Saturday, March 2, 2013

SDM Internship at Intel: Operating Successfully within a Global Business Ecosystem - SDM Pulse, Spring 2013

The business challenge: The old approach to product development, where one company manages everything, including requirements, design, development, marketing, and sales, no longer works in today’s global business environment—especially in high-tech fields like mobile devices.

The goal:  Identify and understand how successful business ecosystems are created and how they affect design and implementation of an organization’s product strategy, then use this information to develop future competencies needed by Intel’s product development teams.

MIT resources: Intel contacted Prof. Steven Eppinger, SDM co-director, to find a graduate student/intern with significant industry and research experience in technology, business, and systems thinking. Rutu Manchiganti, SDM ’11, former software engineer for Motorola mobile devices, was selected.

The approach: Manchiganti conducted a one-year research project at Intel where her responsibilities included the following:
•    literature review
•    corporate benchmarking
•    internal capability assessment
•    research at the intersection of products, technology, users, markets, and business fundamentals
•    interviews with 25 senior managers in Intel and managers at AT&T, Cisco, GE Energy, Motorola, SAP, Siemens Corporate Research, and others
•    information analysis, informed by her studies in disruptive innovation and systems dynamics to analyze how business ecosystems involve multiple, interacting components that evolve over time

The findings: Companies create only a piece of the solution themselves and engage other companies or even consumers to build the rest. “This is what is meant by operating in a business ecosystem,” said Manchiganti.

To control market position, companies must design and orchestrate entire business ecosystems if they want to control their market position. “If it happens organically, a company could risk not moving fast enough or even going in the wrong direction,” said Manchiganti. “As importantly, it risks simply reacting to, instead of proactively driving, the ecosystem’s direction.”

The deliverables:  Based on her research, Manchiganti provided a literature review of the primary books and articles on the subject of business ecosystems, produced a report defining the current challenges Intel faces with respect to ecosystems, wrote a series of Intel case studies based upon product group experiences in developing ecosystems, and created a final best-practices report and presentation.  All deliverables will be used to inform the Intel product development community and serve to establish a foundation for future business ecosystem capability development.

The value of an SDM intern: “The work that Rutu helped complete has already benefitted Intel in a number of ways:  we understand the business ecosystems challenges we are facing, we have found and documented internal areas of strength to build upon, and we have discovered new practices to introduce to Intel,” said Intel’s Chris Galluzzo.

If your company is interested in sponsoring an SDM internship, contact SDM Industry Co-director
Joan S. Rubin,, 617.253.2081.

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