figure 1: Chandler, 1962Selecting the correct strategy in key to a businesses success, and imperative ingiving a firm competitive advantage. Competitive advantage can be defined as theunique capability which gives one firm an advantage over another in any givencompetitive industry or market place (Porter, 1985). Firms may have manycapabilities that give them this competitive advantage, yet it is the ones which arevalued most by the customer that allow firms to engage with and use the competitiveadvantage to the full. Being able to analyse the internal and external relationships assuggested by Chandler, allows a firm to fully utilise the competitive advantage 5
    • available to them by implementing the correct strategy and meeting the needs oftheir customers (Fahey, 2000).Another way of determining strategy is to look at the products a firm has to offer.Placing a product in strategic positions, allows the firm to determine how best to getthe product to market, and make it attractive to customers (Porter, 1980). Portersuggests that products fall under the headings of either differentiation strategy, orcost leadership. Further developments on this strategy have however, found thatmany products and indeed businesses, can fall under both headings, allowing themto find a niche in the market place (Miller, 1992), or become a market leader bycombining the two strategies (Baden-Fuller & Stopford, 1992).A well-evaluated systematic analysis of competitive positioning is key to a firm‟scompetitive advantage, incorrect positioning could mean a firm wastes thecompetitive advantage they already hold over other players in the industry (Bowman& Faulkner, 1994)2.1.1 Pricing StrategyThe pricing strategy used by IBM PowerNet‟s solutions is key to the way they gaincompetitive advantage and make the products attractive to a wide range ofcustomers. The recent economic downturn has meant that many firms are notinvesting as much in IT services or IT solutions, and as such, competitively pricedproducts on IBM‟s part has made them more attractive in the market place (Piercy etal., 2010). The decision made by IBM PowerNet to price their products in such acompetitive manor may not solely have been influenced by the economic downturn.Pricing strategies can also have a effect on customer and supplier relationships, andin the case of IBM PowerNet, where the end price was determined not only by IBM,but by the ISV they are partnered with, a long-standing, positive relationship betweencustomer and firm could be vital (Gourville&Soman, 2002).Pricing strategy can also be affected by the products life cycle (Thompson & Coe,1997). Products with a short life cycle, which are renewed, or updated on a regularbasis may often demand a lower pricing strategy, which not only makes the productmore attractive to customers, but also makes the potential risk of a competitorundercutting the price less so (Forbis & Mehta, 1981). 6
    • The decision making involved in the pricing strategy does not however, rest on thevolume of sales. Firms must evaluate the other competitive advantages they maygain by implementing a successful pricing strategy (Staples, 1980). They must lookat the corporate image it reflects on the company, and the relationships it could forgeor loose. A pricing strategy is not just a tool for selling products, but a multi-attributeone, impacting on many business areas (Coppett & Staples, 1980, and Thompson,1989).2.1.2 Relationship StrategyIBM PowerNet‟s sales rely heavily on the quality, and performance of their businesspartners – the ISVs who produce the software to form the package sold to thecustomer. This makes, a successful relationship between IBM and both the ISVs andcustomers is of paramount importance.Co-operative relationships can be formed between one firm and another (in this case,IBM and it‟s ISVs), allowing both firms to thrive in a competitive environment bysharing skills and expertise (Reeves, 2009). A strategy such as this, may enable bothfirms to reduce costs, by working together for a mutual benefit, and to shape the wayin which the industry moves, by working against mutual competitors (Reeves &Deimler, 2009).Strategic alliances have been in place for many years, particularly in the IT industry,yet it is the outcome of these relationships that determines how successful, anduseful they are to each firm (Vyas et al., 1995). Forming a strategic relationship witha firm that has complementary skills or resources, may allow one to fully maximiseboth firms efficiency and effectiveness, leading to a competitive advantage, throughshared experience (Mendleson & Polonsky, 1995). It is how a firm decides the extentto which a strategic relationship will benefit them, that can truly give both parties acompetitive advantage (Day & Montgomery, 1999). Scanning the businessenvironment for the best partnering opportunities, looking at potential alliancesstrategies and experience, can give firms the opportunity to form more effectivepartnerships (Kandermir et al., 2006). 7
