Information technology dependent strategies


What are the marketing and IT dependent strategies that should be adopted by Trident solutions (a software company) to survive in a recession period for their revenue performance?



What are the marketing and IT dependent strategies that should be adopted by Trident Solutions (a software company) to survive in a recession period for their revenue performance?


The present research is based on the case study research project designed to study the current marketing and IT dependent strategies adopted by the software firm particularly during economic recession and through the present research findings, further recommendation will be made on IT dependent and marketing their applications to improve their revenue performance. This study will be conducted with particular reference to Trident Solutions, in India. Furthermore, this proposal is also focused on strategies theories in general will also be reviewed. This research proposal is organized as follows. In the next section, chapter two, two streams of literature would be provided that provide foundation for the present study: (a) literature on marketing strategy and (b) Information technology dependent strategies - to maintain customer retention and development of new customers with reference to small software companies to increase their revenue (chapter two). In addition, apart from strategies, basic definitions and its characteristics and Indian software industries growth factors would be highlighted.

Next, is the chapter three, this chapter deals with the research methods, a qualitative research, with case study approach, different types of date collection methods/procedures, population and sampling method and data analysis will be discussed. In addition, issues related to reliability, validity, accessibility, duration of the study, ethics /consent procedure, and scope and delimitation of the present research will also be discussed briefly. In the next section, brief background on the present research would be highlighted which will provide the overview of the present research interest along with aim and objectives of the present study.


This section provides the brief background of the study and need for such study in today's scenario of economic recession period. In this section, overview of information technology with particular reference to Indian context, its contribution to economy, share of small firms in software industry, impact of recession on software industries, and overview of Trident solutions, a case study taken for the present research would all be discussed briefly.

In the past few decades, India has seen a revolution in the field of IT industry by playing a key role in fuelling the economic performance with share of 65-70%. However, recent economic recession, all over the world, threatens the survival all firms, including IT industries. Over 80 percent of the companies in India, which are involved in development activities related to software are essentially medium and small enterprises which employs less than 250 persons (Nirjar, 2008) and these firms largely depend upon their exports, specifically to the United States and these small and medium firms compared with larger firms showed downturn much higher pace. In general, due to economic recession, this software industries experienced sharpest decline in their revenue, where in the first quarter of 2006-07 the net export of services was around US$8 billion dollar increase and reached to peak in the second quarter of 2008-09 with US$13.3 billion while in last quarter of 2008-09, showed reversed trend with drop in exports by almost 23 percent. This decline not only affected the larger firms including Infosys but also smaller and medium sized software firms like Trident (Paranjape, 2009).

In order to survive during the recession period, companies must adopt innovative strategies and moreover strategies that are adopted in many organizations to increase their revenue performance would no longer be valid and sufficient due to today's volatile environment such as oil crisis, the recession in the economy and particularly the transition from supply to demand market. According to the expertise, India IT industry, in general do not have an entrepreneurial spirit as they are involved "per hour" labour arbitrage and do not have a new product development strategy for new markets as they generate high profit by outsourcing their companies (Bhatia 2006), thus their expertise is diluted by being spread over a wide range of projects and lead to rudderless trajectory as their scope of development of their domain specific is reduced.

Most software companies suffer on their way to list the markets and they focus more on maintaining and consolidating the relationship with old clients and also trying to develop new marketing techniques at the same time they take a prudent attitude towards expanding of new investment. In addition, companies also respond by cutting cost specifically the labour salary, and asset reduction strategies (Latham 2009). Ferrell and Hartline (2002), in their research, has showed that in order to achieve goals of the company, then "road of map" or plan development is essential to reach that goals and strategies plays an important role to achieve these goal and they act as a plan for how to utilize the capabilities and strengths of the organization.

