Competitive Strategy for Market Leadership

Competitive Strategy talks about what unique value do you bring to the marketplace and your customers. To succeed in the marketplace, companies must embrace a competitive strategy one or more among three generic competitive strategies, or value disciplines: operational excellencecustomer intimacy and product leadership. 

Operational excellence:

Companies that focus on operational excellence don’t innovate products or service. However, they do operate a hassle-free service with low prices. Amazon, Walmart and McDonalds are examples of companies where operational excellence is their strategic priority. All systems are designed around the ability to be highly efficient including their ordering and fulfillment systems. An operational excellence strategy aims to accomplish cost leadership. Here the main focus centres on automating manufacturing processes and work procedures in order to streamline operations and reduce cost. The strategy lends itself to high-volume, transaction-oriented and standardized production that has little need for much differentiation. A strategy of operational excellence is ideal for markets where customers value cost over choice, which is often the case for mature, commoditized markets where cost leadership provides a vehicle for continued growth. Leaders in the area of operational excellence are strongly centralized, with strong organizational discipline and a standardized, rule-based operation. Measuring the performance of key processes and benchmarking costs comprise an integral part of the operations of these companies who relentlessly seek to streamline their processes in order to eradicate errors.

Customer intimacy:

A marketing strategy where a service supplier or product retailer gets close to their clients. The benefits of greater customer intimacy for a business might include improved highly tailored problem solving capabilities and greater adaptation of products to customer needs, as well as higher customer loyalty levels.

The customer intimacy strategy focuses on offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs. Often companies who pursue this strategy bundle services and products into a “solution” designed specifically for the individual customer.

The successful design of solutions requires vendors to possess deep customer knowledge as well as insights into their customers’ business processes. The solutions offered rarely present the cheapest option for the customer, nor the most innovative, but are regarded as “good enough.”

Customer-centric companies tend to have a decentralized organization which allows them to learn and change quickly according to customers’ needs. These types of companies often keep an entire ecosystem of partners for the actual production and delivery of products and services to their customers. Examples of companies who pursue this type of strategy include IBM, Lexus, Virgin Atlantic and Amazon.com.

Product leadership:

Product leadership as a competitive strategy aims to build a culture that continuously brings superior products to market. Here product leaders achieve premium market prices thanks to the experience they create for their customers.

The corporate disciplines they cultivate include:

  • Research portfolio management
  • Teamwork
  • Product management
  • Marketing
  • Talent management

Product leaders recognize that excellence in creativity, problem solving and teamwork is critical to their success. This reliance on expensive talent means that product leaders seek to leverage their expertise across geographical and organizational boundaries by mastering such disciplines as collaboration and knowledge management.

The consumer electronics, fund management, automotive and pharmaceutical industries include many companies pursuing a strategy of product leadership. Examples of these include Apple, BMW and Pfizer.

 

How to clear CBAP- Session 1

Here, i will be publishing a series of blogs where I will take you through some tricks to tackle with case studies coming in CBAP paper.

In this blog, I am going to give you some tips to clear CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional) V3, offered by International Institute of Business Analysis, Canada. Personally, I am telling you that I cleared this exam on my second attempt.

So, telling you about my mistakes which led my failure in first attempt:

  1. Over confidence: I am practicing business analysis since 2008 and this caused the over confidence that CBAP is not difficult for me to clear. I have handled many difficult scenarios, so I will be able to clear this exam, though this was not mandatory from the perspective of my Organization’s requirement, but I wanted to start a side profession as a online CBAP trainer, to explore more into this. As I like to read and write a lot, only clearing CBAP exam was required to be an online CBAP trainer. But the fact is that it’s not the number of years of experience but it’s the way of your preparation brings you the success.
  2. Lack of preparation: When it came to preparation, I could say that I was not prepared at all. Here, preparation is categorized as mentally preparation, module preparation and mock exams. The contribution of latter two will not take much effort if the first one is well done. Mental preparation means concentration of the knowledge areas of the exam paper. Generally, as part of a daily schedule, I have to divide my time among office work, all household work, personal commitments, my other commitments such as public speaking, story writings, and also hours in the traffic. I was concentrating on the study materials only when I was sitting for its preparation and it was happening only in the weekends.so, somewhere I was getting disconnected in my preparation. I was not able to build a complete mind mapping. Though I had gone through the V2 question papers, which I was able to clear with 95% score, but the difference between V2 and V3 is that the former is scenario based and the latter is case study based. On top of that, I had set up a very tight time line that was for one and half months during which I had to sit for the exam. So, definitely my preparation was not sufficient within the limited time frame.