    • 2.2 Value Added BusinessValue is created by a business operating together with its customers and suppliers,to create a value captured by the firm (Ghemawat, 1999). A firm cannot create valueon its own, so the ability to generate and capture value by working with theircustomers and suppliers, can be key to any firms survival (Ghemawat, 1999).The model used by IBM PowerNet, relies on this value created by working with theirISVs and other businesses. Working alongside other businesses to create value inthis way offers a range of benefits for both firms involved. Integrating in this way canoften give firms a competitive advantage through economies of scale and marketpower, particularly in the IT industry (Johnston & Lawrence, 1988). This type of valueadded business gives both firms the opportunity to expand within the market, asworking with each other and sharing resources increases the firm‟s knowledge,without impacting on costs (Hines, 1998).As is the case in this paper, value added business partnerships often occur betweena large and a small firm, with different benefits for each. Smaller firms will oftensupply a very specific product or service, in exchange for the reputation allegiance,and increased efficiency (Johnston & Lawrence, 1988). Larger firms, such as IBM,may use tools such as a Value Opportunity Web (VOW), to analyse the market placeand help aid decision making regarding the amount of added value gained byworking with a smaller firm (Fahey, 2000). VOWs allow both firms to critique thestrategic purpose behind a value added partnership, and extract breakthroughopportunities as they emerge.2.2.1 Value Net AnalysisThe Value Net (Brandenburger & Nalebuff, 1995)(Figure 2) is a tool for examiningcompetitive strategy, and business relationships, based on the Five Forces Model(Porter, 1985). Examining the relationship between a firm and four „players‟ –customers, competitors, suppliers and complementors, allows a firm to fullyunderstand the market, and where value can be gained. 8
    • It has been suggested that competition between firms is dead (Moore, 1996), andthat firms must now work with their competitors, in order to survive and gain acompetitive advantage. This has been expanded on, to form the co-opertition idea,where firms combine competition, and co-operation (Brandenburger & Nalebuff,1996). This concept is the foundations of the Value Net, as it allows a firm to identifypartnerships and competitive relations within the market. Figure 2: Brandenburger& Nalebuff, 1996It has also been suggested that this theory allows firms to experience multi-directional learning and gain experience from one another, whilst still competing forbusiness and market share (Tsai, 2002).However, criticisms have been made of this practice, with it being suggested that co-opertition allows firms to take advantage of others, and undertake devious practices,in order to outdo their competitor (Hamel et al., 1989). Yet this is not to say that firmscannot defend against this. The Value Net analysis allows firm to build suitabledefences against such practices, as well as gain experience and knowledge as tohow their collaborator works, through their relationships with other suppliers,customers and complementors in the market (Prahalad, 1989).2.3 External AnalysisAn external analysis of the market environment is an important step in aidingdevelopment and implementation of a successful strategy. Porter (1985), suggestedthat there were five forces which determined the intensity and attractiveness of amarket, (Figure 3). This model enables a firm to gain a full analysis of the market, as 9
    • it looks at both vertical and horizontal competition to the firm, and links well intoPorter‟s other models of the value chain and generic strategies. Figure 3: Porter, 1985This can then provide the base to a sustainability analysis, as a firm can fullyanalysis the factors that affect the business, both externally and internally. Withoutthe use of an external analysis such as Porter‟s Five Forces, a firm cannot fullyunderstand the market environment, and therefore any strategy implemented maynot be put to full effect.2.3.1 Threats to SustainabilitySustainability in strategy is often a difficult factor to obtain, with various threats fromdifferent places in the market. Business threats are constantly in place, and firmsneed to adapt and tailor their strategies to overcome these. The “Four Threats toSustainability” model (Ghemawat, 1991) (Figure 4) outlines the threats with thecapability of reducing the ability of a firm to add value. This framework can be linkedto the Value Net framework (Brandenburger & Nalebuff, 1996), and used by a firm toanalyse all aspects of an industry‟s threats. Figure 4: Ghemawat, 1991 10
