Google: Achieving Industry-Wide Product Leadership

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Google: Achieving Industry-Wide Product Leadership

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ................................................................................................................ 4

Introduction .......................................................................................................... 5

Brief History of Google ...........................................................................................7

Google: Taking the Three Value Disciplines in Perspective...................................7

Google’s Product Leadership Strategy ..................................................................9

Google’s IT Support Strategy................................................................................10

Conclusion ...........................................................................................................13

References ...........................................................................................................14

ABSTRACT

Value disciplines are key factors in determining market leadership in any given endeavour. The three widely accepted value disciplines are operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. These disciplines have their peculiar features and requirements in terms of IT support. In studying Google as a company, it is evident that while it implements all three strategies to a certain degree, it leans more towards product leadership and leverages on that to establish a formidable presence in the search engine market. Google has a sound IT infrastructure in terms of hardware and software that supports the product leadership value discipline.

INTRODUCTION

1 Overview of the three value disciplines

According to Treacy & Wiersema (1993, p. 85), there are three ways an organization can attain market leadership in its industry. These disciplines are operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. For a business to dominate the market regardless of the sector it operates in, that business must strive to achieve mastery in at least one of these disciplines while being proficient at the other two (Eichen 2006, pp 33-34). Each of these disciplines will be studied exhaustively.

1 Operational Excellence

This entails delivering excellent products and services at minimal cost to the organization. Companies that pursue this strategy strive to minimize overhead and transaction costs, reduce the number of production steps and optimize business processes all in bid to ensure that products and services are delivered to the customer at minimal inconvenience (Treacy & Wiersema 1993, p. 85). This implies an emphasis on business processes and procedures to make them as effective as possible. Zero tolerance for error is usually the norm in firms that practise this strategy. Eichen (2006, p. 33) agrees with Treacy & Wiersema (1993) that operational excellence involves providing customers with excellent products at the lowest total cost. Although Haddock, Mizuno & Ngai (2006) agrees that practising operation excellence in China involves providing quality service, it maintains that this could be at high costs as traditional low labour costs in China’s coastal cities do not always offset disadvantages such as logistic costs and lack of scale. Haddock, Mizuno & Ngai (2006) gave an example of Haier as a company that never compromised the quality of their products in China not minding the cost. Haier’s CEO was known to destroy products that did not meet with set standards and as a result, in 2005 Haier was ranked first of China’s Top 10 Global Brands by Financial Times (Haddock, Mizuno & Ngai, 2006).

2 Customer Intimacy

Companies that engage in customer intimacy always seek to tailor their products and services to suit the continuous changing requirements of the customer (Treacy & Wiersema, 1993 p. 87). Customer intimacy is about creating a trusting and long-term relationship with customers. It...
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