Friday, 13 December 2013

The Importance of Market Research

Why It's Critical For the Success of any Business

Market Research is defined as the process of gathering data on goods and services to determine whether the product or service will satisfy customers' needs. Market research can identify market trends, demographics, economic shifts, customer's buying habits, and important information on competition. Knowing this information is essential for the success of any business. It will guide entrepreneur in making strategic business decisions, uncovering unmet customer needs, and in many cases, help to discover new ideas for products or services.
Every entrepreneur runs their business idea by their nearest and dearest, gauging their reaction and obtaining what they deem to be useful information. Although primarily, it can produce ideas and objections that may not have been explored yet, it is vital to remember who these reviews are coming from; they will be biased! An entrepreneur’s enthusiasm and passion for their business idea, along with their personal connection to those they are asking will mean the data is far from relevant or useful. In order to take any business idea to the next stage it is essential to prove, using reliable information, that the idea is wanted or needed by the target market. Every entrepreneur will know starting up a business is taking a step into the unknown; it is therefore essential to arm your business with as much information and data on your target market as possible. Conducting primary market research is an opportunity that an entrepreneur should not miss out on; it is a chance to get into a customer’s head and get to grips with their purchasing decisions.
The majority of start-up businesses will produce a business plan to outline vital strategic information before launching a product or service. It can however be noted that the level of research that is conducted to strengthen a business plan is relatively low. It is vital to conduct both primary and secondary market research into your business idea to fully understand the feasibility of the project as well as key target market information.
Secondary market research will give a background look into your market, the success of previous products or services as well as your target market’s previous purchasing habits. By conducting such research it can give entrepreneurs an outline of where to take further research; it will reveal holes in current data and areas for deeper investigation.
Start-ups have a series of barriers to overcome when seeking credit; primary research can help remove some of these. Once primary market research has been conducted and an idea has been modified and finalised into a business plan, a funding will increase dramatically. By showing an investor primary market research findings that underpin a business plan and highlighting the potential for success, it will present as a lower risk to them.
In short, market research helps the entrepreneur to:
Ø  Communicate effectively
Ø  Identify and understand opportunities
Ø  Pinpoint obstacles or problem
Ø  Benchmark and evaluate his success

Dr. Harmeet Matharu, HOD, Commerce and Management Department.

Rumana Anjum
Lecturer in CS dept
Brindavan PU and Degree College
Boopsandra, Bangalore

Scheduling problems most often use heuristic algorithms to search for the optimal solution. Heuristic search methods suffer as the inputs become more complex and varied. This type of problem is known in computer science as an NP-Hard problem. This means that there are no known algorithms for finding an optimal solution in polynomial time.
Genetic algorithms are well suited to solving production scheduling problems, because unlike heuristic methods genetic algorithms operate on a population of solutions rather than a single solution. To apply a genetic algorithm to a scheduling problem we must first represent it as a genome. One way to represent a scheduling genome is to define a sequence of tasks and the start times of those tasks relative to one another. Each task and its corresponding start time represent a gene.
With genetic algorithms we then take this initial population and cross it, combining genomes along with a small amount of randomness (mutation). The offspring of this combination is selected based on a fitness function that includes one or many of our constraints, such as minimizing time and minimizing defects. We let this process continue either for a pre-allotted time or until we find a solution that fits our minimum criteria. Overall each successive generation will have a greater average fitness i.e. taking less time with higher quality than the proceeding generations. In scheduling problems, as with other genetic algorithm solutions, we must make sure that we do not select offspring that are infeasible, such as offspring that violate our precedence constraint.
The Opportunities and Challenges of FDI in Retail in India

FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is an investment in a foreign country with an intention to gain managerial interest in a company operating in that country. There are many foreign players who have invested and are investing in this way in India. The main interest of any person interested in operations in this issue would be supply chain. The large retailers would complement the investment of government in supply chain i.e. roads, energy. This would lead to decrease in transaction costs of business- both Business to business and business to customer such as information  costs, search costs, transport costs, communication costs, contractual costs, distributional costs, etc.

