ASSIGNMENT 2 — PART B
The objective of Part B of the assignment is to produce a written report addressing the question of how enterprises in the industry segment are using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support business strategies, to seek competitive advantage (CA) or sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) and to identify opportunities for further use of these technologies by businesses in this industry segment to change or improve their businesses, or to gain CA and which of the strategies might be sustainable.
Each group is required to:
Prepare and submit a written report on the group’s investigation to Learnonline. See below for details of the report requirements.
The report will have an executive summary.
An executive summary is a summary of a report made so that readers can rapidly become acquainted with a large body of material without having to read it all. It will usually contain a brief statement of the background information, concise analysis and main conclusions. The executive summary will be on a separate page directly before the main report and should be around half a page in length. The executive summary is in addition to the ten pages (maximum) of the main report.
The report will have a title page and a contents page.
The report questions
The main written report will address the following questions / issues:
1. The first part of your report will focus on the chosen industry
Begin by researching to build an understanding of the size and nature of the industry you are investigating. Create a demographic profile of the entire industry (not just the segment you have chosen); its size; its geographic distribution; the number and types of competitors; its profitability, whether it is a growth industry, stagnant or in decline; its attractiveness to investors, any industry trends that may help to understand the industry as it is currently.
2. The second part of your report will focus on the segment you have researched. This section will provide information about your segment: a demographic profile, its size, the number and types of competitors; its profitability, whether it is a growth industry, stagnant or in decline; its attractiveness to investors, any industry trends that may help to understand the segment as it is currently. This section should be presented in a manner that allows the segment to be compared to the industry as a whole. Together, sections 1 and 2 give the reader some context in which to understand the rest of the report.
3. The third part of your report will focus on the businesses you have selected in your segment. Identify and explain the distinct business models used by the enterprises you have investigated.
4. Then investigate and analyse your industry segment using Porter’s Competitive Forces Model. Use the results of your investigation to describe and classify the forces within the segment. You should describe any differences amongst the business you have investigated. For this part you will need to consider all competitive forces in the industry that may affect the businesses in your segment.
5. This part of your investigation focuses on business responses to the major forces identified in 4. (i.e. how they compete). Identify a range of the strategies that businesses have adopted to provide them with competitive advantage (CA) and which of these are sustainable competitive advantages (SCA) in response to these forces. Your analysis should also consider issues such as cost leadership, innovation, differentiation, niche market and other strategies.
6. This part focuses on the internal arrangements within the individual businesses you have investigated — how they organise their businesses to implement their business strategies. Use Porter’s Value Chain Analysis Model to analyse organisations in the industry.
The aim here is to explain how different businesses organise their processes to achieve their organisational objectives. You should choose to concentrate on at least two contrasting organisations in your segment to illustrate competitive responses. Justify your choice.
As this question requires some knowledge of internal processes, you may find it difficult to obtain specific information. Use whatever information is available to you to address this question as best you can.
7. Use Business Process Approach/ Model to identify how businesses in your industry segment are categorised as internal and external processes and how they enhance organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness.
8. Report on supply chain systems, initiatives and management in the industry segment. How are businesses in your segment using ICTs and applications to support B2B processes for CA and SCA? There is no specific model or framework that you can use for this analysis. Also, depending on your segment and businesses, there may be very little in the way of supply chains to examine. However, some businesses in this industry have extensive supply chains to examine. You may need to make general description from Information Systems Technologies that you find.
9. For one business in the industry segment, analyse alignment of IS/IT using Strategic Alignment Model. This section of your report should show the ways in which information systems and technologies are being used, or could be used, to lay IT strategy by aligning business domain and IT domain effectively. Note: You are required to report on one appropriate individual business in your segment.
10. Explore the Internet and other sources to identify new and “trending” information and communication technologies, systems and applications that are becoming available or that will soon be available to businesses in this industry to assist them to gain a CA or SCA. Describe these new technologies, systems and applications.
