The Business Decision Making Process

I have often wondered exactly how are business decisions really taken? I come into this question with  a background in industry and a post graduate education at a business school. One phrase and I heard it often, boiled down to ‘gut feel’. Which most certainly is the oppositte of careful anlaytical thought process or perhaps we combine a bit of both and call it gut feel!?

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Why did for example a recent e com major decide to go all app only ? And then revert that decision? What was the thinking to go against what seemed the normal grain and then come back to accept the truth perhaps and do a public roll back?

For that specific case, a lot I think can be pegged onto a few “new hire” situations, where expensive new recruits were expected to create and execute on earth shaking business plans. Something like if you had a football club and hired Gareth Bale for $100 million. If Gary did good you made money and if he did not, you lost a lot!! Thanks to all that pressure what if Gary made a self goal ?!

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App dev challenges:

I had just opined a few months back when I thought Android had no future and I was presented with the unique challenge where I had to work with a software development that required apps to be built and the easiest one that could be built and deployed was in fact Android! It wasn’t long though before the realities sank in and the challenges of being multi platform presented themselves. At one level it was a capital investment decision and we need to invest in the future – or so we thought. Then came the challenging reality of making a product for the domestic market where the present was overwhelmingly in favor of the past. It would be wrong to blame the domestic market entirely though as globally the platform of choice – in terms of most number of users – was something called Symbian – a platform whose makers were trying to kill them. In India the challenge was even more sizeable in that only 6 – 10% of the total market (which could be 750 – 900 million users) were smartphone users and even there – specifically for apps from the experience of the other app based service delivery companies (scrappy start ups like Zomato & Mojo Street) the platform with the most usage is Blackberry !!!

I say BB with exclamation marks because everywhere else (except perhaps Qatar and the ME, Indonesia etc) they are dead or dying fast and in India the largest users are there. It was a strategic killer as in the BB OS additionally has several layer of problems – not the least of which was the fact that it would at some time or the other be shutdown because of the company’s decision to stake the future on QNX – a more robust OS that if nothing at all was able to have an email ID (BB PIN) on more than one device! There were more problems in that several versions of the OS existed – 4; 5; 6 & 7 each with its own limitations and the highest version being as expected the technically better one – but not often the one with the most number of users (which by the way was version 6 as per a BB contact that we made) which would be driven by price more than anything else.

If you need to develop then an app for any kind of customer engagement at India – you need to essentially stake a lot of money on technologies that have no future or which their parents have abandoned. The easier options like Android are the ones that everyone is developing for and even there the problems of fragmentation of the platform abound.  There are other means like J2ME and HTML applications but that is not delivering an app in the true sense of the term – one that you download and get to use and feel kind of connected with.