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Accenture’s War for Talent in India

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Some fact about India:
* India population count ~1.2 Billion people.
* 20% of the population lives in urban areas, 80% lives in rural areas. * Upper class in less than 5% of the population, mid-class is ~ 15%. * India economy grows ~ 8% each year in the last 10 years. *

What is at the stake for The Japanese Brands (Sony, Panasonic, NEC) Two American giant corporations, Google & Apple dominate one of the biggest and fastest growing markets with a junction with Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese developers and producer – this leave Japanese out of the game. iPad & Nexus control 90% of the Japanese market which is well known for being loyal to Japanese products.

Japanese brands desire to take a bite in this huge market where almost every child and adult is going to own Tablet in the developed countries and the same for the middle-class in the developing countries. It became clear to the Japanese brands that losing this market will not only result in stagnation, but might hurt their brands position in the long term internally but also externally to Japan. Japanese consumer electronics brands want to close the gaps Vs. their competition as well create a clear competitive advantage in their products. Competition is about killing your competition

How competing with a giant as Apple Corp. with a superior customer experience? How competing with a giant as Samsung or Asus which is dominating the tablets market? The starting point is creating a clear competitive advantage recognized by the customer(s).

Sony is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders and third-largest television manufacturer in the world, after Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Sony is ranked 87th on the 2012 list of Fortune Global 500. Panasonic is the world’s fifth-largest television manufacturer and is among the world’s 20 largest semiconductor vendors. NEC Semiconductors business unit was one of the worldwide top 20 semiconductor sales leaders and is a member of the Sumitomo Group.

Cultures Clashes:
Japan and the US had history of clashes, rivalry, and battles which eventually ended with an absolute defeat of Japan by the US. Since the atomic attack in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan became one of the strongest economies in the world and dominate the US market in the Automobiles and Consumer electronics industries. Japan succeeded to transform their military competencies into economic strength and they were able to transform the military achievements into economic one. Losing their own market to US Corp. is a scenario they want to eliminate.

Market Size:
Japan has 127 Million people.
Currently one out of 9 people own a Tablet.
The estimation is that one out of 3 people will own a Tablet in the upcoming 5 years. Each Tablet maker can develop applications and services market internally in Japan. (Movies, Songs, )

Joining To defeat the iPad:
It is clear that in order to defeat such a giant as iPad, it takes no less than gigantic force. Sony, Panasonic and NEC realized that in order to succeed in this mission, they need to join forces. iPad hold ~90% of the Japanese market, to win this market it takes a combined effort.

Sony and Panasonic had joined ventures in the LEDs/LCDs, Sony and NEC had joined ventures in the Batteries industry, Panasonic and NEC have developed chips together etc. Those corporations are familiar to each other and collaborate from time to time. A joined venture is not strange for Japanese corporations, especially when the goal is push US products from Motherland.

Our strategy was to position our product as a best total solution and experience. We realized that the key to win the competition is to create a customer intimacy; this would create a solid competitive advantage we could maintain over time. Treacy M. and Wiersema F. in their important book “The Discipline of Market Leaders” stress the process and benefits of creating Customer Intimacy in page 194, Figure 11.

We knew at day one that our NRE cost would be very high, ~ 40 man/years to develop the ATP. The Product Cost in our case is not a real factor, since our customers the Field Engineers would get it for free anyway, but theoretically its price could not be low in analogy. We also did not want to make the best product technologically wise due to the TTM limitation. Our competitions were 2 years ahead of us when we started and we knew we had an opportunity window of ~2 years to win or lose. It was clear that losing mean losing the entire market. If we had lost, CT management would never agree to fund such internal program again and would choose our internal competitors’ product. Our decision was to lower our profile and to focus on the execution of our tactics. This would buy us precious times while the competition does very little progress. Choosing a frontal attack was out of the question due to our inferiority vs. our competition at the starting point. We were planning a “Flank Attack”. See page 328 in Kotler & Keller – “The challenger spots areas where the opponent is underperforming” and this is exactly what we did. (see SWOT below)

Since our competition had mediocre technology, there was no need to invest in a cutting edge product in order to win the market in the short run. Another important point was to gain a critical users mass. We understood that any user that would decide to use our product would increase the probability that others will, since troubleshooting knowledge sharing is a critical aspect any user carefully considers. If your colleagues are using ‘A‘ tool to share knowledge you would not switched to ‘B’ tool. The strategy we have developed aimed to create a clear competitive advantage that would create a game change in this market that is possible for us to maintain over time and control it. Quoting Michael E. Porter in her book Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance: “Competitive advantage is the essential companion to the competitive strategy. While competitive strategy concentrates on the industry, competitive advantage concentrates on the firm” This quotation stresses the great importance of the compensative advantage regardless the different strategies one can decide of. The following are the main points of the SWOT analysis done four years ago vs. our internal competition. Note: SWOT done per the external competition is not mentioned in details in this paper. There is a similarity on some points in the internal and external competition SWOT. For further details, see attached benchmarking vs. competition presentation I have developed and maintained for CT management.

