What Differentiation Means for Competitive Strategy.

Posted by Ken Sawka on Jul 18, 2018 7:43:59 AM

Strategy guru, Michael Porter defines competitive strategy in very simple terms.  Strategy, he says, is performing different activities from your rivals, or performing similar activities in different ways.  At the heart of this definition is the concept of differentiation – defining what a firm does in ways that demonstrate unique value for which customers are willing to pay.

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Topics: Win/Loss/Bid Support, New Market Entry, Competitive Strategy, Disruption, Digital Transformation

Sleepy Industries are Not Immune to the Shake Up of Digital Transformation

Posted by Robert Flynn + Malini Solanki on Jun 28, 2018 1:27:41 PM

It’s one thing to start a business or launch a product, another to earn market share and yet another to retain it. All three stages of operating a successful business require an in-depth understanding of the external marketplace and consumer trends, information that impacts a business’s ability to differentiate. Without this understanding the organization is at risk for the unexpected.

Well known examples of companies with a firm grasp on competitive strategy include the big five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Each company undoubtedly has either outpaced legacy brands (Barnes and Noble, Macy’s, Best Buy to name a few) or acquired their competitors. By leveraging a superior understanding of the external environment these companies are experts at anticipating customer needs and creating disruptive platforms that businesses and consumers alike can’t survive without.

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Topics: Market Analysis, Healthcare, Competitive Strategy, Disruption, Amazon, Consumer Insights, Digital Transformation

Don't Let a Lack of Foresight Be the End of Your Business

Posted by Ashley Inman on Jun 28, 2018 9:23:38 AM

BlueSmart luggage, one of the first manufacturers of bags that enable consumers to charge USB devices, weigh luggage and track suitcases with an app and GPS, announced this year it could no longer sustain its operations and sold the majority of its tangible assets off.

Just a year ago, in 2017 BlueSmart founder, Diego Saez Gil celebrated milestones of generating $10 million in revenue, achieved in under two years of being in business. Now with travel regulations banning the product’s foundational technology, Gil has been forced to reconcile his options and transfer the product to another company.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Early Warning Monitoring, Competitive Strategy, Disruption, Amazon

Reverse Timeline Analysis: The Future after Boeing Buys GE Aviation (Part 2)

Posted by Christopher Dent on Jun 27, 2018 1:06:29 PM

Assuming that Boeing purchases General Electric Aviation, industry stakeholders are asking what will that look like? How will this disrupt the marketplace? This presents an opportunity for us to demonstrate a valuable but underappreciated structural analytical  Framework (SAF), Reverse timeline analysis, in combination with our Indications & Warning mechanism.

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Topics: Early Warning Monitoring, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy, Disruption, Aviation

Unraveling Healthcare Industry Dynamics: M+A, Shifting Risk and the Data Revolution

Posted by Robert Flynn on Jun 26, 2018 3:58:32 PM

There is no denying that change is the single most prominent theme in healthcare today. Most people point to change imposed by the government including concepts to constrain pharmaceutical drug prices and morph or repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. However, most of the change is being driven by health players themselves – payers, providers, technologists, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and, to an increasing extent, consumers.

While it’s impossible to predict the final configuration, it is feasible to capture the primary factors involved in or driving the transformation. Reviewing our recent engagements with major corporations across the healthcare industry, speaking with executives at conferences such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Summit, the HealthSmart IT event, and several pharmaceutical tradeshows, we’ve identified some of the top issues that are driving healthcare change. Knowing these elements and their nuances is critical for the executive and policy maker , who want to stay ahead, or drive change themselves.

To label these as definitive would deny the very essence of the transformation afoot. Yet, these are, as of now, critical issues affecting the industry.

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Topics: Healthcare, Competitive Strategy, technology, Disruption

How To Compete Against The Five Technological Giants

Posted by Robert Flynn + Palak Choudhary on Jun 26, 2018 7:00:00 AM

The Big Five: Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Apple + Microsoft

Betty wakes up craving a bagel. It’s her spring break and she has been binge watching The Crown on Netflix all week. She quickly Googles Bruegel Bagels to check their morning hours and hops into the shower while her Google Mini plays her favorite songs on YouTube. She rides to Bruegel Bagels, where she ApplePays for her favorite bacon and cheese and Instagrams her #food. Finishing her breakfast, she readies herself for another round of Netflix before working the Excel spreadsheets for school.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Strategy, new entrants, technology, data

On the Dangers of Navel Gazing: Lessons Learned from UK Retailer’s Lack of External Market View

Posted by Ken Sawka on May 31, 2018 1:40:11 PM

Being Too "Inward Looking"

Steve Rowe, CEO of UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S), last week acknowledged the secret that most corporate executives try to keep hidden: that his company has become too “inward looking.” In an interview with the BBC, Rowe admitted that part of the retail chain’s troubles are due to its failure to keep pace with external trends, namely consumer behavior and e-commerce. 

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Topics: Market Analysis, Competitive Strategy, strategic planning, Retail

How CVS Health’s Performance-Based Pharmacy is Positioned to Improve Cost and Quality across the Healthcare Continuum

Posted by Jacob Golbitz on Apr 6, 2018 12:23:26 PM

CVS Health issued a press release in October 2017 announcing the launch of the nation’s first “performance-based pharmacy network” in March 2018. The network will comprise approximately 30,000 retail pharmacies that currently work with Caremark, CVS Health’s Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). Most of these stores will be CVS or Walgreens locations, but the network will also include up to 10,000 independently owned pharmacies.

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Topics: New Market Entry, Healthcare, Competitive Strategy, Diversification, Insurers

How Distributors Can Navigate the Fragmentation of Vaccine Administration

Posted by Laura Ruth on Apr 3, 2018 9:15:08 AM

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Topics: Market Analysis, New Market Entry, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Competitive Strategy, new entrants

Walmart’s Potential Acquisition of Humana: Competitive Strategy Implications for the U.S. Healthcare Industry

Posted by Ken Sawka on Mar 30, 2018 1:28:34 PM


I loathe the pervasive, trite metaphor that compares competitive strategy to the game of chess.  However, recent reports that Walmart is in discussions to acquire health insurer Humana can only be explained as a game of three-dimensional chess.  Should this deal go through – and, to be sure, it is a long way from happening – it satisfies three competitive strategy objectives for Walmart: responding to CVS Health, blocking Amazon and improving access to new customer segments.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Healthcare, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy, Amazon

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