The Growth of FDI in the global economic land scope over the last two decades has made it an integral part of the development strategy of both the developed and developing nations. It acts as a major catalyst in the development of a country through up-gradation of technology, managerial skills and capabilities in various sectors. Rise in purchasing power, growing consumerism and brand proliferation has led to retail modernization in India. The growing Indian market has attracted a number of foreign retailers and domestic corporate to invest in this sector.FDI in the retail can expand markets by reducing transaction and transformation costs of business through adoption of advanced supply chain and benefit consumers and supplier. Oppositions have raised concerns about employment losses, promotion of unhealthy competition among organized domestic retailers resulting in exit of small domestic Retailers from the market and distortion of urban cultural development. the overview of the Indian retail sector along with the opportunities of expansion of FDI in retail in India and the major challenges that it faces.

The government of the host country may limit the percentage of foreign stake in any company with the intention to avoid foreign control over its country’s economy and people. This percentage varies from industry to industry depending on how crucial the industry is for the country. Even India limits the percentage of foreign stake. The industry-wise limitations are 100% for tourism, hospitality, education, roads and highways, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals; 51% for multi-brand retail; 49% for civil aviation, insurance, D2H, public sector banks; and 26% for print media, defence, etc to name a few. Retail industry in India is on of the most developing industries and has a huge potential to grow further. It contributes about 15% to GDP and 8% to employment of the country. It can be classified into single-brand and multi-brand retail. Only 4% of the retail in India is organized. The FDI limit for single-brand retail and multi-brand retail in India was increased to 100% and 51% respectively in 2012.

The Indian Government, however, recommends that retail firms source a percentage of manufactured products from the small and medium domestic enterprises. With a restriction of this sort, the opening up of the retail sector to FDI could therefore provide a boost to small-and medium enterprises. Moreover, expansion in the retail sector could also generate significant employment potential, especially among rural and semi-urban youth. So it is very difficult to predict the future of Indian retail sector. But the government of India must be cautious about the apprehensions raised by the critics and adequate safeguards must be taken so that the positive effects may outweigh the negative ones and the traditional retailers co exist even after big foreign retailer enter the markets.

  Shariba Tasleem, Faculty of commerce & Management Department

 MRS. SHBANA TAJ*; ** *Lecturer Marketing. **Brindavan College Bangalore.

This paper provides detailed information about the growth of retailing industry in India. It examines the growing awareness and brand consciousness among people across different socio-economic classes in India and how the urban and semi-urban retail markets are witnessing significant growth. It explores the role of the Government of India in the industries growth and the need for further reforms. In India the vast middle class and its almost untapped retail industry are the key attractive forces for global retail giants wanting to enter into newer markets, which in turn will help the India Retail Industry to grow faster. The paper includes growth of retail sector in India, strategies, strength and opportunities of retail stores, retail format in India, recent trends, and opportunities and challenges. This paper concludes with the likely impact of the entry of global players into the Indian retailing industry. It also highlights the challenges faced by the industry in near future.

India is the second fastest growing economy in the world. It is third largest economy in the world in terms of GDP and fourth largest economy in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. India presents a huge opportunity to the world at age, to use as a hub. Standing on the threshold of a retail revolution and witnessing a fast changing retail landscape, India is all set to experience the phenomenon of global village. India is the “promised land” for global brands and Indian retailers A “Vibrant economy”. India tops in the list of emerging market for global retailer and India’s retail sector is expanding and modernizing rapidly in line with India’s economic growth. The future is promising; the market is growing, government policies are becoming more favorable and emerging technologies are facilitating operations.

Retailing in India is gradually inching its way toward becoming the next boom industry. The whole concept of shopping has altered in terms of format and consumer buying behavior, ushering in a revolution in shopping in India. Modern retail has entered India as seen in sprawling shopping centers, multi-storied malls and huge complexes offer shopping, entertainment and food all under one roof. The Indian retailing sector is at an inflexion point where the growth of organized retailing and growth in the consumption by the Indian population.

With organised retail on the rise and increase in the disposable income retailing certainly looks a promising option.
Neurosynaptic chips

