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How Business Strategy Leads to Achieve Goals | RM Solutions Study

884 Downloads1 I Published: 11 Nov ,2019

Introduction

Business Strategy refers to various decisions and courses of action which enables an organisation in effectively achieving its objectives. It provides an appropriate and systematic framework which is essential for attaining a strong and competitive market position (Scholes, 2015). Moreover, it also helps in achieving set standards for conducting effective operations. The report below is based on RM Solutions, which is an Information Technology company providing technological solutions to its customers. It covers development of an investment report which aims to analyse and exploit an external driver to gain competitive advantage through a certain technological solution. It also includes a reflective report which is based on experiences throughout preparing this report.

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Part 1

Company Overview

RM Education is a British organisation which is a principle branch of RM Group and provides IT solutions to its customers globally (Akter and et. al., 2016). The group was founded in 1973 and is currently listed on London Stock Exchange. Its emphasis is purely based on providing educational offerings which help educational centres as well as schools in providing better education to their students. In 2014. its revenues were around £200 million and maintained a strong and competitive cash position (RM Education Solutions,2015).

The income statement for the group from 2015 to 2018 is mentioned below:

INCOME STATEMENT

(Currency in GBP. All numbers in thousands)

Revenue

30/11/18

30/11/17

30/11/16

30/11/15

Total revenue

220977

185863

167615

178228

Cost of revenue

129664

112857

100365

109316

Gross profit

91313

73006

67250

68912

Operating expenses

Research development

6748

6837

8291

7089

Selling general and administrative

57578

45384

41634

45452

Non-recurring

-

-

-

-

Others

-

-

-90

-90

Total operating expenses

195197

165581

150298

162160

Operating income or loss

25780

20282

17317

16068

Income from continuing operations

Total other income/expenses net

-4753

-5688

-2202

3167

Earnings before interest and taxes

25780

20282

17317

16068

Interest expense

-1064

-753

-421

-472

Income before tax

21027

14594

15115

19235

Income tax expense

4100

1743

3469

4273

Minority interest

-

-

-

-

Net income from continuing ops

16927

12851

11646

14962

Non-recurring events

Discontinued operations

-

-

-

-

Extraordinary items

-

-

-

-

Effect of accounting changes

-

-

-

-

Other items

-

-

-

-

Net income

Net income

16927

12851

11646

14962

Preferred stock and other adjustments

-

-

-

-

Net income applicable to common shares

16927

12851

11646

14962

(Source: RM Plc Income Statement, 2019)

Illustration 1: RM Plc Income Statement, 2019

(Source: RM Plc Income Statement, 2019)

As for RM Education, the firm focuses on providing innovative ICT offerings and solutions to its customers and is working towards transforming UK education system. It maintains a decent competitive position in the market. This is because it functions effectively in providing secure and appropriate systems which help educational institutions in achieving aspects like digitalised testing, developing high-stakes tests and exams, analysis and overall management of education data, etc.

Strategic Positioning

Currently, RM Education is planning to further strengthening its competitive position in the market with a technology based solution (Peng, 2017). Organisation is planning to implement a long term strategy which helps it to improve its strategic positioning within the market. Choosing an effective business strategy would help the company in gaining an edge over other similar companies in the market. Moreover, it would further broaden its scope of providing essential and advanced services to customers which would help in transforming education sector within UK.

There are various external drivers which successfully influence and enhance strategic positioning of RM Education. These drivers could be identified by analysing external environment which is evaluation of external pointers influencing working of an organisation (Refer to Appendix). One such external factor which is competent enough to effectively provide RM Education with a better strategic position (What Are Strategic Drivers?,2019). This is discussed below:

  • New Technology:

There are ongoing advancements in technology witnessed globally in recent times. There are frequent advancements in how new and innovative aspects are being presented in the market and effectively gaining momentum among the people. Each new technological advancements helps various industries in ceasing opportunities for long-term growth. UK education sector is associating with such technological advancements which aim at enhancing the framework of education provided by these institutions. Various statistics inform that there are more than 1,200 education technology organisations based on UK and which are effectively growing by almost 22% each year. In addition to this, this sector is estimated to reach up to £3.4 billion by 2021 (UK leading the way for educational technology, data shows,2019).

