information and knowledge management assignment
information and knowledge management assignment
mancosa mba general year 1 semester 1
ASSIGNMENT COVER PAGE
PLEASE COMPLETE SECTION A AND SECTION B BELOW AND ATTACH THE COVER PAGE TO THE FRONT OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT:
SECTION A: STUDENT AND ASSIGNMENT DETAILS
STUDENT NUMBER M401002254
FIRST NAME/S Sandhya
PROGRAMME MBA- General
INTAKE JULY 2017, 1ST SEMESTER
MODULE Information and Knowledge Management
FACILITATOR Mr Nawab Moniaruch
EXAMINATION VENUE MES, MAURITIUS
DATE SUBMITTED 19 September 2017
SUBMISSION TYPE FIRST SUBMISSION
SUBMISSION DATE 19 September 2017
POSTAL ADDRESS Royal Road
CONTACT DETAILS (WORK) NA
(EMAIL) [email protected]
SECTION B: DECLARATION
I hereby declare that this assignment submitted is an original piece of work produced by myself
SIGNATURE OF STUDENT: ______________________________________________________________
DATE: 19 September 2017
Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u QUESTION 1: Discuss the four pillars that are being referred to. PAGEREF _Toc493610932 h 41.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc493610933 h 41.2 What is Big Data PAGEREF _Toc493610934 h 41.2.1 How Big Data works PAGEREF _Toc493610935 h 51.2.2 Example: Introducing a New Coffee Product at Starbucks (Watson 2014) PAGEREF _Toc493610936 h 51.3 Cognitive Computing PAGEREF _Toc493610937 h 61.3.1 Watson – Overview PAGEREF _Toc493610938 h 61.3.2 How CCS Works PAGEREF _Toc493610939 h 61.3.3 Example: LifeLean, Veterinary Care PAGEREF _Toc493610940 h 71.4 Cloud PAGEREF _Toc493610941 h 81.4.1 Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS PAGEREF _Toc493610942 h 81.4.2How cloud computing works PAGEREF _Toc493610943 h 91.4.3 Example: Monitoring Trucks at U.S. Xpress PAGEREF _Toc493610944 h 91.5 Internet of Things (IoT) PAGEREF _Toc493610945 h 101.5.1 How does IoT work? PAGEREF _Toc493610946 h 101.5.2 Why IOT? PAGEREF _Toc493610947 h 11QUESTION 2: Discuss the shortcomings and advantages of these four pillars and highlight how these shortcomings can be mitigated. PAGEREF _Toc493610948 h 122.1 Advantages of Big Data PAGEREF _Toc493610949 h 122.1.1 Understanding and Targeting Customers PAGEREF _Toc493610950 h 122.1.2 Understanding and Optimising Business Processes PAGEREF _Toc493610951 h 122.1.3Reducing maintenance costs PAGEREF _Toc493610952 h 122.1.4 Improving Security and Law Enforcement. PAGEREF _Toc493610953 h 122.2 Shortcomings of Big Data and how to mitigate them. PAGEREF _Toc493610954 h 132.2.1 Misuse of data. PAGEREF _Toc493610955 h 132.2.2 Securing Big Data: PAGEREF _Toc493610956 h 132.2.3 Lack of Skilled Workers PAGEREF _Toc493610957 h 132.2.4 A Limited View of the Customer Journey PAGEREF _Toc493610958 h 132.3 Advantages of Cognitive Computing PAGEREF _Toc493610959 h 142.3.1 Create deeper human engagement PAGEREF _Toc493610960 h 142.4 Shortcomings of Cognitive Computing and how to mitigate them. PAGEREF _Toc493610961 h 152.4.1 Limited analysis of risk PAGEREF _Toc493610962 h 152.4.2 Legal and Privacy Implications PAGEREF _Toc493610963 h 152.5Advantages of Cloud PAGEREF _Toc493610964 h 162.5.1 Cost Savings PAGEREF _Toc493610965 h 162.5.2 Reliability PAGEREF _Toc493610966 h 162.5.3 Manageability PAGEREF _Toc493610967 h 162.5.4 Strategic Edge PAGEREF _Toc493610968 h 162.6 Shortcomings of Cloud and how to mitigate them. PAGEREF _Toc493610969 h 172.6.1 Security PAGEREF _Toc493610970 h 172.6.2 Weaknesses of Shared Technology PAGEREF _Toc493610971 h 172.6.3 Loss of Data PAGEREF _Toc493610972 h 172.6.4 Breach of Data PAGEREF _Toc493610973 h 182.7 Advantages of IoT. PAGEREF _Toc493610974 h 182.7.1 Ease Decision Making PAGEREF _Toc493610975 h 182.7.2 Tracking Products PAGEREF _Toc493610976 h 182.7.3 Automation and Control PAGEREF _Toc493610977 h 182.7.4. Save Money PAGEREF _Toc493610978 h 192.8 Shortcomings of IoT and how to mitigate them. PAGEREF _Toc493610979 h 192.8.1 Compatibility PAGEREF _Toc493610980 h 192.8.2 Complexity PAGEREF _Toc493610981 h 192.8.3 Privacy/Security PAGEREF _Toc493610982 h 192.8.4 Safety PAGEREF _Toc493610983 h 20QUESTION 3: Compare the super vendors Amazon and Microsoft listed in the case study and discuss the strategies they adapted in order to ensure that they are global players. PAGEREF _Toc493610984 h 213.1 Amazon versus Microsoft PAGEREF _Toc493610985 h 213.2 Strategies adopted by Amazon and Microsoft