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Critically examine how the HR function can be expected to add incremental value to organisation performance while the business transition from Personnel Management to Strategic Human Resource Management is experienced.

You are a member of a ‘Tech City’ agency and your request to present your latest initiative has been approved.  You are required to develop a Business Plan (on the format given below). The Plan can be a consideration of any entrepreneurial entity drawn from any culture or geographic area.  It can be for either profit or non-profit and could be of a social purpose

Your Business Plan and the Presentation Paper should convince your audience (of managerial and Financial members) to lend you their support.

  1. Nature of the business – Should provide the background and history of the business.  Also contain the goals as well as the product or services description being proposed. It should also discuss the supplier information, agreements and ownership structure and legal considerations.
  2. Situation Analysis – Should do SWOT analysis, identify potential customer, geographical area, business competitors.
  3. Marketing Strategy – Should present the costing and pricing, sales projection, and marketing plan.  
  4. Operations and Human Resources Strategy – Should state what operations strategy will be undertaken.  Also include the manpower needed, HR planning, recruitment & selection strategies, and motivation.
  5. Finances – To include the revenue, expenses, and financial projections.
Business opportunity

The Access Group is a United Kingdom based software consultancy business organization that largely focuses on developing and creating new software’s. Their main focus is on the mid-market business organization in European continent, mainly in UK and France. The organization was first started in 1991 and till 2009 it has enlarged by absorbing five different computer software organizations in the market (Theaccessgroup.com, 2017). The CEO of the organization is Chris Bayne, who is an alumnus of Aston University. It develops a large number of software and computer security systems like- finance, HR, Business Suites, Recruitment Agencies, Care Management, NGOs, etc. The organization delivers safe and user-friendly software solutions of business operations in business organizations. Presently, the organization has more than 10,000 happy customers in United Kingdom. Currently, the management of the organization has decided to develop security software for personal computers. In the report, the author is going to discuss about the feasibility of the product in the market by analysing different aspects in respect to market trends and opportunities.

The new technological improvement and increased communication process has changed the communication mode of individuals. Now people are comfortable in using internet and other online activities for their personal as well as professional interest. Internet has become one of the significant medium of communication and business associations (Jansen, et al, 2013). However, computer systems that are connected with the internet are exposed to face major security threats from a set of viruses, Trojans and other malicious activities by hackers to acquire personal information (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010). The online threat is increasing with the sophistication and complication in the technological advancements. Most of the high end security software that are present in the market are quite expensive and complicated to operate as a result, average computer users has to rely on the default firewall system within their system. The effectiveness and customizability of the security system largely depends on the vendor and operating system version. In order to provide a security system for personal users, Access Group has proposed to develop a user friendly security system. The security software will be pocket friendly, efficient and consistent security solution despite of the security of the operating system while maintaining high performance of the system.

The Access Group has identified three different market segments as their target market. These segments are more likely the potential customers of the security software.

  • Students (12-18 years) - This group are basically students who own personal computer, laptops and other portable devices. They are dependent on their parent financially.
  • Young people (19-50 years) - This group are financially self dependent who are active users of internet and own more than one internet device.
  • Seniors (50+> years) - This group are financially dependent and are in the verge of retirement. They are not tech savvy but uses internet for submitting bills and other payments and communicating with family members. Not very much familiar with computer systems and keep little knowledge about security software.

There are several competitors in the market who are selling personal security software for this target segments. The Access group will influence their competitive edge by including new features in the security software that will be user friendly and protects the system while maintaining its efficiency. The security software will protect all data in multiple devices (up to 5 devices) with a single subscription per year. It will facilitate in managing multiple devices by an easy to use web portal. It acts against a number of internet security loops like viruses, spywares, spam mails and other malicious online activities. The Access group has given special attention in developing the software so that it can safeguard user identity in online activities and transactions. The organization is also guarantying a 100% money back policy if the security software fails.

  • Effective software to detect unknown malicious internet security activities and other threats.
  • User friendly with integrated features advanced users for customized controls.
  • Can be customized to automatically protect systems without user interference.
  • High speed in detecting threats with effective running of the system.
  • Needs to be updated regularly for updating the new viruses, trojans and worms list within the system.
  • Needs upgrading user subscription after one year.
  • Increasing number of internet users and untapped market.
  • Integration with computer operating system software manufactures.
  • Upgrading product configuration for better internet and computer security.
  • New and latest security threats and viruses which can disguise as safe content.
  • New sophisticated product development from the existing competitors.

Target Market

The Porter’s five force analysis is being aimed to perform a strategic analysis of The Access Group and their new security software.