In many ways computers today are nothing more than very fast number-crunchers and information manipulators. They can process lots of data, but they really don’t think. They all adhere to the Von Neumann architecture, largely unchanged in the last half-century, in which computers are constructed by separating memory and processing and operate by executing a series of pre-written “if X then do Y” equations.
With the advent of Big Data, which grows larger, faster and more diverse by the day, this type of computing model is inadequate to process and make sense of the volumes of information that people and organizations need to deal with.
The cognitive capabilities of the brain includes understanding the surrounding environment, dealing with ambiguity, acting in real time and within context – all while consuming less than power than a light bulb and occupying less space than a two-liter bottle of soda. These new silicon, neurosynaptic chips allow for computing systems that emulate the brain’s computing efficiency, size and power usage.
Each corelet has a particular function that can be put together in different configurations to create new applications. For example, a corelet could include all of the individual cores that perceive sound. The programmer could use that corelet in conjunction with others that represent edge detection and color identification to develop a new application that takes advantage of all those features.
Article  By
Basavaraju S
Asst. Professor, ISE Dept
Brindavan College of Engineering

            Cybercrime and cybercriminals have been around since businesses first began using the Internet for commerce. The rise of criminal to criminal activity distinguished the fourth generation of cybercriminals. A robust and efficient underground economy emerged, providing the opportunity for cybercriminals to buy and sell goods and services to each other. Distinct, specialized cybercrime businesses came into prominence, including Exploit Auction Houses, Malware Distribution Services, Botnet Rentals, Next Generation Identity Sellers, Licensed Malware, Social Networks for Cybercriminals. The current batch of successful cybercriminals is more entrepreneurial than past generations, fueling the growing cybercrime economy with cash. As a result, attacks continue to grow in sophistication, chain and frequency.

            Pay-Per-Install (PPI) malware distribution schemes have been a key area of growth.PPI sites are now taking steps to improve the productivity of their affiliates. Some sites offer help developing content for affiliate scams. Many provide guidance or tutorials on how to make their malware less detectable by antivirus software, or “FUD” (Fully Un-Detectable). Even live support is available for affiliates of certain PPI sites.
“Point-and-Click” Cybercrime

           Threats in the current generation are increasingly automated, allowing cybercriminals to be more productive in less time. Cybercriminals take advantage of malware tools and scripting techniques to automate various stages of their schemes.Less skilled hackers can purchase tools to easily identify vulnerable targets, compromise systems and steal data. More sophisticated cybercriminals may buy tools or develop custom tools and scripts on their own. In some cases, integration across multiple tool sets that perform distinct functions has been observed in larger cybercrime schemes.
APT: Advanced Persistent Threats

            The term Advanced Persistent Threat, or APT in short, became prominent as a name for targeted attacks on specific organizations by determined, well-coordinated cybercriminals. In the cybersecurity community, APT most often refers to sophisticated attacks aimed at governments and corporations to gather intelligence or achieve specific nonfinancial objectives.APTs are frequently attributed to nation-states or agents of nation-states. On some occasions, APTs have been linked to terrorist and fringe political groups.
            APTs are not unique to the current generation of cyber criminals. These kinds of threats have been active for years, executing operations such as“Titan Rain” to gather intelligence. However, the skill and sophistication of APTs has evolved along with the cybercrime.

             Cybercriminals are constantly evolving with changing methods, tools and motivations. The only constant is that tomorrow’s cybercriminal will pose a greater threat to the earth than today. Hence the defenses now will not be sufficient for the next year, and they must be strategic in how they allocate their security resources.The strategies may be Comprehensive information security risk assessment,support risk based information security policy,establishing threat intelligence function,enabling more effective day-to-day security operations as well as mid-to-long term functional management.

Submitted by
S.Vijaya Rani
Asstt. Professor
MCA Department
        Suneeta Nashishettar MCA.M.TECH
       Asst, professor Department of  MCA , Brindavan College, Bangalore(Karnataka)

Bluejacking is the sending of  messages over Bluetooth to Bluetooth-enabled devices such as mobile phones, PDAs or laptop computers, sending a vCard which typically contains a message in the name field (i.e. for blue dating or blue chat) to another Bluetooth enabled device via the OBEX protocol. Bluetooth has a very limited range; usually around 10 meters on mobile phones, but laptops can reach up to 100 meters with powerful transmitters.  

Bluejacking allows phone users to send business cards anonymously using Bluetooth wireless technology. Bluejacking does not involve the removal or alteration of any data from the device. Bluejackers often look for the receiving phone to or the user to react. In order to carry out a bluejacking, the sending and receiving devices must be within 10 meters of one another. Phone owners who receive bluejack messages should refuse to add the contacts to their address book. Bluejacking is technique by which we can interact with new people and has ability to revolunerise market by sending advertisement about the product, enterprise etc. on the Bluetooth configured mobile phone so that the people get aware about them by seeing them on the phone.
Now a day it is used in sale promotion or sale tools and in dating. This technique is used in many fields like cinema , train station, shopping malls ,mobile phone shops etc. now a days there are new tools available in the markets by which bluejacking can be done. The basetechnology behind bluejacking is similar to Bluetooth because we can do bluejacking in the mobile or PADs or computers or laptop configured with Bluetooth.