to ensure that they are global players. PAGEREF _Toc493610986 h 223.2.1 Amazon Business Strategies PAGEREF _Toc493610987 h 223.2.2 Microsoft Business Strategies PAGEREF _Toc493610988 h 233.3 Amazon and Microsoft Intensive Growth Strategies PAGEREF _Toc493610989 h 243.3.1 Market Development. PAGEREF _Toc493610990 h 243.3.2 Market Penetration. PAGEREF _Toc493610991 h 253.3.3 Product Development. PAGEREF _Toc493610992 h 263.3.4 Diversification. PAGEREF _Toc493610993 h 273.4 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc493610994 h 27QUESTION 4: Discuss the possible implications of the four pillars on issues regarding data governance. PAGEREF _Toc493610995 h 284.1 What is Data governance? PAGEREF _Toc493610996 h 284.2 Implication of the 4 pillars on data governance PAGEREF _Toc493610997 h 294.3 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc493610998 h 31Bibliography PAGEREF _Toc493610999 h 32
QUESTION 1: Discuss the four pillars that are being referred to.1.1 IntroductionData are now merged into every sector and function in the global economy. Like other essential factors in an organisation such as hard assets and human capital, the modern economic activity could not take place without them. According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and McKinsey & Company’s Business Technology Office, the sheer volume of data generated, stored, and mined for insights has become economically relevant to businesses, government, and consumers.
1.2 What is Big Data1854201841500
Big data is a term that is used to describe data that is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety; requires new technologies and techniques to capture, store, and analyze it; and is used to enhance decision making, provide insight and discovery, and support and optimize processes. Big data is the collection, processing and availability of huge volumes of streaming data in real-time. In recent years, there has been a boom in Big Data because of the growth of social, mobile, cloud, and multi-media computing. Lisa Arthur, Teradata Applications CMO and Forbes contributor, explained that Big Data “is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”
1.2.1 How Big Data worksBig data turn unstructured data into actionable data, hence gives key insights into business and customers. The use of Big Data is becoming a crucial way for leading companies to outperform their peers. Itis the root of competition and growth for individual firms, enhancing productivity and creating significant value for the world economy by reducing waste and increasing the quality of products and services. Such knowledge facilitates the creation of new service offerings and the design of future products. Big Data technology allows companies to gain the edge over their business competitors and, in many ways, to increase customer benefits.
1.2.2 Example: Introducing a New Coffee Product at Starbucks (Watson 2014)Starbucks was introducing a new coffee product but was concerned that customers would find its taste too strong. The day the coffee was launched, Starbucks monitored blogs, Twitter, and niche coffee forum discussion groups to assess customers’ reactions. By mid-morning, Starbucks discovered that although people liked the taste of the coffee, they felt it was too expensive. Starbucks lowered the price, and by the end of the day all of the negative comments had disappeared. Compare this fast response with a more traditional approach of waiting for the sales reports to come in and noticing that sales are disappointing. A next step might be to run a focus group to discover why. Perhaps in several weeks Starbucks would have discovered the reason and responded by lowering the price.
1.3 Cognitive ComputingCognitive computing is a self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. Cognitive Computing consists of multiple technologies that enable information systems and applications to sense, comprehend and act. That is, computers are able to:
(1) to perceive the world and collect data;
(2) to analyze and understand the information collected; and
(3) to make informed decisions and provide guidance based on this analysis in an independent way.
Cognitive solutions can also learn from experience and alter their processing and behavior based on those learnings. Cognitive computing is closely associated with IBM’s cognitive computer system (CCS), Watson.
