New product design in a high-technology marketplace

Our client was an intending provider of new telecommunications services to both consumers and business, and wanted to prioritize different bundles of product features for launch and early phase operations. The key challenge was that the market environment was highly uncertain: technology capabilities were advancing, customer preferences were changing as the technology changed, new competitors were emerging, and falling costs meant new market segments were becoming adopters.

We created a simulation model of the marketplace, using data from a conjoint survey to map the customer preference landscape. The model enabled the exploration of alternative market development scenarios (market trajectories), under different assumptions as to technology, competitors, and demand. The relative advantages and disadvantages of different product-feature bundles in terms of market share, penetration of key target segments, costs of provision and growth of revenues, were then assessed under these different market trajectories. This analysis then enabled the adoption of a segment-specific deployment plan for product-features, which, on balance, best met the multiple criteria of the client.
Upstream supplier offer design

Our client was a provider of a processed food commodity to western consumer marketplaces, using agricultural commodities purchased in the developing world. They wished to increase the number and diversity of raw material suppliers in order to reduce the risk of disruptions in the supply network. In order to attract new suppliers, a range of alternative purchase offers were proposed, aimed at attracting different supplier-segments against various offers from competing purchasers.

A multi-agent model of the supplier eco-system was created, with software agents representing different suppliers and competing purchasers. Supplier agents in the model were able to compare and assess independently the competing purchase offers they received from downstream purchasing agents, who were in turn able to modify their offers as the market evolved. Calibrated with information collected from focus groups of suppliers and a market research survey, the model also allowed for networks of influence between suppliers. The analysis undertaken with the model then supported the selection of a subset of offers, which would be successful in attracting target suppliers and robust against competing offers.
Timing of technology transition

Our client was an existing provider of telecommunications services to both consumer and corporate customers. The launch of a new infrastructure technology would mean that the company could provide many additional services to existing customers and attract new customer segments. The company had therefore already decided in principle to transfer its operations to the new technology. The crucial question, however, was timing: transition too soon, and the company would not be able to take best advantage of falling equipment prices; transition too late, and the company may lose potential customers to competitors already operating with the new technology.

After an analysis of the technological, operational, competitive and customer-demand factors likely to influence the success of the transition, we constructed a simulation model to explore alternative future development scenarios in this business environment. The model enabled an impact analysis of alternative transition-timings, the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, along with a business case/RoI analysis for selected alternatives. The main value of the model was in reducing the complexity of the decision landscape, so that the company's executives could quickly understand the consequences of the main alternative timings in sharp relief, and then choose between these alternatives using standard RoI criteria.
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