Hence, with this background, the present study focuses on the current strategies adopted in Software Company with particular reference to IT dependent and marketing in the software industry, and through the results of the present study findings further recommendations will be made to increase their revenue performance. The present research is going to be conducted in India, at a Trident Solutions (2009), Software Industry. Trident solutions were in the field of Information Technology and Product Company for the past five years in providing diverse range of services including IT, consulting and support services. They provide full range of services in designing the software, development, integration, and testing and support services. They also involved in providing solution to wider areas which includes network (IP planning, network plan, statistical analysis, and subscriber provision), GIS (TGeoMS, TGIS Server, Geo-Locator, Emergency System, Vehicle Tracking System) and solutions for Hospitality Management.

Earlier, the software company was receiving regular projects from different IT-oriented companies, particularly from United States (US) and thus the company had smooth functioning. Recently, due to economic recession hit in US and other countries, there was an extreme down fall in their project undertaking and thus, the company's has to undergone many changes, particularly its revenue performance was declined to almost 50-60 percent. Company has well understood that the effect of recession on their firm, thus thinking aloud to change their present strategies to cope with the adverse situations.

Thus, the present study will be undertaken to explore the current strategies adopted by the company particularly to cope with the sudden economic crisis by analysing their performance through perceptions of the firm owners and marketing managers. In addition, through the results of the present study, further recommendation to enhance their revenue performance by analysing the company's post economic recession strategies.


The main aim of the present study is to analyze the current strategies adopted in software industries with special emphasis on Trident solutions to survive in a recession period for their revenue performance.

To fulfill the main objective, following specific objectives also have been identified:

  1. To understand how strategies are set for business units in attracting new Customers and customer retention in a Trident Solutions to survive during recession period.
  2. Identifying the areas where strategies that are related to Information Technology (new product development) has been implemented and its role in particular section.
  3. Identifying the various marketing strategies has been implemented to satisfy and attract the new customers by assessing perceptions of marketing managers
  4. Assessing the perceptions of the managers and firm owners about the different strategies and reason beneath the same in today's recession market would be evaluated.


The present study would shed light to the company to enhance its revenue performance by identifying their weaken areas and also provide an opportunity to strengthen the same in order to either to improve their position on the market or to survive in today's recession period. The present research findings would be useful to the company and also to other companies who find similar situation like economic recession or environmental threats.


The present research would look at the literature pertaining to the strategies with specially focused on IT dependent and marketing, adopted by software industry during recent economic recession with special emphasis on Trident Solutions, India.

The next section will be literature review; where the objectives derived from the present study would be highlighted in next section.



This chapter deals with the review of literature on strategies during economic downturn / recession in software industries. Literature review is an attempt to create an understanding and awareness of the main concepts used in the study. In the present review of literature two streams of literature would be provided that provide foundation for the present study: (a) literature on marketing strategy and (b) Information technology dependent strategies - to maintain customer retention and development of new customers with reference to small software companies to increase their revenue. In addition, apart from strategies, basic definitions and its characteristics and Indian software industries growth factors would be highlighted. The literature studies which are related to the present thesis are cited herein.

Basic Concepts

Definition and Characteristics

Definition of Recession

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which in charge for declaring that the economy is in a state of recession defined recession as "significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months, which is normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales".

Definition of Strategic Management

Formulation of strategic plan was one of the important activities of many firms as the central theme of strategic decision making is about the company and its environment adjustments. In strategic decision making process, company has to account the internal strength and weakness of the firm at the same should able to anticipate threatening and promising developments in its environment. With this background, strategic management has been introduced and several scholars have provided the definition of 'strategy'. While discussing about the definition of strategy, environment must be taken into account. According to Jain (1993), where he described strategic by means of three Cs: Corporation, customer and competition by taking into an account of both organization and its direct environment. Furthermore products which are substitutes, new entrants potential and suppliers was considered as an basis for strategy as given by Porter (1980). In his description, Kotler (1991), differentiated between intermediaries related to marketing and end users to define marketing strategy.