    • Other factors may need to be taken into consideration when looking to build asustainable business model, such as looking at the long-term environmental,economic and social considerations (Crane & Matten, 2007). These factors are seenas of particular importance in the modern day business environment, with increasingpressure on firms to take into account the effect their firm is having on publicsituations.A firms values, visions and priorities also need to be evaluated, (Weick, 1995)ensuring that achieving a sustainable strategy does not compromise a firms missionstatement. This is also related to what a firm may be willing to trade-off, in order toachieve sustainability, as certain strategic decisions may have effects on other areasof the firm (Wilson, 2003). This decision making process involves scanning thebusiness environment to gather data and identify strategic problems of opportunities(Starbuck & Milliken, 1988). These results can be evaluated and analysed throughusing frameworks such as Ghemawat‟s (Figure 4), in order to gain a theoreticalinsight as to the sustainability of a strategy.It has been suggested, that the emotional link of a manager or firm towards a certainstrategy or direction, may affect the decision making and how relevant it may be(Kollmus & Agyeman, 2002). This critique of the decision making process addsanother dimension to the sustainability model which needs to be considered by firms.2.3.2 Marketing StrategyA firms marketing strategy may often be based on the kind of product beingmarketed. What makes a product or firm attractive to a customer is a combination ofelements. These need to be taken into account when deciding on a marketingstrategy, as consumer behaviour is affected by many elements (Kotler, 2003).Consumer behaviour is displayed by consumers in “searching for, purchasing, using,evaluating and disposing of products, services and ideas which they expect willsatisfy their needs” (Schiffman&Kanuk, 1986). By studying consumer behavior, a firmcan react to, and understand the consumers need, as therefore, produce the bestmarketing strategy to benefit the firm.Market planning is a critical process, which takes place when choosing a strategy(McDonald, 1995). Strategic market planning plays a key role in a firm gaining 11
    • competitive advantage, as identifying key areas of exploitation allows a firm toperform in ways that competitors cannot match (Kotler, 2006).A firm must ensure that its marketing strategy is able to build relationships betweenthe firm and its customers, with four main elements of trust, commitment, satisfactionand loyalty (Eggert et al., 2002). Each of these factors helpsfirms build competitiveadvantage through business to customer relationships (Woodruff, 1997 andPalmatier et al., 2007) as the strategy builds up positive relationships and barriersagainst entry for other competitors.Such marketing strategies are not without their criticisms however, particularly ascustomers may not respond to a marketing campaign as positively as thought by afirm, leaving them in a situation of uncertainty as the sought after link betweenplanning and success is not established (Saker & Smith, 1997 and Pulendran et al.,2003). Barriers can also impact on the successfulness of a marketing strategy, andthese are issues that must be investigated and researched before a strategy isimplemented (McDonald, 1996). These may be simple issues, such as culturalbarriers, yet they are still vital in the execution of a successful marketing strategy.Mintzberg (1994) suggested that three fallacies were responsible for poor marketingstrategy formation: poorly evaluated predetermination of events, detachment fromthe required situation with top down management formation, and poor formulisationduring the creative process. 12
    • 3 Findings and AnalysisThe aim of this section of the report is to analyse and apply the theories and modelsexamined in the literature review, to the work done in the Placement Project report. Itwill aim to look at this from a wider perspective, and critically analyse whether or notthe marketing strategy that was ultimately undertake was done in the correct manner,and if the current strategy employed by IBM PowerNet is the best to continue with inthe future.The literature studied in the literature review section of this report, will help meanalysis these issues, by providing me with a range of theory and sources to basethe reasoning around. It has allowed me to gain an understanding as to thereasoning behind certain marketing strategies, strategic directions and sustainability,all of which will be examined under the following sub-sections.3.1 Analysis of Marketing StrategyAfter internal analysis of IBM PowerNet‟s ISV relationships, and revenue drive, it wasdecided that a new marketing strategy was to be put in place. This consisted of atangible tri-fold flyer, as well as an electronic version, detailing what the IBMPowerNet programme consisted of, and why ISVs would want to join. The aim of thisstrategy was primarily to increase the number of new ISVs working in conjunctionwith IBM PowerNet, and secondly, to increase the year on year revenue of theprogramme.The literature studied has shown that this marketing campaign could be used tocreate a unique competitive advantage, by targeting a very select audience (Kotler,2003). IBM PowerNet‟s key target public when recruiting, is small ISVs, providing aunique software package, which can be paired with IBMs hardware, creating acustom made solution. The marketing material produced, did exactly this, specificallytargeted towards ISVs, it directly focused on the key target public, and was tailored tosuit their requirements.Focusing specifically on these small businesses also enabled IBM PowerNet to gaina competitive advantage by telling the ISVs, exactly what the programme entailed.Whilst Porter (1985) suggested that products either fall under either of the two 13