Following are strategies which led me success:

  1. I was failed in two knowledge areas: Requirement Analysis and Design, Solution Evaluation., in which I was involved in most of time my career, but I failed. So, success depends on preparation.
  2. I went through all the knowledge areas mentioned in BABOK and after that started preparing a mind map for each knowledge area and kept on analyzing mentally, whenever I was getting time, concentrating with single minded, not thinking about anything else. With this, I was able to connect with each term, techniques related to each knowledge area, trying to correlate with some use cases coming from my professional experience, which helped me remember and analyze everything quickly. During this time, I was never in touch with any of the material, it was just a mind mapping. Even though, I was able to give one hour per day, initially it was sufficient and later, I increased the duration gradually.
  3. I had set my mind up that I was proceeding gradually, so no hurry and will be able to finish my preparation within time. Generally, I am a very hurry kind of person, if I want to achieve anything, I need it immediately, but as part of CBAP preparation, I realized that it does not happen always, sometimes I need to keep patience and prepare gradually, then only success can come or else, one more failure may demotivate and depress me to a great extent.
  4. Completed the complete BABOK within one month, only by following the above process.
  5. Went through BABOK guide twice before exam.
  6. I sat for the exam without any stress, keeping in mind that if I fail this time, then I can appear third time too, anyway, this was not the end of the life, and cleared the exam.

 

Slum Daughter of India

In one dark, silent, rainy night, when the complete city was in a deep sleep, I was thrown beside the roadside garbage collector by my father, being wrapped in an old jute gunny bag, carried from a slum of the city. I was in deep sleep, because of hunger. I didn’t have any food since I was born from my mother’s womb. As decided and planned before, my father wrapped me in that bag, immediately after he came to know that I was a girl child, without even letting my mother know that I was born alive.

As the city welcomed the morning, I started crying, as I was not able to tolerate the hunger any more, I was in need of milk from my mother, my stomach was getting cramped, I wanted to get warmth of my mother’s chest, affectionate kiss from my mother’s lips. Still, I was inside that jute gunny bag, requesting my mother to take me out from that dark, smelly bag, and to show me the beautiful world, to take me out from that small place, where my breath was getting jammed.

By listening to the sound from the roadside garbage collector, one lady who was in child beggar business, came near the garbage collector, hoping that something she may get which will be useful for her to do some business, to earn some money. She got happy by discovering me as a live newborn child. She took me out from that ugly, filthy and smelly bag and held me firmly closing with her chest. I got a breath of fresh air and shiny sunlight. I started holding her fingers tightly and requested her to feed me, assuming that she was my mother. She took me to her small cottage, where she gave me glucose water instead of milk. After having something in my empty stomach, first time ever I was born, I started feeling cold, sleepy and slept within a few moments. She put black color on my face, made me ugly, took me with her and started begging in heavy traffic signals where she earned something, by showing my innocent face to the people. Still, I was in deep sleep, roaming in very beautiful day dreams, assuming that I was lying in the warm lap of my mother.

The night came, she kept me in another dirty, smelly, torn piece of cloth hanging from a small branch of a tree, outside of her cottage. Again, I had to spent one more cold night, outside of house, hoping that my mother will come and will take me in her lap. The next morning started with the same routine.

