Current market trends indicate that the specialty coffee industry is putting great emphasis in latest web technologies. Most companies now use b2b and b2c technologies to further smoothen the progress of their supply chains. Online stores and virtual tours of the products are also becoming common. The new websites and technologies are being used in the latest websites built for these rivals also.
In the coffee industry the companies are now also putting emphasis on blogs, RSS feeds and social-networking tools like discussion boards, instant messaging technologies and collaborative workspace technologies in order to enhance the performance and interoperability of different departments within the organization. Competitors like Green Mountain Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf etc are doing their best in adopting latest web 2.0 technologies.
On the other hand giants like Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds also have entered in the premium coffee business and to increase the threat to Starbucks these organizations are already more or less equal in the usage of latest Information Technologies including Web 2.0 technologies. Dunkin Donuts for e.g. has developed an online coffee shopping website and has developed a blog and forum website for its loyal customers named Dunkin Perks. This website acts as a forum, blogspot, social-networking platform, very much like the ideas website of Starbucks.
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Thus we can easily conclude that the latest Information technologies particularly the web 2.0 technologies are now an important part of the competition.
Recommendations and Roadmap for Starbucks:
In order to keep its competitive advantage over its competitors and maintain its leading position and avoid the short in the sales and revenues of the 2006, it is extremely necessary for the company to further invest in latest web technologies.
Starbucks can enhance its performance by using Web 2.0 technologies internally also. Most of the blogs, messaging, and social-networking tools should be deployed in the internal corporate network in order to ease interaction and loose talk between employees. Deploying these technologies will help the employees to share their ideas and problems regarding their work on this social-networking platform.
This will not only lead to the generation of tacit knowledge among experienced employees, but will also help in the development of innovative ideas thus increase the creativity of many knowledge workers. Moreover it will also help to locate precious tacit and undocumented knowledge gone unnoticed until now and will be saved from getting lost for ever incase the employee possessing that knowledge quits his job and leaves.
Web 2.0 and networking technologies are also very helpful in the development of virtual workplaces for teams with members residing in different geographic locations. Aided by latest communication technologies these tools will increase the creativity and interaction of the team members and will result into efficient teamwork, leading to creative work and efficiently accomplished tasks and achievements. If the company effectively implements all these recommendations, then there is no doubt that Starbucks will further leverage the Web 2.0 technology in order to achieve competitive advantage against its competitors and maintain its current position as an industry leader in premium coffee industry.
The company should first improve its current ideas website by providing better rewards to active participants. Simplifying the tools of the website is also a recommendation in this regard. Than the company should focus on providing the same facility to its own employees throughout its worldwide corporate network.
The first stage should be developing a similar website along its corporate network. The next step should be promoting a idea and knowledge sharing culture among the employees and like the customer’s ideas website announcing better rewards and promotions to the active participants will encourage the users. Moreover the ideas and suggestions should be perused thoroughly and the participants should perceive some of their ideas being implemented. This will encourage other passive workers and turn them into active participants.
Web 2.0 technologies have become one of the most important tools, which help to boost the performance, creativity and innovation within an organization. It also provides the flexibility and freedom of physical self and overcomes all the geographic barriers and makes possible for teammates of different geographic locations to work without any obstacle.
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