Case, Simulation & Pedagogy

The ISB has constantly endeavoured to facilitate teaching excellence and upgrade pedagogy by bringing real-world knowledge into the classroom. One of the important ways it achieves this is through the development of business cases and simulations that enrich understanding of real-life management challenges at every level. In this pursuit, we have partnered with the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario (Ivey), Canada to develop and promote high-quality case studies specific to India and the emerging markets with the support of ISB faculty as well as faculty from other leading B-schools worldwide.

CasesDamaraju; Naga Lakshmi,  Khangura; Navneet Kaur. "Modak Analytics: Shaping the Future in Digital India?", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Strategy
Length: 16p
Subjects covered: Analytics; Corporate strategy; Data; Data warehouses; Entrepreneurship; Organizational development
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
 
Description: 
In 2008, Aarti Joshi, founder and CEO of Modak Analytics, returned to India after working in the data analytics space in the US for seven years. At that time, India's SMEs were unaware of the benefits of using their POS data to differentiate themselves from competition. Hence, Modak Analytics was incorporated to serve these SMEs. However, soon the CEO realized the diminished potential of this target market, which was plagued by wafer thin profit margins, lack of long term strategy for their companies, and lack of awareness towards the benefits of big data analytics. Modak Analytics then started targeting the more attractive BFSI segment. The company soon developed advanced analytics products for this sector. Major ones included Enterprise Data Warehouse, RapidETL product, Master Data Management and Campaign Management System. Modak Analytics' MDM software could help banks to achieve desired differentiation in the marketplace. This was possible due to the unique customer and household profiles that MDM helped create for the bank. The next step in the company's growth ladder came when Modak Analytics was asked by a bank to create profiles of not only its current customers, but also its potential customers. The exercise that started as data collection within the city of Hyderabad in India soon converted into a mammoth exercise when a pan-India political party approached Modak Analytics to do the voter profile analysis for the whole country. This was a herculean task as it involved deciphering the PDFs collected from electoral commission, which were in various languages and very heterogeneous from one state to another. At the time of the case, Modak Analytics was at a crossroads with respect to its future business strategy. Modak Analytics can either specialize in data integration and target the big markets of Europe and the US or it can aim to become a leading data aggregating company in India, given its huge repository of Indian voter profiles.

Learning objective:
  1. Understand how to define a relevant industry and how to determine which industry (industries) or industry segments are more or less attractive given the resources and capabilities of this organization.
  2. Demonstrate that the ideas of coherence in corporate strategy also apply (with relevantly defined objectives) in the context of entrepreneurial organizations where the seeds of future corporation are being sown.


CasesMehta, Sunita; Sharma, Surya Kant; Pereira, Arun. "Bhagwati Products Limited - Making in India for Micromax", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Strategy
Industry: Computers & electronics
Length: 22p
Subjects covered: Capabilities; Competitive advantage; Cost leadership strategy; Industry analysis; Related diversification; Strategy
Publication Date: December 26, 2016
 
Description: 
Emerging markets have become an attractive destination for multinationals as they provide these companies with high growth potential due to low product penetration and also help them in reducing costs of production due to reduced labor costs. The case brings out the trajectory of growth of Micromax Informatics Limited which started as a company depending on China and Taiwan for manufacturing of their handsets because of better technological infrastructure, stronger supply chain and cost effective workforce. As the government enhanced import duty on CBU (Completely Built Unit) electronic products and reduced excise duty and import duty on SKD (Semi Knocked Down) units required for manufacturing of electronic products, Micromax started its production facility, Bhagwati Products Limited in India and reduced import of finished electronic products to a large extent. To keep the cost low all across the value chain, it focused on development of indigenous design and manufacturing capabilities to achieve higher localization. This helped Micromax in keeping the cost of the products low and thus being a cost leader in the market. The case also brings out how costs can be kept low by utilizing central and state government initiatives in providing subsidies that helped the company build competitive advantage and how these specific actions resulted in creation of a vibrant electronics industry in the country. This case focuses on the specific issues faced by Bhagwati Products Limited, the production arm of Micromax in production of mobile phones locally, with regard to sourcing of raw material, manpower, research and development, competition and reduction in cost of production.

The case also discusses the decision dilemma faced by the chairman on diversification of products to consumer electronics or to move into new territories with the core product in context of increased competition from multinationals in India.

Learning objective:
To understand Micromax's growth trajectory. -To provide insights into the electronic industry and information about main competitors in India. -To understand the relevance and significance of government policies in emerging economies. -To assess positioning of Micromax and analyze growth strategies of Micromax/BPL. -To set appropriate context for students to take decisions and evaluate alternatives available to Micromax/BPL to formulate strategies in context of increased competition from MNCs.

