This paper discusses the strategies that companies can use to achieve competitive advantage in the highly competitive market today. Having a sound business information management system is among the factors that can lead a company towards achieving a competitive advantage. This is achieved by ensuring effective communication systems and network elements because they enhance the efficiency of the company. The competitive advantage of companies is mainly influenced by the extent to which the company operates more efficiently than the competing firms. The paper uses the case study of Infosys and Peters of Kensington to discuss the challenges faced by companies in their operations. It also highlights the most suitable solutions that the companies can implement with respect to communication systems and network elements. The solutions are provided according to the particular challenges that the company faces, going by the current situation of the two companies. Among the challenges include stiff competition and inaccurate data that affects product development strategies.
The competitive nature of businesses environment today requires companies to adopt effective strategies that make them more efficient that the competing firms. To beat the high competition in the market, the business needs to formulate measures that make its operations less costly yet, more valuable than the competitors’. The most challenging aspect in business is formulating and implementing effective strategies that put it ahead of the competitors. In the current business sector, the use of technology is among the factors that can enhance the performance of business (Trkman 2010, p. 130).
Effective technology works for brick and mortar as well as online businesses. To survive in the market, organizations need to work towards enhancing the competitive advantage. Companies can ensure a higher competitive advantage by ensuring that it offers higher customer value for the products provided. Customer value is enhanced by ensuring that the price levels reflect the quality provided.
One of the methods that can be used by companies to enhance their competitive advantage is change of the processes used in running the companies’ operations. The change of processes has a positive impact on the productivity of a company as it helps in cutting operational costs. The reduction in operational costs has an effect of enhancing the competitive advantage of the company because it can be able to lower product prices, thus attracting more customers than the competing firms. The other method that enhances the competitive advantage of companies is the quality of employees in terms of professional training, skills and experience. Such employees improve the competitive advantage of the company because they are able to offer higher quality services compared to the competing companies.
The nature of management also determines a company’s competitive advantage by influencing the decisions made by the company in relation to its productivity. Sound management strategies allows the company to implement the most suitable business practices such as effective marketing that may lead the organization towards achieving a competitive advantage. This paper proposes the communication systems and network elements that can be adopted by Infosys and Peters of Kensington companies so as to achieve a competitive advantage in the market. It highlights the challenges faced by the two companies and proposes the most cost-effective strategies that can be implemented to make them more efficient and profitable relative to the competing firms.
Current communication systems and network elements
A communication system entails a network of channels used in relaying information from the source the destined areas. In business, communication is vital as it enables companies to conduct their activities effectively (Panko and Panko 2010). It is through effective communication that companies are able to understand the impression of their products on the target market. This determines whether they need to change their processes, retrain the employees or enhance the management skills in the company. Effective communication systems also lead to smooth operations in the company, thus eliminating the additional costs that are incurred due to factors such as delays that could be caused by miscommunication. It is evident that the effectiveness of communication system influences the competitive advantage of a company (Peng, Wang and Jiang 2008, p. 929). A network element on the other hand refers to communication equipment that enhances the experience of the users. It includes the capabilities provided by the telecommunication facilities such as storage of client numbers and databases as well as signaling systems.
With more than 155,000 representatives, the positive impact of sound communication system and network element is evident for Infosys Company. The company has 67 workplaces that are spread in world’s largest economies that include the United States, Japan, China and Europe. To communicate with the different branches and clients from different locations in the country, the company relies greatly on its efficient communication systems. The existence of the company since 1981 is evident that it has been operating efficiently (Pina, Romão and Oliveira 2013, p. 29). It offers a wide range of products such as digital marketing, whose success greatly relies on the effectiveness of the communication system. The company uses process automation that ensures that the workflow of the company is enhanced. It also uses modeling to control the supply chain operations thus reducing the sourcing risks when there is uncertainty of demand. The primary communication element in the company is the tweaked programming implemented by the company. The programming has enabled the company to increase its sales volume over the years.
For Peters of Kensington, effective communication system has led to the success of the business in an era where the online business market is flooded. The family business has more than 500 representatives, being operational for more than three decades. To provide quality services to the consumers, the company has established a call center. This is the main communication system for the company as it allows it to serve its customers from different regions of the world effectively (Jefferson et al. 2006, p. 170). The effectiveness of the communication center is enhanced by the fact that many clients can be served at the same time as it allows large volumes of telephone calls. The company also has an IT department that is responsible for handling all the communication issues that the company may be facing. The company also has a website that allows it to communicate effectively to the clients. Through the website, clients obtain information about the range of products offered by the company, their location and the prices of each commodity.
The contacts on the website can be used by the clients for any enquiries or to provide feedback after using the product. The communication system used by the company is effective because it makes the business transactions efficient (Laghari, Benyaiha and Crespi 2009, p. 160). Through the communication system, the company is able to follow up on product orders from the point of delivery until it reaches the target market. Also, the company is able to do a follow-up on the reaction of clients after receiving the products. The company’s network element is enhanced by the fact that the IT department is always ready to handle any issues pertaining to communication breakdown. This ensures that the company is able to communicate with its clients at all times, thus enhancing its efficiency.