1.3.1 Watson – OverviewWatson is the first large-scale deployment of a technology referred to as cognitive computing, which is designed for resolving problems based on unstructured and ambiguous data sets which was traditionally the domain of human beings. Professor Toby Walsh said; Watson is well suited to solving problems that involve sifting through large volumes of unstructured data.
1.3.2 How CCS WorksCCS help make better sense of enormous and complex sets of data, especially, data in the form of plain, written English. Researchers start by feeding a database of articles into the system, then they “train” the system by asking it questions and selecting the best answers from the responses Watson provides. The system continually learns from the questions asked hence allowing it to improve its future responses. The more information it has at its disposal, the more accurate and comprehensive its answers become since the machine cannot draw from any information beyond what its users give it. If there is no clear answer, the system will provide several possible answers, ranked by which it rates as most relevant to the question.
1.3.3 Example: LifeLean, Veterinary CareCognitive computing isn’t helping only humans but veterinarians also to take better care of the animals. LifeLearn is a veterinary clinical decision-support tool called Sofie that analyzes hundreds of thousands of veterinary medical resources and offers relevant, evidence-based treatment options.
To use Sofie, veterinarians simply ask a question in much the same way they would if another colleague were in the room. Sofie provides resources and recommendations instantly, allowing busy vets to save time and provide their patients with quality care.
1.4 CloudCloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing provides shared services as opposed to local servers or storage resources. It enables access to information from most web-enabled hardware hence, allows for cost savings, reduced facility, hardware/software investments, support. Cloud computing provides shared services as opposed to local servers or storage resources.
1.4.1 Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaSMost cloud computing services fall into three broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (Saas). These are sometimes called the cloud computing stack, because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they are different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals.
1.4.2How cloud computing worksCloud computing services all work a little differently, depending on the provider. But many provide a friendly, browser-based dashboard that makes it easier for IT professionals and developers to order resources and manage their accounts. Some cloud computing services are also designed to work with REST APIs and a command-line interface (CLI), giving developers multiple options.
1.4.3 Example: Monitoring Trucks at U.S. XpressU.S. Xpress is a transportation company. Its cabs continuously stream more than 900 pieces of data related to the condition of the trucks and their locations Watson and Leonard, 2011. This data is stored in the cloud and analyzed in various ways, with information delivered to various users, from drivers to senior executives. For example, when a sensor shows that a truck is low on fuel, the driver is directed to a filling station where the price is low. If a truck appears to need maintenance, drivers are sent to a specific service depot. Routes and destinations are changed to ensure that orders are delivered on time. By monitoring its trucks, U.S. Xpress can tell which is which, and has saved millions in fuel costs and reduced emissions into the environment by incenting its drivers to reduce avoidable idle time.
1.5 Internet of Things (IoT)The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection. The IoT allows virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place in any industry.
According to Blake Morgan: IoT refers to the products that will be connected in the future. This includes anything with an on or off switch. Information from our products will be sent to our phone, to our computer and vice-versa. Data about our behavior will be sent directly from the products we use back to the companies we purchase from. The companies we purchase from will send us content directly through the products we buy. In the future technology should enhance the customer experience, finding helpful ways to update, improve, educate, inspire and overall add value to our lives.
1.5.1 How does IoT work?The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can’t even think of or fully understand the impact of today. It measures, it evaluates; in short, it gathers data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. The Internet of Things doesn’t function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all these sensors. The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anytime, anywhere.
1.5.2 Why IOT?In general, the IoT promotes a heightened level of awareness about our world, and a platform from which to monitor the reactions to the changing conditions. IoT is:
Dynamic control of industry and daily life
Resource efficiency and energy conservation
Improve the resource utilization ratio
Better relationship between human and nature
Pollution and disaster avoidance.
Forming an intellectual entity by integrating human society and physical systems
Universal transport ; internetworking
Accessibility ; Usability
Acts as technologies integrator
QUESTION 2: Discuss the shortcomings and advantages of these four pillars and highlight how these shortcomings can be mitigated.2.1 Advantages of Big Data2.1.1 Understanding and Targeting CustomersBig data assist in better understanding how others perceive a product, hence an organization can easily adapt and re-market them. Big data also allow to test thousands of different variations of computer aided designs in a blink of an eye so that one can check how minor changes in material affect costs, lead times and performance. Through this the efficiency of production process can be raised accordingly.
2.1.2 Understanding and Optimising Business ProcessesBig data is also increasingly used to optimise business processes. Retailers are able to optimise their stock based on predictions generated from social media data, web search trends and weather forecasts.
Reducing maintenance costsTraditionally it is believed that everything has a life time, hence equipment is likely to be replaced within certain years even the devices have more useful life left in them. Big data tools help do away with such unpractical and costly averages by spotting failing grid devices and predicting when they will give out. Therefore, faulty devices are tracked faster allowing a much more cost effective replacement strategy.