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The company is consistent in providing appropriate and advanced IT solutions to schools. However, with such strong external driver, RM Education must develop effective solution to enhance its strategic position. Seeing its effective capabilities with its Human, technical and financial resources being Valuable, Rare and Organisable, the organisation could use “Robotic Learning” as a technological solution for its competitive advantage (Refer to Appendix). It is because robotic learning would effectively enhance the overall spectrum of education provided by these schools. By this solution, the firm would be satisfying the demand of current external environment, plus would be appropriately working as per the driver (Chang, 2016).

However, before developing and presenting such solution, it is crucial and utmost important for RM Education to consider views of both its internal, as well as, external stakeholders (Refer to Appendix). While the internal stakeholders represent employees of the company, the external stakeholders include customers and suppliers.

Through detailed insights, there are various employees according to whom, the company is using outdated software and must adopt to new methods which are appropriate as per the external driver (RM Reviews,2019). In addition, schools want more innovative ways of learning which is essential for engaging students to study effectively. Lastly, according to RM education's shareholders, solution presented by company must bring effective Return on Investment.

Robotic Learning would effectively bring new opportunities for RM Education to further improve its strategic position in market. This is because there are various benefits which is associated with this solution. These benefits are presented below:

  • It would allow spontaneous answers to various questions of students which would allow the teachers to solve their doubts in an instant.
  • Information presented by this solution could be rewind and represented to students.
  • A pool of sources could be explored using this solution.

Education industry within the UK requires companies to bring better, innovative and long-term effective solutions to solve daily problems and limitations of standard teaching methods. Robotic Learning, with its outstanding features would make itself more preferable among institutions and would be successful in providing impressive Return on Investment for the company.

Strategic Choices

After determining strategic position and ways in which the solution would provide enhanced Returns on investment, it is important for RM Education to determine strategic choices that are concerned with the development of solution.

There are various models associated with business strategy and the organisation must use one of the most relevant and contributing model which serves the agenda. There are various Generic Competitive Strategies which would allow RM Education in gaining a competitive advantage (Refer to Appendix), These strategies are Cost Leadership Strategy, Differential Strategy, Focus Strategies and Hybrid Strategies. Out of all these strategies, the most relevant strategy for RM Education is Differential Strategy. According to this strategy, the product or service which is unique and different from that of existing companies, must be a strategic choice for an organisation as it would help developing a perception amongst customers regarding the offering of company being premium (Refer to Appendix). Prices too could be set up in accordance with the quality provided by the offerings. In context with RM Education, differential strategy would allow the company in gaining an effective competitive position and appropriate Return on Investment.

Various other options which are available with RM Education are areas upon which the company must grow. For this, organisation could use Ansoff's Matrix which generates four effective directions for organisation's growth (Refer to Appendix). The directions which is supported by this matrix are Market Penetration, Product Development, Market Development and Conglomerate Diversification.

Illustration 2: Strategic Decisions

Out of all these options, the most suitable option for RM Education would be Product Development. It is a direction that is adopted by companies where they provide new and innovative offerings to their customers in their existing markets. The company would still be dealing in education sector, however, would be providing innovative solution like Robotic Learning to these schools.

However, there are various innovation dilemmas which could be faced by RM Education. These dilemmas are associated with the development of the solution (Refer to Appendix). These are Technology push or market pull, Product or Process Innovation and open and closed innovation. Out of these, considerable option for RM Education would be Technology Push Or Market Pull, in which the firm must adopt the former approach. This is because, this approach encourage that managers of RM Education must give creative decision-making authority to its R&D department which would result in effective development of the solution. It would help them in bringing in all kinds of effective innovation that provide long term benefit to schools as well as the organisation.

