Virtual Group Project :
Hi there!! This is a new page for one of my module in my Masters programme named Implementing Digital Projects. We have been assigned a virtual global collaboration group to present a project about a specific Digital business, analyze its existing business model using the Johnson et al. (2008) framework. Also we as a team need to propose an alternate and innovative business model that eventually will lead to successful profit and improving company’s competition in the market.
We are a 5-member team, coming from different parts of the world. Our programmes are closely related and follow the same guidelines, taking into account a synchronous approach.
Note: The names of the team-mates have been made with their consent.
- Team Profile:
- Flaminia Collet: BSc. International Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Origin: France
- M.Oudhof: BSc International Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Origin: Netherlands
- Srivathson Thyagarajan:
- MSc. Digital Innovation, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Dublin.
- B.E Electronics & Communication Engineering, Anna University. Origin: India
- Nate Turner: Bachelor in Business Administration, University of Alabama, Birmingham. Origin: U.S.A
- Fabiola Zorrero: BSc International Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Origin: Mexico
- Our team comprises of various expertise in the area of technical and soft skills that include design, coding, strategy and evaluation, mass-media, marketing, management and communication etc.
- Our team effort to effectively use digital tools to overcome cultural and geographical problems portrayed a presence of devotion & dedication to the subject we are handling and the results we wanted to achieve.
The timeline shows the history of our virtual group meetings and discussions that went on other digital platforms towards the progress of our project.
- We formed a Whatsapp (WAP) group to keep tabs on the day-to-day activity that each individual needs to perform. This made sure that there was a quick response by all the participants of the group and was also an informal way of keeping in touch with our fellow-group members.
- Initially, before forming the Whatsapp group, we were given the respective student mail ID’s with which we were able to share each other’s WAP numbers.
- To address in a more formal fashion and enable real-time editing for documents and slides, I created a Google TeamDrive with which participants were able to upload and subsequently edit information.
- By this time had our first video call via Skype. It was an introductory video, however, we exchanged a lot of information prior to this meeting through Whatsapp voice notes. This allowed us to be working together seamlessly and helped us collect all the necessary information for our submissions. We prepared a Powerpoint presentation highlighting the team-profile, interests, personalities and expertise.
- We had planned to do a small WhatsApp Virtual meet-up for discussing about the company we were going to present on the following day.
- Also, for one of our sub-groups from Netherlands, there was a requirement of a video presentation. Therefore, we all decided to make a 15-30 second video about ourselves.
- Our group had done some research and we got back again via WhatsApp to finalise the company we were going to talk about for the business model innovation.
- We chose ADWEEK an American weekly publication that quickly became accustomed to change in technology with an annual revenue of about $15M.
- Final slides about TEAM INTERESTS were edited and was submitted as a .pdf file along with the unlisted Group Video Introduction (link) the next day at around 14:10 hrs (Irish time). Planned for a second meeting after initial research of the current business model of ‘ADWEEK‘.
Virtual_Group_Presentation_1 is the Deliverables-1 for our Group. Do give it a read.
- We started off with a brief introduction about the company we chose and the amount of resources available on it.
- Also, we took into account the various voice chats that were exchanged during the whatsapp communication and planned our agenda such that, everybody had to know a bit of the information about the company.
- Our video call was basically for two main reasons:
- To distribute different topics (based on Johnson et al. (2008) framework) among us and contribute to the presentation correspondingly.
- To decide on making a 7-minute video presentation about the Deliverables-2 submission on 8th March, 2019.
- The topics were distributed as such:
- Customer Value Proposition
- Profit Formula
- Key processes / activities
- Key Resources
- Also, we decided to use a time and planning management tool named: monday.com to keep track of what is going on with respect to the status of the work been assigned to each member of the group.
- The next video call was decided to be on Tuesday at 00:00 hrs (CET Time) – 5/02/2019.
- Frequent voice chats within Whatsapp helps us keep connected throughout the period of the project and so we are able to synchronise the timings of our availabiliy easily. Moreover, sharing of company information was brought about by me, introducing websites like Crunchbase and Mattermark for the purpose of finding company resources.
- Overall, the video call was effective in terms of clear communication and set objectives that were agreed mutually by all the members of the group.
Screenshot of the planner tool is attached below.
Then our results had been published and we came to know that w had done a good job with the initial impressions. we exchanged few chats regarding the next process and were convinced to work as a dynamic team (keeping in mind our initial success).
- We began the call by keeping track of everybody’s progress.
- Then we brainstormed about the different kind of innovations we could do based on the current business model.
- We came up with few new services and improvements to current business model.
- We then talked about the kind of presentation we will hand in for Deliverables-2 : we will do a PowerPoint presentation of our business model innovation with a voiceover explaining it.
- Next video call was decided to be on Thursday 7/03 at 11 PM (CET Time).
- We will keep track of everybody’s progress through monday.com as well as with the shared Google Document. We agreed to make sure to text regularly on the WhatsApp group.
- We each had our own task to be done for the presentation, so we started off with discussing who is done with their part and what else still had to be done.