As the time passed by, I didn’t know when I was grown up and had become useless for her, as she was not able to carry me like a kid to beg. So she left me and I was completely abandoned, roaming here and there, sitting in front of the temple, hoping that someone would give me some food, standing in front of the fast food stall, eating the left over remained in the plates, left by the stall’s customers, being happy by having spicy and tasty foods, drinking water from the roadside municipality water taps, was roaming near the traffic signals, begging for some food, was happy, if someone was giving me money, was having ice-creams with that money, was happy after having such a delicious food, wore the old, torn dresses, shirts and trousers whatever the devotees used to give me while coming to the temples. I was happy, looking at myself in the mirror of vehicles standing in the traffic signals, beside which I used to stand and beg for some food. My clothes were muddy, dirty and torn, as I didn’t know how to clean those, neither was I taught how to clean clothes nor did I ever saw anyone cleaning them, clothes. My hair was completely brown and lose, as I didn’t know how to tie them. Was walking the complete day to get some food in bare feet and was sleeping on the footpath, concrete rollers laying on bridge construction areas or in the concrete bench of city bus stop.

I did not know what was the world. I felt like having nice food that people ate in restaurants, to wear beautiful dresses that people used to wear, to sit in vehicles and cars. I was free from all those, free from any annoyance or love. I didn’t know what my future was.

One fine day, when I was sleeping on the roadside city bus stop, a vehicle came, few people came out from it and took me inside. I was happy by seeing myself sitting in that vehicle. I don’t know what happened after that. After few hours, they returned back and threw me on the roadside where I lied down losing my consciousness, I was speechless, I had lost energy to get up, feeling like my body was completely paralyzed, feeling like fighting with a huge energy to make my self free and run away from that place. I was bleeding heavily, didn’t know what had happened. Didn’t know that I had lost my virginity.

After lying there for two days, somehow I managed to crawl myself to a nearby concrete roller to save myself from the rain and roadside mud. Again, my life started as usual like before. Like before, I used to beg in front of the shops for food.

Few years passed away in between and I was grown up.

I was begging in front of small restaurants, in a hope that someone would be give me food. Someone would be throwing a piece of vada pav at me or someone would be showing me the remaining food lied in the plates left by the customers of those restaurants or someone would be scolding me to leave that place immediately or someone would be throwing me out from the front of their restaurants. In case of any food, I was running towards those remaining food, eating them happily. Drinking water from the nearby water taps and again returning back to footpath, dancing happily in my own style.

One fine day, when I was begging in front of a restaurant, the owner scolded me to leave that place immediately, but still I remained standing there. I was very hungry, didn’t have food since last two days. My stomach was getting cramped and I was not even able to stand properly, my legs were shaking. After seeing me not leaving, don’t know why after sometime, the owner called me inside and asked his boy to give me a meal. I started having the meal without looking anywhere. I was trying to keep the rice full of hand inside my mouth, where there was not enough place to keep all the rice. So, some were coming out. I was not able to decide what to eat first. Rice, dal, vegetables or papaD, very tasty food it was! Don’t know after how many days, i had got a full meal. But that happiness could not last for a long time.

After few minutes, a very strong hand started dragging me. The plate fell down on the floor, all the rice sprinkled on the floor. I tried to escape myself from that force and to run towards the sprinkled food,but, I couldn’t. That force dragged me inside a lonely dirty place, where it forced me to fall asleep. They started tearing my clothes. I didn’t have enough energy to fight with it. I was completely helpless, energy less and surrendered myself to him. That force started fulfilling his desire and after few minutes, he instructed his boy to throw me out of his restaurant.

I remembered that even once before I was in a similar kind of energy less state. I was lying in the footpath. The days passed by, I started feeling some kind of uneasiness in my breath, in my body and in my mind, I could not know what was happening to me. Day by day, i was losing my energy to beg for food. I observed that my hungry stomach which was almost meeting my spinal chord had come out. It was the most prominent part of my body which was visible to everyone. Any path walker passing by me was giving me an ugly look. I was not able to walk.