2.1.4 Improving Security and Law Enforcement.Big data is applied heavily in improving security and enabling law enforcement Big data techniques assist to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. Police forces use big data tools to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity and credit card companies use big data use it to detect fraudulent transactions.
Shortcomings of Big Data and how to mitigate them.2.2.1 Misuse of data.Organizations dealing with big data need to take this issue in their stride and make sure that the data storage and location be made heavily protected so that it is not misused. They could do so by using unique database tables, having dedicated database servers, encrypting the data, having multiple security levels, having separate authentication and authorization modules and ensuring secure system operations, data transmission and data flow control.
2.2.2 Securing Big Data:With such massive amounts of data being generated, ensuring that the data does not fall at risk is essential. Data left unsecured may put organizations or the general human race at risk. The characteristics which make Big Data valuable to the market also make it valuable to various anti-social elements like cyber criminals. Sans is a security solutions and encryption techniques which big data can use for big problems.
2.2.3 Lack of Skilled WorkersCapGemini’s report found that 37% of companies have trouble finding skilled data analysists to make use of their data. The best bet is to form one common data analyst team for the company, either through re-skilling current workers or recruiting new workers specialized in big data. It is essential to find employees that not only understand data from a scientific perspective, but also understand the business and its customers, and how their data findings apply directly to them.
2.2.4 A Limited View of the Customer JourneyThe customer’s journey is complex. They engage with multiple sources of media along their path to renovation and without something to connect that activity marketers are flying blind. It is advisable to select a technology vendor that provides full visibility into your customer’s journey. Seeing how your customers engage with media throughout the conversion path will provide you with a much greater depth of insight.
Advantages of Cognitive Computing2.3.1 Create deeper human engagementCognitive systems create more fully human interactions with peoplebased on the mode, form and quality each person prefers. By continuously learning, these engagements deliver greater and greater value, and become more natural, anticipatory and emotionally appropriate
They scale and elevate expertise
Cognitive systems are designed to help organizations keep pace, serving as a companion for professionals to enhance their performance. These systems master the language of professions, for example the language of medicine, or sales, or cuisine. They can both understand and teach complex expertise.
Infuse products and services
Cognition enables new classes of products and services to sense, reason and learn about their users and the world around them. This allows for continuous improvement and adaptation, and for augmentation of their capabilities to deliver uses not previously imagined
Enhance exploration and discovery
By applying cognitive technologies to vast amounts of data, leaders can uncover patterns, opportunities and actionable hypotheses that would be virtually impossible to discover using traditional research or programmable systems alone.
2.4 Shortcomings of Cognitive Computing and how to mitigate them.2.4.1 Limited analysis of riskThe cognitive systems fail at analysing the risk which is missing in the unstructured data. This includes socio-economic factors, culture, political environments, and people. For example, a predictive model discovers a location for oil exploration. But if the country is undergoing a change in government, the cognitive model should take this factor into consideration. Thus human intervention is necessary for complete risk analysis and final decision making.
2.4.2 Legal and Privacy ImplicationsLaws vary from country to country, and business rules for access and use. Significant legal and privacy implications are involved to searching data, especially when it comes to information that people perceive as personal, such as their email exchanges, search queries and downloads. Organizations should tread carefully to avoid alienating the very employees they hope to aid and empower.
2.5Advantages of Cloud2.5.1 Cost SavingsWith cloud computing, organisations can save substantial capital costs with zero in-house server storage and application requirements. The lack of on-premises infrastructure also removes their associated operational costs in the form of power, air conditioning and administration costs.
2.5.2 ReliabilityWith a managed service platform, cloud computing is much more reliable and consistent than in-house IT infrastructure. Organisation can benefit from a massive pool of redundant IT resources, as well as quick failover mechanism – if a server fails, hosted applications and services can easily be transited to any of the available servers.
2.5.3 ManageabilityCloud computing provides enhanced and simplified IT management and maintenance capabilities through central administration of resources, vendor managed infrastructure and SLA backed agreements. IT infrastructure updates and maintenance are eliminated, as all resources are maintained by the service provider.
2.5.4 Strategic EdgeEver-increasing computing resources give businesses a competitive edge over competitors, as the time you require for IT procurement is virtually nil. Cloud computing allows to forget about technology and focus on your key business activities and objectives. It can also help to reduce the time needed to market newer applications and services.
