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Case Study Analysis.SMART Tech

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Case Study Analysis.SMART Tech

  1. 1. Case Study Analysis: 2 SMART Technologies Professor: David Butterton Marketing 1120-001 Summer 2015 Student: Myles S. Foerter Student Number: 300193633 David Lam Campus, A1130
  2. 2. History, Development and Growth: SMART Technologies was founded in Calgary, Alberta by David Martin and Nancy Knowlton in the year of 1987. These two Canadian innovators came together in 1991 to introduce the worlds first interactive digital whiteboard. The SMART Whiteboard was referred to as the “21st century’s answer to overhead projectors.” Digital whiteboards turned into the companies initial offering which increased the opportunities for SMART Tech due to the evolution of technology itself between 1987 and 2007. Sales grew as the demand for the interactive whiteboard went viral giving the firm over half of the global market share by 2009. In the time period of a year from 2009 to 2010 SMART Tech had increased 38.4% between the revenues and profits. SMART Technologies Internal Strengths and Weaknesses: One of the key strengths of SMART Technologies is that it's the first of its kind allowing the firm to build a strong brand name with loyal customers. Being the first ever interactive digital whiteboard has given SMART Technologies a steady lead on how it differentiates its self from new competition in the market. As time passed since the first whiteboard was introduced to the market, technology evolved due to the high demand of it everywhere. This created a weakness for SMART Technologies allowing a handful of new well developed competitors to join the playing field such as: Microsoft, Dell and HP. With SMART Technologies they only had a few offerings to there consumers which made it difficult for the company to obtain quality staff who knew how to help the firm grow. Although the staff of SMART Tech was limited they did have the knowledge and education to retain the quality of the products. The outcome of the weakness, being hard to employ qualified staff balanced out the strength of having limited staff who are capable of maintaining the prestige of the products. As time progressed everyone in an elementary and secondary school was aware of the interactive digital whiteboard, this allowed the company to have low costs on promoting there products.
  3. 3. SWOT Analysis Strengths: -Strong brand name with loyal customers -Canadian company -First of its kind making people are already aware of their products -Educated employees capable of retaining value -Products are everywhere in schools Weaknesses: -Competitive market with many similar variations of the offerings -Hard to obtain quality staff with the required education -Limited growth paths -Limited access to receiving feedback from consumers Opportunities: -Can expand with new product lines to reach new consumers in their target market -Take advantage of the evolution of technology as the demand has risen -Schools and military organizations require new technology constantly Threats: -Price sensitive consumers evaluating similar product benefits -Large competitor firms are always innovating -Barriers of entry to new product lines SMART Technologies External Environment: As I stated previously about the evolution of technology compared to the life cycle of SMART Technologies, opportunities are being discovered immensely. The company is realizing how important technology is to the average person. SMART Tech has the opportunity to open themselves up to the ultimate consumer rather then mainly being directed towards government and corporate markets. Seems how they have not done this in the past, this gives the larger companies – Microsoft and Dell - a lead on marketing to a variety of segments within the market. This opportunity taken by the competitors acts as a threat to SMART Technologies if SMART Tech does not decide to grab hold of this chance to grow. The high demand for technology is handing opportunities to SMART Tech to expand and broaden there product lines to all consumers. No matter how many opportunities are given to SMART Tech, the competition is innovating at a pace which makes it hard for SMART Tech to keep up. By listening to the voice of the consumer the competition has taken market shares away from SMART Technologies. The firm has secured there sales to schools, but schools need new technology at a consistent rate giving SMART Tech an opportunity to act on this need. Now that SMART Tech has competition with variations of their products, consumers are
  4. 4. becoming price sensitive by evaluating the benefits of the different characteristics and features being offered. The “SMART” Mission: David Martin and Nancy Knowlton came up with the mission to inspire innovation and to improve the way the world works and learns. These two Albertan's are defined by their customers who discover new ideas, new ways of learning and new ways of collaborating. Hence the firms slogan “Inspired Collaboration”. By having the companies mission be directed to inspire innovation and learning techniques, SMART Technologies has consistently focused on caring for their consumers since the day it was founded. Goals: 1. To invent the first interactive digital whiteboard. 2. To place a “smart board” in one of every five class rooms and have over seven million units globally by 2015. 3. To go beyond the education market. 4. Make the systems easy to use while giving a positive experience. Corporate-Level Strategy: SMART Technologies has approached the strategy of targeting organizational buyers built of government and corporate consumers. By using a product differentiation strategy with this target, the firm is able to point out key beneficial features and characteristics of the hardware and software. In order to reach new growth paths of the firm, the firm must apply multiple strategies by changing the offerings given to new staff with higher education. Raising the offerings given to employees will give them a future with the company to grow side by side. The strategy could be altered also by listening to the “voice of the consumer” to discover what SMART Technologies is missing and should apply to the products in the future.
