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Details of Assessment

The Final Assessment is a 4500 words paper divided into two parts. It is strongly advised to start working on it early in the course.
The aim of the Final Assessment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts in strategic management and your capacity to craft a professional document. It will be very good preparation for your dissertation.

Part One (approx 3000 words)

1. Choose a concept/model in strategic management. You can choose the concept from the ones discussed in the course or you can choose another one. Examples of concepts are: core competencies, generic strategies, mergers and acquisitions, alliances, CSR, blue ocean strategy, etc.
2. Critically examine the concept: define the concept; identify when it was first discussed and what the arguments were for its creation; discuss how the concept then evolved by identifying the arguments for and against it over time and by noting any adaptations.

4. Explain how the concept fits today with other concepts of strategic management, and discuss how/if the concept is relevant or not to today’s business challenges.
In Part One you must demonstrate you can research and develop a deep understanding of a concept by identifying, examining and challenging different views of it. You should reference a minimum of 10 academic sources: academic books and/or articles from academic journals that are peer-reviewed. This excludes textbooks, articles from business magazines and ‘popular’ books you may find in airport bookstores, but you can use these as additional supporting references if needed.
All sources should be correctly referenced using the Harvard system, as for any professional academic document.
Part Two (approx 1500 words)
• Present a real life case study of the concept that you chose in Part One ‘in action’. You can use your own organisation or an organisation of your choice – we recommend you use an organisation you are personally familiar with as it will be easier for you to ‘see inside’ the organisation
Part Two should be like a mini-case study where you will present the situation of the organisation you choose, the issues faced, and how the concept was or is being used to solve the issues and raise the general performance of the organisation.
In Part Two, you must show you can integrate theory and practice. You do this by giving examples of the theory in action, and by evaluating the approach taken and how effective it was in delivering the desired results. By reflecting on events, you may even challenge the theory itself – From the events you describe, is the theory valid? How can it be improved?
Your report for the Final Assessment will be graded using the University’s grading criteria of: Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning; Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context; Use of literature; Organisation of Material.
Scripts that are excessively long (i.e. exceeding the 4500 word limit of the main report by more than 10%) will not be read beyond the point of the word limit; there is no minimum word limit. Do not put your name on the paper.
The overall structure should be as follows
• Table of Contents/List of Exhibits (1 page)

• Executive Summary

• Main Report (within the 4,500 word limit as above)

• Exhibits (if any)

