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Nowadays, the managers of all scales encounter a great variety of different complexities and challenges while implementing company commercial policies (Crowston, 1997). The convergent academic and practitioners opinion is that the business nowadays significantly differs from the way it was practiced at the end of the 90s and at the beginning of the millennium. Most importantly, the technological advent has fundamentally changed the practices as well as commercial doctrine and managers have to adapt their governing style, human resources policies and technology solutions utilization, respectively (Helsloot, 1997). It has been acknowledged that the competitive advantage of a typical business institution nowadays directly depends on the proficiency of managers, as well as skills and experience. The fact that should be accentuated is that while in the recent past the commodity was something that was important, nowadays the customers relationship management is prioritized by a typical manager. In other words, most essential managerial issue today is not how to produce and what to produce, but how to sell subsequently. This paper examines the most problematic issues encountered by managers of business entities nowadays.
Change of Market Paradigms
It remains undisputed that market paradigms have been substantially modified with the advent of technological revolution. To the more exact, trivial assembly lines operated by manual employees have been almost replaced by computer-controlled production cycles (Kotter, Dan & Cohen, 2002). The quality of output, irrespective of agency specialization, remains practically the same. Not the products, but the customers are prioritized by managers nowadays. Hereby, the first biggest challenge faced by the contemporary managerial community is how to perceive and understand the needs of their clients. To illustrate, international and domestically operating legal firms are experiencing an unprecedented wave of professional competition. The clients are routinely targeted and wooed by different actors of the legal field, and the most sophisticated strategies are employed by managers to sign a contract. In this professional area, the most effective approach is to be demonstrated by the international law firm Baker & Mackenzie, which issues regular questionnaires and conducts surveys to sense what their clients really need and how to respond to their demands.
A great array of versatile solutions has been proposed by academic and practitioners communities. Although the methodological toolkit greatly varies among different academic and business institutions, these techniques are united by the concept of constant communication with the client (Boudreau & Robey, 2005). Business institutions are highly recommended to maintain permanent cooperation with their clients and to ask them directly about the most desirable professional and personal needs.
The second problem in this context is that the markets have become saturated. Hereby, the competition rates and activity have been unprecedentedly intensified by the market actors. The competition is high in accounting, legal services, production, mining, software development and other industries. Furthermore, international economy is becoming polarized, with solidification and institutionalization of multinational corporations, which tend to supplant middle-sized and small-sized competitors from the market. Therefore, the second problem encountered by the manager is how to compete with the large-scale commercial tycoons. The most effective remedy in this regard remains integration of technology and professional specialization. In other words, a particular market segment should be decided on and explored was all productive capacities of the entity in question.
The gradual, but steady advent of the cutting edge technological solutions is positioned nowadays as an advantage and as the threat at the same time (Crowston, 1997). As far as the advantageous perspective is concerned, it should be stressed that technologically-based strategies and solutions are considered effective and process simplifying. However, they are very expensive and small scale and middle scale companies merely cannot afford them and therefore keeping afloat becomes a task of paramount importance for them. Gradually, the entity realizes that the technology should be incorporated in the production cycles. The problem encountered by managers in this field is the problem of choice, mainly what type of technology should be chosen. Nowadays, the offer on the technological market fundamentally supersedes that demand. Having equal commercial price, solutions can produce drastically different results, and if a particular business entity makes wrong choice, this investment may happen to be lethal for this unit. To illustrate, the HKTDC Inc. company, which is considered one of the leading international silk producers and exporters decided to advertise through Bing search engine, whereas the overwhelming majority of customers are located in Europe and North America. Internet users of those countries prefer using Google search engine, and this investment resulted in 16% stock price reduction, as well as the loss of competitive advantage on these markets. Therefore, it can be recapitulated that the managers should exercise particular scrutiny and conduct respective studies to decide whether the investments in technology are commercially justified and suitable for a particular business institution.
Human Resources Challenges
Nowadays production of goods as well as rendering of services has become professionally oriented. To be more exact, the contemporary level of technology enabled creation of effective assembly lines and factories, while professional staff is in deficit, particularly in the informational technology related industries. Hereby, managers of a typical domestically or internationally operating business institution are constantly perplexed with the task of attracting new workforce and retaining the existing one. For example, Data Art international software development companies have issued a number of reports indicating that competitors utilize the most sophisticated and subtle strategies to entice away developers of the middle and senior level. The most common solutions are kickbacks for their human resources officers, lofty salaries and bonus packages and even partnership offers.
Secondly, the technology is dynamically evolving and professionals are in need of constant updating and review of their skills and qualifications. The managerial problem in this context lies in the field of skills and expertise consistency identification. However high the salaries of the employees may happen to be, they should be worth receiving their salaries and bonus payments. If a particular employee no longer fits his or her position he or she should be either additionally trained or replaced by the other employee who possesses the necessary skills. Consequently, the problem of constant skills reviewing and professional turnover arises. Moreover, under specific circumstances the skills and qualifications of managers themselves should be monitored and compared with the needs of contemporary commercial practice. The viewpoints and approaches advocated by the managerial departments can become rapidly obsolete and in this case the governing departments should be additionally trained, re-signed to their divisions departments or dismissed.
Thirdly, presence of outsourcing and outstaffing in companies should never be disregarded by managers. The problem here is that they should always persuade their clients that conventional means of business practice are more advantageous and beneficial for them than hiring outsourcing and outstaffing firms.
Having summarized the main findings of this essay, several inferential conclusions can be drawn. First and foremost, the market paradigms are evolving dynamically and managers have to respond accordingly. Secondly, technological evolution has placed the unprecedented problem of choice, i.e. the managers are not charged with the task on whether to make technological investment, but actually what investment is to be made to bring profits and to avoid bankruptcy or other negative financial results. The last, but not the least problem faced by managers is proper arrangement and implementation of effectively functioning human resources policies, since professionals have become the most important asset of a successful enterprise.