Jerry Lopatin is the senior vice president, engineering at Quantum, having joined the company in March 2008. He served in a similar capacity at ONStor, and previously worked at companies such as Iomega, Samsung Electronics, IBM.
According to Quantum's Web site (2008), it is in a very favorable position in terms of opportunities. By nature, the it world is developing with increasing rapidity, with computers and software developing almost more rapidly than companies can upgrade. Quantum's position is then such that it can make use of this phenomenon by providing companies with solutions that are effective for their changing needs. Change is therefore the main driver of opportunity for the company.
A further driver of opportunity is development. First-world companies are increasingly developing sophisticated it software, as mentioned above. With this, the sophistication of storage needs is increasing. Quantum's team of innovation experts then have the opportunity to remain at the top of their industry by providing targeted solutions for each company's unique needs before competitors have the opportunity to do so. Development is also an opportunity in terms of third-world countries. As first-world countries are becoming increasingly involved in providing solutions to third-world hunger and poverty, the third-world countries are also increasingly becoming a market for computer technology. As such, this is becoming a growing market for expansion of Quantum's products and services. This can at first be done in conjunction with partners already involved with Quantum in the existing locations of business, with the possibility of later expansion. The remote function of Quantum's services can be useful in this regard.
Because the company functions on a global scale and is currently the largest of its nature, there are not great threats from new entrants. While the market is fairly open to new entrants, Quantum's sheer size, expertise and market position make it unlikely for these new entrants to pose a problem. There is also no threat from the nature of the industry, as the computer and information industry continues to grow without any signs of decline. Because of the nature of its service, Quantum is therefore in an extremely fortunate position in terms of high opportunity and low threat.
Quantum's greatest strength lies in its size and its capacity as global service provider. Its position and reputation provide a strong basis from which to conduct current and future business. The company's human resources also serve as a strength. Its management structure is made up of a number of experts in their respective fields, and its employees are hired for their expertise in the services they are required to perform.
Another strength is the company's online capacity. Customers may expect near-immediate service and resolution of its issues via various Web-based solutions. In addition to the company's remote assistance function, its online presence, information, and contact capacity is also of top quality. Customers have near-immediate support either via online displayed telephone numbers or email addresses.
Although mainly seen as a strength, Quantum's size can also be a potential weakness. Excessive size means that there is diminished control over the services provided by the company's many branches. Customer service breakdowns may for example occur in remote locations beyond the control of management. Furthermore, hiring and firing practices may become inconsistent across the various branches.
Another potential weakness is Quantum's limited business focus. While this has been a strength to date, with Quantum developing top expertise in the functions offered, this could also mean an increased threat from new entrants. Limited functions could for example be copied, improved upon, and offered at better prices, posing a threat for Quantum.
V. Analysis of Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats
Quantum's strengths and opportunities appear to far outweigh its weaknesses and threats. As mentioned, the company is positioned extremely well to continue and expand its products and services. Its greatest strengths include the quality of its products and services, the expertise of its personnel, and its rapid and excellent level of customer service. These strengths are accompanied by the opportunities presented by the nature of the it world, the development of new software, and the increasing involvement of third-world countries in computer software and it. These all provide opportunities for growth and expansion.
The strength of quality is accompanied by the potential weakness of product and service focus. This could result in an increased threat of competition, although maintained quality will mitigate such a threat.
In terms of personnel and customer service, this strength is accompanied by the possible weakness of company size. Quantum's increasing size may result in the threat of compromise in terms of human resource excellence. Many branches across the world is a factor that may result in difficulty to control the human factor, and the company's reputation may suffer as a result. This does not however appear to currently be the case.
VI. Alternatives/Recommendations a. Strategic Alternatives
Alternatives need to be implemented in terms of the company's weaknesses and threats. Potential weaknesses have been identified as excessive size and product focus, with potential threats being from competitors and possible reputation compromise as a result of a loss of control.
In terms of excessive size and loss of control, the Quantum is in a position to maintain control of its personnel issues via email and cell phone communication. The hiring process can also be monitored on a continuous basis, with personnel in charge of hiring practices thoroughly trained and observed before being allowed into the field.
In terms of product focus, this could be seen as an opportunity for further expansion, as the company's innovative personnel departments can create new or improved products and services to compliment the existing ones. It is however important to maintain the advantage of product focus by ensuring the quality of new or improved aspects within the company.
It is also important to maintain training in this regard, ensuring that all departments and branches remain consistent with Quantum's existing reputation. It is therefore recommended that new products and services be created on a sparing basis, and it could also occur in response to the market in terms of competition or customer needs.
b. Recommended Strategy
It is recommended that Quantum make continuous analyses of the company's SWOT elements, and the relationships between the positive and negative aspects of these analyses. While the current relationship appears to be favorable, substantiated by the market and the literature, it is necessary to maintain these analyses in order to ensure a maintained position in the marketplace.
It is recommended that Quantum maintains a strict training program for remote personnel members. Such training can occur on a yearly basis in order to ensure that customer service and personnel expertise are maintained. Personnel should also be monitored regularly, and encouraged to communicate any problems to team leaders and managers. Continuous innovation can be ensured by means of strategies such as monthly competitions among innovating personnel, market, and customer analyses.
The Quantum Web page (2008) contains several press releases that indicate the continued success of the company for its focus on the market that it serves and its needs. One of these is the 13 August Press Release (2008), which suggests that a major milestone has been reached with the 20,000th shipment of the Scalar i500 Tape Automation System. This suggests that the company continues to observe its strategies and implementations for the future.
It is therefore recommended that Quantum keep up these strategies in order to maintain their favorable position in its particular market niche. The implementation of new products and services, while recommended, should be done only on a limited basis to ensure continuous quality of both existing and new products.
Quantum Corporation (2008). Data Storage Solutions. http://www.Quantum.com.
Quantum Corporation (2008, Aug 13). News Release: Quantum Achieves Major Milestone With 20,000th Shipment of Scalar i500 Tape Automation System. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/staging/phoenix.zhtml?c=69905&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1186977&highlight=
Quantum Corporation (2008). Board of Directors. http://www.quantum.com/AboutUs/CorporateProfile/BoardofDirectors/Index.aspx