• List of references


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Defining Problem

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Structure Definition

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Related Services

80-100% Distinction Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Exceptionally comprehensive knowledge base. Ability to discriminate and justify key issues and relate them to the wider context. Lines of thought are innovative and transparent and the arguments are confidently expressed to develop and synthesise compelling and novel conclusions. Conclusions drawn make a new contribution to the knowledge base of the discipline and there is clear evidence of originality in the work Innovative thinker.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context – Exceptional critical analysis of the interface between theory and practice, which evaluates and challenges theoretical adequacy and synthesises the development of professional practice. Exceptional evidence of self understanding which leads to creative and novel use of multiple frameworks for evaluation and synthesis and challenges current practice in the professional context.
Use of literature – Exceptional, discerning and balanced range of key and peripheral primary and secondary sources demonstrating a very high level of critical evaluation and synthesis and the ability to challenge received wisdom in the subject. Outstanding evidence of wide reading on the subject and this is incorporated into novel conclusions.
Organisation of Material – Exceptional clarity of presentation that demonstrates ability to attend to all detailed aspects of organisation and structure of discussion and all supporting evidence. The work has the qualities consistent with publishable material.
70-79% Distinction Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Excellent, comprehensive knowledge base. Ability to discriminate and justify key issues and relate them to the wider context. Lines of thought are transparent and the arguments are confidently expressed to develop and synthesise compelling conclusions.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context- Rigorous critical analysis of the interface between theory and practice, clearly elaborated to evaluate theoretical adequacy and synthesise the development of professional practice. Excellent, creative use of multiple frameworks for evaluation and synthesis of own stance.
Use of literature – Excellent, wide range of key and peripheral primary and secondary sources, demonstrating critical evaluation and synthesis within the professional context.
Organisation of Material – Excellent, coherent organisation and structure which enhances comprehension. Excellent presentation of all material. Referencing is accurate to a high degree.
Good Pass Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Substantial knowledge base. Ability to discriminate key issues and establish some links to the wider context. Arguments are confidently expressed through clear, logical lines of thought. Conclusions are firmly articulated, comprehensive, and relevant and arise directly from the premised arguments.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context – Excellent critical analysis/evaluation of the relationship between theory and practice. Substantial use of multiple theoretical frameworks to evaluate professional practice with wide ranging synthesis to show how each is informing the other. Clear, critical evaluation of their usefulness.
Use of literature – Substantial selection of key primary and secondary literature sources demonstrating analysis and critical evaluation of a wide range of relevant issues for the professional context.
Organisation of Material – Organisation is comprehensive and structure coherent.
Well presented, with considerable attention to detail which facilitates effortless comprehension. Supporting material is well presented and ordered with accurate referencing and minimal errors of detail.
50-59% Satisfactory Pass
Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Sound knowledge base. Ability to discriminate key issues. Arguments are confidently expressed through clear, logical lines of thought. Conclusions are firmly articulated, relevant and arise directly from the premised arguments.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context – Good, critical analysis/evaluation of the relationship between theory and practice. Some use of multiple theoretical frameworks to evaluate professional practice. Demonstrable synthesis to show how each is informing the other. Some evaluation of their usefulness.
Use of literature – Good selection of key primary literature sources with critical evaluation of significant issues for the professional. Some limited analysis of related, secondary material.
Organisation of Material – Organisation and structure is coherent.
Well presented, facilitating comprehension. Supporting material is well presented and ordered. Accurate referencing.
40-49% Fail Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Some defended knowledge of current, relevant issues. Limited development of arguments where lines of thought are discernible. Limited conclusions arising from premises.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context -Some articulation of the relationship between and critical analysis/evaluation of the significance of relevant theory to specific professional practice with some awareness of how each may be informed by the other.
Use of literature – Range and choice of evidence/literature marginally inadequate. Some recognition and critical analysis of issues of significance for the professional context.
Organisation of Material – Organisation and structure does not adequately support the work. Presentation includes supporting material but is somewhat disorganised in places. Most referencing is sound and appropriate but limited in scope.
30-39% Fail Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning -Some evidence of relevant knowledge base but little argument and lines of thought are poorly expressed and often demonstrate confused thinking. Conclusions drawn but often not related to discussion.
Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context – Some use of relevant theory but lack of awareness of relationship to practice. Little integration of the articulation between theory and practice Use of literature – Narrow but mainly relevant selection of evidence/literature demonstrating some recognition of significance for the professional context
Organisation of Material – Poorly organised, incoherent structure.
Poor presentation and referencing.
Little appropriate supporting material given.
0-29% Fail Student has failed to meet the majority of the learning outcomes of the assessment.
The executive summary could be clearer.
An academic reference is needed for a definition.
The first paragraphs are unclear. Definitions are unclear too. You should have read the original documents. Referencing is not done correctly.
This work is not clearly following the questions. Very confused. Regarding the fallacies, you obviously need a reference. You can just mention that “there is a presentation”.
It is not clear that the sections on CSR and alliances are really related to the CC.
History of the concepts, pros and cons, are not detailed and articulated.
The section on the importance today is again only loosely related to the topic.
The case study is not about core competencies. You should have used the elements and concepts developed around the core competencies. It would have helped if you had discussed them in the first part.
On overall, your work does not clearly show that you understood the concept, nor what was exactly asked.

Executive Summary


Core competencies. This strategic design concept is one of the most important business ideas that is currently shaping the enterprise world. Nowadays, without an additional valuable difference, it is hard to succeed and remain profitable in the business community today. Core competencies are the appropriate way to align any organization who pretend to be a top performer and an obvious first choice for customers. Today, corporations are constantly looking not only how to survive in the market, but how simply to be the best in their markets. Something unique, with high value added and that also can set the standards. CEO´s must envision, build, maintain and continually improve core competencies in the organization. Strategic management concepts can support a successful implementation of a core competencies type of culture, such as balance score, alliances, adaptability among others. However, the company’s core competencies are the foundation of a company who wants to lead their market.
There are different opinions whether the idea of core competencies have made a significant difference in the industry landscape and if they should be part of the strategic vision that CEOs and leaders globally must have, orif this is anacademic theory with no real life use or effectiveness.
In this paper, we will review this concept in theory and practice, with real examples of the importance of its adoption and implementation in today´s business world.