  5. 5. Competitive Advantages: The software that SMART Tech offers if by far the most significant attribute of the firms products. It stands above the competition with 8 different formats of software for the smart board. The following software's are: Smart Notebook,collaborative learning software which allows users to compile images and other media into virtual notebooks. Smart Notebook Math Tools is an add-on to Smart Notebook and includes virtual math tools, including a ruler, protractor and a compass. Smart Sync classroom management software allows teachers to monitor what each student is doing on a student computer Smart Response interactive response system allows students to answer questions posed by questions using various devices, such as specialized hardware remotes, computers, and smart-phone applications. Smart Ideas concept-mapping software is a multilevel concept mapping software Bridgit conferencing software is a data conferencing software that connects multiple parties across distances and allows users to share their desktop/laptop or interactive whiteboard screen with all participants. Smart Bridgit includes voice over, web-cam capability and digital ink. Smart Meeting Pro software is a collaborative meeting software that connects two or more desktops/laptops or interactive whiteboards in the same meeting room, or across distances when using Bridgit. Smart Vantage technology management software allows for centralized administration and management of Smart's hardware products. SMART Tech has a lead on the competition not only with the software they offer, but also with some key factors such as; product performance, ease of use, brand recognition, value of the products and services and the firms distribution capabilities. All of the following add up to place the company at a prestige level in the industry they compete in. They have created a partnership with Microsoft, but SMART Tech still remains as “SMART Technologies” and are creating on their own without branches below. Therefore the company is a single level organization. SMART Tech is using a competitive differentiation strategy by keeping the market aware they are the first ever interactive digital whiteboard. The investment strategy they use is a low-cost promotion strategy due the company being in the maturity stage of its life cycle. They use this strategy because awareness is already high of their offerings, there is no need to invest more.
  6. 6. Competitive Advantages Continued: In order for SMART Tech to continue its growth in the “tech-world” it should look more into exploiting its partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft is known all around the world for there product mix and could push SMART Technologies products to reach new global consumers. The company has achieved two forms of strategies (low-cost and differentiation) which are directed to the product plan and the investment plan. Competitive Disadvantage: The physical product itself does not have a competitive advantage due to its basic body from the first day it was developed. SMART Tech has been recycling the model design rather then reconstructing a new body through each generation of the whiteboard. SMART Technologies Company Structure: Within SMART Tech, the structure of the company shows a vertical differentiation because of the multiple levels of hierarchy shown in the organization through management and roles of the employees. There is also a horizontal differentiation in the product structure, this is shown by the breakdown of the products. An example of this would be the smart board; consisting of a body which holds the software. The main level of software is then composed of elite software and base software. The different levels of hierarchy in SMART Tech all encourage one another with allowing each employee to aim for a future with the organization. Managers are rewarded when excelling at work which encourages management to push their abilities. With rewards on the table for staff excelling this resolves conflict among the organization. Recommendations: My recommendation for SMART Technologies would be to eliminate an assortment of their product mix such as document cameras, audio systems, pen displays and wireless slates. By doing this, the company can increase the focus more on the development of their initial
  7. 7. product – the smart board. Collecting new data from previous consumers through interactive surveys and focus groups will benefit the company in the new product structure strategy and the new investment strategy. It would be a good idea to create partnerships with other technology companies as they did with Microsoft. They would still be SMART Tech with no branches, but they could place certain formats of their software into the bodies of the products offered by the partnered companies. Creating a partnership of this sort would eliminate the competitive disadvantage SMART Tech is facing with their product mix; having a slick, smooth and smart body of the products offered will show the future of the organization as being “professional.” Discussion Questions: 1. SMART Technologies has used the same brand name, extending it to new products in its product mix. What other options could it consider for new product launches? Answer - SMART Tech could launch new software for well known brands of laptops, tablets and phones. They could challenge the Google Nexus smart-phone by creating a SMART Technologies “SMART-phone” designed for consumers in the government and corporate market who already use SMART Tech products. 2. Using the diffusion of the innovation curve, describe how SMART Technologies could use the information it provides to make marketing strategies and decisions in the future. Answer – I recommend that SMART Tech should eliminate an assortment of the product mix on the market they already have. Allowing more investment into the development of their initial product. The interactive digital whiteboard. 3. Identify ways that SMART Technologies can generate new product ideas. Which of these ways involve customers? How can the company assess the value of ideas contributed by customers? Answer – New ideas can be generated by listening to the voice of the consumer, focus groups, in-depth interviews and interactive surveys. By using all the methods of collecting valuable ideas of the consumers SMART Tech will be able to apply the data in
  8. 8. a controlled experiment to test how successful the feed back was to altering the products structure. 4. What stage of the product life cycle is the interactive whiteboard market in? Describe the characteristics of this stage. Use information from the case to support your answer. Answer – SMART Technologies whiteboards are in the Maturity Stage of the product life cycle. This is because awareness of the product is high due to the whiteboard being the first of its kind and introduced in 1991. The sales of the product are increasing at a decreasing rate as fewer new buyers enter the digital whiteboard market. Smart boards in general are in the growth stage as technology is steadily growing. 5. How can SMART Technologies use product life cycle theory to keep sales growth from slowing down? Answer – SMART Technologies needs to review their strategic marketing process to initiate a new promotion campaign. They also need to be constantly updated with new trends in technology which will push the sales up immensely.

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