3. Operation Management
- Service and Product Design
Google currently offers more than 100 products for desktop computers, mobile applications and online products. The company offers search tools, advertising services, communication and publishing tools, development tools, statistical products, map-related tools, operating systems among other sets of products and services (Cimiano & Staab, 2004). Google is actively engaged in developing and improving products to suit market demands and the changing technologies.
Google provides very reliable products and services. Its search tool product “Google Search” is the world’s most popular and most reliable search engines in the world. So popular is the reliability and the search engine that the word google is commonly used as a common English word to mean “search” (Scott, 2008). Google has hired highly qualified Information Technology experts who maintain their systems and products at optimum effectiveness at all times.
4. Research & Development
Current objectives of Google’s R&D are to hybridize research and development by coming up with products and services that haven’t been done before but whose impacts affect the world. The company strategizes on utilizing scientific knowledge to advance all research and development agendas. According to Google CEO, Larry Page, some of the programs the company currently is running include improvements of search engines, analytics, applications, infrastructural software and special projects such as development of cars that will drive themselves, high-altitude balloons to carry internet everywhere among other programs (Sutherland, 2011). The marketing objectives for the company are to retain Google as the market leaders in search engine and mobile applications markets and to grow other products such as Google’s mobile operating systems to become choice products for all users.
5. Human Resources Management
The current objectives of Google are to integrate business strategies with employee commitment quality and flexibility which will drive productivity and performance. The other objective is to utilize the available human resource talents to retain high innovativeness and performance of products and services that endear Google to the people in a fast changing technology industry. The strategy involves giving employees ample time to work on personal projects, in fact the company gives each employee 20% of the time to work on personal projects and new ideas which are later incorporated into the company’s strategies for research and development (Vise & Malseed, 2005). One of Google’s HRM programs is to manage Human resources based on “people analytics”. This program is based on giving all employees ample time for innovation. According to Scott (2008) Google also hires highly qualified and talented people thereby increasing its competitive advantage over its competitors. Google is competing against other fast growing companies such as yahoo and utilization of its human resource’s innovativeness helps overcome competition and internal sabotage of operations as well as espionage. The current HRM provides the company with competitive advantage by maximizing innovativeness and thereby enhancing product quality and releasing of new and customer-oriented products and services. Google maintains a high level of service that is consistent with the respective generic business strategies.
6. Information Technology
Google is a global leader in innovating IT solutions and the company has managed to stay ahead of its competitors for a large part of its existence. The fact that the company gives its employees 20% time off to come up with innovative IT solutions is testimony that it values IT as an important tool in aiding it handle competition (Hill & Gareth, 2009). The firm has also implemented its very own products such as communication and publishing tools, advertising and statistical tools like google consumer surveys to improve its own operations and become more effective and set to overcome future challenges. Utilization of its very own products has also helped Google to save on costs and thereby leverage its IT to become more competitive.
- Summary of Internal Factors
- Core competencies
Google’s products and human resources team bear inherent qualities and capabilities that give it significant competitive advantage over its rivals. The company has for instance used one product “Google search” as a flagship product that dwarfs all other search engines and the naming of almost all other products after the phenomenal search engine is a key core competency for Google. All of Google’s products are securely patented, highly valuable, rare and costly to imitate. Though they can be substituted, the continual improvements that Google has put into its products and staff ensure that these two cardinal aspects remain its core competencies (Vise & Malseed, 2005).
- Distinctive competencies
Google’s products are revolutionary and therefore its distinctive competencies. Google is the number one product is “Google search”. The company supply “search engine interface” to approximately 88 languages and is very helpful for the country’s locals. Google search is a super product that can be termed as the backbone of the company. It is a “super” core competency that has revolutionized learning and the provision of answers to billions of queries that people ask in everyday life. Google mail and Google maps have also gained massive popularity and become distinctive competencies of the company. The ability of the company to offer solutions to nearly all of human IT concerns has also endeared Google to millions of people and made the company the number one stop shop for It solutions in the world (Cimiano & Staab, 2004).
- ANALYSIS OF STRATEGIC FACTORS (SWOT)
- Situational Analysis
Google should adopt Offensive strategies because its strengths outweigh its weaknesses while the opportunities it has for growth and development outweigh the threats that if faces.