2.6 Shortcomings of Cloud and how to mitigate them.2.6.1 SecurityAlthough cloud service providers implement the best security standards and industry certifications, storing data and important files on external service providers always open up risks. Using cloud-powered technologies means you need to provide your service provider with access to important business data. Meanwhile, being a public service opens up cloud service providers to security challenges on a routine basis.When storing, sharing, accessing, working with and collaborating on content in the cloud, it’s important to be aware of the threats that are out there.
2.6.2 Weaknesses of Shared TechnologyThe technological vulnerabilities of cloud computing stem from the use of shared applications, infrastructures and platforms. All it takes is for one little component to be exposed to a threat for everything in your cloud network to be breached, opening the door for potential data breach and loss. There are, however, security precautions you can take to reduce all these threats. Now that you know the risks, you should be better prepared to consider the potential solutions.
2.6.3 Loss of DataThere are hackers and thieves out there who will take advantage of the vulnerabilities of cloud-based computing services. The most common causes for loss of data are simple matters of human error. This makes a good case for backing up all data on a physical device before working on it in the cloud.
2.6.4 Breach of DataOrganizations must be most specifically concerned about breaches of data in their cloud system. The Cloud Security Alliance identified breaches of data as the biggest threat to the security of cloud computing last year. If you think hackers might be interested in stealing your most critical data, you should think carefully about your options before storing it in the cloud.
2.7 Advantages of IoT.2.7.1 Ease Decision MakingThe more the information, the easier it is to make the right decision. For example, knowing what to get from the grocery, without having to check on your own, not only saves time but is convenient as well.
2.7.2 Tracking ProductsThe ability to track individual consumers and targeting these consumers based on the information supplied by the devices. The computers keep a track both on the quality and the viability of things at home. For example, knowing the expiration date of products improves safety and quality of life. At the same time will never run out of anything when you need it at the last moment. IoT can be useful in many different categories including asset tracking and inventory control, shipping and location, security, individual tracking, and energy conservation.
2.7.3 Automation and ControlDue to physical objects getting connected and controlled digitally and centrally with wireless infrastructure, there is a large amount of automation and control in the workings. Without human intervention, the machines are able to communicate with each other leading to faster and timely output.
2.7.4. Save MoneyIoT can also function as a tool that can save people money within their households. IoT can assist people with their everyday plans. Optimum utilization of energy and resources can be achieved by adopting this technology and keeping the devices under surveillance. We can be alerted in case of possible bottlenecks, breakdowns, and damages to the system. Hence, we can save money by using this technology.
2.8 Shortcomings of IoT and how to mitigate them.2.8.1 CompatibilityThere is no standard for tagging and monitoring with sensors. A uniform concept like the USB or Bluetooth is required which should not be that difficult to do. To be on the safe side verify if the smart features are really required or if a normal device would be sufficient.
2.8.2 ComplexityThere are several opportunities for failure with complex systems. For example, both you and your spouse may receive messages that the milk is over and both of you may end up buying the same. That leaves you with double the quantity required. Or there is a software bug causing the printer to order ink multiple times when it requires a single cartridge. Manufacturers of smart home devices should ensure that they implement basic security standards.
2.8.3 Privacy/SecurityPrivacy is a big issue with IoT. With all of this IoT data being transmitted, the risk of losing privacy increases. All the data must be encrypted so that data about financial status or how much milk one consume is not communicated outside someone boundary.
2.8.4 Safety There is a chance that the software can be hacked and personal information misused. For example, your prescription being changed or your account details being hacked. Hence, all the safety risks become the consumer’s responsibility. Modify the privacy and security settings of the device by using strong passwords for device accounts and Wi-Fi networks.
QUESTION 3: Compare the super vendors Amazon and Microsoft listed in the case study and discuss the strategies they adapted in order to ensure that they are global players.3.1 Amazon versus MicrosoftAmazon is the world’s largest online retailer. It started as an online bookstore. Its success in its venture urged it to diversify into selling anything that can be sold online. Additional, Amazon has also expanded globally and now operates around the world through a combination of localized portals and globalized delivery and logistics platforms. Amazon groups its infrastructure as a service offering into the four categories of compute, storage and content delivery, database, and networking. All of those resources are used subject to Amazon’s security and identity services. Amazon uses cost leadership as its generic strategy for competitive advantage. Minimization of operational costs is the objective in this generic competitive strategy. For example, Amazon.com uses advanced computing and networking technologies for maximum operational efficiency, which translates to minimized costs (Smithson 2017). Amazon generic strategy for competitive advantage, based on Michael Porter’s model, shows the approach that the organization uses to develop its business amid tough competition in the online retail market.