Software Industries - India (growth factors)

The IT outsourcing bandwagon has grown considerably in recent years (Lacity and Hirschheim, 1993) three reasons being paramount. Firstly, the global economic recession has forced many organisations for cost savings, particularly in overhead areas such as IT departments. Secondly, the rhetoric behind market testing, compulsory competitive tendering (CPT), process innovation (Davenport, 1993) and business process re-engineering (BPR) has led many organisations to reassess their companywide performance. Third, the supplier hype about IT outsourcing coupled with unacceptable IT failure rates (Currie, 1994 and Sauer, 1993).

There are several factors, on why India, has been a best outsourcing company for foreign software industries, particularly the United States. Firstly, English speaking personnel are high in India, compared to other countries as India's traditional strength in mathematical education. Secondly, the time difference, this difference in time between US and the India, enables the workers to complete their projects during night time and send back to US during day. Thirdly, highly competitive wage, where wage rates were comparatively low with reference to other developed countries. Fourth, In terms of policy initiated by the government of India, was very significant and supportive to promote the software firms compared to west, the policies includes, corporate tax exemption, etc. Fifth, different governments including Ministry of Information Technology has took an initiative to integrate their agencies with an IT interest such as passing IT act in the year 2000, which takes care of intellectual property, e-commerce and set up of IT departments at different states. Although IT remains an important for the growth of Indian economy, the recent crisis affected all the sectors which has implemented as an IT as one of the sector (Parathasarthi n.d)

The recent economic downturn or recession in the US and many industrial countries has an impact all over the world and no industry has stayed untouched. Most of the companies are in the situation either to close down or lay off their employees. Indian IT sector, has particularly affected due to this recession and companies are now struggling to improve their revenue through adopting various strategies, since most of the companies in India, generated their profit by outsourcing their companies and thus they are not used for creating innovations to improve their revenue performance.

Hofer's (1980) has developed a framework for strategies particularly for the companies facing external and internal threat and analysing these strategies would be more appropriate for the present scenario. These strategies developed by Hofer (1980) would shape up other three important strategies which are operating, includes, reduction in cost, revenue generation, or asset reduction. Under revenue generation strategy, particularly during economic threats, firms may shift their focus towards the specific niche product or any particular geographic market that provides the cash in the short term along with that there would be a reduction in headcount which are proportionate to the revenue generation.

With reference to cost reduction, company may develop strategies as it provides considerable profit than any other such as asset reduction or revenue generation strategies. Cost cutting with relevant to all levels of the organization such as R&D, sales and services, labour, and advertising particularly during environmental threats would provide results, but at the same time cost reduction in smaller firms which already receiving negligible income would even lead to close the firm. In addition, cost cutting would also not benefit, other side such as debt obligations, such as banks or venture capitalist (Huyghebaert et al. 2000)

Asset reduction strategy is another area, where companies may adopt during environmental threats, which includes product line, service line, and business unit sales. These asset reduction strategies should be carefully handled as proposed by Hofer (1980), as they might damage the organization as it deals with the non-operating cash flow and at any point of time these assets possessed by the firm would be useful in future as it has long term value.

Marketing related strategies

Much literature has been written in the literature with relevance to small firms on how the firm affects strategic response to environmental change (Beaver & Ross 2000; Dedee & Vorhies 1998; Michael & Robbins 1998; Shama 1993; Pearce & Michael 1997). Many scholars have shown that smaller firms respond to environmental changes by influencing more flexible organizational structure and processes (Carr et al. 2004; Chen & Hambrick 1995; Bhide 1994; Julien 1993; Peters 1992; Andren, Magnusson & Sjolander 2003; Dean, Brown & Bamford 1998). Many of the firms, responding to a recession are not simple thing, as strategic response would be complicated by the nature of recession which is so inherent (Bigelow & Chan 1992). Studies have showed that small firms lack sufficient resource pool to survive due to environmental changes and compared to larger peers, they fail at larger rates (Lawless & Warren 2005; Geroski & Gregg 1997).