Our competitor’s main weaknesses:
* Lack of knowledge in CT core business.
* Large focus on multi-modality products, not enough attention to individual modality. * Global team, multi-site, multi-cultural, multi-languages, multi-time zones, matrix management. * Many drivers, many organization changes year by year – long TTM. * Poor linkage to the end customers – poor business perception. * Mediocre marketing activities for the tools, obsolete and heavy products platform. * Disability to acquire troubleshooting knowledge from the customers. * Not enough training and deployment materials.

* Strong dependency on the CT SW release
* Mediocre product reliability.
* Underestimated their competition. (us)
* Mediocre services – complicated to download install and maintain your apps as a user.
Our internal competitor’s main strength:
* Recognition and support of the senior management.
* Large budget and available resources.
* Infrastructure to initiate and run big projects.
* They started 2 years ahead of us!!!
* Prestige.

The killer instincts
The following are the main tactics derived from the SWOT, we had planned and executed to kill our competition. Many of the tactics chosen to eliminate the internal competition were suitable and efficient to eliminate the external competition.

Building Strong Brand via Advertizing, Promotion and Public Relationships One of the tactics mentioned to eliminate our competition and build a strong brand image, was to prepare state of the art Marketing Advertizing, PR and Promotions as this was a weak point of our competition. See Table 18.1 page 535 in Kotler & Keller – in the same way, we have mapped the available Medias

One of the tactics we have used was to have the buy-in of the NA (North America) head of Service (VP). Our largest installed base is in NA and if we convince the NA Service Organization to utilize our new tools, we may change the game. Please see the Philips Radio Podcast video-clip with the message from the NA VP, Directors and Specialists, this made a great impact! We collected successful stories for over two years and we had communicated them on monthly basis to our customers. We made several User Testimonials with user who are considered as a “role models” and share with our customers. We have trained Philips training centers trainers with the new tools and conducted webinars and computerized based training. These activities on one hand were a deployment activity, but also generate lively discussions and supported PR. Looking at the different incentives built in the Newsletter, it was clear that we must to have the buy-in of a heterogenic target audience – Service organizations management, Service Engineers Levels-1/2/3, CT management, Training Centers, Remote Centers etc.

We made the buzz with these Advertizing, Promotion and PR tools for few months. The PR, together with the excellent product developed, was extremely effective and result in over 95% of our Field Engineers using our tools on a daily basis. By doing this we are building a strong brand – ATP Program, which would hold a powerfully positive position within our customers psyche. This later on will allow us to continue and expand our business.

In Sean McPheat web-site I found a bluntly definition and advantages of the kind of PR I have used.


Market Expansion
New Opportunities Created enables frontiers expansion.
In the recent years while developing our Proactive Remote Monitoring capability and diagnostics tools, we have experience the great advantage of it. It is not only improves our service performance, reduces our operational cost

Appendix – THE ASAHI SHIMBUN: 3 electronics makers pitch new tablets to be iPad killers Three major Japanese electronics manufacturers on Jan. 21 unveiled new tablet computers packed with selling points such as thinness, toughness and TV readiness to compete with popular foreign entries that dominate the domestic market. With their new models, Sony Mobile Communications Inc., Panasonic Corp. and NEC Corp. are taking aim at foreign tablets, such as the iPad of U.S.-based Apple Inc. and the Nexus 7 of Google Inc. in the United States, which control about 90 percent of the market in Japan. Sony Mobile plans to lure customers in the red-hot tablet market with the Xperia Tablet Z, which it is proclaiming the world’s thinnest 10.1-inch tablet. At only 6.9 millimeters thick and weighing only 495 grams, the Xperia Tablet Z is 25 percent thinner and lighter than the iPad, Sony said. The new Sony tablet is compatible with LTE, a standard for high-speed communication and will be released by NTT DoCoMo Inc. as early as March.

Sony Mobile also plans to market a different model compatible with wireless local area network (WLAN) services, but prices are yet to be set for either model, company officials said. Panasonic is fighting the influx of foreign tablets with its Toughpad JT-B1, which can endure harsh environments and rugged use, as its name suggests. The company said its 7-inch Toughpad can endure a drop from a height of 150 centimeters, withstand temperatures between minus 10 degrees and 50 degrees, and be used even in dusty conditions and survive being submerged in strong currents.

Panasonic said the Toughpad’s resistance to vibrations is high enough to meet U.S. military standards. Expected to carry a price tag of around 90,000 yen ($1,004), the tablet will initially be targeted at corporate customers. NEC also announced the release of the Life Touch L TLX7W/ 1A, a 10.1-inch tablet bundled with a TV tuner for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. Users can watch TV programs on a high-definition screen by connecting the tuner, the size of a compact dictionary, via cable to an antenna terminal. If a hard disk, which can be purchased separately, is connected to the tuner, users can transfer prerecorded programs to the tablet and watch them at their leisure, the company said. The new Life Touch tablet will be released Jan. 31 and carry a price tag of around 65,000 yen, NEC officials said.

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