Strategy In Action

After making appropriate choices which are effective for the firm and are competent enough to help them in developing a solution which serves for a longer time and aid RM Education to gain a competitive advantage in the market. However, before implementing strategies, the firm must undergo Gap Analysis which effectively compare actual performance with desired one (Refer to Appendix).

Illustration 3: Organisational Performance

Bigger the gap, more deviating would be the firm in achieving its objectives. Thus, it is imperative that the firm must perform in ways which completely mitigates the gap analysis. It requires managers in effectively analysing previous implementation to determine aspects which requires RM Education to be more proactive.

In addition to this, the firm must determine suitability and feasibility of the overall project. The solution must be suitable enough for the organisation to appropriately address opportunities as well as threat present in the market (Whittle and Myrick, 2016). In addition to this, it must also be feasible enough for the firm. It depends upon availability of required resources which could develop and enhance the development and distribution of this project.

To further bring the strategies to action, RM Education must develop a project plan which is mentioned below:

Executive Summary:

RM Education is an organisation which deals in providing effective IT solutions to educational institutions. To develop and enhance its strategic position, the company is planning to introduce a new technology based solution which goes by the name of “Robotic Learning”. The company is thus, required to develop and implement the same in ways in which it addresses each risk effectively.

Objectives:

  • To effectively enhance its customer base by at least 7% by the end of one year of implementation of Robotic Learning.
  • To increase profit margin by 3% within 9 months of presenting solution in the market.

Risks/Challenges Associated with the Project:

There are various risks associated with this project which are as follows:

  • RM Education might fail to find the right and appropriate talent to accomplish the overall development of solution.
  • The Artificial Intelligence and technology might fail short after its implementation.
  • Firm might fail in engaging users in the design early enough.
  • Organisation might face challenges in managing cost and quality issues.

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Strategies to address these risks/challenges:

Each project is associated with risks and other sort of uncertainties. This is because there is change associated with development of a new product (Kossyva, Sarri and Georgolpoulos, 2015). A substantial amount of change is being witnessed in the firm for implementation of the solution. However, it is essential that strategies are made which addresses each risk in a competent manner. These strategies for RM Education are described below:

  • Leadership and management could play an important role in effectively developing skills and competence required for to complete the project (Refer to Appendix). The firm could adopt democratic style of leadership which involves employees in decision making process too. It is imperative to reduce the risk of unskilled workforce (Yuliansyah, Rammal and Rose, 2016). Moreover, HR could help in providing effective training and development programs which is essential for the company in achieving success. Moreover, the company could also adopt for evolution as a strategic change method which requires RM Education in acquiring competent individuals as well as processes which helps them in development of solution with utmost ease.
  • In regards with the technology, the firm must engage in robust and extensive testing of solutions where company must consider each possible outcome while testing. This would provide long-term performance and effective sustainability.
  • To engage users in a long-term relationship with the solution as well the firm, company must adopt effective marketing techniques to market Robotic Learning internally as well as externally. Group sessions must be effectively used to market the same to internal stakeholders, explaining the benefits and feasibility of this solution. As for external, RM Education must opt Social Media and other forms of digital marketing to engage users with the solution for long term.
  • To overcome the challenge of quality assurance and cost management, IT professionals could effectively engage others in developing methods and acquiring processes which are cost effective and yet provide appropriate and topmost quality (Noe and et. al., 2017).

Part 2

Reflective Summary

It is quite challenging to engage in an activity that requires effective knowledge and implementation of various theories and concepts which is necessary for proposing and developing a new solution.

The very first step at starting of this project effectively required me to analyse gain appropriate knowledge about the company and its past performance. Then again the project needed me to examine the external environment to determine external driver. Moreover, in each step, it was expected of me to search and apply effective models and theoretical concept to appropriately determine their implementation with the new solution.

For examining the external environment, I used PESTLE analysis and it helped in getting insight about each and every macro factor which could influence the operations of RM Education. However, it was a challenging task to find information about each and every external factor. Moreover, it was even more complex to effectively isolate external driver from these factors. With appropriate analysis using quantitative as well as qualitative research methods, I found Technological Change to be the most appropriate driver for the firm.