Bluejacking is technique by which we can interact with new people and has ability to revolunerise market by sending advertisement about the product, enterprise etc. on the Bluetooth configured mobile phone so that the people get aware about them by seeing them on the phone.Now a day it is used in sale promotion or sale tools and in dating. Nowaydays this technique is used in many fields like cinema , train station, shopping malls ,mobile phone shops etc. now a days there are new tools available in the markets by which bluejacking can be done. The basic technology behind bluejacking is similar to Bluetooth because we can do bluejacking in the mobile or PADs or computers or laptop configured with Bluetooth.
So we conclude that in future this technology become the key for advertising and to interact with world and to get the location messages on the phone when you are somewhere out, Bluejacks are location specific.

1.BluejackQ. [referenced 4 Nov 2003].
2.Clemson H, Coulton P, Edwards R, Chehimi F (2006) Mobslinger. 
India Inc. is witnessing a fast growth in recent years and due to hard work of corporate and social captains. It is quite amazing to note that the contributions are from both genders. The power of women has been witnessing a massive growth in recent years in almost all the arena. It is due to self-empowerment attitude of women’s. This has made them to achieve to the greater heights. The women contributes equal as men to the growth of the nation and can say a proud idiom that “Every man has a successful women back to him”. Across the planet, the women power is sensible, sounds good and result oriented. Right from Education to political Administration, Corporate to Consumers, Service to entertainment, Women embarks their victory. It is quite proud to state that they play the symphony being in the back and with high efforts. The results are quite amazing and astonishing.
India Inc has a credibility of portraying the culture though the epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Character, the play and the Moral are the roots of today’s Economic development and managing organizations. The Mahabharata has brought a classical lesson for women empowerment. The stubborn character of Draupati has been the back bone of success of pandavas and no wonder the role model of today’s women. Her self-Empowerment, Self-Enlightenment and Achieving mind has made pandavas to grab the fruit of success. It is also true in the current scenario.
The day begins at home and moves towards the roots of society. The lesson begins from a Woman – Mother. Mother is the right image for every successful human and there is no compromise in it. She achieves when she is enlightened and she enlightens herself whenever she gets empowered. She empowers at every point of incident in family. The Family is the true corporate that can be simulated with real life industry. The competition is hectic and sustainability is a big question mark. To make your-self sustained, there needs hard work.
Empowerment is the base of any work in the society. It is the platform that ignites the strong attitude towards enlightening and achievement. Every Organization fights to remain competitive by seizing new challenges. The need for Empowerment arises in order to gain credit ability and acceptance at various level of competition. Empowerment helps an individual to take initiative, try out new ideas packed with wealth of information. The state of freedom for an empowered enlightened woman helps her to climb the steps of Achievement. Women with decision making power, courage, effective communication, confidence and credit ability can make herself self –Esteem.
Women Empowerment aims at status and security for women, their family and whole communities by creating a gate way out of extreme poverty. The Empowerment will definitely light the Achievement attitude and India is very confident in attributing towards women empowerment in this LPG .We are sure that women empowerment is also the secret of fear in OBAMA‟s Speech where he quoted that he is afraid of India’s tremendous growth. No Rules, Constraints or obstacles may stop the achievement when we are empowered and enlightened.

The proliferation of 'smart' energy management applications and the abundance of inexpensive, standards-based wireless MCUs are stimulating the growth of wireless sensor networks (WSN) across diverse markets, including home and building automation, telemedicine, and lighting.
WSNs provide a simple, economic approach for the deployment of distributed monitor and control devices, avoiding the expensive retrofit necessary in wired systems.A wireless sensor network is a collection of small randomly dispersed devices that provide three essential functions; the ability to monitor physical and environmental conditions often in real time, such as temperature, pressure, light and humidity; the ability to operate devices such as switches, motors; and the ability to provide efficient, reliable communications via a wireless network.
A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a wireless network consisting of spatially distributed autonomous devices using sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions. A WSN system incorporates a gateway that provides wireless connectivity back to the wired world and distributed nodes.WSNs are typically self-organizing and self-healing. Self –organizing networks allow a new node to automatically join the network without the need for manual intervention. Self-healing networks allow nodes to reconfigure their link associations and find alternative pathways around failed or powered-down nodes.

