Sample Technology Research Paper on Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation

Background of the Corporation

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Comcast Corporation is one of the leading broadcasting and communication publicly held corporations as far as the telecommunication industry in the United States is concerned. In fact, by revenue, it is the reigning corporation among other highly competitive corporations globally. It was incorporated in 1969 in Pennsylvania where its head office is situated but it also operates a number of corporate offices in several cities, such as Detroit, Denver, and Atlanta among others (Plunkett, 2008). It provides services and products to a range of customers including individual households and commercials across all states in the U.S. The corporation offers a range of products and services to its potential customers ranging from film to television contents production. They include cable TV, VoIP phone, broadband internet, and TV and radio broadcasting to mention but a few. For decades, Comcast Corporation has been able to survive despite the storms from both direct and indirect business competitors by adopting various reliable strategies that have incessantly ensured its success. Comcast Corporation is the owner of the global broadcasting corporation widely known as NBC Universal and through its aggressive competitive edge; it has been able to acquire full ownership of Time Warner Cable as of February 2014.  This transaction was executed through an equity swap contract worth 45.2 billion U.S. dollars. Despite numerous criticisms aimed at tainting its public image, the company still emerges as the robust and most reliable communication services provider not only in the United States but also across the world.

Impact of People, Information, and IT on the Company’s Competition

Despite the turbulence that the company has ceaselessly been entangled with, it remains competitive in the communication industry through the help of people, information, and information technology. People have played a crucial role as far as the company’s competitive edge is concerned. These people include customers, employees, and direct and indirect shareholders among other players, such as suppliers. The company relies heavily on the invaluable support of its customers as much as the company attributes its success to close to 150, 000 employees working in various departments and associated corporate offices. The corporation boasts of over 50 million subscribers who have access to a variety of its services at discounted prices (Stair & Reynolds, 2013). Customers are the sole reason for the existence of Comcast Corporation because they are the primary consumers of both the products and services provided by the company. In addition, the company is committed to ensuring an intimate relationship with its employees through incentives and remunerations, promotions as well as a pay rise. According to Plunkett (2010), in 2009, the company earned praise among the top best places to work, which according to the company was an opportunity that sharpened its competitive edge.

The company’s shareholders are also said to be the happiest of all because of the company’s dedication to maximizing their wealth. Information is indeed the power that drives a company to its desired destination. Comcast Corporation utilizes a lot of information available and takes justifiable advantage out of it. Through vast knowledge on the prevailing market threats and opportunities, the company has been able to use this kind of information to sharpen its competitive edge for its infinite survival. On the other hand, information technology continues to take an integral part in ensuring the competitiveness of the company in the telecommunication industry. The company uses the latest available IT to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency in the provision of its products and services (Davies, 1991). This has undeniably played a decisive role as far as the company’s competitive nature is concerned.

Relevance of Porter’s Five-Competitive Model to the Company’s Competitive Advantage

Michael Porter’s Five-Competitive Model is based on a premise that any organization that is willing and in need of survival in a highly competitive business environment should recognize that there exist five crucial forces. As such, such a company should be able to counter these forces for it to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors in the industry. Therefore, Porter identifies these five crucial forces including the bargaining power of customers, suppliers’ bargaining power, threats of new entrances, threats of substitutes, and rivalry among highly competitive firms in the industry. According to Gershon (2008), Comcast Corporation as mentioned earlier has the largest market share that entails close to 50 million customers across the globe. In addition, it has a diversity of suppliers who help the company through one way or the other in its competitive edge. Comcast Corporation acknowledges the existence of the aforementioned forces and thus endeavors to utilize Porter’s generic response strategies to counter these forces and gain a competitive advantage. The company is devoted to a cost leadership strategy where it ensures low costs in the production of its services and products by lowering customers’ and suppliers’ costs using information technology to reduce labor costs and supply chain management to reduce suppliers’ costs.

