Unit 1: Introduction to Strategy
In order to understand how to design a strategy, you must first review some definitions. Accordingly, this unit will open by defining the terms strategy, markets, firms, and management. This unit will also underscore that firms must identify the market that they compete in. It is not enough to identify competitors, which will be discussed in a later unit; Microsoft and Google are competitors, but they do not compete in all of the same markets. Google mostly competes in the search engine market, to which Microsoft has recently started to devote an increasing number of resources in the hopes of competing with the new "decision engine” called Bing. Likewise, Microsoft competes in the operating system market, and Google has recently diverted resources to compete in this market with Google Chrome OS. However, competitors do not always compete in the same markets. For example, Apple competes in many markets with Google and Microsoft, but makes these companies' products available on its own platform. Apple does not have a search engine, so it allows Google and Microsoft to compete on the iPhone.
Identifying markets and industries gives a firm the foundation it needs to develop goals and strategies. Microsoft may aim to take 5% of the search engine market from Google and then develop a strategy in which to accomplish this. This unit focuses on topics such as these as well as issues like designing strategies at different levels within a firm. There are corporate strategies, but there are also strategies designed by a line of business or department.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.