CasesMehrotra, Sonia;  Pereira, Arun. "GOQii: Envisioning a New Fitness Future (B)", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Entrepreneurship
Industry: Apparel accessories, Fitness, Fitness equipment
Length: 6p
Subjects covered: Artificial intelligence; Entrepreneurship; Health care; Technology
Publication Date: December 31, 2016
 
Description: 
Supplement to case ISB079. Gondal, a serial entrepreneur, was supported by top technology experts in GOQii's angel round of funding. Case A details GOQii's journey from its incorporation in 2014 until April 2016. It describes GOQii's product-service offering of wearable fitness band technology supplemented with remote personalized coaching, its launch in the Indian market, and its emergence as a pioneer of a new category of product in the health and lifestyle space that had the ability to integrate human assistance with built-in artificial intelligence. Gondal realized that while people were adopting wearable technology solutions for healthy living, there was still a lack of awareness and an air of hesitancy about the usefulness of and need for wearable devices in India. Gondal's dilemma: whether to continue GOQii's positioning as "wearable technology with personalized coaching" and aggressively expand globally, or consolidate and broaden his present offering by embracing the customer more fully and focusing on the "customer healthcare journey" in India. Case B picks up from October 2016, by which time GOQii had consolidated and broadened its offering by focusing on the "customer journey" in India. It had successfully on-boarded different service providers such as doctors, a diagnostic center chain, a hospital chain, sports and grocery stores and Axis Bank (for payments) on their platform, thus providing a complete health ecosystem to the GOQii user. By the second quarter of 2016, GOQii had achieved the number one spot in the Indian wearables market. The immediate decision that GOQii core team need to make is whether they should tie up with multiple insurance providers or explore the possibility of partnering with a reinsurer to complete the entire health spectrum services offering on their data platform.

The two cases allow for an in-depth discussion on the key role of a business model in ensuring the competitive advantage and sustained success of a business venture.

Learning objective:
The cases are structured around the following teaching/ learning objectives: · To identify the various traits of an entrepreneur · To identify the forces on which an entrepreneurial opportunity is dependent. · To appreciate the market attractiveness and future of wearable technology. · To understand the importance of a customer journey and its ability to provide competitive advantage to a brand. · To understand the key role of the choice of business model in ensuring the competitive advantage

CasesMehrotra, Sonia;  Pereira, Arun. "GOQii: Envisioning a New Fitness Future (A)", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Entrepreneurship
Industry: Apparel accessories, Fitness, Fitness equipment
Length: 14p
Subjects covered: Artificial intelligence; Entrepreneurship; Health care; Technology
Publication Date: December 31, 2016
 
Description: 
Gondal, a serial entrepreneur, was supported by top technology experts in GOQii's angel round of funding. Case A details GOQii's journey from its incorporation in 2014 until April 2016. It describes GOQii's product-service offering of wearable fitness band technology supplemented with remote personalized coaching, its launch in the Indian market, and its emergence as a pioneer of a new category of product in the health and lifestyle space that had the ability to integrate human assistance with built-in artificial intelligence. Gondal realized that while people were adopting wearable technology solutions for healthy living, there was still a lack of awareness and an air of hesitancy about the usefulness of and need for wearable devices in India. Gondal's dilemma: whether to continue GOQii's positioning as "wearable technology with personalized coaching" and aggressively expand globally, or consolidate and broaden his present offering by embracing the customer more fully and focusing on the "customer healthcare journey" in India. Case B picks up from October 2016, by which time GOQii had consolidated and broadened its offering by focusing on the "customer journey" in India. It had successfully on-boarded different service providers such as doctors, a diagnostic center chain, a hospital chain, sports and grocery stores and Axis Bank (for payments) on their platform, thus providing a complete health ecosystem to the GOQii user. By the second quarter of 2016, GOQii had achieved the number one spot in the Indian wearables market. The immediate decision that GOQii core team need to make is whether they should tie up with multiple insurance providers or explore the possibility of partnering with a reinsurer to complete the entire health spectrum services offering on their data platform. The two cases allow for an in-depth discussion on the key role of a business model in ensuring the competitive advantage and sustained success of a business venture.

