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With initiatives like radical decentralization, small, self-managing teams, and a willingness to let engineers spend sizeable chunks of time on offbeat projects, is Google changing how we manage companies? WSJ has just launched a discussion thread
on this topic. Will this approach create a second act for Google or is it an one-act wonder? Recent work in strategy emphasizes what are called dynamic capabilities. This gives firms the ability to respond to changes in the environment. As technologies and market shifts, firms having this capability can adapt by reconfiguring existing resources, or develop new ones by reallocating resources and learning new skills. Given that Google is a product company, we can see this in their product platform strategy. Individual entrepreneurs are able to innovate on that platform by building on prior work. In addition, the modular development of components give Google the ability to mix and match pieces to respond to market changes. Their investment in the platform architecture, in addition to decentralization, team structure and innovative culture, gives them this dynamic capability.
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At least in the customer satisfaction survey conducted by the University of Michigan (ACSI
). According to their model, this should ultimately lead to customer loyalty and profitability. Some analysts
have inferred from this study that Google is better for search and Yahoo!'s portal property is the better of the two. Although Google with its iGoogle product does allow the user to create their own portal, this is not very popular with the average user. Google may have to step up its marketing efforts to popularize that feature.
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Platforms create value by providing users with a variety of applications that run on the same environment. It is very difficult for a single provider to create all the applications that a user needs. As a result, platform providers allow third parties access to their platforms through application program interfaces. This allows software developers to launch new applications that rely on previously created applications. For a guide to Google's APIs click this link
Google's decision to join the Open Invention Network (OIN
) is meant to support a similar strategy with regards to the Linux platform.
A couple of year ago Scott Adams ran a piece that had Dilbert talking about a customer service process that they had outsourced to India. The Indian vendor had sub contracted the job to Mexico. The Mexican contractor then sub contracts to Vietnam, who then sub contracts to Philippines. The job finally lands back in the US. I thought that the scenario painted was funny until I saw this
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