The cluster “Business Transformation” comprises all steps of an entrepreneurial value chain and addresses questions of how these value chain steps must be transformed or realigned through sustainable management and digitization. The classical, operational functions such as marketing, procurement, logistics, human resource management or finance are being given a sustainable new orientation by integrating these two core constructs of our research activities.
Pricing is an important component in a business model – especially in view of the fact that the variable “price” usually represents the strongest profit lever for companies. However, too often this profit lever is neglected in favor of other parameters. Prof. Ulrich Anders and Prof. Alessandro Monti have dealt with the nature of pricing more intensively.
What are the basic determinants of pricing? Which important parameters have to be considered? Existing approaches and models in research all to often take the determinants and parameters as given. The two professors propose an alternative approach – the Price Extraction Model. This allows the different price determinants to be represented, which in turn allows all variants of pricing approaches to be illustrated. In the next steps, the two researchers will conduct a further intensive validation of the approach they have found.
The SWOT framework (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is often used by analysts and management consultants to portray companies. The SWOT framework is divided into two parts: (a) the internal analysis based on know-how and core competencies identifies strengths and weaknesses and (b) the analysis of the external environment in the form of competitors, customers, suppliers, regulatory and social issues leads to the presentation of opportunities and threats.
As good and proven as the SWOT framework is, it has several disadvantages. First of all, the SWOT analysis is a static description of the state of affairs and therefore more related to a point in time – it would be better to look at it over a period of time. Secondly, the SWOT framework often leads to a certain redundancy. Weaknesses turn into threats, strengths turn into opportunities. The reduction of weaknesses also leads to opportunities. Thirdly, the SWOT framework is not geared to activities. SWOT is static and no longer fits into times when analyses must be directly implementable. This means that analyses should lead to proposals for activities.
For these and other reasons Prof. Dr. Ulrich Anders developed the SQUID analysis (Sustain, Question, Unload, Improve, Develop). SQUID has several advantages over SWOT in terms of company analysis. First of all, SQUID is based on activities and a time period.
SQUID always starts from the current situation. What should one do to move a company forward. What should be maintained? What should be questioned? What should not be done? What should be improved (in the short term)? What should be developed (long-term)? With these questions you look at the company from all sides, taking into account not only internal competencies but also the external context.
In addition, SQUID also provides scope for prioritisation over time and takes feasibility into account. Some desirable possibilities (opportunities) cannot be reached quickly, but have to be developed over a certain period of time.
SQUID has proven its worth both for the strategic analysis and the financial analysis of companies (e.g. in an M&A context). An example: Unload can refer to an older product on the one hand, but also to a balance sheet investment on the other hand. On the one hand, SQUID is simple and intuitive enough to be used quickly, unambiguously and without much explanation. On the other hand, SQUID also allows an all-round analysis of a company with regard to the main questions and categories.
In the winter semester 2019, professors Ulrich Anders and Rembert Horstmann, together with international Master students, carried out a business project with the company UPS. Three topics were worked on in various student working groups. The first topic included the development of a strategy for the company’s social media presence in Germany. The second topic dealt with the different barriers in international e-commerce distribution within the EU. The third topic area developed ideas for a possible business development of UPS in the health care sector. The students’ analyses and recommendations were very positively received by UPS.
Greater transparency and faster response times – a digitalised supply chain offers enormous savings potential for every company. In their business project with the Fressnapf Group, Europe’s largest specialist pet supplies chain, our students of the “International Business – Digital Transformation Management” course of studies have dealt with precisely this topic: As a key factor for international expansion, the students were to develop ideas with which the already excellent supply chain could be further digitalised.