Microsoft Corporation is a leading developer of personal computer software systems and applications. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services. Range of products offered by Microsoft include operating systems for computing devices, servers, phones, and other intelligent devices; server applications for distributed computing environments; productivity applications; business solution applications; desktop and server management tools; software development tools; video games; and online advertising. The company also designs and sells hardware including PCs, tablets, gaming and entertainment consoles, phones, other intelligent devices, and related accessories.
It has sales offices throughout the world. Microsoft dramatically expanded its electronic publishing division, created in 1985 and already notable for the success of its multimedia encyclopedia. Microsoft has always had a focus on enterprise customers, and as the people who write Windows and most of the other platforms these clients are using, it makes sense that their Azure integration is good. Microsoft Corporation’s generic strategy (Porter’s model) and intensive growth strategies support competitive advantage of the computer hardware and software business (Gregory 2017). Microsoft Corporation’s generic strategy for competitive advantage is aligned with the company’s intensive strategies for growth
3.2 Strategies adopted by Amazon and Microsoft to ensure that they are global players.3.2.1 Amazon Business StrategiesAmazon’s basic corporate strategy used can be described as concentric diversification. This strategy is based on leveraging technological capabilities for business success and following a cost leadership strategy aimed at offering the maximum value for its customers at the lowest price. This strategy, indeed, has paid off well as can be seen from the fact that it is the world’s largest online retailer and has consistently been the leader in the market segments in which it operates.
The generic business strategy followed by Amazon can be explained using The Ansoff matrix as represented pictorially in the figure above. Amazon is placed in the overall cost leadership quadrant. Its relentless focus on costs is the key to understanding its overall strategy.
Amazon has adopted a steep discount strategy for its regular members through the Amazon Prime program. This strategy ensures a timely and even express delivery and at times, waiving off the shipping charges, passing on the benefits of avoiding state taxes to the customers thereby lowering the price even further, and an overall strategy based on making the customer experience as seamless and as smooth as possible.
Moreover, Amazon’s strategy is driven by its sources of competitive advantage wherein it is focused on technology, actualizing the benefits of economies of scale, and leveraging the efficiencies from the synergies between its external drivers and internal resources. Further, Amazon uses big data analytics tool to map consumer behavior. Big Data has been embraced to such an extent by the company that it is now in a position to market this as another service offering.
Amazon’s current strategy is also built around the convenience aspect wherein customers need not go to a physical bookstore or even wait for their purchases to arrive after some time as it has introduced same day delivery in many countries and is even toying with the idea of using Drones for near instantaneous delivery. Apart from that, its focus on non-retail product lines such as cloud based services means that it is addressing the issue of differentiation as well as its overreliance on cost leadership.
3.2.2 Microsoft Business StrategiesMicrosoft Corporation’s generic strategy for competitive advantage is aligned with the company’s intensive strategies for growth. Such alignment optimizes organizational performance. A company’s generic strategy indicates the general approach to ensure business competitiveness. Microsoft’s generic competitive strategy supports the attractiveness of its computer hardware and software products amid a wide variety of competitors.
On the other hand, a company’s intensive strategies for growth presents the approaches used to ensure business growth and development. It currently prioritises market penetration. The rest of the strategies have a supporting role in the computer hardware and software business. Microsoft Corporation considers diversification as a supporting intensive growth strategy. The company grows by developing new businesses. For example, Microsoft diversified its business when it acquired Nokia’s devices and services division to re-enter the smartphone hardware market. The company can effectively apply this intensive growth strategy through new product development in new business ventures, based on the broad differentiation generic strategy. The strategic objective based on this intensive strategy is to facilitate Microsoft’s growth through mergers and acquisitions.
Microsoft’s generic competitive strategy supports the attractiveness of its computer hardware and software products amongst a wide variety of competitors. This strategic objective is crucial to long-term success, considering that Microsoft operates in a rapidly changing and highly dynamic industry.
Uniqueness of product design is another strategic objective linked to the broad differentiation generic strategy. This strategic objective highlights the importance of tangible and intangible attributes of products to ensure Microsoft’s competitive advantage. For example, the company can develop new computer hardware and software products that are difficult to copy because of its specificity to the Windows operating system.
3.3 Amazon and Microsoft Intensive Growth Strategies3.3.1 Market Development.Amazon uses market development as its current primary intensive growth strategy. Entry and growth in new markets is the main objective in this intensive strategy. Amazon.com Inc. adds new countries where it offers its services. For example, the company initially provided its online retail services to consumers in the United States. Amazon now operates e-commerce websites in more than 10 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, China and India. Each new country is considered a new market that creates growth opportunities for the firm. Amazon’s generic strategy builds competitive advantage that allows the company to implement this intensive strategy of market development. A strategic objective related to this intensive growth strategy is for Amazon.com to establish new online retail websites that correspond to new countries added to the company’s global market reach.