Learning objective:
The cases are structured around the following teaching/ learning objectives: · To identify the various traits of an entrepreneur · To identify the forces on which an entrepreneurial opportunity is dependent. · To appreciate the market attractiveness and future of wearable technology. · To understand the importance of a customer journey and its ability to provide competitive advantage to a brand. · To understand the key role of the choice of business model in ensuring the competitive advantage

CasesShiji Lyndon, S. Venkatesh. "Attrition at Silver Spark Apparel Ltd.", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: attrition, absenteeism, employee engagement, employee referral, employee retention, work-life balance, factory, clothing
Disciplines:  Operations Management,  International
Industries: Manufacturing
Setting: India, Medium, 2015
Length: 9 pages (8 pages of text)
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: March 16, 2017

Abstract:
Silver Spark Apparel Ltd. (SSAL), established in 2004 near Bangalore, India, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Raymond Ltd. The plant had significant expertise in the manufacturing of jackets. SSAL faced a significant challenge when it came to the attraction and retention of workers, with the predominantly female workers often citing family issues as a reason for quitting. In order to combat attrition, SSAL’s head of human resources had initiated various employee engagement initiatives that had helped the company reach fourth place in manufacturing and production among “India’s Best Companies to Work For, 2014.” Nevertheless, the high rate of attrition had not been stemmed, and the data for the first quarter of 2015 was alarming.

Learning Objective:
This case has the following learning objectives:
  • To analyze various employee engagement initiatives formulated to attract and retain talent
  • To come up with innovative alternatives for attracting talent and combating attrition
  • To critically evaluate employee referral as a source of recruitment


CasesDeo; Sarang; ​Devalkar, Sripad;  ​Gokhale, Meghana; ​Vaidya, Akshay . "Atmydoorsteps.Com: Breaking Ground in Online Grocery Market in India", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Discipline: Operations Management
Industry: E-commerce
Length: 8p
Subjects covered: E-Commerce entrepreneurialism; Entrepreneurship; Logistics; Supply chain management; Venture capital investors
Publication Date: February 27, 2017
 
Description: 
The case describes operations of one of the early entrants in the Online Grocery Delivery industry in India, AtMyDoorsteps.com (AMD). After having run the company for three years, the founder, Sushant Junnarkar, is looking for big ticket funding. As he prepares his pitch, he wonders whether his business is lucrative enough for investors. What changes could be possibly made to the existing model to improve profitability for the company? He intends to revisit some of the strategic and tactical decisions that he had made at the time of inception of AMD. Junnarkar's final decision would determine the fate of his pitch to investors and subsequently the future sustainability of his venture.

Learning objective:
The case allows students to examine the business model of an online grocery delivery start-up from an operational perspective. In particular, students can evaluate tactical decisions such as the choice of product offerings and geographies to serve, along with the number of delivery personnel to employ and the implications that these decisions have for the amount of funding required and the venture's survival until such funding actually becomes available.

CasesMajumdar, Bishakha; Chakrabortty, Rudranil . "Powertech India: Redesigning Workforce Composition", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: workforce design, strategic human resources management, performance appraisal
Disciplines:  Organizational Behaviour/Leadership,  Entrepreneurship
Industries: Utilities
Setting: India, Medium, 2013
Length: 8 pages (5 pages of text)
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: April 28, 2017

Abstract:
In February 2013, the vice-president of human resources at PowerTech India Private Limited (PowerTech India), was in his office at the company’s Gurgaon headquarters studying the organizational chart of his firm with interest. In his seven-year tenure with the company, he had watched the organization grow considerably. What he loved most about his job was the company’s commitment to follow best practices in human resources management and the people-oriented approach that made the work a creative, feel-good, and dynamic process. In this highly competitive power sector, expansion had been the catchphrase of the organization as it strove to carve a niche for itself; now retention of talent was more crucial than ever. But after meeting with PowerTech India’s managing director, the vice-president wondered if the expected turbulent times required a reconsideration of the company’s key human resource policies, which had become a hallmark of the organization. Redesigning the workforce at PowerTech India would be a delicate balancing act.

Learning Objective:
This case is suitable for graduate programs in courses such as strategic human resource management, human resources planning, and people analytics, covering topics including workforce design and performance appraisals. After completion of this case, students will be able to
  • demonstrate the process of workforce design and identify its determinants;
  • discuss the interaction between organizational strategy and HR management; and
  • compare workforce design considerations in a static environment with those of a dynamic environment.



