Friday, October 26, 2012

Selling Ideas: Brazil Mobile Services Company "The Strategy"

            Nowadays, Brazilian people have increased direct involvement with mobile technology therefore mobile applications for company’s has become increasingly important. Eyeing this opportunity, the company Brazilian Mobile Services created something really new in this market. They developed practical methods to turn products into mobile services, through their applications. Focused on sports especially soccer clubs the company develops mobile applications that strengthen the value of sporting events and brands. The applications go beyond entertainment and create a new form of relationship with target audiences. In this context a strategic plan can determine the success or the failure of a company.
            Several works (Chance & Williams, 2009; Almani & Esfaghansary, 2011; Karnani, 2006) were used to delineate how a strategic plan is important for a business success. However others emphasize strategic plan as process (Carter, 1999), which if well done can give to the company competitive advantage through a good management.
            Having accepted, at least notionally, the potential of strategic plan, the mission and vision statements are created to build up the body of the plan. While mission is discussed with their internal impact on the company (Campbell, 1989; Collins & Porras, 1991) the vision covers the external dimension of how the company will be inserted in the macroeconomic environment (Akpoyomare, at all, 2011). The article tries to explain how the mission statement is important to the company success and how vision statement supports the mission   Finally 5 key objectives were created for the company, encompassing operational, financial, target resources and other aspects of the industry to allow the company to measure results against target achievement. Based on the concept of critical success by John Rockart (1979), the article justifies how the key objectives support the mission and vision statement while focusing on limited areas.

Strategic Plan Argument
            Strategic planning is an ongoing process that requires leaders to question the status of stated initiatives, changes in the environment, and new requirements for learning, and adjustments to the plan continually (Chance & Williams, 2009). Successful strategic planning efforts in Brazilian Mobile Services represent the challenge of combining usability with profitability. While the mobile market has 27 million users in Brazil, the penetration is only 14% of the population which can represent a lot of opportunities for mobile services in a future (MMA, 2012). The strategic plan is going to be an essential mechanism, procedure, and methodology to monitor and react to this environment (Almani & Esfaghansary, 2011).
            By choosing Brazilian Mobile Services’ strategy in Brazil it would be possible to focus on the in the intended direction and strengthen its market position by taking the right combination of competitive and operation approaches to move the company (Thompson & Gamble, 2010). In fact, strategic planning is generally pursued as a rational undertaking to reduce the firms’ performance uncertainty through trade-off decisions from controversial choices (Karnani, 2006). It determines end goals to be achieved and strategies for accessing, allocating, and managing resources to achieve predetermined goals.
            The challenge is to understand that the strategic plan involves more than the production of a printed plan. Strategic planning is a process, not a product. It is ongoing and permanent (Carter, 1999). Especially in the mobile networks environment where changes in circumstances occur all the time, the strategic plan will help management efforts to improve performance over time. This process is important because actions are taken to improve the company’s performance, strengthen its long term competitive position and finally gain a competitive advantage over competition (Thompson & Gamble, 2010). A good strategic plan will provide not only a framework of the desired direction for the future (Barton, 1988) but also a self-identification (Stephan, 2010) that will determine good management.

Mission Statement
                The mission statement for the Mobile Service Company in Brazil would be as follow: “Provide mobile applications to enhance communication strategies for Brazilian Soccer clubs with credibility, creativity, quality and speed. We will enhance the relationship between supporters and clubs by giving greater access for the supporters while at the same time providing increased market intelligence to the clubs and increasing their potential revenue streams. Based on the principles of independence, critical thinking, through the best of technologies which can contribute to increase people's access to sporting events and help companies to manage contact with their supporters”. Through this statement the Brazilian Mobile Services describe its present business and purposes by answering the questions: Why do we exist? What are we here for? What are we trying to accomplish? (Thompson & Gamble, 2010).
            Common sense dictates that obviously companies should know their own conditions and objectives to continue in business. However the mission is essential to have a better staff motivation/ management control toward achieving a common organizational purpose (Campbell, 1989; Collins & Porras, 1991). In the Apple mission statement for example they mentioned: “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world…, leads the digital music …, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad” (Apple, 2012). They certainly motivate their staff by recognizing their position as “the best computers in world” at the same time that they project their future giving a guide for their manager about what they expect in the next years. Although mobile services environment relies on constant innovation making difficult to define their business, the use of mission statements can still impact behaviors in the organization (Bart, 1996). Therefore Apple is a good example of mission statement that even though short, it can still capture the essence of the company’s business and been effective in their strategic plan.
            In the Brazilian Mobile Services mission creativity is emphasized value to the management team as well as critical thinking to achieve the purpose of increasing people’s access to sporting events. Besides, the mission is essential to the company’s success by guiding the resource allocation process more effectively (Ireland & Hitt 1992). For instance if the purpose is to increase people's access to sporting events, the marketing efforts will focus on this market segment, therefore be more effective.
Vision Statement
            The vision statement for the Brazil Mobile Services would be as follow: “We are determined to be a company recognized for its excellence in the delivery of rich interactive experiences, user interfaces with high levels usability through mobile applications. Providing solutions for Soccer clubs to participate in the mobile market and position itself ahead of the competition, winning customers / consumers and ensuring space in the race for market share. We are committed to improving the mobile access to sporting events, generating more market share among supporters for Brazilian Soccer Clubs while staying at the forefront of technology.”
            While the mission describes an organization's central "purpose" and essential activities (Byars, 1984), vision is what it says about the company’s future strategic course (Thompson & Gamble, 2010). The fact is that they complement each other where the mission shows the present picture and vision the future vision while the company’s values make the path with which they are going to interconnect one to the other. For instance while the Brazil Mobile Services’ mission sees the company as a “Provider of mobile applications” for Soccer Clubs the vision sees a “company recognized for its excellence”. In conducting the company’s business the company expects creativity and use of technology to influence behavioral norms that company personal are expect to display.
            While the mission statement is to inspire the company, its credibility lies in the significance and scope of the problems and needs it has identified (Ragan, 2004). Vision on other hand can cover the external dimension. It is a shared view within the organization and of what are the market, customers, competitors, industry and likely macroeconomic impacts on the market (Akpoyomare, at all, 2011). Organizations without a clear mission statement don’t know who they are and managers go elsewhere. However an organization without a clear vision statement tends to have its short-term actions counter-productive to its long-run purpose. Thus, the company’s vision statement supports the mission by fueling the inspiration with visionary ideas that challenge the reason of the company for being as it is.