Main Report
Part One: Understanding the core competencies concept.
The idea of core competencies is relatively new. Core competencies are the combination of deep corporate knowledge and technical capacities across all business units within a firm which allows a business to be competitive in the marketplace.
According to this strategic concept, companies that do not have a unique value within their service offerings will need to look other options to compete. Some enterprises choose to drive their business growth by cost leadership. This strategy usually can be useful in a short term. Executive leaders that can encourage their workforce to offer something unique and valuable. Customers will choose the products and will be willing to pay more for them. A great example for this is Apple. From the first Macintosh in 1984, up to the newest MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and iPhone 7 about the be released. Can anyone imagine the life today without a computer? Without a cell phone? Core competencies break paradigms and promote new ways of thinking about the user experience.
The concept of core competencies was mentioned for the first time by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel in their article in 1990 titled “The Core Competence of the Corporation” They presented the concept of core competence about NEC’s focus on their core competencies. For GTE’s, their focus on businesses rather than competence and skills. However, before Prahalad and Hamel, there were others lines of thinking regarding innovation and enhancing competencies such as Frohman in 1985, Ford in 1988, and also Cleveland, Burgelman and Rosenbloom in 1989. They presented a competence-based strategy with a similar idea. Their focus was on technological evolution and their associated technical skills. The concept of core competencies presented by Prahalad and Hamel encompass a comprehensive view of all the strategic business units that operates within the enterprise, not only technology. This is why this concept caused a greater impact.
C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel debate that “Core Competences are the things that a company can do well, and that are very hard to imitate by their competition” According to them, core competencies must fulfill three criteria:
• Perception of value added to customers.
• A unique set of skills not easy to replicate by competitors.
• Market expansion.
They support their concept with a few examples of some big companies that failed to recognize and capitalize on their strengths. The comparison is made with other large organizations that succeed because of having a very clear idea of what they are uniquely useful. The promote the importance and the focus on enterprise core competencies and how they must continuously work to build and improve them over time. Some studies have been made to study this concept and even categorized them. “The identified competencies can be categorizedin the following groups groups: superior technological know-how; reliable processes; and close relationships with external parties”
Prahalad and Gary Hamel initially defined core competencies as “the collective learning across the corporation” limiting the theory only at a corporate level and not to be applied at strategic business units.
The concept of core competencies can potentially mislead some corporations, causing confusion to be fully understood, in particular when companies think that is related to something the company was good at, while the concept itself goes under a much deeper understanding than that. Core competency complete definition is a unique ability, set of skills, expertise or production techniques that a company acquires from years of experience, a mastery that cannot be easily imitated and on top of that, provide a proven perception of additional value to their end-users. It is a phenomenal combination for enterprise success.
After this, there were a few authors such as Hall in 1992 that brought the idea of core competency as a based strategy believing that those were meant to be intangible resources that could be skills or other assets. The same year, Schoemaker(1992) defines core competencies as the organization skills and know-how perceived as just one of the resources. From his point of view, a successful organization has tangible and intangible resources-assets as unique competence. This particular believe claims that organizations must analyze all the resources they have, to determine the source of their real competitive advantage. The same idea was expressed by Hunt and Morgan in 1997. In 1994, Drucker defined core competencies as “areas where an organization must excel to maintain leadership” arguing that a core competence includes all the resources of an organization, including tangible and intangible skills as well as the company know-how knowledge.
In 1996, C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel published “Competing for the Future”, a book in which they deepen into the strategic model concept of core competencies into a broader detailed level. Authors came up with a strong focus in how an organization must succeed in future. They explain that firms are more likely to prosper if
• Create new products that deliver unexpected benefits to customers.
• Foster and help employees to contribute personally to the success of the organization.
• Invent and lead a new competitive environment.
They firmly believe that the organizations can not only sit back and imagine the future. They are required to work actively on it and re-invent it. Corporations need to detect, create and lead market opportunities to be able to compete. Meaning to work continuously in anticipating to any new market chance before the competitors do. “The author (Egelhoff, 1993) asserted the development of such capabilities could lead to a sustainable competitive advantage (Sashittal and Jassawalla, 1998) that could be applied across numerous business functions, the basic definition of core competency”(Hamel and Prahalad, 1990)” cited in (Pryor, M, Anderson, D, Toombs, L, & Humphreys, J 2007)

