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T&F Company: Transforming the Enterprise with IT

Scenario:

The T&F Company sells CAD/CAM software applications to architectural and engineering firms in the United States through value-added resellers. The company has loyal customers, and is growing steadily. Recently, the growth rate has dropped. The Sales and Marketing Director believes if they don't adapt their business model into today's networked economy, their competitive edge will become weaker. T&F's goals are to increase the revenue growth rate and get into the international market. The CEO leads the steering committee, which is formed by T&F's department heads. You are the Director of the Technical Support Department. The company website consists of a company overview and listing of contact phone numbers.

In this year's meeting on strategy, the steering committee completed a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). These are their findings:

Strengths

Loyal customers
Strong reseller network
Good products
Focused management/staff
Competitive product prices

Weaknesses

Has not utilized Internet technology
T&F not well-known among prospective customers
Drop in growth rate
Profit margin is too small (company needs to reduce costs)

Opportunities

To create a web site to serve customers and promote the company
To enter the international market
To establish online sales as a new distribution channel

Threats

Other larger and more well-known competitors may enter T&F's targeted market segment
Economic slowdown could reduce demand
Competitors have utilized Internet to enhance customer relationships
You see this SWOT as justification for developing and implementing an e-business strategy, but you know that the rest of the group is not as far along as you. Over the course of the next month or so, you will need to take the group's understanding of business strategy and business models, and help them integrate e-business. You also need to convey a sense of urgency, as one of the features of e-business is compression of time: research, production, and change.

Details: You arrive at work and find an urgent e-mail from the Sales and Marketing Director. She's forwarded an article from the latest architectural journal, detailing the release of "CAD/CAM Infusion", a product, similar to your CADgold, but with more advanced architectural features. The product is being released by your major competitor. Here's the e-mail:
"We've been scooped again - this is the third time this year that we have not known about these product launches! I can't operate a Marketing Department that follows up after the news. How can we prevent this from happening again?"

It's obvious that you need to do a better job regarding business intelligence. Draft a reply 3-5 page e-mail to your colleague, focusing on strategies, tools, and technologies you would recommend to build up a knowledge base and spot trends.

Please include refereneces.

Solution Preview

The response addresses the queries posted in 1890 words with references.

//Before discussing about recommendations for quality improvement, initially, we should get adequate knowledge regarding current situation of the Company. So, we will discuss about Company's current situation.//

It is not very good news that this is the third time this year when our competitor has launched a new product, which is more advanced than our product CADgold, and we have come to know about it when it has been printed in an architectural journal. I do agree with what you said in the meeting that if we do not adapt out business model into present networked economy, our competitive edge would become weaker and this might have been the cause for our unawareness about the competitor's new product launch. With this, our weaknesses of not utilizing the Internet technology and unawareness of our company among prospective customers have also worsened our condition.

Despite having loyal customers, strong reseller network, good product, focused staff and competitive product prices we are unable to capture a major share of the market because we are facing some weaknesses of low profit margin due to high operation cost, not using e-business facility, unaware prospective customer and declining growth rate. Anyway, we cannot stop our competitors to operate in the market and launch the products, but we have to use some strategies, tools and techniques that enable us to compete with our competitors in growing competition.First of all, we need to work out on our weaknesses and external threats, and then build a new strategic plan because rapid changes in business environment demand a strategic perspective. The SWOT analysis of our company has shown that e-business development and implementation is quite necessary for the growth of our company because the competitors of our company are using Internet to enhance their relationship with customers.

//After getting abundant knowledge about Company's weakness and competitive position, we have become to carry forth the discussion. So, we will hereby, discuss some recommendations, which can help the Company in improving its competitive position.//

Recommendations

Implementation of E-business

I would like to suggest e-business as one of the solutions that we may use to build more market opportunities and enhance the customer relationships. Electronic business is commonly known as e-business. In e-business, all the business activities are performed using information and communication technologies (ICT). With the help of electronic business methods, companies can associate their data processing (both internal and external) system more efficiently and flexibly, better fulfill the expectations and need of their customer and better communicate & work with partners and suppliers (Beynon, 2004).

Please do not get confused with e-commerce and e-business because there is some difference between e-business and e-commerce. E-commerce involves an electronic transaction between supplier and customer using the www (world wide web) or the Internet instead of making direct physical contact. E-business is a combination of e-commerce (business to customer (B2C)e-commerce, business to business (B2B) e-commerce, supply chain management (SCM), online marketing and Internet shop), internal business ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the company's current situation and recommendations for quality improvement in 1636 words with five APA references.

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