Bargaining Power of the buyer: The bargaining power of the buyers is higher in this situation because a large number of companies are offering highly sophisticated security systems. But Access Group is already a well-known software solution in the United Kingdom market with a comparative market share, so its acceptability to its customers will be more.

Bargaining Power of the suppliers: The bargaining power of the suppliers will is low in this scenario because there are a number of suppliers in the market.

Rivalry among existing firms: The rivalry in-between existing competitors are higher in this business market with well-organized and renowned security software solutions present in the market like Quick-Heal, Kaspersky Anti-virus, AGV Anti-virus and McAfee Anti-Virus.

Threat of substitutes: The threat of substitute is higher as software development and solution business organizations invest a lot of its resources in research and development, so there is always a chance to bring more sophisticated security software solutions in the market.

Threat of new entry: The threat to new entrée is moderate to low because there is a huge investment and brand reputation needed in entering the security software industry.

The PESTEL analysis is an important marketing tool which is utilized to identify the different external, political, economic, technological, legal, social and environmental factors which can affect the business processes and sustainability (Rothaermel, 2015). Then the risk is assessed and recognizes the factors which can affect the business and utilize them in decision making.

Political: The Access Group will be impacted by a set of political factors in domestic as well as in international level. Like the effect of the general range of political factors like political stability in the market, other interest groups and government’s support and attitude towards the industry. The management has to be updated about different governmental rules in international market.

Economic: The Economic factors will effect directly or indirect to the business of Access Group. In the recent times the economy in Britain is facing serious turmoil due to economic slowdown. So, the management may face some restrains in conducting business domestically. But the market in the developing nations like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa are booming market in terms of computer security and IT and a larger scope to explore the vast market for the Access Group.

Social: The Access Group will be greatly influenced by social factors like alterations in demography, consumer tastes and attitude towards consumer electronics products and services. The society in United Kingdom is rapidly accepting computer and internet solutions in the day to day life as a result the security software products are also highly accepted in the market.

Technological: The software industry in United Kingdom as well as globally is one of the most developing industrial sector. The technological improvements and sophistications have lead to very high competition in the market (Chatterjee, 2017). To gain the competitiveness in the market and sustain, the Access Group need to keep up with new market trends and technological shift in the industry.

Unique Selling Points and the Value Deliverables of the Proposed Product

Legal: The IT and software industry is bound by a very strict legislative rules and policies. The security theft and data beaching are regarded as serious issues. The Access Group needs to ensure complete identity and customer information safety as with the sophistication in technology users are continuously at possibility of being exposed or their confidentiality being breached.

Environmental: In the contemporary business world, the environmental laws and policies has become obligatory for any successful business organization. The Access Group needs to follow the local as well as international environmental policies and procedures to practice corporate social responsibility in the area of its business practice by using more environmental friendly products and procedures.

The Access Group control their competitive advantage by combining a pocket friendly, efficient and consistent security solution despite of the security of the operating system while maintaining high performance of the system which will help them to gain the market share at a faster pace. The other competitive security software product in the market concentrates only on the security concerns within the software. The Access group has planned to include customized security settings according to user preferences and operating system configurations in its software solution. The marketing strategy of the Access Group will concentrate on rising visibility and familiarity of the software in the market. The marketing strategy of the Access Group is:

The main competitors inside the Antivirus niche market of the software industry that will be participating with Access Groups’ security software are McAfee Antivirus, Quick-Heal, Norton Anti-Virus, etc. (Hedman, et al, 2016). Among them McAfee is one of the most influential market competitor in the security software industry in terms of revenues and net assets. These software solution businesses develop software applications for personal computer systems and network servers. The Access group is a UK based recognized software solution business which has now planned to launch a personal security software solution to meet the growing demand in the market.

An effective and successful business is nothing without an effective communication system that clearly identifies and reaches its target audience (Armstrong, et al, 2012). The Access group’s promotional strategy consisting of many factors and they are as follows-

Promoting through shareware: One of the effective ways to increase number of downloads of the software is through submitting the security software to as many download sites and directories as possible (Eastman, et al, 2012). This is one of the important marketing strategies of software businesses. It is important to keep track of the traffic of the websites and create a good Portable Application Description for the ease of the users (Barceló, 2010).

Affiliates marketing websites: The management can approach different Affiliates marketing websites who will promote the product through their websites in return of nominal changes.

Pay Per Click Campaigns: One of the best Pay per click campaigning web engines are Google, AdWords and Yahoo! Search (Shimp and Andrews, 2012). The basic idea of the Pay per click is that once a user search key words, the search engines automatically places advertisement near search results and the idea is to bid for very key word which gives pertinent results in relation to the product (Sheehan, 2010).