In February 2014, Comcast Corporation acquired Time Warner Cable through an equity swap contract worth 45.2 billion U.S. dollars. This, according to Porter is a generic response strategy of forming alliances with potential competitors in a bid to have a competitive advantage. The company has not only formed alliances with competitors but also potential customers, suppliers, and other partners as a measure of augmenting its competitive edge in the highly competitive environment. Growth is another suggested Porter’s generic response that Comcast Corporation values most that add to its competitive advantage. The company endeavors to increase its production capacity as well as expand its operations to reach various global markets where they optimize presented opportunities through a diverse array of its products and services. Comcast Corporation boasts of its invention of the VoIP phone, which is one of its new ways of doing business through the utilization of high ingenuity among its employees to develop unique products to counter competition (Wood, 2008). This approach has indeed aided the company takes control of a large market share all over the U.S. as a response to offset aggression from hungry competitors in the telecommunication industry.

In addition, the company utilizes Porter’s generic response of product and/or service differentiation through IT, which introduces new and unique features by integrating competitors’ ideas for the benefit of the company’s survival in the industry. Moreover, the company has been able to build entry barriers by virtually increasing the amount of investment required to enter the telecommunication industry as well as to capture a market segment. As Hill & Jones (2011) explicate, this has possible using highly advanced and sophisticated technologies, which according to the company is manageable but appears expensive for potential competitors wishing to enter into the industry.

The Use of Supply Chain Management Systems, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, and Customer Relationship Management Systems in the Company

As mentioned earlier, Comcast Corporation makes use of advanced information technologies to enhance the performance within its capacity. Comcast Corporation has quite a wide array of customers that are geographically located in the different boroughs across the world such that accessing them by could prove to be the hardest thing and even costlier. However, using links and connections enhanced via business networking, the company has been able to distribute its products and services to a large number of customers at the same time. The company’s services and products easily reach final consumers because the company is well updated about the needs and wants as and when they arise (Chorafas, 2001). This is made possible through supply chain management systems. On the other hand, enterprise resource planning systems are used to manage data across all departments within the company and its subsidiary offices. Stair & Reynolds (2013) reiterate that these systems are relied upon to give an assimilated synchronized analysis of the company’s core business procedures by trailing the movement of resources in and out. Recognizing how competitive the telecommunication industry has become, the company endeavors to keep track of its customers through customer relationship management systems. These systems track customers buying behaviors and help in managing company nexus both with existing and incoming customers.

Company’s Use of Database Management System and A Data Warehouse

The company relies on database management systems to define, create, and maintain databases as well as control access to databases. Through the help of data defining language, the company, and the data manipulation language, the company is able to specify and define data before storage. Consequently, this helps the country to have easy retrieval of data as well as enhancing security measures to control access to critical information that could prove detrimental to the company if they end up in the hands of the company’s competitor(s). The company also maintains a data warehouse that accommodates a wide array of information from various sources, which is used to make management decisions. The company further relies on database management systems to share information among departments while maintaining data integrity as well as consistency of data (Hay, 2010).

The Use of Five AgentBased Technologies in the Company

The need to augment efficiency and effectiveness in workforce management, portfolio management, distribution computing, supply chain optimization, and modeling of consumer behavior, the company uses the model of five agent-based technologies by incorporating all five components to achieve its best (Stair & Reynolds, 2011). This includes the use of autonomous agents to manipulate the procedures in a bid to attain desired results. The distributed agent integrates multiple distinct computer systems and the mobile agent, which relocates it onto different computer systems to allow for the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole system. The company also uses the model too because of the intelligent agent that artificial intelligent capacities including learning and reasoning to improve on efficiency in the production of various services and products. The multi-agent system that contains the intelligent agents is relied upon because of the agents’ ability to work autonomously while at the same time, working with each other in order to achieve their assigned task. The main goal of the company for the use of this model is to reduce costs of production and provide quality services and products that receive a positive response from the customers hence being able to retain a significant number of potential customers to ensure its survival.

