During the in class critique of the DSM case, our group introduced several viewpoints that were not included in the presentation of the case or mentioned only briefly by the presenting group. Overall, we agreed with the presentation team that the knowledge and ability to quickly disentangle the IT from one company and smoothly integrate it with another company would be a strategic advantage. This would be especially true for a company like DSM whose primary strategy was diversification and growth through selling a portion of its own company and acquiring other companies.
Although they did present DSM’s competencies of disentangling and integrating IT as an advantage, during the critique process our group proposed that the presentation team misunderstood how DSM fully used this advantage as leverage in the purchase of Roche Vitamins. The presenting group stated that, “Roche underestimated the value of ICT they had in place which allowed DSM to save money…” Our group expressed the idea that this was not what the case stated.
In fact, van den Hanenburg was quoted in the case as saying, “they [Roche] had underestimated the cost of disentanglement and integration…” During the purchase negotiations, DSM’s experience gave it more accurate information about how expensive it would be to disentangle and integrate Roche’s ICT. DSM then used this information to leverage Roche into a lower selling price because of the after-sale costs that would be required.
Another viewpoint raised by our group was a question as to whether this type of strategic advantage was sustainable. Like many other elements of IT operations, the methods used by DSM could be copied by other firms and become standard practice. We would have liked for the presenting team to provide more information about whether the company is still using this knowledge and skill, and if so, how. Different viewpoints and ideas were also raised by other members of the class during discussion, and we felt some of those concepts were notable.
Although the presentation team mentioned some of DSM’s competitors, not much information was given about how they compare to DSM. It would have been good for the presenters to share more information about how those competitors compare or contrast to DSM in terms of target markets, product positioning, and product offerings. Another concept that occurred to our group while listening to the questions raised by others was that the position of the company prior to implementation of its Vision 2005 strategy was not well explained.
Porter’s Five Forces Model was used effectively to analyze the current state of the company. The presentation group did a good job of providing a thorough and accurate assessment of the company’s current condition; however, no structured analysis of the previous status of the company was provided. Without a similar analysis of the state of the company prior to the Vision 2005 strategy, it was difficult to evaluate the true impact of the new strategy and the role ICT played.
In review of the case presentation after class, we realized we were not entirely sure how the presentation team’s discussion of the governance and ownership matrix pertained to analysis of this case. They explained the matrix well and provided good reasons for why they placed the company where they did in the matrix, but it was not clear how that discussion was relevant to the remainder of their presentation. Our participation in the case critique process was decent but could have been better.
Only one of our group members had read the case prior to class, so we were less familiar with the case than we should have been. Being prepared would be the first thing we should do to improve. Second, our group asked some good questions, but then failed to follow up when some of those questions were not fully answered or it appeared that the presenters misunderstood the question. Instead, we just let the issue or question drop and allowed the discussion to move on to other questions and topics.