Market development is a supporting intensive growth strategy that has considerable but minimal impact on Microsoft’s current business performance. Market development supports business growth through the firm’s entry into new markets. For example, in its early years, Microsoft applied this intensive strategy to sell its computer software products outside the United States. However, considering that these products are already globally popular, market development is no longer as significant in the company’s growth. The generic strategy of broad differentiation empowers Microsoft in applying market development as an intensive growth strategy. For instance, through unique business-specific computer products, the company initially entered overseas markets. A strategic objective linked to this intensive strategy is to grow Microsoft by entering new markets, likely in developing countries or regions.
3.3.2 Market Penetration.Market penetration is a secondary intensive growth strategy in Amazon’s online retail business. The objective of this intensive strategy is to generate more revenues from the markets where the company currently operates. Amazon.com grows with increasing consumerism. For example, as consumers develop increasing interest in online retail, the company benefits from higher sales revenues, especially when considering the popularity of the Amazon brand. Market penetration is responsible for the initial rapid growth of Amazon.com Inc. in the United States. The company’s generic strategy creates the competitive advantage necessary to penetrate markets based on low costs and prices. A strategic objective based on this intensive growth strategy is to implement an aggressive marketing campaign to attract more consumers to Amazon’s e-commerce website.
Market penetration is the primary intensive strategy that Microsoft uses to grow its business. This intensive growth strategy involves selling more products to the markets where the company currently has operations. For example, the company grows by intensifying its marketing and sales in its current markets in Asia. This intensive growth strategy is responsible for Microsoft’s global dominance in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market. The company effectively applies market penetration through the broad differentiation generic strategy, which uses product uniqueness to attract more customers from various market segments. A strategic objective based on this intensive strategy is to ensure Microsoft’s growth through aggressive sales and marketing.
3.3.3 Product Development.Amazonapplies product development as a supporting intensive strategy for business growth. Developing and offering new products to gain higher revenues is the goal of this intensive growth strategy. Amazon grows partly by developing new products over time. For example, the company now offers Amazon basics products and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company’s cost leadership generic strategy supports this intensive strategy by providing the company with low-cost business processes to introduce new products. A strategic objective related to this intensive growth strategy is to increase research and development (R;D) investment for rapid product development and release to the online retail market.
Microsoft Corporation uses product development as a secondary intensive growth strategy. This intensive strategy facilitates growth based on the development and sale of new products. For example, Microsoft continually develops new software products to generate higher revenues. Through new products that address market needs, the company supports its generic strategy, which requires product uniqueness as a competitive advantage. This intensive strategy points to the strategic objective of enabling Microsoft’s growth through product innovation.
3.3.4 Diversification.Diversification is the least significant among Amazon’s intensive growth strategies. Growth based on new business is the objective in applying this intensive strategy. For example, Amazon grew through its acquisition of Audible, which is a producer of audiobooks and related products. In this regard, the company partly uses acquisition to implement this intensive growth strategy. Amazon.com Inc.’s cost leadership generic strategy enables the organization to grow in diversification by applying the same approaches to minimize operating costs and selling prices. A strategic objective associated with this intensive strategy is to grow the e-commerce business through an aggressive acquisition strategy.
3.4 ConclusionThe future for Amazon looks bright and if it continues to focus on its core competencies and at the same time expands its global value chain, there is no reason why it cannot maintain its market leadership. Amazon has popularized “one-click” selling wherein customers who can buy anything and everything that is for sale on its portal with just a click of the mouse. On the other hand, Microsoft Corporation’s generic strategy for competitive advantage indicates the general approach to ensure business competitiveness. The above are some strategies of Microsoft which has contributed in making Microsoft one of the topmost brands in the world.
QUESTION 4: Discuss the possible implications of the four pillars on issues regarding data governance.4.1 What is Data governance?Data governance refers to the management of the availability, security, usability, and integrity of data used in an enterprise. Business and IT users have different needs; business users need secure access to shared data and IT needs to set policies around security and business practices. Data governance in an organization includes a defined set of procedures, and a plan to execute those procedures. When done right, data governance allows any user access to data anytime, hence enabling organizations to run more efficiently, and users can manage their workload in a self-service manner.
Businesses have started to realize that a sound data governance strategy can significantly improve the returns from enterprise Business Intelligence(BI) investments. According to Forbes study claims that this trend has been reinforced by direct feedback from global organizations. However, the study warns that data governance requires a healthy balance between consistency and flexibility, which is a tough proposition to meet. Data governance enables the organization to:
take care of the data it has,
get more value from that data,
make important aspects of that data visible to users.
provides capabilities to manage these aspects.