    • categories of differentiation or low-cost, IBM PowerNet allow these to be combined,creating a low-cost differentiated product as the solutions sold are often to very smallfirms, yet are uniquely tailored to that firms needs (Baden-Fuller & Stopford, 1992).The ability to define the PowerNet programmes strategic direction, and benefits,meant that IBM could use this marketing strategy to draw in firms they believed coulduniquely fit the PowerNet strategy and way of working (McDonald, 1995). The recentdrop in new ISVs joining the programme had affected revenue, and as such, thisability was key in allowing IBM PowerNet to turn this around.Eggert et al., (2002), suggest that the firms ability to engage with their target publics,and build relationships, is a fundamental part of a successful marketing strategy. Thismay be done in a variety of ways; to build trust, commitment, satisfaction and loyalty,all key in a firms attempt to gain competitive advantage. IBM PowerNet‟s decision touse handouts, or flyers, meant that the marketing material was delivered in apersonal manner, often at events where representatives of the programme were inattendance, allowing follow up discussions about the programme to take place. Apersonalised, face-to-face strategy such as this, allowed IBM to build on theinformation given in the marketing material, and fully engage with their target publics,therefore building relationships, and giving the ISV a feeling of service.A negative side of the strategy has been identified, linked to work developed bySaker & Smith, (1997). They suggested that some marketing strategies mightexperience a lack of response from the target audience, leading to a situation ofuncertainty for the marketing firm. This was indeed the case with IBM PowerNet,linked to the electronic marketing of the material. This relied heavily on using pre-built up networks of contacts to market the material too, and did not allow thepersonal follow up effect provided with the physical copy. This lead to a low responserate compared with the physical flyer, and success could not be measured as easily.The success of this marketing strategy has been measured on the total number ofISVs in the programme at the end of 2010, approximately 6 months after themarketing strategy was put in place. At the end of 2009, IBM PowerNet had 80 ISVsworking with it, however this number had risen significantly by the end of 2010, to134. Whilst the marketing strategy may not have been the only impacting factor onthis number, it is clear to see that the effect it has had on new ISVs is significant, andhas been a positive move by IBM. 14
    • 3.2 Analysis of the Strategic Direction of IBM PowerNetIBM PowerNet‟s marketing strategy tied in with the strategic direction of theprogramme, in such that they aim to drive revenue by working alongside ISVs sellingsolutions to new business. The main business model is based around a lot of valueadded business, relying on the success of their partnerships with ISVs to driverevenue.Literature has suggested that this is a positive business model and strategic directionto follow, as it allows the firms involved to share knowledge and expertise (Hines,1998). Johnston & Lawrence (1988) have also suggested that these partnerships areparticularly useful in the IT industry, as the ability to share skills and product systemsallows both firms to benefit, giving each a competitive advantage, whilst also buildingpositive relations and trust between the two. This factor links in well with IBMPowerNet‟s strategic direction, as their ability to successfully build positiverelationships and work cohesively with ISVs is what has made the programme asuccess in the past.As well as the strategy of selling solutions in partnership with ISVs, IBM PowerNetchooses to price their solutions as competitively as possible, with the price oftenbeing based on the technicality of the software being provided by the ISV, and thewillingness to pay of the customer. Although Porter (1985) suggested that productswere either low-price or differentiated, IBM have managed to combine the two tocreate anwell priced, tailored solution that their customers can afford. Miller (1992)has re-enforced this notion that products can overlap, and IBM PowerNet have builttheir strategy around this.Their strategy of offering custom made solutions, means that IBM can work with theirISVs to competitively price their products, in order to drive as much revenue for boththe ISV and themselves, whilst appealing to as big a market as possible. Piercy et al.,(2010) suggested that low price strategies might appeal to a larger market place,particularly in times of recession such as today. For me, this underlines the fact thatIBM PowerNet‟s strategic direction of working alongside these ISVs, in order to offera customised, competitively priced solution is a positive one to be pursuing. 15