11. Explain how the new information and communication technologies, systems, and applications identified in #10 above might be used to create a CA or SCA.
Your explanation should be in terms of some or all of the following: effects on existing business models, creating new business models, supporting existing strategies, creating new business strategies,
specific additions to a portfolio of information systems improving ability to compete in terms of the five forces analysis, improving / creating new processes in terms of the value chain analysis, improving customer relations.
12. How might these ICTs or applications create competitive disadvantage?
13 Provide a critique of two of the analysis tools you have used. Evaluate how effective they are for exploring competitive advantage in the industry. Use a separate section with headings in your report for each analysis tool. Provide supporting argument for your criticisms.
You are required to comment on how well they fulfil the purpose for which they were designed, not to just point to areas for which they were not designed.
You must write the report using only the articles/materials you have found in your investigations. You are expected to make use of a substantial portion of those found in your research. You are required to reference the paper correctly using the Harvard Referencing Method. The reference list is to be additional to the pages of report.
Attach a reference list of the articles your group cited in the report. Label the reference list Appendix A. The list must be divided into refereed and non-refereed. This appendix is additional to the report and in additional to the page limit of the report. Each reference must be correctly cited in the report.
Note: a reference list is a list of references used and cited in a written essay or report. A bibliography is a list of all articles found and read in your research, regardless of whether they were cited in the report. You have been asked for a reference list, not a bibliography.
The university library and the Internet are useful sources. Please do not contact companies in the industry.
Students often ask how many articles they should collect in order to gain sufficient information to complete the assignment satisfactorily. The answer is “as many as are needed.” This is probably not very helpful to inexperienced investigators. In order to provide some guidance I suggest the following. Bear in mind that this is a minimum that will probably be sufficient. You may find you need more. It is important that you obtain quality material, not just the first articles you come across. A useful guide is that if you search long enough you will eventually find that the new sources only repeat what you have already found. This guide is only useful if you have conducted and extensive investigation. If your investigation reaches this point you may claim to have conducted an exhaustive investigation; that is you have exhausted the supply of new material.
As a guide, each member of the group should find, read, note and contribute at least six (6) appropriate (quality) articles taken from leading (fully refereed) academic electronic journals. In addition, each member of the group will find, read, note and contribute at least six (6) appropriate (quality) articles taken from other, non-refereed, sources such as the Internet, newspapers and non-refereed business journals. You are free to use more than this number. As a group, use this material to prepare the relevant section of your group report.
‒ References: Format according to UniSA Harvard style. All academic texts must be referenced. If you find a source of information that is not academic, it still needs to be acknowledged accordingly. Even though a non-academic text will not count as one of the minimum five academic references, it may still be important information in the context of the report.
‒ Always cite another person’s ideas or work, if you are not sure how to do this please access the Academic Integrity Module: https://lo.unisa.edu.au/mod/book/view.php?id=252142
‒ In addition to helping you to avoid plagiarism, referencing also adds credibility and substance to your work, it demonstrates that you have read widely and enables you to provide evidence and information to support your ideas.
‒ You will be assessed on the content and presentation which includes use of appropriate language and terminology, adhering to referencing conventions, and structuring texts professionally: e.g. headings, headers and footers, cover pages, and so on.
FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS OF PART B
The assessment of Part B will include the form as well as the content of the report.
To ensure you focus well on the investigation and to present your findings well, you should address each of the questions / issues separately and number each question as per this assignment. Your written report must include a reference list as an appendix but no other appendices.
The following formatting is required
• One page for the executive report.
• One page for the list of contents
• Maximum 10 written pages for the main report. The 10 pages do not include the title page, executive report, list of contents, or appendices.
• Margins 2.5cm all round and font 11-point Calibri including headings.
• Single-sided report.
• Single-line spacing, one clear line space between numbered and titled paragraphs.
• Each section of the report correctly numbered to correspond to the questions together with a brief and appropriate heading.
• Header – course name, group ID number. • Footer – date of printing, page number
• Note: These guidelines are assessed.