Name: SnehaBHanji
Asst, Professor, MBA Department
                                 HAPPINESS QUOTIENT AT WORK PLACE
Many of us think happiness, satisfaction or contentment both in personal and professional life, comes from the kind of luxury we do have. Its more with having a bigger house, bigger car or bigger salary and so on…
But evidently, its been proven that happiest people focuses more on what they do, not on what they have hence  “  It  isn’t our position but our disposition what makes us feel happy and contented."
 Now how we define "Happiness" at work place. Is it just about loving and knowing what we do ? or Being acknowledged for what we do ?  if these do not work then what ?                      " STRESSED" !!!.  And work pressure or stress has always been considered as a big reason for irritation and frustation leading to lower efficiency, lower productivity.
here, we can develop our HAPPINESS QUOTIENT" at work place by  6 obvious ways for our personal, professional and organisational Growth
1. Positive approach:  We must choose to be happy  thinking positively about our job, dwelling on the various positive aspect of work we do.
 2. Avoid Negativity:  Choosing to be happy at work place requires  avoiding all the negative aspect as much as possible like negative conversation, gossip, unhappy people.
3. Do something you love Every single day: Take a long breath and find out your extra skills, talent interest and do something that you can enjoy doing every single day. Trust me that will boost you to the great level.
4. Make Friends, Socialize : Liking and enjoying with our co-workers, socializing with Go-Getters can throw lots of positive rays on us resulting greater performance, High energy, High enthusiasm. So spend some quality time with your co-workers and try to know them.
5. Take charge of your professional and personal development:  Try to be unreasonable and self motivated person because its you who can change yourself or can gain development for yourself . so take initiatives at the work place and try to know what is happening around.
6. Keep Smiling:  Trust me :) Smiling does wonder. it keep you Happy and make others happy.
Conclusion:   we may not all be where we want to be but we can make the best of where we are.
Name: Ms Shweta Kishore
Department: MBA
Subject : Marketing
Article : Extending the Market Segments

Before a marketing mix strategy can be implemented, the marketer must identify, evaluate, and select a target market. Without selecting a proper segment of the market, the effect of the strategy will not be proper. Hence before implementing any of the strategy the marketer should
1.       Segment market            
2.       Choose target
3.       Position product

Market Segmentation is the division of the total market into smaller, relatively homogeneous groups. The whole market is divided into smaller homogenous groups so that proper strategy can be formulated keeping in mind their need, their mental status, and many more, so that the company can do well with the limited resources it has.
There are various basis of segmentation, which are being taught in various ways.
Segmenting can be done on various basis, such as :
·       Demographic (based upon age, gender, education etc.)
·       Geographic
·       Psychographic Segmentation
·       Family Life Cycle Stages Segmentation
1.       Unmarried
2.       Married
3.       Family with kids
4.       Retired or old age
And many more based upon which suites the product.

Here, in this article, I am just going to analyse how this basis of segmentation can be extended to other segments also.

The market segmentation of chocolate company “Cadbury’s” was based upon demography. It has segmented the market based upon age factor and targeted the kids as their target customer. But if we consider today’s scenario, the company’s marketing department has extended their target market from simply kids or lower age group people. The same chocolate just packed in different packing can be marketed as a gift for sister on “RakshaBandhan” as “Cadbury’s Celebration Bandhan”or gift for colleague or relatives on  “Diwali” as “Rich Dry Fruits Collection”.
 Very beautifully, taking the advantages of various cultural festivals in India, the company has started marketing its product in a different way.