Key Objectives
            The five key objectives essential to the success of the business are:
·         Expand our service for at least 20 Brazilian soccer clubs by 2013 developing cross-platform applications.
·         Sales space in the mobile services for advertising to increase profitability.
·         Make mobile applications and m-commerce available on the existed platforms: iOS (iPhone, iPod and iPhone), Blackberry (smartphone and tablet), Android (smartphone and tablet), Windows Phone, HTML5 (cell phone and smartphone), Facebook, Chrome and interactive TV, among others.
·         Increase by 50% the number of employees in project development area by 2013, to provide creative solutions to the customer’s needs.
·         Increase by 30% the investments in marketing in 2012 to increase our market share.
            The performance targets above are very specific to measure the company’s results.          Expand our service for at least 20 Brazilian soccer clubs is essential for sustainability of the business, otherwise with the increase of costs the company will not be able to maintain their position in the market. With more customers we can then initiate to sales space on the applications for additional advertisings adding more revenue to increase our profit. Although achieving best value for mobile applications is the ultimate objective of expanding service to more clubs and increase sales in advertising, to develop an infrastructure for those projects it is absolutely necessary to increase the number of technical developers by 50% to make sure the terms are going to be met.
            In order to keep the customers satisfied and really add value to their companies with mobile solutions it is going to be indispensable to develop mobile applications available not only on platforms as iOS (iPhone, iPod and iPhone), but also in every other platform. With the increase in use of Smartphones so has the diversity systems increased and the company must adapt and cater to these platforms in order to make the services more attractive for the Soccer clubs. Finally, for those objectives to be successfully implemented it will be primordial to invest in marketing to develop strategies to reach our target market and therefore build up the business.

Key Objectives Justifications
            From a mission and vision statement perspective, it is not enough to track the performance of the company in an isolated way. Managers need to have specific objectives that allow the understanding of the meaning of an expected performance linked to the strategic mission and vision. In summary the objectives reflect the mission and vision, however, the objectives allowed companies to track mission performance towards the strategic vision. In the Brazil Mobile Services for instance, the objectives support the mission by measuring the performance targets timely when target expand the services by 2013.
            Objectives are effective fashion, with the intention of perceiving trends and reacting as quickly as possible to the opportunities. While the vision portrays a company’s future as recognized for its excellence in the delivery of rich interactive experiences, the objective makes it more specific to managers by saying that in order to be recognized it is going to be indispensable to develop mobile applications available in all the existed platforms. In fact, there is a clear link between the strategic mission and vision statement and therefore the objectives are adapted to achieve the expected results. For example if is important to be in a forehead of the technologies more technical support are going to be necessary, therefore the objective is to increase 50% the staff.
            Mission and vision statement are the guides for company’s critical success, as John Rockart (1979) introduced critical success are “the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization”. Those limited areas are the key objectives, the factors that should receive careful attention as marketing investments and increase of revenue.
                This article presents an approach for developing the process of crafting and executing a strategy plan for Brazil Mobile Services Company, taking into account a strategic perspective. In order to develop the strategic plan the vision and mission statements were created to provide a sense of direction for the organization and channel employee’s behavior towards this direction (Akpoyomare at all, 2011).  The mission gives the actual picture of the company while the vision projects the company in the future, in this context the objectives were develop to help managers to conduct the company towards the strategic objectives with more specific targets.
            However, it is important to understand that the statements are not a mere “slogans” these statements must support each other to guide managerial decisions and actions. The key objectives introduce the strategy in the employee’s daily activities to contribute to the attainment of the vision and mission for the organization. The company wants to position themselves in the soccer industry due to the fact that soccer has a popularity bordering on phenomenon in Brazil and there is an opportunity to take advantage of this endemic social phenomenon. Giving the vision and mission statements it is expected a better management to improve organization performance to accomplish the key objectives and therefore success.
                Further development needs to be oriented toward its external environment validation and the competitive issues. For instance questions should be answered as: what are the key factors for competitive success? What strategic moves are rivals likely to make? Also it would be recommended to study the industry environment and the profitability.

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