    • Another factor built into this strategy employed by IBM PowerNet, is the ability tobuild and develop long lasting relationships, both with ISVs and customers. Thenature of the products and solutions sold means that they often have a very shortproduct life cycle, needing updating and improving every few years as technologyadvances. The positive relationships built over the years between IBM PowerNet andthe ISVs they work with, gives both parties a mutual understanding of each other,building up a trust with is only gained over time, as suggested by Forbis & Mehta(1981).The risks involved in this strategy are that these relationships may not be formed, orthat they may not last as forecasted. This is why Reeves (2009) backs up the ideathat knowing your business partners, and understanding the relationships is whatmakes this strategy successful. IBM PowerNet regularly meet with their ISVs atpublic events, and keep them updated via e-communications, in an attempt tocontinue the positive relationships built up over time, helping to keep the strategysuccessful, as it has been in the past.3.3 Sustainability Analysis of IBM PowerNet’s Business ModelThe final section of the findings and analysis is to examine the sustainability of theIBM PowerNet business model. Using the Threats to Sustainability framework(Ghemawat, 1991) (Figure 3) examined in the literature review, the business modelcan be clearly examined under the four threats of imitation, substitution, holdup andslack.The business model of IBM PowerNet is such that the products and solutionspurchased by customers are custom designed to suit their needs, and as such, thethreat of imitation and substitution is reduced. As IBM PowerNet seek to constantlywork with and build relationships with ISVs working in as many software fields aspossible, it is constantly working against the threat of imitation, which is particularlyimportant in the ever changing IT industry (Johnston & Lawrence, 1988).Wilson (2003) suggests that in order for a firm or project to be sustainable, it mustensure that it does not impact on other areas of the firm, or business partners.Research into the IBM PowerNet programme has proved that they in fact do theopposite, building relationships with ISVs and over time, passing them on to other 16
    • programmes within IBM, where they can also be of use. This further reinforces thesustainability of IBM PowerNet, as they are building business relations within theprogramme, as well as for other areas of the business.The ability of IBM PowerNet to build these relationships, as well as identify new andemerging technologies that can be worked into the programme, has been a largefactor in the past success of the programme. Starbuck & Milliken (1988) suggest thatthe ability to identify changes in the environment, and needs of customers, can playan important role in forming a sustainable business strategy, as IBM PowerNet hasdone. 17
    • 4 Conclusion and Critical ReflectionAfter discussing and evaluating the aims and objectives of this discussion throughvarious literature and theories, a conclusion can be reached, backed up by theresearch and literature used thus far. A sustainability analysis of the IBM PowerNetProgramme has proved that whilst there may be clear negative aspects to thescheme, such as the need for customers to constantly upgrade their products, thepositives much outweigh the negatives.Critical analysis has proved that theprogramme helps to build positive relationships with other businesses, and has awider positive effect on IBM as a whole, passing business partners over to otherareas of the firm where they can also be of use. This Value-added propertyreinforces the suggestion that the IBM PowerNet programme is a positive way forIBM to drive new business, and aid the overall growth of the firm.This approach fits in well with the company‟s ethics and culture, which is based oncommunication and building relationships, both internally between employees, andexternally between IBM, customers and business partners, underpinning thesuggestion that it is a strategy that should be continued with.Theory and literature has backed up the need for more marketing material to beproduced, and therefore supports the work done in the practical section of this report.It addressed the key target publics and has proved successful in its application whenresults are analysed, however, research done in the literature review has suggestedthat part of the way in which it was distributed was not done to full effect, and mayhave been more efficient.The literature review allowed me to fully analyse the PowerNet programme fromviews otherwise not available, and fully critique it by looking at a variety of papershighlighting different theoretical approaches. Using a variety of sources and papersto analysis the different approaches allowed me to gain a full understanding byreading a range of opinions and criticisms on the different methods used. Whenapplying this to the area discussed I was able to fully construct an argument to comeup with the most suitable conclusion. 18
