COMPETITOR ANALYSIS AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
CISCO is a company that carries out business globally and is focused on information technology (IT). Among others, the company provides telemedicine services to facilities that provide healthcare so as to improve service delivery especially in linking remote areas to main offices. Basically, the company has invested more in the healthy industry by provision of different services that will improve the flow of information. It offers a wide variety of technologies to achieve the same purpose and therefore it is the choice of the client to decide the best technology suited for their facility; consultation services are also available.
The company is among the global leaders and best performers in the healthcare industry through provision of the services mentioned above. Its success is basically attributed to the effective strategies applied by its able team of decision makers. The company boasts of the best managers and leaders in the industry who have made direct contribution towards its success and competitiveness in the industry. Despite stiff competition, CISCO has maintained its great performance and has outdone competitors due to its competitive advantages.
The company is very adaptable to change; as the situation in the market changes, strategies are also adjusted to make sure the business is current in terms of approaches. The company has also noticed the importance of customers in the business and has invested a lot in their service. This has enabled it to win the trust through royalty; it has attracted and retained many customers through this strategy and is considered a competitive advantage. Finally, the company has strategic alliances that have played an important role in making sure that business is strengthened and spread across a larger geographical area so as to gain market share. Basically, the business is making use of the best available strategies in the market to make sure it beats the existing competition.
In its efforts to provide telecommunication to companies and the healthcare industry in general, CISCO faces stiff competition from other players in the market. The company is faced with competition from different dimension; locally and globally. For this reason it is necessary for the management of the company to make sure that proper strategies are put in place to make sure that competitive advantage is improved for the benefit of the company. The following is an analysis of the three main competitors of CISCO.
This is one of the strongest competitors of CISCO due to its competitive advantages.
i. Experienced business units
An analysis if this competitor reveals that the company has very experienced business units. This is one of the issues that CISCO is trying to compete with in order to be more relevant in the business environment. Having experience in business units enables a business organization to know how well and where to invest its resources. Philips has a team of experienced employees who are very knowledgeable in this area and have helped the company to invest in the best business projects with the expectation of the best returns. This has enabled the company to be better positioned as compared to its close competitors because it knows the investment projects that will give the best returns.
ii. Market dominance
Philips enjoys dominance of the healthcare market its tools and equipment are found in most organization. Since the establishment of the company, one of the primary goals has been to command the market in terms of presence. Due to the effective strategies being utilized by the company, this goal has been achieved. Many consumers are familiar with Philips’ products and find it difficult to switch to other manufacturers and this is on the best competitive advantages enjoyed by the company. Despite the strong competition in the market; Philips has been able to stand firm by delivering to its customers who continually demand its products and in the end the company is dominating the market.
iii. Barrier to other competitors’ entry
Philip is considered a barrier to entry into the market by other competitors. The basic reason for this is the fact that the company is very aggressive in its strategies which have proved to be effective. Competitors are finding it hard to enter the market; Philips is barrier to entry. Depending on the nature of the strategies utilized by business organizations, they can either be successful or fail. Application of the most effective strategies is beneficial to an organization and works as a barrier to new entrants (Gerard & Amanda, 2015). This is a competitive advantage to the benefiting organization though it is seen as a great challenge by competitors. Philips is enjoying this as one of its greatest competitive advantages.
i. High cost of establishment
The great performance of Philips’ products in the health industry comes at a cost. The company is forced to invest heavily in the production of its equipment for the industry. This makes it very costly for it to finance its operations as well as compensating employees for the services offered. Apart from the need of businesses to be dominant in the market, it should also be noted that they need to make use of cost effective strategies in order to maximize their profits and be financially stable. Companies must be able to minimize costs of operations. This is one of the weaknesses of Philips as it spends too much in order to provide the best services to its customers.
ii. Low profits
Profit maximization is a critical objective of any business organization as it is the major determinant of financial stability. Companies that make larger profits are more financially stable and can easily sponsor other projects to boost their income. Philips faces the challenge of poor profits as a result of its high cost of operations. As earlier stated, the company spends a lot of financial resources to carry out its operations and this has effect on its profits. Most the revenues are immediately used to invest in other business units and operations and there is little to show for it. The inability of making sustainable profits has made it necessary for the company to consider adjusting its strategies in order to meet the demands in the market. The future of the profitability of the firm is in doubt since current financial decisions are not guaranteeing future sustainability of profits.
