Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do technology companies have good strategy execution?

I found this week's readings very thought provoking, particularly the final article about technical giants today--IBM, Google, Apple and Microsoft.

The article "Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution" details, among other things, the importance of information distribution and responsibilities. As we watch these massive technology companies vie for the top position in emerging markets like mobile phones, I'm left wondering how much each of these companies distributes information and delegates responsibilities. From my experience, Google and Facebook, in particular, are very loose hierarchical companies. I've visited the main campus of Google in California--it's like a massive student union, complete with clubs and greek life (meaning large groups of people hanging out). I know that Google is a massive company, but from an observer's perspective, I'm left wondering if Google has done the things that our articles recommended this week. It seems to me like there isn't enough hierarchy to get things done--how often has Google come out with some new product, only to change it constantly? (Gmail, Google Documents, Google +, etc.) Seems to me like they're not exchanging information enough and just distributing these new interfaces without taking the time to strategically place them, and make sure that everyone knows about it.

And Facebook seems to be in a similar position. Too many times Facebook has changed things, only to cause an uproar from its users. That doesn't sound like good strategy execution to me. It seems that both Google and Facebook (and possibly the other companies mentioned too), are just throwing things out to stay fresh and new, and keep their astronomical climb.

But what happens when things changes? What happens when Weibo (China's main social media network) changes its interface to suit more than just Chinese people, and manages to capture more of the market than ever before? This man not be possible, I don't profess to have a strong knowledge of Weibo, but I hope Facebook is watching its back.

In 2007, when Facebook changed the email requirements to get a Facebook account from a .edu address to any address, Facebook's users increased exponentially. And that happened almost overnight.

With technology changing so quickly, are Google and Facebook prepared for a strong execution of their strategies to continue being the leaders in their respective industries? Will there be something coming, that, thanks to a lack of strong communication channels and some hierarchy, will blindside them?

I'm not sure. But I wonder sometimes how strong these technology behemoths are. And how strong their plans are for executing their ambitious strategies.

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