Lack of formal process and planning is another important feature of the smaller firms and thus studies have shown that strategies need to be developed with these features (Ebben & Johnson 2005; Forbes & Milliken 1999). Research by Shama (1993) showed that tactis like market segmentation would be adopted during economic downturn rather than cutting cost was highlighted. Other authors like Pearce and Michael (1997), highlighted investment in marketing and sales. While Ross (2000), showed a proactive approach to strategy such as closeness to customers and long term capital structure. Reducing costs and assets were highlighted by Robbins (1998). However, after the recent slowdown in the global economy, there is a concern about the sustainability of Indian software growth. Furthermore, firms that are involved in new product development and learn manufacturing, lower priced products, expanded its distribution into various promising geographic areas has showed higher rate of return on equity.

To be global players it is important for Indian firms to consolidate their operations and focus, where applicable, on core competencies (Kattuman and Iyer, 2001). This will require strengthening technical, commercial and organizational innovative capabilities of firms. India already have some world class companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Patni (Ghoshal, Piramal and Budhiraja, 2001). The challenge for the software industry in India is to diffuse them throughout the economy.

Information Technology related strategies

IT strategies were traditionally believed to offer competitive advantage through increased productivity or reduced costs, but the current technological change is seen to offer companies unprecedented benefits in form of information resource (Porter and Millar, 1985).Irrespective of the nature of business, IT is perceived to be vital panacea to sustain and improve competitive position. The growing link between IT and competitive advantage is fuelled by need for companies to compete more effectively in global marketplace which gives significance importance to IT strategies.

IT strategy according to Earl (1989) is concerned with 'how' IS strategies will be implemented. IT strategy is described as activity based, supply orientated and technology focused. It is also about the delivery of workable IT solutions to business problems. IT strategies are best seen as the technology framework or architecture which drives shapes and controls the IT infrastructure (Kantrow, 1980).

In the recent past, IT industries are outsourcing their companies, thus firms has narrow focus on technology (Carr 2003). Studies have shown that in order to survive in a competitive world (Simth et al. 1991), IT dependent strategies have to be implemented (Ross et al. 1996) such as electronic business, business process reengineering, customer relationship management, electronic supply chain management and electronic commerce. Various literatures' has showed on how the company can utilize IT to identify key innovative ideas also launch several initiatives in order to sustain and perform well with the business competitors at the same time how company's earn valuable resources.

According to the research conducted by Eisenhardt and Martin (2002) have highlighted the 'organization learning' as one of the success factor for the firm's performance. It shown that companies can develop superior capabilities by learning process such as experimentation and analysis of small mistakes would set as preconditions and teach them to strengthen their sales and broaden their initiatives (Rangan & Bell 1999).

Strategies could be well developed based on the available assets inclusive of infrastructure such as hardware, software applications and an information repository includes a database of consumer behavior which is historical. Based on the available resources, firm can support wide range of strategic initiatives (Braodband et al. 1999), as they form the base foundation of the IT portfolio (Broadband et al. 1999b). Firm can develop infrastructure that could be reusable by improvement or creating new one with lower cost and risk than other competitors (Applegate 2003; Sambamurthy et al. 2003).

Some firms are still in the market in spite of recession is mainly due to the capabilities and different unique technologies which inclusive of technical, management and relationship assts. Firms that has technical skills such as programming, infrastructure design, system analysis and management skill providing creative and technical solutions (Feeny & Willcocks 1998; Ross et al. 1996), manage the IT projects (Mata et al. 1995) , managing the change (McKenney et al. 1995) such as would certainly perform and sustain well in the market (McKenney et al. 1995; Ross et al. 1996). The above review shows that using available resources, IT firms can perform well in a competitive world and considerable opportunity exist for the companies in terms of revenue generation.

The present proposal aims to analyze the different marketing strategies adopted by the Trident Solutions to enhance its revenue performance and also to find out the perceptions about the strategies adopted as this will be shed light to the company in terms of enhancement of company's strategies for the future growth. Further the study will also provide the insights about the various strategies adopted by the various software companies that are resistant to recession through secondary data collection and how the adoption of such strategies would enhance the small firms.



