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Michael Porter's theory is used to understand the context in which a firm operates in order to identify whether the business venture will be profitable or not. It can also be used to design strategies for countering any threats to the bottom-line. According to Porter’s theory, an industry is influenced by 5 Forces. Here's how to apply it to your case study, if it's applicable: 1. Identify if there’s a pervasive threat of new entrants – that is, how easy is it for others to enter the industry? Y
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  Michael Porter's   theory is used to understand the context in which a firm operates in order to identify whether the business venture will be profitable or not. It can also be used to design strategies for countering any threats to the bottom-line. According to Porter’s theory, an industry is influenced by 5 Forces. Here's how to apply it to your case study, if it's applicable: 1. Identify if there’s a pervasive   threat of new entrants    –   that is, how easy is it for others to enter the industry? You can analyze this by answering the following questions:    What is the learning curve required for engaging in the business?    How easy is it to gain access to inputs needed for the generation of products or provision of services?    How restrictive are government policies in the industry?    What capital requirements are required to set up shop? If it costs too little to enter the market, new competition could step in and weaken the position of the business    What are the costs of switching from one provider to another?    What’s the nature of the products or services –   are they proprietary? 2. Identify whether there’s a   threat of substitute products or services . Questions like this can help: Are  buyers inclined to substitute products or services with an alternative? What costs will buyers incur if they switch from one product to another? As an example, a company that specializes in the sale of process automation software should be aware of substitutes like manual process alternatives and process outsourcing schemes in order to develop measures to retain or expand their market share. 3. Evaluate Buyers’ Bargaining Power : Consider the power buyers have by answering these questions:    Bargaining leverage: how easily can buyers force prices down?    Buyer volume: how ma ny buyers does the business have? What’s the cost of losing a buyer? Usually the more buyers are available, the less power each one has    Buyer Information: How much information is available to buyers?    Price sensitivity: How price sensitive are buyers?    Produ ct differentiation: Which aspects of the company’s products/services make them unique to buyers?  4. Evaluate Suppliers’ Bargaining Power : Consider how many suppliers the business has. How much control does each supplier have over the business? What’s the c ost of switching from one supplier to another? Usually, the fewer the number of suppliers the business has, the more powerful they are.  5. Evaluate the Competitive Rivalry : If no one else can do what the business does, then the business has enormous industry strength and has the capacity to make huge profits. Competition places a downward  pressure on prices, which in turn causes a reduction in profit. Another framework that can be used to make sense of your case study data at the asesssment center is the PEST  framework. PEST Analysis is a way of identifying and categorizing all the factors that have an impact on the business environment in which a firm operates. PEST is an acronym for p olitical, e nvironmental, s ocial and t echnological factors. Once these factors are understood, they can use be used to recommend a strategy for the firm to either exploit or prevent the opportunities that arise. Here's a list of factors that fall within each category: Political Factors  1.   Government regulation 2.   Tax Policy 3.   Trade restrictions and tariffs 4.   Political stability 5.   Regulation 6.   Competition regulation 7.   Bureaucracy 8.   Press freedom Economic Factors  1.   Economic growth 2.   Interest rate 3.   Exchange rate 4.   Inflation 5.   Unemployment rate 6.   Interest rate 7.   Price fluctuations 8.   Stock market trends Social Factors  1.   Demographics 2.   Population growth 3.   Illiteracy rate 4.   lifestyle 5.   Religion and health 6.   Behavioural characteristics  7.   Psychographics Technological Factors  1.   Basic infrastructural development level 2.   Technology incentives 3.   Technology Access 4.   Technology regulation 5.   Research and development expenditure 6.   Rate of technological change How to apply this framework to your case study  1. Use the PEST framework to come up ideas on the factors affecting the business in the case study 2. Identify the opportunities possible 3. Identify the threats to the business caused by the identified factors 4. Recommend a strategy or plan of action to prevent negative impacts and exploit positive opportunities. Some assessment centres require that you analyze a case study as one of the exercises for candidate assessment. It helps to have a framework you can draw on to analyze the data you are provided with. My  professor in school once defined a framework as, a tool for making sense of data . The framework you use will of course, depend on the situation. Here is a high-level view of the value chain framework which can be applied to common business problems. Value Chain Analysis  Primary activities of a firm The value chain is a combination of activities that are central to a firm’s opera tions. If these activities are innovatively managed, they can be a unique source of competitive advantage. The typical primary activities that fall within the value chain are illustrated in the diagram above. Support Activities on the other hand, focus on ensuring that the business is able to achieve its objectives. Support activities are as follows:    Procurement     ICT    Human resources    Infrastructure (Legal, QA, Finance, Planning) Michael Porter, the father of Value chain analysis recommends that firms look for ways to generate superior value by reconfiguring the value chain to provide customer value at a lower cost (thereby maximising profit) or through differentiation. To apply value chain analysis to your case study, follow these steps: 1. Break down the market or organization into its major activities. 2. Assess the potential of creating value in the organization. This could be through product reduction or cost differentiation. 3. Recommend a strategy for achieving competitive advantage. In a nutshell, value chain analysis is about identifying the primary and support activities of a firm and looking for ways to achieve competitive advantage by recommending smart choices such as reducing waste and developing innovative products and services. So you finally landed the Business Analyst interview you’ve worked so hard for? Lucky you. This post contains some tips to help you prepare for the big day. I've also included some tips you can apply if you find yourself in an assessment centre-like setting. 1. Think through all the Business Analyst competencies , as specified by IIBA, and prepare scenarios where you have exhibited these competencies. In answering competency-based questions, don't forget to use the STAR ( S ituation, T ask, A ction and R esult) technique to compose your response.    o   Analytical thinking & Problem-solving  - Interviewers may look for scenarios where you have demonstrated creative thinking, decision-making, learning, problem solving and systems thinking. In particular, prepare to answer competency-based questions such as: Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision , Tell me about a time when you suggested
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