- We are going to make the 2 page summary from the original document with all information. Everybody is going to try and highlight the important parts in the original document, which makes it easier to summarize it.
- The voice overs for the powerpoint are going to be sent to Watson tomorrow morning. Everybody tries to keep it short to make sure the total can be under 7 minutes.
- Flaminia has done the lessons learned from this project, looks good.
- At last we discussed that we need more sources to back up our project. Mascha still has a real estate website to put in, maybe Nate has one as well.
The below information is strictly for information purpose and is not meant for any academic work. The submissions have already taken place. We as a team would like to share more of our work just for the ‘shared knowledge = power‘ term. The concept of “nothing is forbidden in formal education is something not a ‘Question Mark‘.
Adweek delivers news regarding media, advertising and marketing. The company also organizes events and webinars sponsored by companies. Those cover a wide range of topics across several industries. Adweek offers a website subscription of $6.99 and a app subscription of $9.99. Our focus on this report is mainly on Profit Formula. The Key activities and Key resources are explained a bit more in detail in the voice over section.
Existing Business Model:
- Customer Value Proposition (CVP):
Adweek targets customers who are busy professionals across various digital platforms. In fact, the latter needs insight on the latest campaigns and the effective method to market their business. Adweek satisfies this need by providing relevant content daily, which helps professionals keeping track of their competition.
- Profit Formula:
ANNUAL PROFIT =Revenue – Costs = $1 million (app) + $8,4 million (website) + $400.000 (by-products) + $1 million (acquirer and sponsors) + $4,2 million (advertisements)– $66400 (IT expenses) – $8,8 million (employees) – $0,5 million (acquisition) – $3 million (other expenses – Misc)= $2.633.600 ≈ $2,5 million.
Note:The main financial measures we used to come to this formula were derived from the price that is set for subscriptions and the amount of people who have downloaded the app and visit the website monthly. These subscriptions generate the biggest part of the revenue for Adweek. The biggest part of the costs are made to hire the employees. We took the median income in the US, which is $56.516 per year, to have a proper estimation of the cost made for the work to be done (Martin, E., 2017). All other revenues and costs are very rough estimations, that could differ in real life.
- Key Activities:
Effective identification and research of target clients (ranging from brand marketers, media buyers to other agencies). Adweek understood their client’s perspectives and priorities, thereby, allowing a reciprocation of understanding the firm’s strengths and current brand by the latter.
Information Technology (IT) & Network Management:
To support customer-wide strategy, global presence, IT is used for orchestration and integration at mass scale for collaborating, building, and delivering services.
Content Platform Development & Channel Management:
Building the basic platform (Website and Application).
Relying on 3rd party contracts and tie-ups with iTunes, Zinio, Kindle, Polar etc.
- Key Resources:
Analytics and Ad Serving:
Google, Chartbeat, Polar, PostUp, LiveIntent, Parse.ly, Outbrain, Quantcast, and Lytics and are some of the companies that we use to serve advertising and perform analytics on some of the Services.
Central Location for Business Activities:
Due to the nature of their original business plan and week currently maintains a main housing location for many of its operations. This is due in large part because at the time of the company’s conception having multiple international physical brick and mortar locations of production would have been out of the question.
Financial Backing from Large Bank:
Without this influx of cash being brought into Adweek itself the production levels of many of the employees would go significantly down. Adweek utilizes many different ways of gathering funds to bring their products to the global market. The most influential of them all would be the fact that they are backed by Berringer Bank who financially support a good deal of their day to day operations. Berringer bank supplies the monetary commodities that Adweek needs to be able to function.
Proposed Business Model:
- Customer Value Proposition (CVP):
Suggested innovation one, satisfies the need to be closer to customers. Following the third circumstance defined by Johnson et
(2008), we would bring a job-to-be-done focus by implementing the use of a
private consultation service. Private consultation leads to a quicker, easier,
in-expensive, and flexible way for providing valuable information to our
targeted customer.Suggestion innovation two, are small-group practical courses directed to any Adweek subscriber/user. Workshops would be given by talented professionals from one of our multiple sponsoring companies on a large selection of popular topics chosen by popularity and demand. A job-to-be-done focus by making sure our target-client feels closer to the company, therefore creating a sense of trust with our customers, Adweek would then not only connect on a digital medium, but on a physical level.
- Profit Formula:
Year one: $590.300:
$1 million (app) + $8,4 million (website) + $400.000 (by-products) + $1 million (acquirer and sponsors) + $4,2 million (advertisements) + $84.000 (workshop revenue) + $1,86 million (extra subscribers) + $730.000 (consulting service revenue) – $76400 (IT expenses) – $8,8 million (employees) – $0,5 million (acquisition) – $3 million (other expenses – Misc) – $2,2 million (extra employees) – $100.000 (workshop space) – $1 million (Europe office) – $407300 (free trials) – $1 million (advertising).
Year 3: $4.107.600:
$1million (app) + $8,4 million (website) + $400.000 (by-products) + $1 million (acquirer and sponsors) + $4,2 million (advertisements) + $84.000 (workshop revenue) + $1,86 million (extra subscribers year one) + $730.000 (consulting service revenue) + $0,5 million (extra subscribers year 2)
+ $0,51 million (extra subscribers) – $76400 (IT expenses) – $8,8 million (employees) – $0,5 million (acquisition) – $3 million (other expenses – Misc) – $2,2 million (extra employees).