    • 4.1 Recommendations:From this analysis, I am able to conclude with a concise set of recommendations,which could serve to aid the growth and development of IBM PowerNet in the future: Continue to build on B2B relationships with both ISVs and business partners, allowing IBM PowerNet to build the foundations of it‟s success on a positive reputation of client relationships Focus on new and unique ISVs, whilst passing bigger, more developed ISVs onto other areas of the IBM business – this with the aim of growing both the IBM PowerNet programme and IBMs business as a whole Re-evaluate marketing material when needed, ensuring that any promotions or marketing programmes are delivered to key target publics on a regular basis, keeping the IBM PowerNet programme as a vocal player in the IT market place 19
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    • 6 Appendix 1 – Ethics Checklist YES NO N/A1. Is the size of sample proposed for any group enquiry larger ✓ than justifiably necessary?2 Will any lines of enquiry cause undue distress or be ✓ impertinent?3 Has any relationship between the researcher(s) and the ✓ participant(s), other than that required by the academic activity, been declared?4 Have the participants been made fully aware of the true nature ✓ and purpose of the study? If NO is there satisfactory justification (such as the likelihood of the end results being affected) for withholding such information? (Details to be provided to the person approving the proposal).5 Have the participants given their explicit consent? ✓ If NO is there satisfactory justification for not obtaining consent? (Details to be provided to the person approving the proposal).6 Have the participants been informed at the outset that they can ✓ withdraw themselves and their data from the academic activity at any time?7 Are due processes in place to ensure that the rights of those ✓ participants who may be unable to assess the implications of the proposed work are safeguarded?8 Have any risks to the researcher(s), the participant(s) or the ✓ University been assessed? If YES to any of the above is the risk outweighed by the value ✓ of the academic activity?9 If any academic activity is concerned with studies on activities ✓ which themselves raise questions of legality is there a persuasive rationale which demonstrates to the satisfaction of the University that: i the risk to the University in terms of external (and internal) perceptions of the worthiness of the work has been assessed and is deemed acceptable; ii arrangements are in place which safeguard the interests of the researcher(s) being supervised in pursuit of the academic activity objectives; iii special arrangements have been made for the security of related documentation and artefacts. Appropriate expert advice should be sought as appropriate10 Have the ethical principles and guidelines of any external ✓ bodies associated with the academic activity been considered? 26
    • 1 Name(s) of Applicant: William Scott2 Department: Sales and Operations Department3 Name of Supervisor: Sara Penney4 Title of Project: An assessment of IBM PowerNet’s business strategy,analysing sustainability, suitability and marketing strategy5 Resume of ethical issues: N/A6 Does the project require the approval of any external agency? NO * If YES has approval been granted by the external agency? * delete as appropriate7 Statement by Applicant I confirm that to the best of my knowledge I have made known all relevant information and I undertake to inform my supervisor of any such information which subsequently becomes available whether before or after the research has begun8 Signature of Applicant: ________________________ Date: _____________ 27
    • Statement by Supervisor/Line Manager (please sign the relevant statement) Approval for the above named proposal is granted I confirm that there are no ethical issues requiring further consideration. (Any subsequent changes to the nature of the project will require a review of the ethical considerations): Signature of Supervisor: ________________________ Date: _____________ Approval for the above named proposal is not granted I confirm that there are ethical issues requiring further consideration and will refer the project proposal to the appropriate Committee** Signature of Supervisor: _________________________ Date: _____________** For work forming part of an MMU taught programme– refer to Faculty Academic Standards Committee** For work forming part of an MMU research programme – refer to Faculty Research Degree Committee** For PhD by published work – refer to Research Degree Committee** For any other work – refer to appropriate Faculty/Department Committee or line manager 28