The whole project required me to effectively use data management systems to record each and every useful information about the company as well as the new solution. It was challenging as I was somewhat unaware with its functions. Thus, I indulged myself into training which made me capable enough to handle these systems.

For the driver, however, it was essential to develop a solution which was feasible and competent enough to accomplish desired objectives within the company. The scope of driver was too broad, which required the solution to be effective enough to cover all the necessary aspects. The solution which was proposed to improve its strategic position was “Robotic Learning”. However, it was very important for me to gain knowledge about this aspect. This arose another challenge which is related to limited social media network. My network was not appropriate and effective enough to access people which could help me develop and refine my case. Thus, due to effective communication and interpersonal skills, I contacted various managers and scientists that helped me in gaining effective insight on the solution (Razak and et. al., 2016).

The next challenge called for presenting the stakeholders the solution. It took a lot of effort and facts to back up feasibility of the solution as well as its scope of success. As my role within the organisation requires me to critically evaluate each aspect in the company's best interests, I effectively engaged each stakeholder and helped them understand benefits associated with the solution.

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Time and uncertainty were another challenge which were associated with the project. Each aspect required to be accomplished in a set time frame. To achieve this, I effectively used time management skills and prioritised each activity essential for development of the solution.

RM Education effectively implement appropriate strategies which was in align with my expertise and knowledge. The company uses competent strategies and enables its employees in developing innovative and effective services. However, to better develop my role as a strategic thinker, I must develop appropriate research and analytical skills which would further broaden the scope for improvement.

In case, someone within the company proposes a strategy which would have to implemented by me, I would keep the person in question in loop and would implement effective communication strategy to make it easier for me to effectively communicate the investment decision to other employees.

In future, however, I would be quite ready to actually accept an opportunity to work on something effective as implementing my own investment case. I think I am ready enough to appropriately work on my own technological solution and its implementation within an organisation. I would be working with each interpersonal, intervention, analytical as well as evaluative skill to research and develop appropriate solution as per the external driver and market demand (Amran and et. al., 2016).

Conclusion

Thus, it is concluded that business strategy is effective in proposing and implementing a new strategy within a company. Evaluating external environment effectively helps in isolating external drivers that effectively could help in grasping future opportunities. The solution proposed must be appropriate enough to provide benefits to customers as well as organisation. On the other hand, it is essential that each stakeholder must be communicated and engaged in terms of providing their views on the solution for further facilitation of its implementation process. Moreover, strategic actions must be effectively undertaken to determine the direction in which the firm wants to continue as well as enhancing scope of its success. Lastly, reflective summary helps in evaluating overall experience and increasing the scope of success in future projects.

References

Books and Journals

  • Akter, S., and et. al., 2016. How to improve firm performance using big data analytics capability and business strategy alignment?. International Journal of Production Economics. 182.pp.113-131.
  • Amran, A., and et. al., 2016. Business strategy for climate change: An ASEAN perspective. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. 23(4). pp.213-227.
  • Chang, J.F., 2016. Business process management systems: strategy and implementation. Auerbach Publications.
  • Kossyva, D., Sarri, K. and Georgolpoulos, N., 2015. Co-opetition: a business strategy for SMEs in times of economic crisis. South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics. 12(1).
  • Noe, R.A., and et. al., 2017. Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Peng, M.W., 2017. Cultures, institutions, and strategic choices: Toward an institutional perspective on business strategy. The Blackwell handbook of cross‐cultural management.pp.52-66.
  • Razak, N.A., and et. al., 2016. Theories of knowledge sharing behavior in business strategy. Procedia Economics and Finance. 37.pp.545-553.
  • Scholes, M.S., 2015. Taxes and business strategy. Prentice Hall.
  • Whittle, R. and Myrick, C.B., 2016. Enterprise business architecture: The formal link between strategy and results. CRC Press.
  • Yuliansyah, Y., Rammal, H.G. and Rose, E., 2016. Business strategy and performance in Indonesia’s service sector.Journal of Asia Business Studies. 10(2). pp.164-182.
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