Targeted promotion of digital supply chains. At the start of the project, the students visited the Fressnapf central warehouse in Krefeld under the direction of Prof. Dr. Nils Finger, Professor for Supply Chain Management and Vice President for Innovation and Academic Affairs. Subsequently, the students, divided into two project groups, determined the status quo of the current degree of digitisation of the current supply chain and identified possible fields of action. “In my group, we developed the idea of a mobile app with which communication at a specific interface of the supply chain could be improved and the corresponding process digitised,” says Master student Marie von Homeyer. The second project group, on the other hand, dealt intensively with the
possible effects of a Supply Chain 4.0, as Tillman Sontag explained: “We found that some areas could be made even more efficient by using additional digital tools”. During their digital final presentation, the students also presented a sophisticated target scenario up to the year 2022.
Prof. Dr. Nils Finger was more than satisfied with the results of the project groups: “Both the digital transformation and a sustainably effective supply chain management represent a great challenge for companies. In our business project with Fressnapf, the students combined and developed their specialist knowledge in both important areas and presented the customer with great results. I am proud of this: Our students really put a lot of energy into this complex project and made it a success despite the additional challenges that arose from teamwork from a distance during the corona restrictions”. Mathias Wenzel, Head of Supply Chain Management at the Fressnapf Group, fully endorsed this praise: “I am really impressed by the professional project work and the final presentations by the students. We are already looking forward to the next project with the CBS International Business School”.
New technologies, digital processes and their effects on the working world: At the symposium “Leadership meets Tech”, the CBS International Business School and its partner Alteryx brought together digital leaders with pupils, students and graduates.
As the initiators of the events, Prof. Dr. Anja Karlshaus (Photo 1: right), Dean of the Department of General Management, and Prof. Dr. Nils Finger (Photo 1: left), Professor of Supply Chain Management, invited participants to discuss central issues of the digital age and learn about new technologies. “We wanted to take a holistic approach to the topic of “Leadership in the Digital Age” and, in addition to discussion rounds, we also
offered Tech Experiences and workshops on topics such as “Code + Design – Telekom App Development” and “3D Print Experiences”. This approach corresponds to our self-image of an excellent university education in which the theoretical and practical examination of future topics goes hand in hand,” says Prof. Dr. habil. Elisabeth Fröhlich, President of the CBS International Business School, on the interactive approach of the event.
As guest of honour at the symposium, Mayor Elfi Scho-Antwerpes (photo below left) addressed the guests with a greeting: “It is nice to see that at “Leadership meets Tech”, greats from business, research and education come together to exchange ideas on how the experts of tomorrow can be best prepared for the challenges of the digital transformation.
Numerous company representatives of the digital industry used the symposium as an opportunity to network with the participants during and after the breakout sessions and Tech Experiences: Deutsche Telekom, DB Schenker, TUI, RWE, cologne summit, Jogecon GmbH, Netempire AG, IT Cologne Summit, ShowBotixx, talent = digital, Kreutz & Partner, Optima Analytica, neomatt and Planetenwerft took part in the programme with interactive workshops and product demonstrations, among other things.
The CBS Media Management/ Cross Media department also offered a Tech Experience “VR-Glasses Application”. “I think it’s great how open the participants of the symposium were for virtual reality. The technology is already being used in the real estate and education sector today, whether for marketing or as a new educational experience. I myself got to know VR in my studies and during an internship and was pleased to be able to share my knowledge about it at the symposium,” says Irelynn Borja, Bachelor’s student of Digital Media Management.
CBS supports lifestyle marketing in the Bundesliga. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Torsten Weber, some CBS master students had the opportunity to work together with TSG Hoffenheim Fußball-Spielbetriebs GmbH. The business project dealt with the marketing strategy and brand management around the lifestyle textile brand “Umoja”, which belongs to the Bundesliga club. This is a fair trade textile brand which the Bundesliga club introduced last year.
This enabled them to combine the sustainable character of the products with the entire brand communication in their consulting. The students travelled to Hoffenheim to present the final results to the board of TSG Hoffenheim. The entire board took time for our students and was enthusiastic about their ideas and their presentation. The photo shows Denni Strich, Managing Director Marketing TSG Hoffenheim and our CBS students