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Project Goals
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Project Goals

Information: Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy

Our overall goal has been to improve corporate performance in the following three areas:

Finding opportunities: How can opportunities be located for the competitive use of information technology? Which resources of the firm are best leveraged competitively through I.T.?

Managing Uncertainty: How can firms manage their strategic planning process, finding
competitive opportunities and placing accurate value on alternative strategies, in the presence of extraordinary degrees of strategic uncertainty?

Exploiting opportunities: How can firms best exploit opportunities for information-
based strategies?

To accomplish these goals our current research agenda addresses the following:

Information, hyper-differentiation, customer delight, and long-term profitability: When firms do not know what customers want, it is difficult to know what to offer, and when customers do not know what firms offer it is pointless to seek invest heavily in extremely differentiated offerings. However, increased information allows firms to design products ideally suited to specific consumers, and it allows consumers to find those products that are more valuable to them, and for which they will pay more. Properly managed, such differentiation strategies increase firms' profits while increasing consumer satisfaction.

Information, execution, speed, and maneuver: The alternative to costly price wars and other wars of attrition is often highly targeted and flexible operations based on speed of execution. This requires a combination of central information, local empowerment, monitoring and accurate situation reports, and leadership. The relationships among information, leadership, and performance form the basis of maneuver warfare, which can be employed and exploited in a corporate setting.

Information, coordination, and the changing balance between internal production and external production and outsourcing: The nature of outsourcing and the boundary of the firm continue to change due to advances in information technology. Operations in customer contact, service, and support that might never have been considered feasible targets for outsourcing as recently as a two years ago are increasingly being outsourced, often to overseas firms.

Information-based distribution systems and the dynamic evolution of distribution channels: Work in industries as diverse as consumer packaged goods manufacture and travel services suggest that electronic distribution will fundamentally alter the balance of power among retailers, distributors, and suppliers of primary goods and services. The ability to punish attempts at encroachment will be a fundamental factor in limiting movements of suppliers into other aspects of the distribution channel. The relationship between speed of customer adoption and traditional channel agents' ability to punish attempts at bypass and disintermediation has proved critical to understanding the delayed response of insurance companies and full service brokers to online sales. Industries where initial sales and long term service are tightly coupled, both for profitability and customer loyalty, are the current focus of attention.

Valuing and justifying investment in I.T.: How can I.T. innovations and other intangible assets best and most accurately be valued? How can decisions to invest in different strategies best be made in the presence of strategic uncertainty concerning technology trends, market place evolution, and consumer preferences?


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