- Key Activities:
Video – Engagement & website/app retention: As pointed out in the CVP section of starting a new consulting service by Adweek, the need to redesign the website/mobile application plays a significant role in the amount of retention that can be acquired by the company. As of the latest data from SimilarWeb, Adweek ranks 16,711 among websites globally with a monthly visits growth of about 6.71%.To get a holistic view of what the webinar is the company has only made a small summary (in-text format). Instead, provision of a small teaser like video will help in engaging the audience keeping the retention rate in mind. Also, for new users, providing videos about past workshops and consultancy programs will help make sure they get a better understanding of what and how the events work.
AMP:Use of AMP will help in bringing the following advantages that the company can leverage on:
o It reduces bouncing rate. Bounce rate is a method by which it is calculated how many users leave your site in less time that means your page not giving information to the user’s what they promised to give.
o It will be more responsive and user-friendly.
o Google shows AMP pages in Google News carousel – which is given more priority than other search results. And this is the biggest reason AMP content will get SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) boost.
Adweek’s outreach to increase the access for users, thereby, enhancing a customer’s ability to use their digital service through viable cross-device solutions.Outreach to establish beneficial connections between people and the organization. Conducting localised events, workshops, corporate consultancy programs for existing publishers and freelancers etc are few of the ways by which Adweek will be able to establish a strong hold of their marketing team. Provide unbundled and personalized content, distribute it from various sources and via various devices.
Further improvements to Brand Strategy:
Collaborate and maintain key relationships with advertising giants for further brand recognition. The relationship with different corporate companies in the field of media, journalism, marketing , IT (for internal and external IT infrastructure maintenance) to hold workshops and consulting programs will help gain more insights and transform its landscape.
- Key Resources:
Large Format Server Bank:
A large format server bank would give customers a faster reaction time from the second they click on an Adweek function on their website to the time that the information appears on their personal devices or computers. One main complaint that prior customers have brought to the public eye has been that the website itself reacts very slowly and sometimes not at all. This can be remedied through the installation of a larger server bank with solid state hard drives linked to a cloud operating system for consumers to be able to access information quickly and efficiently.
Modern Marketing Staff:
As time has progressed in the modern era of technology and constant ground-breaking innovation, the way that Adweek communicates with their customers’ needs to advance as well. A team of individuals specifically voiced in the way that individuals respond to modern marketing will greatly benefit the sale of any given service that they would seek to pursue. With the growth of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and increased Google searches, the marketing material needs to be located in such places where consumers are visiting every single day. This in turn will allow a larger base of potentially untapped customers to be brought into the services that Adweek provides.
Website Management Taskforce:
To further improve the customer experience to the applications discussed, a website development and improvement team that can consistently improve the website functionality. This task will be directly related to the speed of use for the customer and to remedy the problem of information acquisition speeds on a personal device.
My honest reflections & Highlights.
Our first video call was very casual and we started of greeting each other in our own mother tongues and was a lot of fun. We then had allotted certain time for us to do research about the type of company we wanted to work on for the Deliverables-1 and Deliverables-2. In the meantime, we kept note of the status through WhatsApp and in order to initiate a friendlier approach, one of the group members suggested to chat via voice message. This concept was new to me, the reason being I like texting and was not quite comfortable with this approach. Although, I had wanted to come out of this sell and hence shared few of my own voice chats quite often. I created a team drive on google for us to share information and edit on the go, hereby, to avoid any issues with mis-communication via e-mail.
The second video call, took the initiative of maintaining the minutes for this section and we had decided a lot of things. We started off with a brief introduction about the company we chose and the amount of resources available on it. Also, one of the team members suggested to use a time and planning management tool named: monday.com to keep track of what is going on with respect to the status of the work been assigned to each member of the group. A screenshot of that can be found in my blog. We also distributed the topics we were going to work on and this way there will be no duplicates clashing with each other. There was utter silence till the next video call apart from few doubts exchanged here and there. Because we were all given tasks and there was a deadline gripping on us. One of the group member and I had a video call just for a brainstorming session as to how to progress with the business model innovation.
Since I volunteered to design and collaborate to make a bundled presentation, I started receiving personal messages form each member of the team. Although a lot of information to handle and multi-tasking required, I personally felt happy that work is being done as it was meant to be. Now that the Deliverables-2 submission is completed, I learnt three key behaviour related changes within me:
- My tolerance to chaos increased along with my threshold to have a lot of patience.
- Anxiety dropped significantly and level of communication(ease) increased.
- Trust played an important factor and this helped us to stay positive throughout the whole project-period.
That’s it for now. I know this is how a real world global team would operate and this particular course helped me get one step closer to understanding, better evaluating and sometimes even giving me the subtle authority to take charge -of, do man-management and most importantly play along with the team. Most of the other highlights are posted separately as part of the graded section and I would like to end this by thanking my professor for giving this opportunity and global exposure.