Your task is to critically analyze an industry’s value chain, and then identify potential opportunities for a fictitious small business to mimic the approach of the larger players in the industry. You may choose ANY industry. In your analysis you’re being asked to pay particular attention to two potential areas for value creation: 1. Increased integration of business functions (how various functions are linked and/or interdependent) 2. Use of IT in business to create a competitive advantage. The assignment is to examine the value chains of at least two companies in the chosen industry (they MUST be public companies), with a view to determining how each of the players creates value and/or a competitive advantage, and how they differ from each other in their approaches. Then you will make recommendations for the fictitious small business in the same industry to copy the approach of the larger players. Your grade will be partially determined by the feasibility of your ideas (many things that large public companies do just can’t be done by SME’s). Specifically, you should address the following: 1. Prepare a detailed value chain analysis for your two chosen companies. (40%) A detailed value chain analysis will include MANY sub-activities under each of the nine major categories. Failure to go deep on this piece will make the rest of the assignment very difficult to do well. If you just say “train employees” under HR, for example, that’s not really useful. You need to say how, and what, and when they do that training. 2. Outline opportunities for an SME in this industry to mimic or adopt specific practices that its larger competitors are successfully using to create a competitive advantage today. Structure your analysis in the following sections: a. Business Functional Integration (20%) Look for innovative synergies between different functional areas that contribute to the competitive advantage that could also be created in an SME. In this section, you should also consider the source and effect of cultural, financial, and organizational difficulties found when integrating business functions, and offer creative solutions to barriers to resolve them if possible. b. IT in Business (20%) Look for finds ways to use IT to create competitive advantage throughout the entire value chain. c. General recommendations (10%) Style, spelling, and grammar will also count (10%). Use business format – headings and sub-headings, no long essays. Make sure proper referencing is used (footnotes preferred). If you include a chart, there must be a source above or below the chart (unless it’s your own data). Use of course concepts is required and you should include as many course concepts as you can (without “stuffing”). To make grading easier ando your grade higher, highlight the locations where you make use of course concepts in the paper.
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