G.E. Healthcare is a technological organization which specializes in medical imaging and information technology, patient monitoring system, medical diagnostics and disease research among others. It is a competitor to CISCO and its assessment is as follows:
i. Leadership development
Leadership is the greatest pillar of GE’s competitiveness in the market. The company has experienced leaders and managers who make the best leadership decisions at any given time as need may arise. It should be noted that leadership is a critical element in the success of any organization. Poor leadership decisions will lead a business into failure. GE noticed how important leadership is and dedicated a lot of effort in it. For this reason, the company is among the best in terms of leadership development. Its leaders are among the best in the industry because of their ability to make the best decisions concerning challenges and matters of attention that may arise. Investment in leadership has enabled GE Healthcare to be among the leading companies and this has worked for its benefit as a competitive advantage because not many companies possess it.
In the simplest terms, innovation is the ability of coming up with new and creative ideas that are outstanding. GE Healthcare enjoys the advantage of innovation because it has creative thinkers who periodically come up with new ideas on how to improve the operation of the organization. Innovation in GE Healthcare comes in different ways. The first way is strategies; the company is able to come up with the best leadership and management strategies that enable it to stay ahead of the rest in the industry. Innovation has also stretched to the field of research and development. The company comes up with new products designed differently from what exists in the market. Creativity and innovativeness of a business organization is a competitive advantage.
iii. Strong organization structure and culture
The structure and culture of an organization are important factors when it comes to the effectiveness of such an organization in the business industry. GE Healthcare finds this as a competitive advantage because it has worked in its favor. The company makes use of decentralized organization structure. Despite the existence of the hierarchy; there are many departments which have heads and supervisors that can independently make decisions. Decision-making is a very fast process in the organization and this is one of the competitive strategies that it enjoys. When very little time is taken to make a decision, it makes it easy for other issues to be focused on (Pinson, 2004). In terms of organizational culture, self-motivation is common phenomenon in the organization. Employees do not need to be pushed or supervised to perform their duties. They clearly understand what they need to do and do it to perfection. This has enabled the company to achieve high levels of product and service quality in the market.
i. Fluctuating profits
Financial stability is very important for any organization because this is the main foundation of the organization (Erica, 2012). For this stability to be achieved a business must be making steady profits from its operations. Despite the effective strategies put in place by GE Healthcare, the company faces the challenge of poor financial decisions which have negatively affected the company’s ability to make stable profits. This is a weakness because the company cannot effectively invest in diverse projects. Competitors take this as an advantage to diversify their operations at the expense of GE Healthcare’s weakness. CISCO is one company that has taken advantage of this situation. When competitors realize that a company has a particular weakness, they will adjust their strategies to take advantage of the case.
ii. Environmental and legal challenges
GE faces the challenge of continual involvement of legal cases especially with respect to the environment. The products of the company are not very friendly environmentally and this has become an issue of concern to the authorities. As compared to CISCO and other competitors, GE Healthcare’s products have a higher level of environmental pollution and there are cases recommending that the company should improve its products for interest of conserving the environment. This is a weakness because consumers in the market are also concerned about environmental friendliness of the products they buy. They want products that do not pollute the environment. The company is taking this concern as a weakness because it is likely to affect the demand for its products.
iii. Product recalls
GE Healthcare has had the largest number of product recalls as compared to its competitors over any given period of time. The recalls are usually as results of realization that there were defects in the manufacturing process that could lead to problems later. Frequent products recalls by manufacturers affects the trust of consumers in the market. Consumers would not be free to consume products from a company that recalls too frequently. They will believe that the products are of poor quality. This is likely to have negative effect on the demand of the products and the operation of the business will definitely be affected if correct decisions are not made quickly.