Review of Mission and Objectives
Google’s mission is "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful" (Cimiano & Staab, 2004). Its main objective is to continually provide the world with affordable and effective IT solutions to meet day to day challenges in order to make life easier and enjoyable. The Current mission and objectives of Google are very consistent with the present strategic posture since the company has continually developed new IT products and improved on the existing products thereby making its clients live more comfortable lives. Revolutionary products such as android operating systems for mobile devices and Google maps have made it possible for users of mobile devices to access crucial information in almost all corners of the world.
- Analysis of Strategic Issues
- How will Google address the threat of new entrants? To address this issue, Google should continually price their products to favor and retain their customers. Failure to do so could cause upcoming companies to significantly reduce market shares currently held by Google when they offer their products and advertising rates at low prices. Such companies can ultimately push goggle out of the market.
- How will Google handle the threat from counterfeit products? Google should clearly differentiate their products and put in place stringent security and copyright measures. The Development of some products such as satellite maps and operating systems for mobile devices is not an exclusive right of Google and upcoming companies have the capacity to develop products serving the same functions but of inferior quality. Customer unable to differentiate Google’s original products and the counterfeits stand to disrepute the company inaccurately leading to massive loss of credibility and market shares.
- How will Google address High staff turnover? Google should offer high remuneration, training as well as promotions to its employees in order to curb high staff turnover. Failure to do so could lead to leakages of crucial and sensitive company information regarding products, operations and financial issues thereby posing risks to Google. This is especially so if the employees get recruited by rival companies.
- How will Google secure its crucial information and databases properly? Google can do so by ensuring clear chains of command in regard to security of information, retention of crucial passwords and security details by few trusted employees and effective communication channels. Cybercrimes are on the increase and leakage of security details could cause Google to lose the company, customer details or money to criminals.
STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES AND RECOMMENDED STRATEGY
- Strategic Alternatives
Generic Business strategy #1:- Google targets to earn 95% of its revenue from advertising. The company operates a Business-to-Business (B2B) network that lets a “closed loop” of business clients target the massive population of Google product users. Google should conduct more aggressive marketing to increase the volume of advertisements it currently handles.
- Google obtains massive profits from the effective advertising through its products
- Advertising on websites that gain massive traffic has substantial Return on Investment to companies that advertise on Google’s products.
- There are minimal expenditures on Google to host advertisements on their platforms
- Some companies consider advertising through websites ineffective and still trust mainstream mass media channels such as TV, Billboards, Radio among others.
- Many people visiting Google websites target to accomplish certain tasks and rarely take note of the advertisements
Generic Business strategy #2:- Reaching out to people using emails and other online services to inform them of new products is a business strategy that can largely increase business volumes for Google.
- A high number of people that can be reached through online services such as emails. More than 2.4 billion people use the internet daily and with Google’s mail (gmail) being an increasingly popular service it can serve as a platform to market other Google products (Scott, 2008).
- It is cheap
- It is fast and convenient
- Many people treat “uninvited emails” relating to advertisements as “spam” and do not read them.
- Sending emails to subscribers may be deemed as intrusion into privacy
- This means of advertisement will only reach people who access the internet and have accounts with Google mail. It does not reach out to those without Google mail accounts.
Competitive Business strategy #1:- Lowering the prices of advertising on Google’s sites to attract more clients
- More clients are likely to be drawn
- Corporate clients placing advertisements on Google’s sites also get to sample other products that suit them for instance statistical analysis products.
- Revenues obtained from lowered costs of advertising could fail to match up to the high costs of R&D leading to losses
Competitive Business strategy #2:- Entice and defend strategy. In this case Google should continue to its non-stop inventiveness to come up with tantalizing mixes of IT utilities
- More clients will be drawn to use Google’s products
- The company stands to weather stiff competition that is currently building up in the industry
- High labor costs
- High costs of Research and development
- Higher risks in case the products fail to impact the market as planned and expected.