They cover different aspects of conceiving the idea of a competitive strategy that will lead companies to success and discuss what can be stopping the development and execution of this plan. They conduct the reader into a self-introspective, reflecting on fundamental questions that examine organizations: are we producing sufficient innovation in our products? Alternatively, are we just following others? Are we aware of our strengths? Is there something different on the market competitors are excelling? What is it our added value as a company? Do we understand our strategic direction? In a few words, authors propose to imagine the future and then once we imagine it, execute to create it. ‘‘We believe that managers are spending too much time managing the present and not enough building the future.’’ (Hamel and Prahalad, 1990)
This line of thought was confirmed by various authors such as Anand and Kogut (1997) with some slight differences but determinant that the different skills and know-how possessed by an organization are a key factor for success and competitive advantage. There is some criticism towards the real use of the core competencies theory. Some claim not all size companies can compete with a set of skills and know-how but with pricing depending on the market, product, service, and size. Some others believe that focusing too much on the future as proposed in “competing for the future” is not what will take a company into a success but all the opposite; companies need to focus on the present opportunities to be the first to offer a solution to customers.
The critics argue that this concept it is just an academic term that cannot be applied into real practice into the general business. There is an interesting presentation called “The Fallacy of Prahalad and Hamel’s Core Competency” in people is opposed to the concept of core competencies. They mention that companies need to outsource this strategic thinking to external advisors/consultants not giving it the enough importance of getting a team internally to care, find, understand and built a core competence on their own. Hamel and Prahalad came up with a healthy perspective on how strategy should be, and how they must care about finding future opportunities. However, they do not take much into consideration what organizations are performing today.
There should be a perfect balance. Organizations need to drive the desired results at present have a tactical and strategic plan for short and long terms. In those plans, core competencies should be included. Core competencies are a critical strategy for larger corporations that are seeking to be top performers.
Core Competencies and CSR
In today´s world, organizations must promote their CSR projects and initiatives based on core competencies to support their growth. The focus on core competencies will allow it to exploit the fixed costs and leverage the continuing costs associated with managing workers along already established lines.
There is documented evidence that active CSR organizations are more attractive to candidates, improving their pool of sources and their recruitment process. One interesting finding is that the organizational commitment of employees is interconnected and related to the external company image. Community and environmental commitments of organizations, promote their employee’s commitment. Porter mentioned that “properly designed environmental standards, can potentially trigger innovation that may partially fully offset the costs of complying with them.”