The global economic crisis is commonly believed to have begun in July 2007 with the credit crunch, when a loss of confidence by US investors in the value of sub-prime mortgages caused a liquidity crisis. This, in turn, resulted in the US federal bank injecting a large amount of capital into financial market. By September 2008, the crisis had worsened. As stock markets around the globe crashed and became highly volatile.
According to one influential school of thought, Paul krugman, there were global imbalances, the phenomenon of huge current account surpluses in china and few other countries co-existed with the unsustainable large deficits in the US. The imbalance was caused by the propensity of the countries with high savings rate to pack their savings often at low yields, in the U.S. The flood of money from these countries into the U.S. kept interest rates low, fuelled the credit boom and inflated real estate and other asset prices to unsustainable levels.
It all began with American dream, that every American should have a home. Regardless of who you are and what you do, if you are an American, you should have something called a home. Real estate business was in a boom, financial agents thought that there wasn’t a better time to give away loans. The house hold sector was given a boost with increased monetary supply by commercial financial companies, and people were given loans regardless of the credit rating they received. . There was easy availability of credit at low interest rates. The boom in housing sector made both banks and home buying believe that the price of a real estate would keep going up. Banks went out of their way to lend to sub-prime borrowers who had no collateral assets. All this was fine as long as housing prices were rising but the housing bubble burst in 2007. Home prices fell between 20% and 35% from their peak, mortgage rates also rose. Sub-prime barrowersstarted defaulting in large numbers; the banks had to report huge loses. 

Sub-Prime Mortgage
The practice of lending money to people with weak or limited credit history is called Sub-Prime Lending. A mortgage is simply a loan on a house, and a mortgage rate is the interest rate on such a loan.
Sub-Prime lending covers different types of credit including mortgages, Auto-loans and credit cards. Since subprime borrowers often have poor or limited credit histories, they are typically perceived as riskier than prime borrowers.
Sub-Prime lending became popular in the US in mid-1990‟s, with outstanding debt increasing from 33$ billion in 1993 to $ 332 billion in 2003. December 2007, there was an estimated $ 1.3 trillion in sub-Prime mortgage outstanding. This substantial increasing in attributable to industry enthusiasm; banks and other lenders discovered that they could make hefty profits from origination fees, bundling mortgages into securities, and selling these securities to investors. Banks and lenders believe that the ricks of sub-prime loans could be managed, a belief of raising home prices and the perceived stability of mortgage backed securities. But rising home prices was only for a brief period, there was a gradual decline of home prices leading to heavy losses.
Home values declined, many barrowers realized that the value of their home was exceeded by the amount they owed on there mortgage. Borrowers began to default on their loans, which drove home prices down further and ruined the value of mortgage backed securities.

 Great depression and Global Economic Crisis
The stock market crash on October 29 1929 set in motion a series of events that led to the great depression, but in fact, the American economy and global economy had been in turmoil six months to black Tuesday and a variety of factors before and after that fateful date in October caused the great depression. October 29, 1929 is often marked as the start of the great depression in America, a dark day when the US stock market crashed. Over a two day period, the market lost 24% of its value.
The great depression was a global economic crisis that may have been triggered by political decision or by speculation.

 The stock market collapse of 1929 worldwide there was-

·       Increased unemployment.
·       Fall in Government revenue.
·       Drop in international trade.
·       More than a quarter of the US labor force was unemployed.

Global Economic Crisis has been unprecedented since the great depression of 1929-32. The less developed countries have been severely affected. Although they are not a homogeneous group, they share some common characteristics which render them extremely vulnerable to external shocks. The commodity boom of 2003-08 allowed most of the less developed countries to increase the national saving and investment and to accelerate the growth of their gross domestic product. The subsequent “bust” has had serious detrimental impact not only on their current levels of economic activity and employment, but also on their longer term prospects for industrialization and development. The Global Economic Crisis is a wakeup call for less developed countries to reconsider their long term industrialization and development strategies. International assistance as well as reforms of policies of international organizations and donors is required. In the short term the space available to less developed countries for counter cyclical policies in response to the crises is very high.

Indian economy is being affected by the spillover effects of the global economic crisis, stock market was badly hit, industrial sector and IT sector was affected due to financial collapse of the US market.


1. Chidambaram .P 2008 spill- over effects of global crisis will be tackled. The Hindu, daily, November 19, 2008.

2. Global Economics outlook 2008.
3. Global Economic crisis and its impact on India- V.K Agnihotri Rajya Sabha Secretary New Delhi June 2009.
4. The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century – By Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall


                                          STRATEGIC DECAY

 The success or failures of companies depend on the strategies planned by them. The management of strategies can thus be explained as an ongoing process that evaluates the business and the industry in which a company is involved so as to assess its competitors and sets goals and long term plans to meet all existing and potential demands of consumer. It is ongoing because companies need to be reassessing its strategies regularly.