This chapter deals with the research methods, a qualitative research, with case study approach, different types of date collection methods/procedures, population and sampling method and data analysis will be discussed. In addition, issues related to reliability, validity, accessibility, duration of the study, ethics /consent procedure, and scope and delimitation of the present research will also be discussed briefly.

Research Method

According to Bryman and Bell (2003), a research method is simply a method for collection data. It can involve a specific instrument, such as a self completion questionnaire or a structured/semi structured interview schedule, or participant observation whereby the researcher listens and watches others. According to Van Maanen (1983, cited in Easterby-Smith et al., 1991), qualitative method is as "an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social worlds".

For the present study, qualitative method of data collection would be utilized where the data is expressed in words rather than expressing in large amount of numbers (Bryman & Bell 2007; Jacobsen 2002). Since the researcher has no clear vision about the outcome of the study, the qualitative method methodology was adopted, where input from interviewee is collected by going deeper into a subject and after gaining more knowledge about the subject, and it is also possible to reformulate the question if needed (Jacobsen 2002).

The present research is about the generating more knowledge about the current strategies (both marketing and information technology dependent), the researchers is going to conduct only few people but deeper interviews. As closer relationship will be developed between the interviewee and the researchers while conducting a qualitative method of data collection (Jacobsen 2002) with more deeper, specific, openness information than which would not possible when using a approach of quantitative method of data collection (Jacobsen 2002).

Research Strategy

To provide a researcher a general plan on how set of questions which are based on the research hypothesis will be answered, research strategy would be helpful (Saunder et al. 2003). For the present study, as suggested by the Feagin, Orum & Sjoberg (1991), case study approach will be used, since the researcher has little control over the events and this was also highlighted by the Hitchcock and Hughes (1995). This approach will be more relevant to the particular research as the researcher's wishes to gain rich understanding about the problem raised by the researchers and the processes being enacted (Morris & Wood 1991; cited in Saunders et al. 2003)

Type of Research

There are three specific types of case study method, one is Exploratory, descriptive and Explanatory. For performing descriptive case study, researchers must develop descriptive theory before starting the project, while doing casual investigations; explanatory case studies are more useful. Since the researchers has no better understanding and knowledge about the present research area, for the present study, exploratory approach will be used.

Research approach

Different approaches has been used for the research study such as inductive approach, specifically for qualitative study but this will not be appropriate for the present study, as theory need to be developed with information already been provided (Bryman & Bell 2007), but in this approach only empirical summaries could be developed and will not provide any deeper theories (Alvesson & Skoldberg 1994). While deductive approach is often a choice for a quantitative method thus, this will not be suitable for the present study. In adductive approach, empirical facts are used, thus for the present study, adductive approach has been used as interview collected through the present data will help to strengthen the results of the previous research.

Population and Sample

The selection of samples are decided, based on factors such as nature of study, size of the universe, size of sample, degree of precision derived and availability of resources (Miller 1989). According to the Kvale (1997), purpose of the study forms the basis for the considering the target number of interviewees. Since the purpose of the study is to critically examine the strategies adopted by the software industry, for the present research, Trident solution has been taken as a case study where, firm owner and marketing managers will be interviewed.

The sampling used will be purposive sampling and interview will be asked to the homogenous samples of marketing managers who have been working with related department and with firm owner to get more insight about the company general strategies and policies with relevance to economic recession.

Data collection procedures (Sources of data):

To fulfill the study objectives, for the present study, primary and secondary data will be used for the research analysis.

  1. The use of secondary data will explore different strategies (marketing and information technology dependent strategies) adopted by the software firms to cope with present economic recession.
  2. Primary data collection will be based on the interview with the firm owner, marketing and software managers to get deeper insight about the current strategies adopted.
  3. Secondary & Primary data will illuminate the different strategies adopted by the software firm.