Porter and Kramer (2006) also showed that a company can gain by accounting for the competitive environment in which it operates by identifying and pursuing “inside-out” and “outside-in” linkages. By responding to the social concerns of its customers or workers in ways that benefit the company—reducing costs, identifying new market opportunities, or enhancing its reputation among customers and employees—a company can minimize the cost of pursuing CSR initiatives. With no core competencies defined, just focusing on performing through strategic units with no interrelation to delivery in integrated value, over the course of time, any advantage it has over his competitors will not be sustained, and it will have an adverse effect in the long term. A company can obtain greater benefits by accounting for its competitive environment. The pursuit of CSR has a more significant impact on corporations that introduce CSR projects that are consistent with their core competencies.
Core competencies and Alliances
Organizations focused on core competencies must evolve and capitalize on a larger customer base through different forms of expansion across the globe. One form of global expansion is through strategic alliances. These have become a primary goal for success on firms. Alliances can take various forms (marketing alliances, collaboration, partnerships.) Alliances can be either private, public, or government organizations and can result in offering services for consumers on a larger scope. When it comes to technology and innovation, partnerships and alliances allow firms access to the acquisition and leveraging of resources essential for pursuing innovation. (Cheong, T, Song, S, & Hu, C, 2016)Collaborating with private agencies in the marketplace, alliances with public and government organizations in the market and partnerships with similar business terms (Vertical integration. Management contracts. Franchises) are just some examples. A franchise strategy may encompass the use a particular brand or to expand the sales of a particular brand throughout a region of the world. We can observe this trend lately in companies related to Information Technology. For successful alliances, individual abilities are required such as sales, presentation, and political skills in assembling and managing coalitions are necessary. Another effort that needs to be considered is the maintenance of these relationships in the long term. An organization without alliances, even with a large bundle of core competencies will be exceeded by his competitors due to his lack of global presence worldwide.
Measuring Core Competencies through Balance Scorecard
If it is not measured, it cannot be managed. An organization can have core competencies well driven and designed, CSR initiatives, alliances, but if they do not know where they are, what to measure and why it can be counterproductive. Several organizations understand this weakness and work towards implementation of the balanced scorecard to improve their performance measurement systems. By including and adopting those concepts, leaders and managers ensure their employees have a clear understanding and focus on the desired improvements in company performance. Companies must expand their usage of balanced scorecard concepts, using it as the foundation of an integrated and iterative strategic system.
Companies are using it as the heart of the business. “A considerable body of literature links performance management systems to organizational culture. This is especially true for the Balanced Scorecard” .The scorecard is used to clarify and update the internal strategy and vision to all employees in the corporation by aligning their individual goals with that strategy. That strategy should be tied to specific objectives to long-term targets and annual budgets. These are the main agenda for quarterly reviews, for conducting performance reviews and trigger promotions and demotions. Several studies confirm the benefits of BSC adoption on firms (Petr, P, Wagner, J, & Menšík, M, 2012)Companies are required to understand and measure the effectiveness and the financial impact of their core competencies offerings in the market. Firms need to be able to adjust the strategy tied to these core competencies by responding accordingly to competitors and markets demands.
The importance Core Competencies in today´s business challenges.
“Technology is believed to have more effective outcomes when it is integrated systematically within an organization’s strategy process”(Steele, 1989)cited in (Roy, S, & Singh, S, 2015).We are living in the digital and internet age. Back in 1991, the internet just was starting to become accessible. The Internet has revolutionized the way to work, the way we communicate and even the way we think. It has changed our lives dramatically twenty years from now. The Internet is strictly linked to technology evolution in several and complex domains. Nowadays, organizations have many mission critical systems strictly related to performance.
To deliver, a complete web solution to a particular need of an organization for example, a broad range of skills and resources are required. Core competencies in this field are vital. If we look at technology deliverables as strategic units only, it will only be a partial solution. The problem or the need will be still unfulfilled. Even when all required skills and resources are assembled, they need to be harmonized and understand their value as a whole, not as single units or teams. Over time, these organized set of technological skills and resources all together will need to evolve together generating a core competency. In technology, especially in web development, the companies that are not creating and building their core competencies, they will be left behind. Technology is changing every day. Core competencies need to be continually updated and even redesigned.
One example of how technology has evolved tremendously through core competencies today and keeps changing are the corporate web intranets and enterprise web portals. The promises the portal makes. This is the implicit promise made to people when they first learn that their company has a portal. They imagine that they can log in and find a seamless, comprehensive, contextual, and integrated way to find and interact with all the content and services of the enterprise. Looking for information about benefits? Check the portal. Need to map the third-floor printer? Check the portal. Need the address of our Singapore location? The list of use cases for an intranet and portal is unlimited. Apparently, no website can hope to answer every question every time. It is impossible to anticipate every need, but the vision of the portal is to try to put people at least on the information scent, the trail so that they click with confidence knowing that the answer to their question is there. The first step to building a successful portal is to articulate this vision clearly and get the right people to accept it and dedicate their time and energy to making it real.

Corporate intranets and enterprise portals make a bold promise: to be the single web interface between the employee and the company. This is not the only promise they make. It may not even be a pledge anyone remembers making. Perhaps no one did not have to state it explicitly. It is an implicit promise made by the corporate brand, and the experience users have on the web at large. Every time users conduct a search on Google, read an article on Wikipedia, or interact with a celebrity on Twitter, their expectations for what the web is for, how it works, and what it should do go up. With every new application or website, people encounter on the free and public internet, their expectations for what they will find behind the curtain of the world’s largest and most influential corporations increases.

It seems like a reasonable expectation. If Wikipedia can organize over a million well written and useful articles with unpaid volunteers, then what would anyone expect from a multibillion-dollar international corporation with thousands of dedicated IT professionals working full time? Hollywood does not do corporations any favors when it comes to expectation setting. For years’ movies have shown hackers accessing corporate mainframes and doing clandestine database searches that look like real-time, graphic intensive, three-dimensional, full immersion into a sci-fi dream world.

