Title: Akaneo Company Case
Subject Area: Corporate Strategy for Business Sustainability
Region: United States
Industry: Product information management (PIM)
Challenge: Akeneo is a Software-as-a-Service company that prides itself on delivering lean and efficient product information management (PIM) software to its business clients. The PIM is offered in two versions: free and enterprise. Akeneo is a global leader in the PIM industry and provides a critical software backbone for thousands of retail companies. However, after attending a major technology conference, CEO Frédéric de Gombert realized that Akeneo’s enterprise offering was not attracting enough clients. Smaller companies, despite needing PIM software, were unable to fully utilize or need the larger scale enterprise edition that Akeneo was pushing. In order to maintain Akeneo’s competitive advantage in the PIM market, Akeneo needs to expand to a more inclusive client base and retain existing relationships.
Personal Capital: Elucidating Our Professional Core
Our team consists of Marketing, Computer Science and Management Information Systems majors and all have co-op and internship experience from the startup and technology space in the Boston area. With our strong array of varied roles and experience, we leveraged our knowledge base to apply our course material in understanding the different business units and factors that affect Akeneo’s product and decisions.
Social Capital: Embedding in the Industry
Our Method: To analyze how Akeneo can create a competitive edge, our team collected primary data from email correspondences with Mike Bender, Akeneo’s North American VP of Sales, as well as internal data directly from sales teams from our team member, Nathan Glazer, who works at Akeneo. We supplemented the data provided with macro industry data collected from competitors, including financial and economic projections that gave context to the SaaS industry. We then analyzed the data through the PESTEL and VRIO frameworks to identify Akeneo’s core competencies in order to then formulate a strategy.
Professional Capital: Analyzing and Solving the Challenge
In order to solve the company challenge, the team conducted a comprehensive analysis of Akeneo’s market presence and formulates a strategy to expand upon the current PIM offerings. To further analyze the data we collected across these two phases we utilized the PESTLE framework, to understand Akeneo’s standing within its external environment. The VRIO framework was also applied in order to analyze Akeneo’s internal environment. Through the application of this framework we were able to determine what resources and capabilities were valuable, rare, inimitable and organized. A SWOT analysis was also produced in order to analyze the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. After a careful analysis of this data, we were able to formally propose our recommendation to Kathy and Akeneo.
Through matching smaller business needs with Akeneo’s core software development capabilities, our team created a recommendation structured around an additional PIM version targeted towards the mid-size sector of companies that are already using the free version. Adding a mid-tier edition will ease the transition and scale with the growth of Akeneo’s smaller clients.
Capital Utilization: Takeaways
● Gained experience analyzing macro real-world data from a company
● Deeper understanding of our own individual roles and goals in our career, and how our smaller roles as new graduates fits into the larger operations of the business
● Interpersonal and external communication skills, client-contractor relationships and roles
● Application of classroom concepts and theoretical frameworks through creating and instantiating strategies that tailor and implement them for a small-size tech startup
● Developed critical-thinking and analysis skills that allow us to better formulate decisions and influence our future decisions to align with career goals or follow a company vision
● Stronger understanding of each other’s majors and areas of expertise and core skill sets
● Through analyzing the core strengths of a B2B Tech product, our marketing majors gained a comprehensive view of their market and are able to sharpen their pitches, while our engineering majors know which features ought to be prioritized for product development