Marketing case analysis is important, as it gives pointers on what a company should do in order to expand its market and reflect on what has already been done. It allows for discussion of the problems of the company and proposes solutions. The following paper focuses on establishing a marketing analysis for TaKaDu, a company that has established a software system to be used in water utility companies. It also explores the problems that TaKaDu has faced, as well as proposed and established solutions.
TaKaDu, founded in 2009 by Amir Peleg (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p.5), is a company which ensures the customers get good water using a special software program. TaKaDu’s system operates in a way that water systems have sensors. The sensors are bought and installed by the owners of the water utility. When the sensors detect a problem, they send data to TaKaDu’s software system. The major problems are prioritized. Information that may link the problem to earlier events is also retrieved by the software. Communication is enabled between the operators to help them solve the problem. The software sends information every 15 minutes to show the current situation on the measures of water levels, quality, flow and pressure (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.3).
There are numerous water utilities with the need for a software system, which can help them detect problems before they grow into bigger issues. Water leaks and bursts can damage underground electrical wires, houses cause traffic problems and lead to huge insurance claims for damaged property. In addition, the damaged pipes cause people to lack water. Without an effective system, leaks or bursts can go for months without finding out where the actual leak or burst is in the pipes. In addition, repairing burst pipes which could have been prevented, can be quite expensive. In Massachusetts, 2010, a huge pipe burst was estimated to have cost of $600,000 to repair (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p.3). Peleg notes “Every day that passes works to our advantage as the infrastructure gets older and utilities need better ways to monitor their networks and prioritize their repairs as they rehabilitate rather than replace pipes” (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.3).
Problems faced by water utilities include the cost of water to consumers, as defined by the process of providing clean water.
Large amounts of energy are used in transporting the water in order for it to reach the consumers.
Huge amounts of water are lost in forms of leaks and bursts before reaching the consumer.
Difficulties in Detecting Leaks and Busts
The large number of staff is needed to inspect the pipes and fix leaks and bursts. Scolnicov explained that the real cost was the large number of round the clock employment of workers in order to ensure continued water supply to the customers (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p.4). This, in turn, led to increased costs for the consumers. Many water utilities that use sensors to detect problems in their water systems have the data collected and analyzed manually, thereby giving room to human error. Illegal tapping of water led to quality issues and leaks (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p.5).
Until recently TaKaDu had no competition since few companies ventured in its field, thus when a water utility in Australia was looking for bidders who were interested in working with them to establish a water monitoring network, the CEO of TaKaDu, Amir Peleg, initially though he would face no competition. TaKaDu is faced with the problem of growing competition from other companies who are beginning to specialize in water treatment and delivery of clean water to customers. TaKaDu has faced competition from large software companies such as IBM, measurement companies and such as Itron and small companies for software and consulting such as Bentley water which expressed interest in establishing similar programs. Customer retention then became an issue TaKaDu had to consider.
TaKaDu has faced with the problem of making a choice which companies to target. Big or small, or water utilities with old or new infrastructure (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p. 8). TaKaDu had to convince its potential customers that despite the charges incurred by the water utility by hiring TaKaDu, the software system would help them make profits by reducing the amounts of water lost. However, some utilities do not care about the profits they will make from establishing the software system; they are just looking to avoid pressure from the regulators, hence would be a good potential target market for TaKaDu. Big water utilities which are expected to have the needed monetary power to hire, TaKaDu remain unconvinced of its services, hence are not necessarily the best market to target. They also take a longer time to make decisions (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.8).
TaKaDu’s software system would lose to leak analysts in water utilities, losing their jobs if they were not moved to another operations sector since the software system could detect the leaks by itself. It also required the water utilities to employ more staff, since once a problem is detected, it requires to be repaired promptly; thus it would disrupt the functioning of the utility. Some utilities were not willing to effect these changes, thus posing a problem to TaKaDu (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.8). Another challenge faced by TaKaDu is where to focus its market. It could either focus on most of the countries or centralize its market in a place like Australia (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.11).
Water utilities are skeptical of how the software system will benefit the utility more than the system they used before (Ahmad, 2013). TaKaDu faces the challenge of reducing the deployment time (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.11). Several water utilities are not patient enough to wait for months in order to see how the software system functions to their advantage.
TaKaDu must now focus on how it will prepare itself for the growing competition. TaKaDu could improve its software and add the services it offers. It can make the system easier to deploy, thus saving time. As of 2012, TaKaDu had only 9 customers; therefore, the company needs to get more customers. In order to acquire solutions to TaKaDu’s issues, it needs to understand what motivates the water utilities (Ahmad, 2013). The motivations that drive most utilities to implementing on the software program are saving on cost, minimizing damages, evaluation and regulation of the water utility problems (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.9). TaKaDu also needs to focus on its employment of staff and ensure skilled people are hired and there is no unnecessary staffing.
Solution proposal 1: TaKaDu’s collaboration with IT firms to increase their market and lead to increased customers from different parts of the world. Partnering has, however, presented other problems such as when working with partners TaKaDu sometimes is not in a position to relate one on one with their customers and may therefore have difficulties finding out their opinion. Also partners sometimes do not inform customers on the full use of TaKaDu’s software system, thus it is sometimes under-utilized. The partners do not measure up to TaKaDu’s engineers and are not of much assistance when it comes to implementing the developed software.
Solution proposal 2: In response to the fast rising competition in the market, TaKaDu has protected its property rights. TaKaDu has also considered partnering with some of the companies that manufacture materials used to seal pipes (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.12).
Solution proposal 3: TaKaDu adopts a software-as-a-service plan, rather than software-as-a-product. Potential clients, therefore, are easier to convince to adopt the service. It also gives TaKaDu a constant pay for their services being offered. Upgrading the system is also made easier.
Solution proposal 4: Deployment of the software service took about six to eight weeks. TaKaDu, therefore, needs a more user-friendly system, such that the information technology sector of the utility can handle the software system. In order to get more customers, TaKaDu came up with a customer base in 2012 (Ofek & Preble, 2013, p.7).
Solution proposal 5: Regulatory agencies like in the U.S can be of great support to TaKaDu. Agencies such as Environmental Pr0otection Agency (EPA) in the US could require the water utilities to have a software system like that of TaKaDu; this would be a great boost since utilities that were earlier reluctant to take up its services would not have much of a choice. After a presentation TaKaDu made a director of EPA had TaKaDu organize a workshop for the water utilities he/ she presided over (Ofek & Preble, 2013 p.10).Recommendations
The TaKaDu company should focus on knowing the clients preferences and try to improve their system in such a way that they are catered for (Jelen, 2006). It should also develop good relations with its clients.
The above marketing analysis provides a promising future for TaKaDu despite the threats it faces. The marketing analysis can provide a basis for judging its next step towards improving its services and chances for getting more customers. The service provided by the company is essential and cannot be taken for granted. Governments should therefore endorse the establishments of software programs in countries where most water systems are failed.