Although Strategic Management has a wide range of concepts that are used by companies and taught in business schools, “Strategic Decay” is a comparatively new concept introduced by Gary Hamel. Strategic Decay is the understanding that the value of every strategy, no matter how brilliant, decays over time. Thus no company can have a fixed strategy for extended periods of time, no matter how successful the strategy, because with the passage of time, new challenges and market changes will ensure that the selected strategy will lose its competitive advantage.

The problem with most companies that have ruled the market earlier but end up losing their hold later is that they miss the signs when business strategies start to decay. A good example is Mircrosoft, who were the world leaders in PC software. Its Windows operating system was the OS of almost every computer on the planet. The company held the strong belief that its strategy of selling software and getting revenue from computing hardware manufacturers was the best way to do business. The company never realised the small changes in the market where underdogs like Apple changed the game would result in disastrous consequences. The visionary Steve Jobs turned Apple into a fashionable, innovative, trendsetting designer of a series of new computing products that began leading the whole PC industry. Microsoft was too late to react to its strategic decay. Today Apple dominates the tech industry with its iphones and ipads and Microsoft is slowly trying to correct its strategic mistakes by introducing hardware and software integrated products such as the ‘Surface’ designed to do what Apple is doing. But unfortunately, the company has not yet seen any success as it is a late entrant in the industry, with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS dominating the market.

According to Gary Hamel a business needs to answer some questions honestly to recognize strategic decay in the business while there's still time to do correct the situation. These questions include:
·       Does the company strategy defy industry norms and provide competitive advantages and high profits?
The company cannot lie back and relax on its success. The industry keeps changing depending on the changes in consumer tastes and trends, new technological breakthroughs and branding of competitors. A strategy selected by a company that worked last year may be a failure this year. Thus the firm needs to keep monitoring the industry conditions to maintain its competitive advantage.

·       Are changes in the political, social or business markets affecting the company strategy to make it less powerful or less relevant in the market?
When Gaddafi lost power in Libya, all the major businesses that ruled the market shattered. The transition was absolutely upsetting to their plans as they were not ready for such a political change. Thus companies need to always have a contingency plan in the markets in which it operates.

·       Is the pace of improvement in key performance criteria slowing down?
Apple may still be the number one desirable smart phone maker in the world. But recent studies show that consumers are losing their interest in Apple iphones as the product seems to have nothing new or exciting to offer. Apple’s key advantage is its branding and easy user-interface but with powerful competitors like Samsung already flooding the market with similar or in some cases even better devices, the company may need to make sure that it is not facing strategic decay.

·       Is increasing customer power reducing profits?
This is one of the key questions that affect social media sites like Facebook. When the company went public, its share value fell down drastically because of lack in investor confidence about the ability for the company to generate revenue. One of the reasons for this lack of confidence is the fact that Facebook does not have much power over its consumers. If the users feel any threat or discomfort in Facebook user policies, like advertisements that seem too in-your-face or stealing of their personal information to be sold to third-party companies, Facebook is in danger of losing its customer base who would simply migrate to another networking website. Thus it is a tricky play for Facebook to avoid strategic decay.

In a world where the usual 4P’s of classic marketing strategy (product, price, promotions and place) are facing strategic decay, companies are looking at doing something that can create true differentiation and gain commitment from its stakeholders. This is where a new set of Ps come into play.

Companies need to focus more on how the brand can be humanized to a make a ‘real’ difference, using the below 4 new Ps to create the differentiation.
1) People: This is most important in service-related categories, whether a retail outlet, restaurant, banking, or airline – the People who are basically the “customer facing employees” represent the brand to customers. These people must be trained to bridge the gap between brand promise and brand delivery. Eg. KFC, Eureka Forbes
2) Personality: In cases where the “front liner people” are invisible to the end consumer, brands need to create a strong and attractive Personality that can help their consumers feel connected to the company and express their own self identities. Examples: Coke, Apple, BMW
3) Participate: Brands must try to allow consumers to Participate in creating meanings for the brand that are symbolic in representing themselves – Examples: Apple, Google, Facebook are companies that are defined by what the user wants it to be.
4) Purpose driven: Brands can become more Purpose driven and focus on a set of values, beyond simple material benefits, that consumers care deeply about, that can build deeper meaning into their company brand names and create a more caring important relationship with consumers. Examples: Being Human, Nike (Livestrong).