Windows of opportunity

Newsletters: The Access group already have a huge database due to its other software solution products. So, the marketing team can take initiative to start sending newsletter about the new product launch and its customer data base.

Active participation in blogs and social media: Social media has become one of the most prominent and effective marketing techniques for mainly computer and IT solutions (Roberts and Candi, 2014). This gives the opportunity to directly connect with the consumers and handle their queries and grievances. Similarly engaging in blog writing will engage the consumers and a platform to announce new launches and up gradations.

The following illustrates the financial anticipations and planning for the Access Groups’ new security software:

General Financial Assumptions

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Plan Month

1

2

3

Current rate of interest

10%

10%

10%

Long term interest rate

10%

10%

10%

Tax rate

30%

30%

30%

Other

0

0

0

Break Even Analysis: The break even Analysis is the revenue representation which is required to cover the total cost including both fixed and variable cost of a business organization (Fridson and Alvarez, 2011). The total profit at the break-even point is 0.

The Break even analysis of the Access Group’s new security software solution product:

                                     

Break-even Analysis:

Monthly revenue breakeven: $20,959

Assumptions:

Average percentage variable cost:      7%

Estimated monthly fixed coast: $19,492

A new product or service launch is inappropriate without proper human resource planning. A human resource planning facilitates a business organization to recognize and identify the potential resources available within the organization and the gap (Bratton and Gold, 2012). The Access is a well organized software solution business organization so it should have a well structured human resource department within the organization. So, it is important that the human resource manager should become an active member with the management and line managers in strategic decision making for assisting to executive plans more effectively (Boxall and Purcell, 2011). The HR department is also responsible to deliver efficient cost effective measures during new product development while marinating its quality and value. The human resource department of the Access Group has estimated that there is a need for new team for product development and marketing and promotional team. The hr manager after discussing with the management should list the required skills, abilities, experience and qualification for new for promoting new employees for the new product launch. The organization will need two employees for software programming and development. There is also need for one marketing manager and one social media expert for marketing and promotional activities, for the security software. The department should also comprise of customer care executives for 24*7, so there is a need for at least 5 customer care executives. The customer care executives will be the face of the organization as they will be directly handling customer complaints and grievances so proper training should be provided to them to ensure effective communication with the customers.

Conclusion:

The Access group is a UK based software consultancy business. The main objective of the business is to develop new software according to customer’s needs. The management of the Access group has planned to launch a new security software solution for personal users. In the report, the author has critically analysed and discuss about the feasibility of the product in the market by analysing different aspects in respect to market trends and opportunities. The author has detailed about the proposed product and its specifications and identifying its target market segments. The report also analyses the threats and opportunities and other business aspects of the product. The report examines that despite high competitive market, the product has a fair chance to sustain and acquire a market share.

Reference:

Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M. and Brennan, R., 2012. Marketing: an introduction. Pearson Prentice-Hall, London.

Barceló, J., 2010. Fundamentals of traffic simulation (Vol. 145, p. 439). New York: Springer.

Boxall, P. and Purcell, J., 2011. Strategy and human resource management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2012. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Chatterjee, J., 2017. Strategy, human capital investments, business?domain capabilities, and performance: A study in the global software services industry. Strategic Management Journal, 38(3), 588-608.

Eastman, S.T., Ferguson, D.A. and Klein, R. eds., 2012. Media Promotion & Marketing for Broadcasting, Cable & the Internet. CRC Press.

Fridson, M.S. and Alvarez, F., 2011. Financial statement analysis: a practitioner's guide (Vol. 597). John Wiley & Sons.

Hedman, J., Sarker, S., Veit, D., and Ojala, A., 2016. Business models and opportunity creation: How IT entrepreneurs create and develop business models under uncertainty. Information Systems Journal, 26(5), 451.

Jansen, S., Cusumano, M.A. and Brinkkemper, S. eds., 2013. Software Ecosystems: Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y., 2010. Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.

Roberts, D., and Candi, M., 2014. Leveraging Social Network Sites in New Product Development: Opportunity or Hype? Journal of Product Innovation Management,31(S1), 105.

Rothaermel, F.T., 2015. Strategic management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Sheehan, B., 2010. Basics Marketing 02: Online Marketing. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Shimp, T.A. and Andrews, J.C., 2012. Advertising promotion and other aspects of integrated marketing communications. Cengage Learning.

Theaccessgroup.com, (2017). About Us | Access Group. [online] Theaccessgroup.com. Available at: https://www.theaccessgroup.com/about/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017].

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