4.2 Implication of the 4 pillars on data governanceIn practice there are a number of challenges associated with the governance of conventional data that become magnified when applied to Big Data. Foremost among these are issues of privacy and regulations pertaining to public sources of Big Data such as social media and the Internet that seem to be increasing (or at least changing) almost daily. The enormous speeds and amount of data processed with Big Data technologies can cause the slightest discrepancy between expectation and performance to exacerbate quality issues, many of which may be compounded by Metadata complications when conceiving of definitions for unstructured and semi-structured data.
Finally, it is important to realize that implicit in the aim of conducting effective Big Data Governance is integrating Big Data with conventional data, which also presents challenges for a number of organizations who may be using Hadoop as a silo – in an ungoverned format. Aligning Big Data Governance with that of conventional data requires extending the standards and definitions of the latter to Metadata about the former, which is not always easy.
IBM is boosting its data governance and data science initiatives to help developers and analysts tap into the power of cognitive computing to gain greater understanding and control of their data, while improving their ability to comply with data regulations such as the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As part of the enhancements, IBM announced new data governance solutions and tools, data science and machine learning advances, and the formation of the Open Data Governance Consortium for Apache Atlas, dedicated to advancing the open framework for data governance. The desire to make data more broadly available puts a “huge premium” on data governance in terms of how to have a strategy that enables compliance with regulations like GDPR but also provides users with self-service access, said Thomas, noting there is a large gap in the market for compliance with GDPR.
The IBM Unified Governance Software Platform is a new software platform comprising data management capabilities, including many specific to GDPR, such as cognitive metadata harvest, lineage tracking, policy enforcement, data integration services and persona-based reporting to help clients get up and running. The software complements the full, cloud-based version of the catalog. In addition, GDPR for Stored IQ is a new version of the data visibility software that identifies the type of data residing on hard drives, updated to identify GDPR-related sensitive personal data for the first time. The upgrade makes it easier for organizations to understand the type of data they have, in order to take the necessary regulatory steps.
Cloud computing represents a major shift in the way Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is deployed and utilised across industries. Alongside the technological developments, organisations need to adapt to emerging operational needs associated with data governance, policy and responsibility, as well as compliance with regulatory rules that may be multi-jurisdictional in nature. The overall objective of the proposed accountability-based approach to data governance is to support a transparent and trustworthy cloud.
Personal and confidential data management is subject to the purpose of use. Cloud end users are responsible for cloud security, compliance to laws, regulations, standards and specifications. Lack of transparency and verifiability by cloud service providers have the implications in terms of policy violations along the cloud service provision chain.
Keeping governance information on desktop tools, spreadsheets or even document sharing sites is too slow and cumbersome, and does not give the business users the instantaneous access to the data that they need. It is necessary to automate the data governance with an application. Data governance involves commitment to legal and ethical obligations, policies, procedures and mechanisms, explaining and demonstrating ethical implementation to internal and external stakeholders and remedying any failure to act properly. Automation system needs to be highly flexible and collaborative, as well as having a clear operating model. This operating model takes into account the entire lifecycle of how data is provisioned, used, changed and retired as well as its quality and reliability, needs to be automated to deal with the ever increasing amount and variety of data.
According to Ian Moyse, Sales Director at Axios Systems, “Data governance is getting evermore complex with the devolution of company technology borders that is the data flowing to and from a breadth of devices, which are more often mobile and across a wider range of operating systems and platforms”. When everything is connected, everything is at risk, Gilmore points out, and “a data breach destroys consumer trust and can devastate an enterprise’s reputation and business. In the rush to capitalize on big data and connected devices, businesses are putting themselves at big risk by not putting privacy and security first.”These common mistakes are inherent with big data in general, but with the internet of things, big data has become even bigger and more dynamic, amplifying both the opportunities and the challenges. Internet of things data that’s collected for analytics often includes sensitive customer information. That data should be treated like an asset. It should be governed, secured and safeguarded for privacy.
4.3 ConclusionThe infrastructure and platform on which it is hosted and processed must be able to keep up with all of the changes, as well as the volume of requests to use and process the data. Without that level of reliability and security the organization will not be able to make use of its data, and will not be able to acquire new sources of data and insight rapidly enough to be competitive. Data has become a key level in business competition and quality of products and services. When focused internally, data governance not only enables a degree of control for data created and shared within an organization, it also empowers the data stewards to take corrective action, either through communication with the original data owners, or by direct data intervention.
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