Today was a different day in the ABP class. Unlike the usual crack the case approach, it was a role-play approach. The typical day in class included: understand the problem statement, identify the decision options then the objective and the criteria that will help achieve the objective. The faculty requested every executive to select a role out of five to crack the case and make a recommendation to senior management. The roles were: vice president business development, vice president of finance, vice president of marketing, senior project director of information systems, director of operations management and director of human resources.
The company, Big City Phone Company is into telecommunication services which include: local telephone service, access to long distance carriers and people-intensive services (value added services). The key market differentiator for BCPC is its customer experience service and satisfaction. The company invest time and resource to attaining the best customer service team in the market. BCPC has attained the status of a major player in the wireless technology market with a customer base size of 10 million. Now, the company wants to tap into latest opportunity presented by a new technology called high-speed Internet-access. The biggest concern of the company is it readiness for launch of the new product and the possible impact on the brand image.
The key pre-launch issue for BCPC to consider include:
- outdated infrastructure which could not support the new technology without challenges
- too many types of equipment vendors at the customer premises requiring technical support for effective installation and use
- lack of trained technical and customer service agents to support new technology
- short time to market required to retain market lead
- overall cost required to launch a the a very good product
Unfortunately, within the strategic team saddled with the responsibility of recommending launch (how? Wholesale or retail model) or no launch of the new product, there were biases and influences. The CEO had an interest in launching the new product using the retail model and had offered the VP of finance and marketing a bonus should the team recommend his preferred position. Also, the VP, business development also wants to be in the good books of the CEO and hence is biased to achieve the expectation of the CEO. However, the director of operations management is a new hire, who is weary of accepting project with a lot of technical challenges. The director of human resources is responsible for training of staff, both technical and non-technical and is insistence of maintain the company standard.
This became the battle of the wits as every member of the strategic team had an agenda and a goal to achieve, irrespective of the best decision for the company. Negotiations were tough as each block of parties dug in to achieve their goal. It became an uphill task for the VP. business development, as the leader of the team to rally the dissenting views and position to move the company forward. Eventually, my group reached a compromised decision to launch the new technology as soon as possible with the wholesaler business model.