Siemens Healthcare is a business organization whose main activity is providing supplies to the healthcare industry. The company has ups and downs which affect its business in different ways.
i. Strong brand image
Creating a brand image in the market and maintaining it is core objective of business organization as it has a positive impact on operations. Siemens Healthcare has been in operation for just more than five years and created a very strong brand image. The company has gained a lot of trust from consumers of its products because of their reliability and durability. A strong brand image is a basic win because it improves customer loyalty and creates more demand for products.
ii. Numerous branches
Siemens Healthcare enjoys the advantage of many branches across the globe. The head office supplies products to them then they are distributed to different consumers. This has enabled the company to command a large share of the market. It has significant customer base that has enabled it to remain competitive in the market. Customers are among the most valuable assets of any business organization and therefore efforts must be put in place to make sure as many of them as possible are attracted. Siemens has achieved this by increasing the number of its branches thereby making it easier for its products to be accessed by consumers in the market.
iii. Stable financial base
Financial stability is the basis of investment for business organizations. Siemens has effective financial strategies in place and has helped a lot in making sure that the business on the right track financially. This is a competitive advantage for the company because it can provide adequate financial support to projects it feels are worth being invested in.
i. Less innovation
Siemens is not very innovative especially when it comes to product development. The company maintains the same design and model of products over a longer period of time as compared to other players in the market. Lack of innovation might cause a business to lose customers who are interested in more recent products that are creatively designed. Siemens must consider improving its creativity and innovativeness.
ii. Weak internal control
Internal control plays a very important role in determining the general direction that an organization takes (Kotler & Kevin, 2009). Poor internal strategies might lead an organization in trouble. Siemens internal control is poorer than competitors’. The greatest weakness comes in decision making; it has centralized decision making system with only few members tasked with the responsibility of making decisions. This causes the company to take a lot of time to make decisions that would have taken shorter if the system was decentralized.
iii. Overdependence on third-parties
Companies need third parties for operations but should not all the time. Siemens faces a challenge overdependence on third parties and this is likely to harm the organization. There is the risk of privacy and confidentiality being compromised making it easy for the company to be exposed to competitors. As much as third parties are important in operations, businesses should try to be as independent as possible so as to limit how much they are exposed to third parties.
ASSESSMENT OF CISCO’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
CISCO operates in a very competitive business environment and makes it necessary for the company to be creative and come with means that will enable it survive the present challenges. The ability of a company to remain competitive in a business environment depends on how it deals with challenges met. The company needs to have competitive advantages that it uses against competitors. As compared to its competitors, CISCO enjoy the following competitive advantages:
This is the ability of adjusting so as to be in line with change. The healthcare business environment is very competitive and dynamic. Many changes occur over a very short period of time and companies are required to adjust their strategies to deal with the latest challenges. Adaptability is the greatest competitive advantage of CISCO; the company adjusts to change quicker than its competitors. With experienced and skilled decision-makers, the company is able to make strategic decisions within a short time. While competitors are still adapting to change, CISCO would be focusing on other projects that would improve its competitiveness.
ii. Exceptional customer service
Customers are the largest stakeholders in any business organization; there treatment is critical for business. CISCO provides the best customer service experience to consumers of its products thus making the company preferred by many. Most competitors just focus on expansion and profit maximization but CISCO has noticed the importance of acknowledging customers. The company has put in place measures for customer treatment that give it a competitive edge as compared to competitors. Customers are treated specially and in some cases they are awarded. Customer loyalty is achieved.
iii. Strategic alliances
Businesses need partners for the interest of improving efficiency and effectiveness but not all partners can help in achieving this target. Strategy must be applied in order to get the best partners or third parties that will be beneficial to the business. As opposed to Siemens Healthcare that over relies on third parties, CISCO makes only strategic alliances that will be beneficial. After clearly scanning the market and the best partners, the company is able to identify strategic partners that will help in achieving different goals and objectives. Formation of alliances must be done with great care so as not to end up settling on wrong partners. Effective alliances are competitive edges to business organization such as CISCO.
The greatest recommendation for a competitive advantage for CISCO is carrying out a market analysis before implementation of any strategies. The company operates in a very competitive environment which is very dynamic and full of challenges. Strategies only become competitive advantages after they are effective. For effectiveness to achieved the strategies put in place must have solved the problem for which they were established. Basically, market research is highly recommended as it will improve the company’s competitiveness as well as mitigate competitive weaknesses. This kind of research will enable an organization to know what works and what does not (Baden & Mary, 2010). This implies that strategies that will be developed and implemented will have a higher chance of being effective. Given the size of CISCO, it is necessary that the market research team provides the best information concerning the market as well as competitors for the benefit of the organization.
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