Existing needs by the companies
The ability to identify the challenges faced by organizations is important in formulating the most suitable challenges. An organization may formulate effective goals, but unless they are concerned with eliminating the current challenges it cannot make any changes towards progress. To solve the challenges faced by an organization, companies need to generate as many alternative solutions as possible and then select the most effective. Companies have unique needs because of the differences in resources as well as the business strategies adopted. The following are the primary challenges faced by the two companies relating to management of business telecommunications.
Being the third largest company in the information technology industry, it is important that it addresses the challenges that are slowly setting in as they are a threat to its success. The first challenge facing the company is stiff competition from other firms offering information technology counseling services (Palacios, Gil and Garrigos 2009, p. 299). Among the key competitors include Cognizant and HCL Technologies. Presently, Infosys has lost its market share to HCL Technologies which leads in the infrastructure management section. By reducing its influence in the business segment, the company is likely to make huge losses because it is one of the most profitable business segments. Infrastructure-management is among the segments that have shown rapid growth in the recent past (Zott, Amit and Massa 2011, p. 134).
The second challenge relates to reduced employee morale that affects their efficiency in service delivery. The employees are displeased with the company’s operations as it has not reviewed their salaries for a long time. Despite the fact that the other firms in the industry have increased the pay rate for the employees, Infosys is yet to compensate the employees accordingly. The issue of employee morale has affected employees from all levels of the company including the senior managers. This threatens the ability of the company to move on and beat the competitors. With an annual income estimated at $7.2 billion, the company’s resources are at risk of mismanagement due to withdrawal of the high rank personnel (Pina, Romão and Oliveira 2013, p. 35). The high attrition in the company threatens its success as the employees are not motivated to work. This may result in communication breakdown between the company and the clients, leading to a reduction in the sales volume.
Peters of Kensington
The company has established effective strategies of enhancing communication with its clients. The communication system and sound network elements by the company aid in making its operations efficient. However, the company faces some challenges that threaten its growth and expansion. Currently, Peters of Kensington has 500 representatives, implying that there is still an opportunity for growth. One of the main challenges facing the company is the pressure to meet the changing demands of clients in the rapidly evolving digital world. The high rate at which the technology is evolving influences the company’s investment decisions. This may lead to slow adoption of technology by the company for fear that it may soon become obsolete (Malhotra 2005, p. 30).
The other challenge faced by the company relates to the accuracy of the big data. Big data is useful to companies as it enables them to learn more about the current market so as to develop products that suit their preferences. However, it is not easy for the company to find individuals who are willing to share their experiences. The efforts to engage the clients for example, through the online chats are mostly futile as most of them are unwilling to disclose any personal information (Qi et. al 2006, p. 184). The inability of the company to obtain feedback adversely affects its product development strategies. This reduces its ability to gain a competitive advantage in the market because the products offered may not necessarily reflect the tastes and preferences of clients.
Suitable recommendations for the company needs
Management of business information technology entails putting in place measures that ensure effective communication systems and network element are well implemented. The following are recommendations that the management of the two companies can use to enhance their efficiency.
The company is faced with stiff competition that threatens its position as the third leading IT consulting firms. The high competition is due to its inability to communicate with the parties involved effectively. The competing firm, HCT Technologies has implemented measures that ensure effective communication between the company and its clients as well as other influential parties such as the shareholders. These are the same strategies that Infosys should adopt to enhance its productivity (Cegarra-Navarro and Martínez-Conesa 2007, p. 304). The company mainly communicates to the interested parties via emails and the website. However, compared to the competing firm’s website, Infosys mode of communication is poor. As one of the most effective communication systems, the company’s website should be more informative (Singh and Sharma 2011, p. 80). It should provide more detailed information about the company and the nature of products offered. The website should also be easy to navigate so as the clients are motivated to use it. With a more developed website, the company is likely to beat its competitor by attracting and retaining a large market share.
The other challenge faced by the company is reduced motivation by the employees, which threatens the quality of services delivered to the clients (Barry et al. 2011, p. 94). With the high level of competition in the market, clients are unlikely to be loyal to companies that offer poor customer service. To enhance the quality of services provided, the company must deal with the issue of employees first. It needs to ensure that the employees are motivated by encouraging them to communicate their issues through effective mediums such as emails. The company should also have an online chat where the employees can communicate directly to the management. The network element in this mode of communication is the capability to encourage employees to air their grievances to the management efficiently.
Peters of Kensington
The communication system and network element of the company is well developed, thus enhancing its productivity. The establishment of an information technology department for example is an effective strategy that ensures smooth flow of communication in the company. However, the company still needs to improve its communication systems and network element to overcome the challenges it faces (Li et. al. 2011, p. 231). One of the problems faced by the company is the inability to meet the changing demands of its clients. To solve this, the company needs to conduct online surveys regularly so as to identify changing needs of the clients (Laudon and Laudon 2004, p. 8). The Other challenge concerns the accuracy of big data. To encourage clients to participate in online surveys, the company should consider using incentives such as price discounts for the participants.
For the two companies to achieve competitive advantage there is need to enhance the efficiency of their operations. The main factors that should be considered is communication. Effectiveness of the communication systems and network element has an influence on the ability of the companies to deliver its products better than the competing firms. The competitive advantage of the organizations will only be achieved when the companies are able to enhance efficiency through effective communication.
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