Somehow, I started crawling and reached in front of the same restaurant, where I went the last time. I had to fight with a cruel, inhuman force and started begging for food. The same man looked at me, made fun of me and instructed his boy to throw me out of that place. The boy without making any delay, pushed me towards the roadside and I fell down on the garbage collector. My body started shivering, my mouth was becoming completely dry, my stomach started cramping, everything surrounding me started getting dark, I was gradually turning blind. I started feeling breathless, my body started to sweat. Looking at the unlimited sky, I lost my last breath lying on the same garbage from where my life started one day.

I am the slum daughter of India.

its not too late

A girl was born with many dreams in her eyes…

Among the many dreams, the most ambitious was to become

the best engineer the country has ever seen!

But, was she successful in achieving her dream?

Since childhood, she wanted to achieve much more than her

father, so had a dream to become an engineer and it was not difficult for her

to complete her graduation in Electrical Engineering, from a reputed

Engineering college of Odisha. During the final year, when everyone was

preparing to get selected in campus interviews for the top Software companies

of the nation, she was preparing for companies coming under Public Sector

Undertaking.

“Work performed with higher knowledge or skill, capacity

or ambition, usually brings a correspondingly higher reward-” by Bharat Ratna

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was always echoing in her ears and she kept on

fighting with herself to get a job in PSU companies. Written tests were too

tough, only few companies were recruiting for Graduate Engineer Trainee hiring

with a single digit count under any unreserved category, sometimes there was no

recruitment for Electrical Engineering students. She was meeting most of her

seniors in the written exam center, who were even 4 years senior to her and was

becoming hopeless by assuming her position in that huge crowd. The battle was

between lakhs of students only for a single digit few seats, who were competing

with each other, without knowing that the seats were already reserved for candidates

who were blessed by the merciful hands of some well-known Political Leaders.

With this, she had to accept her failure one day. Her

dream of becoming a good engineer like her father remained stopped there. In

order to get a job, she started moving towards the private sector and got a job

in one of the software companies of the Country.

But, innovation was always in her mind, which was not

allowing her to have a peaceful sleep. She tried to become master in the

programming language, started guiding her colleague, started building new

concepts, she used to work till late nights, was solving problems by referring

many forums and talk,was never leaving a chance to gain more knowledge and to

perform well, she started excelling herself in both technical and functional

areas, was very supportive towards all of her team mates, always believed in

team work rather than showing the superiority. She started shifting many

companies, so that she could learn from many people, she could perform and meet

the ever changing customers’ requirements and could adapt with different kinds

of work cultures. But each and every time, she was failing. By this time, she

had completed 12 years in her professional career, but not able to get that

inner satisfaction of getting something different, something unique, something

special, so that she could say her father “Papa, even though in Private sector,

but still I became an engineer like you, for whose achievement the Organization

was proud of”.

But, is the knowledge and skill set everything in this

Corporate World to get the success…? Does the right person having all these get

accolade? Or anything else?

In one dreadful evening, she got disheartened when she saw

the presentation by his colleague which she had explained him about the product

road map, just few days back, she was dumbfounded! How come her colleague could

steal the product innovation idea from her and showcasing in front of senior

managers! The day and night hard labor of Research, Proof of Concepts,

Development, Presentations, all were stolen by someone else!

She was getting void inside her heart! Lost her thirst and

hunger. Tear was automatically coming out from her eyes! Without any sense,

just lied on the bed. Could not realize when her eyes fall on and she slept

off.

“She had lost her way in a dense dark forest…, with

complete thirstiness and hunger, she was not able to take a single step

forward…, she was too tired and many unknown furious creatures were following

her to attack her….she had to run…she had run ahead, without thinking a while,

despite of so much of energy less…she ran….ran…and ran….at the end she found a

big hole…a big black indefinite hole…there was nothing…what had she to do now…?

Whether she would jump ahead which would lead her to death or would revert back

and fight with all those unknown furious creatures, which were following her…?