The truth is, most corporate intranets are about five years behind the public web. The experience of people finding a someone on Facebook or LinkedIn is much better than using most enterprise people directories. The information anyone can find on a subject from a Google search, YouTube video, or Wikipedia article, is probably an order of magnitude better than what an employee will find on a corporate intranet. Corporations are full of firewalls, political silos, broken links, false or out-of-date information, slow servers, and just plain ugly, unusable content and services.

A great portal begins with a great vision. The concept of a portal is pretty simple: One place to collect and organize all the information of an organization and make it universally accessible and useful. Once an organization agrees to that vision, every activity to achieve that vision becomes clear to point of becoming inevitable. To collect all the information, we need to engage more authors. To keep it organized, we need taxonomy and structure. To make it useful, we need search, personalization, security, and mobile access.

These solutions are not easy to understand and fix. Requires a variety of skills, from a different type of resources such as designers, solutions and information architects, web strategy professionals, user experience specialist, developer specialized in various technologies, infrastructure roles, recruiting, human resources, marketing, C-level type of positions and so on. A mix of art, technology and business administration. The value added rely on the technology as a tool to support and nurture the type of culture we try to create to create in corporations. In the long run, it is this culture that has the largest and most lasting impact on clients and is the reason they are highly satisfied. The customer received the added value that no other competitor can give them. Moreover, it can that can only be achieved through a series of core competencies to make it a reality.

Part Two: The case of study. Blane IT Web Solutions (BITWS) the key to success, their Core Competencies.

BITWS founders began their professional journey back in 1999 in Web Studio Labs, a company that they started. Later they were acquired by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). With this strategic move, PwC significantly improved their information architecture services for portals implementation with their current customer base.
A few years later, somewhere in 2002, PwC was also acquired by IBM, and they became part of it. Within the next five years, they were part of a global business unit implementing large, global portal and the web content management solutions.
In 2007, Adam Smith, one of the co-founders, resigned at IBM with the objective to pursue a bigger dream. He and his wife formed “Smith Technologies Group.” After this, Ken Soltan, and Louis Palumbo soon joined Adam. Together they consolidated tons of expertise in several domains that merged into a cohesive and robust solution to transform the Web. Adam is an expert on programming and implementing and integrating complex systems at a server level. Ken Soltan´s expertise is based on the client side, on information architecture and business analysis. Louis Palumbo is an experienced User Experience and Graphic Designer. They consolidated their mission, vision, core values, and objectives. Their unique combination of expertise in different work-streams of the same market created a single portal solution that is incredibly difficult to replicate by rivals. The next step for them was to consolidate a nearshore location in Mexico. This was accomplished by Smith Technologies Group when they merged with DinaSys, a small development operating in Mexico. This move was a critical a stepping-in-stone in their path to success.
Smith Technologies Group was renamed as Blane IT Web Solutions (BITWS). At that time, they embrace their current slogan: Enterprise Web Evolution. Every day the evolution continues. In 2012, after several successful implementations, delighting customers by transforming their digital experience, Blane IT was appointed as an IBM Premier Business Partner for their work. This was a strategic alliance that opened many doors to new and greater opportunities to expand their businesses. At this point, they helped to some of the world’s most recognizable companies. They were also able to attract and retain some of the top consulting and technical professionals in the IT field.
The main reason of BITWS existence is to build better web solutions for clients, to delight them with better-than-expected design, communication, and craftsmanship, to introduce them to better tools and better technology, and to provide them with better strategies and processes for business in the digital age.
However, back in 2011, there were some challenges to accomplish the yearly financial goals. Several contracts were given to other firms since the final product delivered by us and all of the competitors, and their added values were perceived equally the same. They had the potential to offer greater value, but they do not know how to tell the history correctly. The results: the primary driver for the winning decision in many Request for Proposals (RFP) in which BITWS participated in that year, was due to brand recognition such as (Dell, Accenture). After a deep analysis, they understand they have to formalize and sell their Core Competencies if they want to prevail and succeed in the Web Development market. With an aggressive and competitive IT market, BITWS was required not only to be another system integration company, design company or just a consultancy firm like thousands out there across the globe. They realized that something different, with a greater value for his customers, was required to stay ahead of the game.
Evolution of Core Competencies in BITWS.
BITWS foundations were a set of strategy, art, and technology. They started to build world-class information ecosystems. At the heart of these ecosystems, collecting and organizing everything is the enterprise portal. This is a space in which they have extensive experience and have developed a world-class, award-winning set of solutions that has proven itself in a variety of industries for organizations large and small. Over the years, they have studied, collected and refined their experience into a set of proven, repeatable patterns and principles along with the technology, resources, and process assets. It is the perfect example of “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace” (C.K Prahalad, Hamel). Their Core Competencies were formalized, officially named and released as BITWS Enterprise Blueprint (BEB). They help companies to communicate easily and efficiently with their employees and clients.
When BITWS started to share and implement their Blueprint, their deals wins increased at a fast paced. Sales pipeline skyrocketed promoting growth and key alliances with strategic partners. However, why was the BITWS Enterprise Blueprint so successful and well accepted and even supported and referenced by their customers? What is the differentiator on this arena?
The typical intranet/portal consists of sites at every stage of maturity from quickly thrown together link farms, to well-designed online magazines, from vast collections of Portable Document Format (PDF´s) and PowerPoints type of files to abandoned department blogs and internal Wikipedia. Adding to the chaos they built for themselves, many large organizations have also purchased a dizzying array of third party applications to run their business.

