Subject: General Questions    / College life   

Case Study, Stage 1: Business Environment Analysis

Before you begin this assignment, be sure you have read the “UMUC Haircuts Case Study” and be sure to take a look at the “Walmart Example.”

Purpose of this Assignment

This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply the concepts of the Porter Five Forces model to a specific business, develop a strategic direction for UMUC Haircuts, and identify a process that could be improved with the use of technology. This assignment specifically addresses the following course outcomes to enable you to:

    analyze business strategy to recognize how technology solutions enable strategic outcomes

    analyze internal and external business processes to identify information systems requirements.

    Business Environment Analysis for UMUC Haircuts

    UMUC Haircuts has been in business since 1995 and has seen an increase in competition from a variety of competitors, as described in the Case Study. With the news that a Hair Cuttery is likely to open only five miles away, Myra, the owner of UMUC Haircuts, is concerned and has asked you to help her assess the impact on her business and how she can deal with it. worried and is looking to you to provide reassurance that the competition will not affect the business. In addition, Myra has asked you for assistance in developing a strategy for bringing UMUC Haircuts into the 21st century and taking advantage of technology.

    You know that Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model is a useful tool for analyzing a business, understanding the importance of the five competitive forces and helping to develop a Generic Strategy. Porter’s Model is also used to aid organizations facing the challenging decisions of dealing with changes made by existing competitors, entering a new industry or industry segment, or developing a strategy for dealing with new competition. The Five Forces Model helps determine the relative importance of the forces affecting competitive position that could affect the future success of a business. The Five Forces are:

    Buyer Power

    Supplier power

    Threat of substitute products or services

    Threat of new entrants

    Rivalry among existing competitors

    The Five Forces and the Generic Strategy are fully described and discussed in the readings for Week 1, and the Business Model and Competitive Advantage are covered in Module 1. In order to analyze UMUC Haircuts’ current competitive position and develop a Generic Strategic direction, you have decided to use the Five Forces Model to analyze Myra’s business.


    Using the class reading and external resources (resources other than those provided in the class), write a short paper 2-3 pages in length, not including References page and cover sheet, responding to the bulleted items below. Remember to use the APA formatting rules and correctly cite and reference your sources with APA format. Use the Grading Rubric to be sure you have covered everything. Submit your paper as a Microsoft Word document, or a document that can be read using Word, with your last name included in the filename.

    Create a document that includes the following:

    Brief introduction providing the background of the case, why you are writing and what is to come in your paper. This should only be 3-5 sentences.

    Perform a Porter's Five Forces analysis for UMUC Haircuts, addressing each force in one or two sentences and defining the force, its impact (Positive, Negative or Neutral) on the business and whether it should affect Myra’s strategy (Yes/No). Do not identify solutions or things that Myra should do that would affect the factor. (The idea is to identify how the different forces affect UMUC Haircuts and how much.) This provides you with a view of the business that will allow you to select a Generic Strategy and a Strategic Business Area on which to focus your efforts.

    Determine which of Porter's Three Generic Strategies that you will use to improve UMUC Haircuts for the 21st century and explain why you selected it, and tie it into the significant forces that you have identified.

    Using your analysis of UMUC Haircuts Business Model (based on what you learned in Module 1), identify an important Strategic Business Area that needs to be improved. The Strategic Business Area should be selected from the following:





        The Walmart Example demonstrates use of this concept, so you should review it and make sure that you are on the right track. Explain why you have selected that Strategic Business Area and how improving it will improve operation of the business, including how it relates to the Generic Strategy you selected.

    Within the selected Strategic Business Area, identify and select a single daily process that is within and supports the Strategic Business Area that needs improvement. Note: A process is a set of activities or steps that are used to accomplish a specific task. Some of the processes that Myra has identified for improvement are:

        Customer and Employee Scheduling

        Supply Ordering and Management

        Customer Information and Marketing

        (In Stage 2 you will model the AS IS process and the TO BE Process, and propose a technology solution to improve the process you identify here, so select a process that is appropriate for a technology solution.)

    At the end of your report with your References enter the following headings and complete the information using one concise phrase for each. You will be starting each subsequent stage by including this information as a method to keep us focused on the objectives.




    In determining which process you select for improvement, be sure to keep in mind the remaining projects within this Case Study. You should review Stages 2-5 to get an understanding of the future projects that build on this initial stage and to aid you in selecting a process (and later proposing a technology solution) that can support the requirements of the follow-on assignments.

    Do not start on Stage 2 until you receive feedback on this Stage as the Process that you select is crucial and your instructor may recommend that you change processes so that you can successfully complete the case. You MUST incorporate the recommended changes in all subsequent Stages.

    The "right" and "wrong" answers have to do with whether or not you correctly incorporated the course concepts from the textbook and addressed all parts of the assignment. You need to do some external research on at least one aspect of the assignment – your choice – and incorporate it and cite/reference it in APA format in your response. The specific strategic area you select for a technology solution is not as important as that it makes sense in light of the course content and the Case Study and is well supported with your application of the course concepts and your external research. Use the Rubric below to be sure you have covered all aspects.