Example Business Essay:Strategic Evaluation Document for Valentinos

Example Business Essay:Strategic Evaluation Document for Valentinos
This essay presents an analysis and discussion of the strategic position of the Valentinos Personal Introductions Agency and the value/feasibility of an information systems update with regards to the competitive advantage of the business within the UK market. The findings of this essay highlight that the companies computer systems are an important contingent factor in the strength of their organizational culture, their levels of productivity and motivation, and most importantly the maintenance of their strong and valuable reputation. It is thus recommended that Valentinos update their current systems hastily before any inevitable issues occur that would threaten their competitive position and their ability to capitalize upon the positive growth trends of their operative market.
The Valentinos Personal Introductions Agency is a well-established company that has been operating within the UK market since 1976 and with over 8 million single men and women in the UK between the ages of 18 and 64, and often living without the opportunity to meet potential partners, the company has been very successful. However the management of the organization have expressed a growing concern that is being felt regarding the 10 year old computer systems that are currently being relied upon and the negative affect that such outdated systems are having on the companies’ competitive advantage and market share within the UK. This essay will therefore seek to assess the value and importance of the computer system with regards to the competitive advantage of the company, the company culture, and the overall productivity of the organization. The essay will approach this question by firstly evaluating the strategic position of the company both internally, through the use of a SWOT analysis, and externally relative to it’s competitors and various other contingent factors to competitive advantage through the consideration of Porter’s 5 forces analysis model (Porter, 2008). The essay will then proceed to directly discuss the effects that the computer system has upon the Valuentinos organization culture and productivity levels before finally assessing if and how the computer system has provided the company with a competitive advantage such that some clear recommendations can be put forward to the companies managing director regarding their future strategic outlook and potential options.

2.0 Strategic Evaluation

This part of the essay considers the strategic position of the Valentinos company by taking both an internal and external view and duly addressing the relative positions of the companies industry rivals, the consumers, the suppliers, and the general state of the industry and market in terms of threats and opportunities. Firstly, the essay will present a SWOT analysis of the Valentinos company before proceeding to analysis the external trends and factors affecting the company in order to gain a more holistic view of the general strategic position.

2.1 Valentino’s current position (SWOT analysis)

The SWOT analysis below highlights a number of salient factors that must be considered in evaluating the companies’ strategic position with regards to any possible threats or opportunities that may arise and it’s ability to take advantage or overcome these factors.

Strengths

The Valentinos company and brand has been long established, and has exhibited consistent reputable integrity in it’s operations which is a highly salient factor in the decision making processes of potential consumers

There long established presence in the market also means that they have strong links with various suppliers such as with advertisements on public transport or in newspapers

The company also inhabit the market position of the price leader which makes them well positioned to take advantage of the growing number of price savvy and/or price conscious UK consumers (Telegraph, 2010) and trends within the UK population whereby more people are spending more time at home and are unable to find the time to go out and socialize (Euromonity, 2010a)

Valentinos unique combination of high technology and personal touch through the direct contact phone support services, has been critical in making the Valentinos Personal Introductions Agency a global industry leader

Valentinos also holds the largest database of members which means that any potential client would have the greatest likelihood of meeting somebody when choosing Valentinos over other industry rivals

Weaknesses

The company database used an old version of oracle and an old matching program that is poorly documented and is poorly understood by the companies’ current IT staff that are struggling to maintain it.

If this is left to continue then this will most likely lead to performance problems in the near future, which will no doubt be observable to the client base and result in a decrease in market share.

Perhaps the biggest concern would be the accidental loss or release of private information and the subsequent sullying of the companies valuable reputation

Opportunities

The growing UK population proportions of university graduates indicates that a growing number of people in the UK will find themselves in busy careers, as is similarly described of the companies’ common clientele demographics (BBC News, 2007, Euromonitor, 2010b).

The number of people using the internet, particularly within the age demographics commonly served by the Valentinos agency, nearly doubled over the period 2000- 2007. (Euromonitor, 2010c)

New avenues for advertisements and promotions such as internet sites that receive a high amount of traffic or mutually beneficial links with other web-based businesses such as online clothes retailers.

Threats

The companies position as a price leader is a highly vulnerable one as existing competitors/ industry rivals or perhaps substitutes may choose to challenge this price dominance which can either result in a price war or the competitive obsolescence of the Valentinos Personal Introductions Agency

The companies’ position as a leader in terms of technology may also be placed under threat by any highly resourced rivals or new industry entrants, and such an instance could result in a devastating loss in market share

The companies’ highly valuable and hard earned reputation for safety, ethics, privacy and integrity could be threatened by poor control over their computer systems and data bases.

As the table (above) illustrates, there are a number of salient opportunities and threats facing the Valentinos company and there is also a number of highly impingent strengths and weaknesses held by the company that play an important role in determining it’s ability to maneuver and navigate through the various external trends and factors that are presented in the Porter’s 5 forces analysis. Firstly, with regards to Valentino’s industry presence, it can be noted that the company and brand has been very long established within the market and that over the years Valentinos has proven its high standards of ethics, integrity, and accountability in terms of the safety of it’s clientele and the controlled protection of their personal information. This is a highly advantageous and beneficial factor for the company as it appeals to the client’s and potential client’s most highly regarded concerns (safety, privacy and control). However, the threat of sullying this reputation through some kind of error in the computer systems could be hugely damaging for the company in terms of competitive advantage.

The companies’ long-established position within the industry has also allowed it to attain strong links with networks of clients and suppliers of advertising spaces such as on public transport and in Newspapers. With regards to the companies’ network of clients, it can be noted that it has the largest database of people out of all industry rivals and therefore offers clients the greatest likelihood of achieving a positive result. Moreover, although the companies competitive position as an market price leader is a highly vulnerable one, generally speaking, it is also highly competitive in terms of it’s service which has been exhibited as being highly personal while also being very comprehensive, flexible, and efficient.

With regards to the future outlook of the company, from an internal perspective, Valentinos is well poised to take advantage of the growing young professional demographics and the growing number of Internet users. However, its position as a market leader could be threatened either by the event of a lapse in their computer systems that would compromise their integrity and reputation, or by a new market entrant or highly resourced rival that supersedes Valentinos in terms of technological resources. Nevertheless, new avenues for promotion and advertisement on the internet (e.g. online retail sites and other such high traffic addresses) could be utilized by the Valentinos company in order to further expand upon their market dominance or simply seek more effective and price efficient means of promotion.

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