Each of those applications came with its web interface promising a “one-stop-shop” for things like tracking time and attendance, benefits enrollment, business reports, task tracking and more. It is not an exaggeration to say that every piece of software ever invented has been deployed somewhere within a large organization and is either actively in use or been abandoned. Every time someone gets close to organizing it all, another merger, split, or corporate reshuffle it is announced, the tectonic plates shift, the ground liquifies and it is time to start over. Welcome to the world of Enterprise Web Information Architecture, the heart of BITWS Enterprise Blueprint.
Despite what many other competitors may say, the key to success is not to buy more software or impose a police state of totalitarian IT governance, but to understand the web as a living, evolving, always changing the ecosystem. This ecosystem only has value when governance and tools are in place to give innovation room to grow, and departments, teams, and functions can leverage the power of the web to solve their local problems without creating a larger problem for the enterprise.
BITWS gives value to their clients by training them on how to avoid this permanently. They have been designing and developing world-class intranets and enterprise portals for over fifteen years now. As C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel said “Core competence does not diminish with use” totally the opposite, they have bundled all the lessons learned, all the patterns that work into what they call the BITWS Enterprise Blueprint, which is their core competencies exposed. In a nutshell, it contains a user experience roadmap that guides the customer´s intranet through the stages of evolution as follows
• Step 1 – Decentralized Chaos. This is the natural state of an enterprise web ecosystem. Brand police might be able to get the right logo at least on every page and some standard colors but beyond that, anyone with the time, interest, and budget can and has built their version of the truth. There may or may not be a portal type start page for most users that links to critical communications and services, but most employees would not be able to explain how its organized without looking at it.
• Step 2 – Set up a work/life portal that uses personalization, content management, site and content templates to at least get everyone on the same page. Get the support functions such as Human Resources, Corporate Communications, IT, Finance and Legal to sponsor the creation of a global portal.
• Step 3 – Build out role-based dashboards and hone their usability by working with the business functions.
• Step 4 – Enable Social and mobile applications to engage the workforce.
• Step 5 – Integrate Formal Knowledge Sharing.
• Step 6 – The Future starts here. Machine Learning, Semantic Web, the portal becomes the smartest employee in the company.
The key to success is to weave everything into a cohesive story. One of the best definition for a portal can be found at Google vision statement; it’s says that “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Every portal has several promises and commitment to keep to their end users. Also, since the content and services required vary from one employee to another, and depending on their profiles, they use specific security enhancements, personalization, and customization to create a different content experience, depending on the user need to see on any given page.
For BITWS it would be impossible to survive without the recognition and implementation of their Core Competencies in the organization. “An enterprise can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve” (Porter, 1996). Setting a proven set of principle, patterns, and business practices to maintain the integrity of the design and an exceptional user experience. Then and only then, the customer can fulfill their brand promise. Moreover, by this, BITWS is successfully meeting the three core competencies criteria defined by Prahalad and Hamel: Access to a wide variety of markets, the perception of significant contribution and added value to the end product and of course, incredibly difficult to imitate by their competitors in the market.

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