Cases. "Guardian Lifecare: Customer Centricity as a Value Proposition", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: customer centricity, value proposition, pharmaceutical industry, e-commerce, organized retail
Disciplines:  Entrepreneurship,  Marketing,  International
Industries: Retail Trade
Setting: India, Large, 2014-15
Length: 12 pages (8 pages of text)
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
Publication Date: May 18, 2017

Abstract:
In December 2014, Guardian Lifecare Private Limited (Guardian), a pharmacy retail chain in India, was looking for ways to maintain its high growth in India’s emerging market. Riding a surge of growth in organized retailing, Guardian had become the second-largest player in the Indian pharmaceutical retail market within a decade of its launch. This market had been plagued by several structural weaknesses such as widespread sales of spurious and substandard drugs, customers’ lack of education, a poor overall customer experience, and low margins caused by the market’s highly fragmented nature. Placing customer centricity at the core of its value proposition, Guardian had addressed these weaknesses to build a successful retail chain. Now, as it prepared to open more stores as part of its consolidation phase, it needed to address several long-term growth challenges such as poor penetration in rural areas and competition from e-commerce and small local pharmacies.

Learning Objective:
This case is suitable for MBA/postgraduate students taking management courses in strategic marketing, consumer behaviour, retail management, or pharmaceutical marketing. After analyzing the case, students should be able to:
  • Identify the various challenges facing a pharmacy retail chain in the changing market landscape of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Appreciate the importance of customer-centric strategies for propelling revenue growth in a retail business.
  • Understand the importance of service innovation in a retail business.
  • Describe the challenges involved in scaling up a retail chain.


CasesDutta, Debolina; Padmanabhan, Munwari . "Sushma Industries: The Gordian Knot of Compensation Design", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: compensation strategy, reward design, compensation and benefits, change management
Disciplines:  Organizational Behaviour/Leadership,  Entrepreneurship
Industries: Manufacturing
Setting: India, Small, 2016
Length: 11 pages (7 pages of text)
Intended Audience: Undergraduate/MBA
Publication Date: June 19, 2017

Abstract:
Sushma Industries Private Limited (SIPL) wanted to accelerate its growth after two decades as a small enterprise. Enabling growth required having the right talent in place, by first attracting these employees, and then evaluating and appropriately rewarding their performance. The new chief executive officer hired a human resources specialist to design and implement a compensation structure to recognize the changing competitive environment and to align SIPL's human capital strategy with the organization’s strategic goals. The human resources specialist faced the challenges of establishing a new compensation structure in a growing organization, timing the change appropriately in the organization's growth journey, and aligning and positioning it to fit within the current organizational and industry context.

Learning Objective:
The case is suitable for undergraduate, MBA, postgraduate, and executive education core courses in organizational behaviour and human resource management. It is also suitable for elective courses on compensation and benefits, strategic human resource management, and change management. The case offers students the opportunity toIdentify the various challenges facing a pharmacy retail chain in the changing market landscape of the pharmaceutical industry.
  • understand the importance of aligning a compensation reward strategy with an organization's strategic positioning and core capabilities, and with the existing organizational, industrial, and environmental contexts;
  • follow a step-by-step approach to setting up and administering a new compensation and total rewards structure within an organization; and
  • experience the challenges of revising compensation structures and addressing the associated change management issues.


CasesNambudiri, Ranjeet; Ramnarayan, S;  Xavier, Catherine. "Apigee: People Management Practices and the Challenge of Growth", 2017Centre for Learning and Management PracticeRead Description >Close >Issues: human resource management, culture scalability, employee empowerment, employee engagement
Disciplines:  Organizational Behaviour/Leadership
Industries: Information, Media & Telecommunications
Setting: India, Medium, 2015
Length: 12 pages (9 pages of text)
Intended Audience: MBA/Undergraduate
Publication Date: June 28, 2017

Abstract:
In late 2015, Apigee, a fast-growing technology firm, faced competitive pressures. It needed to scale up rapidly, which included hiring additional staff. At the regional office in India, some members of the senior leadership team wondered whether the company would need to modify its human resources practices. The firm had been operating in a unique organizational culture that encouraged employees’ openness and freedom, in keeping with its core values of passion, a bias for action, and respect. How could Apigee integrate its unique culture with the organization’s growth plans? The senior leadership team needed to decide how Apigee could retain its personalized approach, culture of freedom, and high levels of employee empowerment, as the company expanded both in size and scope.

Learning Objective:
The case is suitable for MBA and executive MBA classes in talent management or strategic human resource management. Students will discuss the scalability of people management practices in relation to talent acquisition, performance management, training, career management, and employee reward systems. The case can also be used to illustrate the role of human resource management practices in supporting organizational goals. The case has four primary learning objectives:
  • To examine innovative people management practices and their significance as differentiating factors and a source of sustained competitive advantage.
  • To examine how human resource activities can be designed to support an organization’s core values.
  • To evaluate strategies for scaling up people management practices that rely heavily on personalization and empowerment.
  • To critically analyze the role of leadership in driving innovation.


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