Major E-Commerce Business Models used by the Company

The major E-commerce business models used by Comcast Corporation include the business-to-business model and business-to-customer model. This is because of the nature of the business market relationship that exists between the company and its customers who include business and final consumers. The business-to-business model used by the company allows it to sell its products and/or business to other businesses. These businesses include e-distributers, which is enhanced through the supply chain management systems including private industrial networks such as single-firm networks among others. Another major type of E-commerce used by the company is the business-to-customer model, which allows the company to develop a relationship between the company and customers. Developing this relationship entails the use of the Internet in an attempt to reach individual customers who are located in various places across the globe. This also involves the use of market creators and portals, where customers can easily access a variety of the company’s products just a click of the button away. Notably, integration of various models in the future could enable the company to create value though this could require extra funds (Wood, 2008). These could include the use of the customer-to-customer model, customer-to-business model, and business-to-business as well as business-to-customer in a bid to create a large market for its ever-expanding business products and services.

Benefits of using System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The fact that Comcast is always involved in large-scale IT projects, the use of SDLC could be of many benefits to the company as far as cost reduction and increased efficiency are concerned. Specific advantages could be drawn from the use of this type of system development including considerable system documentation, which ensures that system requirements are traceable. Additionally, Stair & Reynolds (2013) explain that it allows maximum management control because of the many formal reviews that are created at end of each system development stage. Moreover, other intermediate products produced during system development can be reviewed in a bid to ascertain that the user requirements are met and that they conform to the acceptable set of company standards. Specific projects such as IT projects could benefit from this type of system development.

Related Phases of Business Continuity Planning

The company is undeniably exposed to both internal and external threats that could adversely affect its business operations from various angles. The company thus uses five phases of business continuity planning to be able to survive several risks. First, the planning begins with the phase involving risks identification. The company conducts a random exercise to identify potential internal and external risks that the company is exposed to. These risks could be systematic or unsystematic depending on their inherent characteristics (Hill & Jones, 2011). The second phase is the analysis phase, which allows the company to conduct a business impact analysis of potential risks by ranking the risks in terms of their imminent impact on the company. The third phase is strategy development, which entails designing of counter actions to each risk to minimize or eliminate the impact of the potential risk. The fourth phase is the execution phase, where each employee within the company is educated on the various relevant areas to take precautions on the imminent risk. The last and final phase is the measurement and testing stage, which enables the company to measure the efficiency and performance of each strategy against expectations.

Use of Emerging Trends for Sustainable Competition

Emerging trends such as the use of Bluetooth, WI-Fi, cell phone, and RFID could be used to increase the competitive edge of the company in the future. The use of Bluetooth, RFID, and WI-Fi could be used for quick sharing of information within the company and reduce the physical connection of computer devices and the cost incurred in purchasing connecting cables and other peripherals (Riddel, 2012). Cell phones also provide a quick platform for communication and with the growing development in IT; the company could develop software that enables customers to access the company’s products and services through their cell phones because of their high portability trait. This would consequently, increase its competitive edge and be able to command a large market despite the entry of competitive companies into the industry.

Data Security Measure

With advancement in technology, the use of database management systems is used to maintain data integrity by ensuring that unauthorized access to company critical information is prohibited. Security measures, such as the use of passwords, security policies, firewalls, and biometrics including the use of cryptography enhance data security to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of company information.

References

Chorafas, D. N. (2001). Integrating ERP, CRM, Supply Chain Management, and Smart Materials. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Davies, R. C. (1991). Telecommunications Reports, Volume 57, Part 1. New York: Business Research Publications.

Gershon, R. A. (2008). Telecommunications and Business Strategy. London: Routledge.

Hay, D. C. (2010). Data Model Patterns: A Metadata Map: A Metadata Map. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann.

Hill, C., & Jones, G. (2011). Essentials of Strategic Management. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Plunkett, J. W. (2008). The Almanac of American Employers 2009: The Only Guide to America’s Hottest, Fastest-growing Major Corporations. Houston: Plunkett Research, Ltd.

Riddel, J. (2012). PacketCable Implementation. Indianapolis: Cisco Press.

Stair, R., & Reynolds, G. (2011). Fundamentals of Information Systems. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Stair, R., & Reynolds, G. (2013). Ralph Stair, George Reynolds. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Wood, R. (2008). Into the Value Zone: Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage. Lanham: University Press of America.