Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pandora Reflection


I truly enjoyed the consultant perspective on the case.  They came up with very creative ways to generate more income which is always useful.  Offering multiple types of subscriptions is a great way to reach all segments of the market.  This will allow us to get the ad revenue from those who are not willing to pay while collecting a descent price for those willing to pay a premium.  Basing this off of hours played will make it very easy for our analyst to project into the future and allows our board members to see progress in a more concise way. 
Their rebranding effort was a fantastic and out of the box idea which I enjoyed.  I would add one more to this platform and that would be to allow those musicians who participate as well established stars to add information on their page where we already have their history or background.  This will give people a reason to stay longer in our network and allow for more ad revenue to be generated.
Entering the mobile device market is the way to go.  Nearly each person in the medium term will have a mobile device that can play music.  We need to make sure we capture that market.  People will want to use this in their car, on the train, or talking a jog.  We will need to present this as personal playlist of your favorite genre of music with little or no advertising.   
I think they did a great job and they gave us a great foundation to work off of.  We can implement some of their ideas and continue to hammer out the details.
I will forward a plan of action with all of the details and see if there are any changes you would like to make.

Thank You

Operations Manager

MS Project Review

Dear IT manager,

I am responding to your inquiry into MS Project for your Project managers.  I have been reviewing and testing this for the last two months and I have found it to be very useful.  It allows each step of the project to be clear and informative.  Project managers need to be aware of what is coming next and have each step laid out in a Gantt chart provides the clarity. 
MS Project uses a familiar format, Excel, for data input.  All of the actions are nearly self-explanatory.  The columns are headed from the beginning, so for your new employees it would be very easy for them to catch on.  But for the more complicated and senior level projects there are many bells and whistles they can add to the project plan.  Resource management is one essential tool that any project manager needs.  Without knowing how many hours each of your employees has for each project you would be lost. Double booking projects can be very detrimental to the business work flow.
Since we are a small operation we were able to get away with excel format to monitor our time.  We have grown so much in the past year and we plan on growing even more in the next year.  I commend you for thinking ahead and I think this will work great.  This will have a huge impact on our productivity and essentially our bottom line.  It will be well worth the investment. 

Thank You
Project Coordinator

Rajae El Temawi  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pandora Case

The problem that Pandora faces is as Westergreen stated, how to get, “…the customers to leave a buck in the tip jar”.  How can we monetize this service to the fullest extent without jeopardizing customer service?  Basically, what is the connection of what users want and what they will pay? 
With pressure from investors to make Pandora profitable the CEO needed to figure out how to keep its regular customers, attract new ones while at the same time keep costs under control and below revenue.  There was pressure to bring Pandora to profitability.  Licensing fees was an increasing expense. Unless Pandora could convince the customer to pay for the music service, it would be an unattractive company for the support of their Venture capital partners.  Pandora has yet to make a profit.
Pandora should focus on the cost-benefit analysis in order to make a rational decision.
The following points must be considered:
·         How can the usage of service be traced?
·         What are the exact benefits in terms of dollar amount of changing the subscription model?
·         What are the effects of adding more advertising? What are the costs?
Pandora can do one of three things:
·         Add more advertising.
·         A new “freemium” model.
·         A subscription model for all the users.

The alternatives mentioned about have serious impacts on the ability to increase revenue for Pandora.

The first option of adding more advertisements during the music would add up more revenues. Based on the basic information, Pandora can make better use of its model by targeting particular ads or providing local marketing.

The second alternative is to implement “freemium” model that could provide a limited but free service to all the users and also offer a premium-priced value-added membership for the “super-users”.

The last option with Pandora was to implement a subscription model for all the users. This would help to take advantage of economies of scale by spreading the costs among large customer base.

After the evaluation of alternatives for the pros and cons, I would suggest to have a subscription pan to all the users. This would cover the operating and maintenance costs and also enable to improve the revenue generating ability for Pandora.  Give each segment a piece of the pie and use different methods of generating income.  The free service gets heavy ads while the paid service gets none or very little.  This would also allow for better targeting for local advertising.  The more people who use it the more people in a small area will have access to the ads which means they can charge more.

Bombardier Reflection

The consultants did their research very well.  They came and delivered a deep analysis of the situation with very clear and concise recommendations.  I am happy to hear that they recognized the upper management’s hard work and positive results.  They worked hard and deserve the credit.  
I believe we were on the same page as they were as far as process.  We knew that project management was slacking a bit and they thought that we needed more controls and planning to keep projects from going over budget (project creep).  I was taken aback by the fact that 2/3 of all projects fail due to bad change/project management.  That is a high number and we need to make sure we do not fall on the bad side of that statistic.  Management of a project affects all aspects and should be a main focal point when fine tuning this process. 
The one thing that I would be cautious with is their recommendation to hire “shadow” employees.  It is a hard pill to swallow and though it should be looked into to make sure the ROI is worth it, it seems a bit excessive.  The numbers they mentioned were that a person would need 20% of their normal time dedicated to the implementation of the project which would mean that we would require 120% of total time.  That is 8 hrs. extra a week or 1.6 hrs. each day.  I understand people need to have a life work balance but asking key individuals to work a bit extra through a transition period, in my opinion, is not asking for too much. 
Training is an integral part of any change.  We will have many employee types affected by the new ERP system: production, finance & sales.  They will each need to understand new functions as well as learning old ones in the new ERP system.  This takes time and money.  We seem to have fallen short according to them.  I would have to agree considering the complexity of the change and the feed back from employees.  We need to ensure that we heed their advice about making sure training has enough budgeted, we do not want to be left with no more money and too many people lost on how to do their jobs.  They mentioned $61 million or around 17% of the total budget.  Of course these figures will be vetted by our finance team but I agree with their idea of emphasizing training to shorten the “shock” of adapting to an ERP system.  Getting back to our productivity number and then surpassing as quickly as possible will be worth the money invested.