Primary data collection

For the present study, to collect qualitative data collection using interview method (face-to face interview) will be adopted (Bryman & Bell 2007). In addition, open, semi-structured interview will be more suitable as this has an interview guide with set of questions already been prepared to get answered. It does allow adding new questions and interviewee can answer in whatever way he feels to answer the questions. Interview will be recorded by taking notes and further interview will take place at comfortable place that both parts could feel comfortable. For the present research, sensitive topics and no personal information will be discussed. Apart from the interview, other sources such as website of the company, annual report and other printed materials related to the company will be used.

Interview guide

The below semi-structured interview (tentative) guide are prepared based on the research objectives of the study. Before asking starting the interview, brief introduction of the study objectives will be explained to the interviewee and then very general open question about the topic of interest will be asked. Interviewee can answer the question in whatever way he wants to answer and thus no fixed pattern has been mentioned for asking the questions. This will bring the higher internal validity for the present research.

  1. How has the current recession affected your firm's revenue? And what are the major decisions you have taken in terms of change in the objective's of the organization.
  2. What are your distinctive areas in terms of new services (development and marketing) of expertise in today's recession market?
  3. Considering the recession market, what type of business are you planning to focus in next two to three years? (IT dependent strategies)
  4. Considering the recession market, which group of people would you like to target more while taking major decisions when compared to past?
  5. How will you approach the customers and on what basis?
  6. What categories or types of customers you will serve?
  7. What customer functions are you likely to satisfy based on the today's market trend?
  8. What are the technologies are you planning to implement to satisfy the company and customer needs?
  9. What customer functions are you likely to satisfy?
  10. What do you think about today's changes taking place in behavior of the consumer, markets, competition, culture, competition, economy and the culture ?

Secondary Data collection

For the secondary data collection, researcher will use desk based research. Although primary and secondary data collection has been included in the research, the value of research is associated with its data collection methods, as discussed by Jackson (1994). This method is an unobtrusive, as it depends on the previously published academic literatures, theories and also the location of pertinent literature. In order to make sure, the collected literature are verifiable and reliable, the researchers should able to critically evaluate those literatures by comparing with other different authenticated sources (Creswell 2003). Hence, for the present study, considering this background, the data will be collected through previous reports, case-studies, news papers, documents and academic journals.

Secondary data will be collected from different website, annual reports, books, journals and articles, websites, newspapers, magazines, case studies. The aim of this data collection is to find out the related data regarding strategies adopted by the Trident solutions. The data thus obtained will be an essential part of the dissertation topic.

Assess research quality

To assess the quality of data collected, researchers will use validity and reliability measures to assess the research quality.


The purpose of the validity is to measure, what it intended to measure and this was related to the source of data collected (Jacobsen 2002). Hence for the present study, the sample chose is familiar with the area which will be studied and the interviewee will also be more suitable person, whom the answers will be more reliable as in this case, firm owners and marketing managers will be interviewed and moreover for further explanation needed and it is easier to get back to them. Thus, validity of the research will be take care through this method.


To measure the trustworthy of the results obtained through the present research, reliability will be used. To measure the reliability, the answers provided by the interviewee will be compared with the secondary data. In addition, the data will also be coded and final data, which answered by the interviewee will be sent back for a check.

Generalizability of the data collected

Generalizability of the results, with reference to qualitative research is very difficult, particularly the present study was based on the case study approach where small group of people were interviewed, in addition, these people were belong one single firm where they have certain characteristics with certain situation (Bryman & Bell 2000). However the present results could serve as guidance for the researchers who do similar kind of study or situation or for the firms who belong to same size and this type of generalization is called as analytical generalization, according to Kvale (1997).

Accessibility to data collected

As mentioned in the above, the researchers have been granted the right to access and publish all the findings that are relevant to all ethical requirements.

Duration of the study

The entire research study will be conducted for a period of three months of time from January 2010 to end of March 2010.


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