No, she cannot accept the failure so soon…! No…, no…, no…, no-way! Did she has

done all those hard work to see this failed day…? She would never allow to let

go all of her efforts waste…! She had to fight…! Yes, she had to fight with all

those unknown furious creatures, she had to win, she had to prove herself that

she has the capability to make an Organization successful and the Organization

would be proud of her contribution. She reverted back and a huge unseen energy

fall on her….” Suddenly she got up from her sleep…, her body was full of sweat

with increased heart beat and she was trembling of fear…..What happened to all

those…? Was it all real or she was dreaming…? Yes, this dreadful incident was a

dream. But, was her real life anything different than this dreadful dream?

No-way…! It’s the same. Still, she was feeling pain in her heart, whenever she

was thinking about the innovated product concept which was stolen from her…

What happened…? Why couldn’t she justify herself even

after these many years of hard work…! This is her duty to provide protection to

her spirit. If she cannot take care of spirit, cannot provide protection from

the external hazardous forces, then no one…, even the strongest energy of the

World can never protect it. So, she had to broad her vision by deepening her

perceptions and take pain in perspective. It would open up a plethora of

positive outcomes that would become clear in the long run. All she needed was a

pair of eyes unblinkered by fear, apprehension and prejudice. Whenever fear

comes, I had to grab and kill it.

She started analyzing herself….what lead her to this

situation…she dug up…dug up…dug up and at last, she was able to find her

mistakes…those were not mistakes…those were blunders… a big blunder in

Corporate World…! A big blunder of sharing all of her knowledge with her

colleagues….! She realized that “Opportunities don’t come to you…you have to

grab them…” Instead of grabbing, she was missing the opportunities…she was

letting go the opportunities to others…! Why was she doing like that…? Because

she was believing in fair working environment…which was never possible. She was

always right point to point. She was not a “Yes Boss” kind of girl…! Because

she was in belief that if she was right and knowledgeable, then boss would

always accept her proposal and if boss had not accepted, then she was not that

much knowledgeable, she had to work more, but in the meantime, the same concept

which was stolen from her was getting praised by her boss which was shared by

the other…! It meant she was not enough skillful to present herself, even

though she was much more knowledgeable than others. She had to present herself

in front of everyone. After all, she was a public speaker, a story teller and a

good presenter, so why could not present herself in a very pleasant manner in

front of anyone! And had to share only that much with others which would not be

harmful for her, she should not have to prove her honesty by sharing hundred

percent knowledge that she had with her. She should not share the greatest

knowledge that she had with her peers, which could lead her to destroy. Her

knowledge should go through others in a communication to a larger group with a

wide variety of audience starting from senior most to junior most. Even the

great Politician Chanakya had told that a person should not be too honest,

straight trees are cut first and honest peoples are screwed first. Besides

this, she had the quality that once she starts working on something, she was

never getting afraid of failure and didn’t abandon it, which could lead her to

a great success. She started believing the concept “There is some self-interest

behind every friendship, there is no friendship without self-interest”, tried

to find out what kind of self-interest her colleagues used to keep in her and

in return of that what they expect from her and she was able to find out a

group of colleagues from which she started hiding her true emotion. She learnt

to say “No”, whenever any of her colleague asked her for some injustice help

which was going against her professionalism. This had a huge impact on her

daily outcome and which in turn boosted her confidence like anything. She

started keeping away herself from the people speaking very sweat words or she

started behaving in a very similar manner with them but without sharing any

information. She started following the motto “even if, a snake is not

poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous”. A girl, always believing

competing with herself, started believing competition with others too. She

stopped mixing up her individual goals with others. She started setting up her

goal in a very regular basis and presenting in front of the senior managers.

She never got scared to ask the question “Why?” to clarify the decision about

the exclusion of a product marketing concept, even to the CEO of the

Organization.

Okay…Fine, she could not do for PSUs, but her Organization

will definitely proud of her contribution one day. Still the words of Bharat

Ratna Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya -“Work performed with higher knowledge or

skill, capacity or ambition, usually brings a correspondingly higher reward-”

were echoing in her ears and she kept on working to fulfill her dream, but this

time with a confidence that she could beat her enemy whoever would come in her

way. She would never give a chance to other. Even though, its late, but it’s

not too late!!!