Sunday, 24 August 2014

Use of outside research firms

Meaning of outside research: Outside research involves the procurement of research and to some extent development services from other firms. These firms are specialized and have expertise in the research field given their exposure in running projects which is their core business.
  • Reduced bias due to group thinking- The problem of using internal research or in house research is that the process and the result may be biased and subjected to other staff being unable to challenge ideas or opinions of their superiors thus subjecting the entire process to mob mentality and sycophancy. Outside research reduces this bias because the information they gather is what they report and this is not influenced by the executives at the firm.
  • Proprietary software and systems resources highly qualified researchers- Due to concentration and specialization outside research firms will over the years discover new valuable processes and softwares that may improve the reliability and validity of research. These systems will be patented and thus to access these resources the only option would be to procure their services.
  • The ability to cover more ground- Outside research firms has invested in human resources and systems to ensure they perform the research function efficiently. Thus they are able to utilize a large number of human resources to conduct the research and so in turn speeding up the process.
  • Provides time to internal staff to concentrate on other tasks core business- By procuring outside research the internal research department would concentrate on formulating projects to pursue. Thus they will be available for creative purposes and the performance of the actual research process can then be outsourced.
  • Ability to gather specialist expert opinions- given their existence in the research field outside research firms develop valuable networks of opinion leaders and experts who they can easily source information from faster than an internal research firm could.
  • Obtain outside opinion which you can use to build on internal knowledge- Outside research firms facilitate information sharing between the company and themselves. The benefit to the company is that they would notice or be informed on other ideas originating from the research firm that they may not have thought of in the first place.

  • Rigid guidelines and requirements may not move at the same pace as the org- Outside research firms has their way of doing things and this makes them very rigid. This may be seen through resource need whereby they may need more that the company can provide and they may not offer customizations because of their internal procedures.
  • Lacks an opportunity for internal customization where the marketing staff can discuss features with engineering to see what is viable- Internal research has the ability to consult with different other departments on a one on one basis to know what is possible and what may take time to achieve thus providing a better outlook and direction of the research in real-time.
  • Inability to Act on info instantly as it comes up through the research-some of the information that comes up during a research may require immediate attention or action. Thus an internal research department would quickly deliver this information to concerned parties for expeditious action.
  • Fake results or use outdated information- external research firms may also offer fake results this is especially if the resources provided were not enough or they did not perform the service appropriately. Thus to meet deadlines they may present fabricated data and misguide the company.
  • May be working with your competitor info risk leaks are high- given that an outside research firms are at liberty to work with any other company. Chances are they may also be working for your competitor. Information disclosure becomes an issue and the competition may get information on what the company is trying to do.

Role of information systems in business decision making

information systems in business
Access to information
Information systems offer access to information that is needed for decision making. Businesses collect a lot of information about their environment, customers, and competitors among others. This information is meant to guide the decision making process of the business. Information systems will organize this data in order to simplify and provide for quick access to this information.
Collection of Data
Information systems offer an opportunity to collect, store and process information important in decision making.
Interpretation of information
Information systems offer decision an opportunity to recognize trends and patterns. This information helps to guide them in making the right decisions.
Coordination and collaboration
Information systems enable members in the decision making process to collaborate in the process by providing them with access to information from different locations. This fosters team work which is essential in effective decision making.
Information dissemination and presentation
An information system helps in better presentation of information to decision makers and this enables them to make the appropriate given the interpretation of the information. For example bar graphs and pie charts created by Microsoft excel
Before decisions are made information needs to be shared within the process of decision making and it is through information systems that this can be achieved efficiently and effectively
·         Difference between structured, semi-structured and unstructured decisions
Structured decisions
Can be described as a decision whereby all sections of a decision (data, process and evaluation) are determined. This requires that this type of decision be routine, repetitive making the process of dealing with it defined and specific. They are decisions made in clear circumstances.
Unstructured decisions
Although similar to the structured decisions in terms of sections of the decision used there is less agreement on which data and process to be used. The evaluation aspect of the decision is also left to qualified individuals within the organization. This type of decision leaves no room for premeditation of the procedures to be followed and thus they are made in situations which are unclear and one-shot.
Semi structured decisions

The main difference with the other types of decisions is that this types leaves room for human judgment in the decision making process. This type of decision also maintains some level of agreement between the 3 sections of decision making (data, process and evaluation)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Market positioning in the Kenya telecommunication consumer markets

The Kenyan telecommunication industry which features several firms like Safaricom, Airtel and Orange offer a variety of products and services to their target market. Among some of the services offered include mobile communication, fixed line communication, data and mobile money services. The firms have continued to compete by positioning themselves within the market through changes in the marketing mix elements price, place, product and promotion. The telecommunication firms seek to offer competitive prices of their products and services, superior products, stronger networks in terms of distribution and effective promotion to reach their customer market. This can be best explained through the following cases of the firms as they interact with their market and changes they make to ensure they develop and maintain a competitive edge.
Price: Airtel moves to increase its tariffs
In a recent twist of events Airtel Kenya announced an increase in their prices which will place them slightly higher than that of the industry leader Safaricom. Although Airtel has not confirmed a change in strategy this move signifies an attempt to stop the price war. The move to increase tariffs on its major tariffs (Klub 254 and Vuka) is likely a result of the need for the firm to invest and improve the quality of its data products. But the company still maintains the low pricing strategy on its (Tosha) tariff for competitive advantage on cost leadership within the customer market.
Product: Safaricom Product innovation M-PESA/ M-SHWARI
Safaricom through introduction of its M-PESA Product placed Kenya on the world map as the first country in the world to use the service. M-PESA allows its subscribers to use their mobile phones to access banking services where the user can send and receive money on their mobile phones. M-SHWARI which is a complementary product offers the ability to save and earn interest for their users.  This shows a commitment by telecommunication firms to improve their products to attract more customers.
Place: $293m investment by Safaricom to improve its network coverage
Safaricom recently invested $293 million to improve its network and make it the best in the country. In a statement by its CEO Bob Collymore, the company has increased its sites to 2,905, 1,604 of these are 3G enabled and this has improved the distribution of their products and services to reach more customers in the market.
Promotion: Digital promotion
Firms within the telecommunication are increasing the use of digital platforms for promotion. All the companies have an online presence through their websites and social media profiles. They use these platforms to engage with their customers who prefer interactive channels of promotion instead of the traditional static methods. Digital platforms have offered the firms an opportunity to interact in real-time with their customers.


Thiong’o, P. (2013). Will Airtel kenya’s move to raise call rates end price wars among telcos?. The East African.
Institute of Developing Economies- Japan External Trade Organizations. (n.d.). Safaricom Limited

Sato, N. (2013). Safaricom in $293m investment to have “best network in Kenya”. Human IPO.