Big Data: The Management Revolution

As IT development and globalization makes the world becomes smaller, it also quickens the pace in business world. As the idiom goes, “time and tide wait for no mean”, nowadays, managers have to make high-pressure decisions in a shorter period of time.

According to a survey done by Havard Business Review, 74% of the global executives SAS claimed that they “feel under heavier pressure to make a smart decision in less time than ever before”.

To make a faster and more accurate decision, savvy managers turn to analyzing data about customers, operations, risk and more.

Rather than collecting data from traditional databases, businesses are also adding on unstructured text from call-centre logs and social media – into their decision-making to attain competitive insight.

As far as we concerned, the volume, variety and velocity of data being stored by organizations has grown tremendously. Procter & Gamble’s chief information officer, Filippo Passerini said, “analytics accelerates our decisions because everyone is now looking at the same reality.”

There are some IT companies that are doing very well in managing their database, such as Google and Facebook. Both of the companies utilize the data of its users in targeting and maximizing the efficiency of advertising. Essentially, Google and Facebook generate their revenue mainly by analyzing users’ online behaviors by “putting the right advertisement to the right person at the right time“.

Data management not only helps a business in marketing but also other fields such as R&D, accounting and so forth. According to the authors of “Big Data: The Management Revolution“, not only high-tech companies but every company from other sectors, are prompt to instil a culture of data-driven decisions, supported by the people, processes and technology – especially analytics – to ensure success.

Also read “Viewpoint: Big data and big analytics means better business

HTC’s Failure: No Longer “Quietly Brilliant”

As the one who is always being impressed by HTC smartphone’s design and hardware specifications, the blog post entitled “HTC: A Falling Giant” written by Wilfred Loh has interested me a lot.

Initially, as a brand from nowhere, the Taiwanese mobile-phone firm has experienced a swift rise from anonymity to omnipresence after the releases of some good smartphones such as One X, HTC Touch, and the Sensation series. However, mentioned by Wilfred Loh, the revenue and profit of HTC has been plummeting after decreasing sales. The rationale of the sales drop is simple: HTC does not understand its customers.

For example, in 2011, HTC spent $300millions to purchase 51% share from Beats Audio to upgrade the audio system of its smartphone. HTC tended to build a point of difference and a point of brand recognition by installing the very famous Beats Audio speakers and logo into its flagship smartphone. Unfortunately, the strategy fails, as only a few customers choose to buy a HTC phone because of its offer of a Beats headphone. For those who like Beats Audio they will just buy the headphone by themselves. As a result, this never helps HTC to create a sales increase. After that, HTC sold the shares back to Beats Audio.

More importantly, HTC has been too focusing on hardware building and neglecting the very vital software development. Apple has a large smartphone’s market share because iPhone not only has a good design and build quality but also very fascinating software such as iTunes and iOS. Besides, Samsung is also aiming to add some “soft-power” to its mobile devices by shopping for software companies, particularly those offering mobile music services.

While implementing innovations, HTC’s engineers must make sure that they understand the needs of customers and customize the phone that the customers willing to buy.

Corporations’ Dominance

Inevitably, every single business, no matter small or large, depend on “labor surplus” to survive. Unfortunately, the exploitation of the working class is no longer a new issue we heard about. As the main goal of a business is to achieve maximum profit, employers often force employees to work beyond their limit or try to keep their wages as low as possible. The examples of unfair treatment towards employees of Nike and Apple mentioned by Vinotha in her blog post entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility at Large Firms” are just tip of iceberg.

According to, Walmart has filed an unfair labour practice charge against United Good and Commercial Workers union on November 15, accusing that UFCW is challenging its business by encouraging Walmart’s employees to set up a series of protest and strikes at the outset of holiday shopping season. Who is correct and who is wrong?

In fact, Walmart’s employees make less than $10 an hour. Protesting workers are demanding a pay rise from $10 to $13 an hour. Also, health care premiums are reportedly escalating as much as 36% in next year. Workers must meet a $1750 deductible in order to enjoy an 80% cover of their doctors visits, tests, and other required medical services.

Walmart is facing a dilemma: it is difficult to satisfy workers by not increasing its costs for labor wage. Hence, Walmart filing unfair labor practice charge to the union in order to protect its image. Anyhow, Walmart still refuses to rise the salary of its workers as demanded.

As consumer’s awareness is rising, they do care about the image of a company when purchasing their product or service. Hence, CEOs must figure out the best approach to create a win-win situation between business and employees. Corporate’s social responsibility should never be undermined.

Click on the link to learn more about corporate’s social responsibility:

Google Knows Each of Us!

Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated: “If we target the right ad to the right person at the right time and they click it, we win.” What does this quotation means?

Google is the most convenient and powerful search engine in the Earth. Google is estimated command 66.7% of search engine market share in the United States. However, even many of us like to use Google, some of us might not aware that Google collects the search query of each of its users without their consent.

In May 2007, European privacy regulators had launched an investigation into Google’s data retention and privacy. They concluded that search engines are required to delete or anonymize personally identifiable information collected by them in 6 months. However, Google has so far reacted by cutting its retention period from 18 to 9 months. Google argues that the “retention of search query logs is critical in operating and improving its services, especially it provides adequate security for the users.”

The truth is harsh. Google analyzes search-query logs for revenue-generating purposes, particularly for targeting and maximizing the effectiveness of advertisements, as advertising is the main source of income for Google. In this case, Google has been partnering with DoubleClick, which was a leading company in the field of behavioural advertising for over fifteen years. DoubleClick can follow the online behaviour of an Internet user over all sites on which it serves advertising.