Competitive Business strategy #3 increased experimentation
- The company stands to come up with inimitable and groundbreaking innovations that could kill off most of the current competition
- Potentially huge profits could be raked in if most of the experiments yield desired results
- Google draws a very talented and highly creative workforce and therefore chances of successful experiments are practically very high.
- High risks are involved whenever there is increased experimentation
- Losses through experimentation could lead to decreased muscle to compete against upcoming brands
- Failed experiments could lead to damaged reputation for the company (Scott, 2008)
- Recommended Strategy
- Recommended Corporate Strategy
- Google should conduct more aggressive marketing to increase the volume of advertisements it currently handles. This means of obtaining revenue has minimal expenditure, and can attract high number of advertisements and therefore massive profits.
- Recommended Generic Strategy
- Reaching out to people using emails and other online services to inform them of new products is a business strategy that can largely increase business volumes for Google. Many people use the internet on a daily and the company can use what it inherently has (its existing products) to inform users about new products.
- Recommended Competitive Strategy
- Entice and defend strategy. In this case Google should continue to its non-stop inventiveness to come up with tantalizing mixes of IT utilities. By offering IT solutions to its users, Google stands to gain more traffic and entice advertisers.
- Increased experimentation. Google already has a talented workforce and therefore chances of its experiments being successful are high and so are the prospects of high returns.
Brief assessment of the eight components of implementing strategy:
- Allocating Resources
Google need to allocate financial, human and time resource resources to more aggressive marketing of new products through the existing and well established products such as “Google Search”
- Establishing Strategy-supportive Policies
Strategy supportive strategies to be established include streamlining the human resource to match up to the anticipated innovations and management structures.
- Instituting Best Practices for Continuous Improvement
Google should inspire a culture of innovativeness, integrity and professionalism in their employees in order to weather the competition that is rapidly building up in the internet services industry.
- Installing Support Systems to Carry out Strategic Roles
In regard to this implementation feature, Google can reorganize and empower its marketing as well as its R&D departments in terms of human resource and budgetary allocations to enable them deliver on the laid out strategies.
- Tying Rewards to Achievement of Key Strategic Targets
Employees who come up innovative IT solutions should be identified and rewarded through promotions, monetary compensations, assurances of job security among other ways.
- Shaping Corporate Culture to Fit Strategy
All Google Employees serving in all departments should be informed of the company’s potential for growth, competition in the industry and a corporate culture anchored on innovation, integrity and in accordance with the company’s mission instilled in them.
- Exercising Strategic Leadership
The Current CEO of Google, Mr. Eric Schmidt should be retained while Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin should continually play the crucial supportive role that they have always played. More leaders in the mirror of the ones mentioned here should be developed in order to ensure sustainability of the strategies pursued this far.
- Building a Capable Organization
Google is a massively successful organization and the current crop of leaders should always seek innovative IT solutions that build an organization capable of responding to societal needs since this is the hallmark of all capable organizations. (Hill & Gareth, 2009)
Programs to steer Google to more growth shall be developed by the Research and Development (R&D) team and it is the same team that should be in charge of implementation, evaluations and development of sustainability mechanisms for these programs.
EVALUATION AND CONTROL
Evaluation and control of the strategies laid out in this case calls for:-
- Establishment of performance criteria or deliverables of each strategy
- Establishment of timelines for the implementation of each of the strategies
- Establishment and documentation of a scorecard
- Creation of an overall steering committee
- Establishment of an independent party to evaluate the company’s implementation of its strategies.
- Control measures include adequate budgetary and human resource allocation to specific departments to ensure that they are capable of implementing their strategies.
- Strategic thinking and planning to their immense successes and growth
- Innovativeness is the backbone of all progressive companies
- Competition in all businesses is ever increasing and companies must always value talented staff to steer them to the next levels of growth.
Cimiano, P., & Staab, S. (2004). Learning By Googling. ACM SigKDD Explorations Newsletter, 6(2), 24-33.
Hill, C. & Gareth J., R. (2009) Strategic Management Theory (8th Edition), Cengage Learning. Print.
Scott, V. A. (2008). Google. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Sutherland, A. (2011). Google. London: Wayland.
Vise, D. A., & Malseed, M. (2005). The Google story. New York: Delacorte Press.