Even the most powerful organizations have to do something to remain such. Apple Inc. is not an exception. Considering the specifics of the electronics industry the organization operates in, as well as the character of the whole private enterprise system, regulated by an “invisible hand of competition,” Apple exists under constant pressure (Boone & Kurtz, 2012, p. 8). It has to meet extremely high expectations people have and regularly do something to be better than its competitors. As my research reveals, the organization does not fully cope with that task, which is why the business action I recommend in this paper is adjusting Apple products to people’s needs.
Why is it an innovative idea?
In view of the intense competition in the electronics industry, the strength of Apple’s rivals, and high prices of Apple products (if compared with those of competitors), the best the organization can do is taking into account the feedback from their customers in order to make their products better. Even though Apple leaders claim that they do their best to produce products that will satisfy the needs and desires of their customers, there are many alarming facts that actually prove the opposite.
For this assignment, I have conducted the research aimed to find out if Apple products have substantial disadvantages or flaws a lot of people complain about. As a result, I have found numerous articles both in the Strayer Learning Resources Center and on web pages, which express customers’ dissatisfaction with many aspects of the company’s production. According to my research, disadvantages that are the most critical to address are the following: the complexity of Apple’s products, an entirely closed system of applications, and unsatisfactory music experience (a lot of people find iTunes old-fashioned).
Adjusting to customers’ needs, for that matter, is an innovative idea because these three factors have never been addressed by the organization before. And countless complaints from people are the most vivid proof of that.
How can it benefit the business in terms of return on investment (ROI)?
In February of this year, Park Associates (2016) have provided the mobile research report, according to which Apple dominates the smartphone market with the market share nearly 40%. The report also notices that Samsung is “catching up” since its market share is already 31% (Park Associates, 2016, par. 2). However, the report does not mention whether Apple’s performance in terms of market share has improved or worsened. Elmer-DeWitt (2016) closes this gap, concluding that Apple’s market share value is “down a couple of percentage points” if compared with 2014 (par. 2). Moreover, while Apple finished the previous year as a leading brand in both American and China smartphone markets, now Android takes its place (Elmer-DeWitt, 2016).
Apple is currently losing to Android only because the latter has several significant advantages, such as affordable prices, a simpler interface, or more freedom in the experience. Eliminating these flaws, Apple can return a lot of its customers and even steal some of those from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. That, in turn, will benefit the organization in terms of return on investment since the profit the company can make on this will be considerably higher than the investments it has to make. If Apple ignores the need to do this, its production will continue to show weakness, and its stock could struggle until the second half of the year (Seitz, 2016).
A plan to present the idea to a supervisor
A vision that explains the value to the company
Competition is what drives the electronics industry and keeps every company operating in its afloat. Considering our success among consumers and that of our competitors, we can conclude what we do right and what we do wrong. The recent decline in Apple’s market share and relatively higher success of Google’s Android should make the leaders of Apple consider the need to adjust Apple products to customers’ desires more.
Since the organization is not willing to compromise the prices of its products, it should compensate for this, eliminating the flaws that people see in those. First of all, Apple products have become too complicated. In the recent article in Fortune, Adam Lashinsky (2014) states that even though Apple promises “a frustration-free experience,” today’s reality “doesn’t match up” (p. 73). From the very beginning, the organization promoted its products as simple and user-friendly. Evidently, it should come back to that. Secondly, a lot of people complain about iTunes, saying that it has gotten “stale” and “old-fashioned” (McCorvey, 2014, p. 23-24).
Considering that music devices significantly contribute to the company’s revenue, Apple can not afford to ignore that. Finally, more and more consumers complain about the closed system of applications. In his article in Forbes, Tim Worstall (2012) criticizes Apple’s approach and encourages his readers to ask themselves what they are not getting only “because Apple says no” (par. 10). All of those are alarming facts that should be researched deeper by the organization and addressed as soon as possible.
The resources needed
Before implementing any changes, additional research is necessary. The organization should encourage feedback from its customers and analyze their responses. It can be done in the form of questionnaires, for example. To minimize the resources needed for this, the research can be conducted online through the official site of the company, social networks, e-mails of customers. Questionnaires can also be distributed among the workers of the organization. At this stage, the company will need only human resources: to develop questionnaire questions, analyze data, etc.
At the stage of change implementation, the organization will need human resources (particularly, software developers and QA specialists to create and check new algorithms and standards), as well as financial and machinery resources to produce improved products. In the sphere of logistics, everything will remain mainly the same as before.
Interdepartmental and inter-organizational relationships
To complete my proposal, an interdepartmental collaboration will be essential. First of all, leaders of the company have to discuss potential changes and contact the research and development department in order to create questionnaire questions. After this stage is over, the team of programmers should develop the page on the official website of the company where the questionnaire questions will be published. Those can also be shared in social networks and sent to customers’ e-mails. Managers should be instructed to distribute questionnaires among the workers of the organization. After the data is collected, it should be systematized and processed by the team of analysts.
When it is clear exactly what changes are desired by the consumers, those should be analyzed by the team of Apple leaders one more time. Finally, when the list of necessary changes is approved, software developers should be instructed to create new algorithms and standards, which will correspond with those changes. Then, the work should be given to QA specialists. Finally, the manufacturing and distribution of improved products will begin. While working on the improvement of iTunes, the collaboration with Beats can also be necessary, which is the only type of inter-organizational relationships needed to complete my proposal.
A potential timeline for completion
The whole process of change implementation can be completed in less than a year. Firstly, several meetings of Apple leaders are necessary, which will take a maximum of a week. The development of questionnaires will take approximately two weeks more. For the distribution of questionnaires and gathering the information from consumers, two months should be given. Then, the data analysis will take two to three weeks. The longest part of the change implementation is the actual development of new algorithms and standards that will meet customers’ needs and desires. That can take several months, including both developing new software and testing it.
For now, Apple remains one of the most powerful players in the market. However, Google’s Android poses a big threat to the company’s success since it provides lower prices, promises more freedom in the usage of devices, and, consequently, attracts “a broader mix” of customers than Apple does (Heussner, 2011, p. 1). In view of the recent decline in Apple’s market share and relatively higher success of Google’s Android, the organization should consider the need to adjust Apple products to customers’ desires more.
According to my research, things that people usually complain about when it comes to Apple products are the complexity of those, the closed system of apps, and the way how iTunes works. Focusing on this, the company should conduct its own research among the customers in order to find out what exactly people are dissatisfied with. After the information is gathered and analyzed, the flaws should be eliminated.
Boone, L. E., & Kurtz, D. L. (2012). Contemporary Business (15th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Elmer-DeWitt, P. (2016). About Apple’s 40% Share of the U.S. Smartphone Market. Web.
Heussner, K. M. (2011). Android Rising: top 7 things to know now. Adweek, 52(36), 1-4.
Lashinsky, A. (2014). Apple’s Newest Product: Complexity. Fortune, 169(8), 73-77.
McCorvey, J. J. (2014). Why Apple Needs Beats. FastCompany, 9, 23-26.
Park Associates. (2016). Apple iPhones accounted for 40% of U.S. smartphone market in 2015. Web.
Seitz, P. (2016). Apple Stock Could Struggle Until Second Half Of 2016. Investors Business Daily, 8, 1.
Worstall, T. (2012). The Problem With Apple’s Closed Apps Universe. Web.