If Google forgoes the data gathering among its users, it will become non-profitable and be closed. On the other hand, data gathering is considered unethical, as every human deserves privacy rights.

This scenario is actually like a prisoner’s dilemma, no matter how Google will still collect data from its users. Hence, every of us must be alert when surfing Internet.


The Social Network: Small Business’s New Advertising Tool

According to the marketing guru, Philip Kotler, “marketing research is systematic problem analysis, model-building and fact-finding for the purpose of improved decision-king and control in marketing of goods and services.” Marketing research is very important to a business as the research helps the business to understand the needs and wants of the targeted customers. Besides, a good marketing research helps business to make marketing decisions, survive competitions and increase sales.

A news from BBC which entitled “Restaurant chain’s recipe for social media success” gives us an insight on how a small business uses social media to do marketing research in order to increase reputations and sales.

Clover Food Lab is a trendy food truck and regional restaurant chain in Boston. The social media marketing culture of the business began when a chef used Twitter feed and blog to solicit opinions about the sandwich’s flavour. Surprisingly, the responses from customers help to improve Clover’s food and increase sales. Mr Muir, the founder of the Clover Food Lab started to realize the influence of social media. Hence, he started spending about an hour blogging and tweeting every day to collect customers’ response. After that, he also encourages his employees to participate in it.

Besides responding to customers’ complains and questions, the chain will use social media to alert customer to new products. Clover Food Lab is currently expanding Boston-area chain, including six food trucks and two restaurants. The strategic use of social media has not only helps Clover to improve its products and increase sales but also build customer’s loyalty.

Business Alliance Makes a Better World

As we have learnt about the SWOT analysis, no matter how big and strong a company is, it has its own weaknesses and threats. In order to surpass competitions and increase profit, two companies could actually work together, sharing their comparative advantages with each other. This agreement is so-called business alliance. There are several types of business alliances, such as sales alliance, geographic-specific alliance, investment alliance and joint venture alliance.

In the case below, two Japanese-based conglomerates, Sony and Olympus have demonstrated an example of investment alliance in which they agree to join their funds for mutual investment.

According to BBC news, Sony has agreed to invest Olympus 50bn yen ($640m) to take an 11.5% stake in Olympus in return for the investment. The two companies will set up a new business together later this year, which will be 51%-owned by Sony. The new business will be working on developing a variety of new high-tech surgery devices, such as endoscopes used in keyhole surgery. Sony and Olympus merger aims to attain more than 20 percent of the medical-equipment-for-surgery market by 2020, when the sector is predicted to grow to as much as 330 billion yen ($4 billion).

*Olympus had suffered a loss of $1.7 billions from an accounting scandal while Sony has reported losses for 4 straight years. Therefore, both of the companies are seeking for a turnaround strategy to regain profits.

There are some other good examples of business alliance, such as Microsoft-Facebook advertising partnership and Sony-Ericsson partnership. Find out other interesting examples by your own 🙂

Link to the news :

Apple’s Magical Marketing Strategy

Do you own an Apple product? According to Forbes, Apple is the most valuable company in the history with a market capitalization of US$623.5-billion. Inevitably, Apple is one of the most successful and innovative corporate ever. The company’s best-known product is the Macintosh, the first personal computer in the market. Besides, under Steve Jobs’s leadership, Apple has marketed a variety of other amazing IT products, such as iPod, iPad, iMac and iPhone.

What is the secret to Apple’s long term success? What makes Apple products to be so tempting?

The answer is the good brand positioning and value propositioning strategy of Apple. In branding positioning, the point of difference of the Apple products are the aesthetical design of the Apple products, iTunes and easy-to-use operation system called iOS. None of the rivals can copy its remarkable products’ design and elegant interface.

In value propositioning, Apple promises its customers high quality, most innovative and beautiful designed IT products which grant the Apple product users a “better lifestyle” and a high level of user experience. Furthermore, Apple has a branding strategy that focuses on the emotions. Apple provides meticulous customer support which is parallel to the objective of the company of “putting the customer first”. Once Apple product is discovered as defective, Apple will act as soon as possible to fix the problem. This earns Apple customer’s loyalty.

Also read ” Why Apple is now No.1 company in the world”:


As being an important material to produce the smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and other IT products, the demand for the rare earth has been increasing tremendously. Also, this means a BIG business.

Lynas is one of the biggest rare earth mining companies in the world. Recently, Lynas has invested 2.5 billion ringgit ($793 million) to build up a plant in Kuantan, Malaysia. This refinery is said to avoid the China’s world production dominance and could act as a catalyst to speed up the development of the IT sector worldwide. Moreover, it creates 330 highly skilled jobs and a minimum profit of $1.7 billion per year, according to Lynas. That’s equivalent to about 1 percent of Malaysia’s GDP. As to welcome the corporate, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib had granted Lynas a 12-year tax break (What the Malaysians gain from the giant project?).

However, Lynas has been facing a lot of criticisms and debates from the activists and politicians in Malaysia as besides the astronomical profits, the refining of the rare earth produces radioactive heavy metals like mercury which will jeopardize the environment in Kuantan. Hence, “Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas” protest has been set up to put pressure on Malaysian government in order to terminate the temporary operating license for Lynas.

“Our concerns are the inhalation of alpha particles associated with the dust,” the WA Greens MP Robin Chapple said.

Besides, the activists also seek for judicial block on the license.