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BUS301 Integrated Capstone Project

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Course Code: BUS301
University: University Of The West Of England

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Country: United Kingdom


Complete appropriate advanced level research that identifies and provides assistance in solving real world problems at professional accounting, management, or public relations areas in a practical business setting
Plan and conduct a project to solve a professional accounting, management, or public relations problem in a practical business setting
Identify advanced capacity to recognise the importance of considering for any business problem the wider business contexts such as accounting and financial implications; management implications; public relations implications; human resource management implications, organizational structure implications, and/or other organizational resource implications
Demonstrate ability in incorporating the wider business context implications in a comprehensive research based report on the solution to a professional accounting, management and/or public relations problem in a practical business setting
Communicate effectively the outcomes of conducting a research based project to solve a professional accounting, management and/or public relations problem in a practical business setting
a)You can choose to conduct this project individually or in Group;
b)Submit the progress reports (no more than 2 pages);
c)Submit the final Project Report.
In your project report, you can address one or more aspects from the following key areas to discuss:

Industry and competitive analysis
Company resources and capabilities
Global or multinational strategy
E-business strategy issues
Diversification strategies and the analysis of multi-business corporations
Financial conditions and financial analysis
Staffing, people management, incentives and rewards
Organizational structure, core competencies, competitive capabilities, staffing
Policies, procedures, operating systems, best practices, continuous improvement
Corporate culture issues
Ethics, values, social responsibility
Corporate communication and public relations

The global business environment has created several issues before the multinational companies. The multinational companies are facing issues like increasing competition both in the product market and capital market. These challenges have been accentuated further by dominance of host markets over home markets. The data thefts have only made the challenge even more serious. The paper shows that Amazon can face all these challenges in the global market.
Background of Amazon:
Amazon.com Inc is an American ecommerce and cloud computing service providing company which has its headquarters in Seattle, Washington, the United States of America. It is the largest ecommerce company in the world enjoying deep market penetration in Asia, the America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The company was founded by its present chairman and CEO, Jeff Bezos in the year 1994.
The graph above shows that the Amazon is listed on NASDAQ and its share perform well in the capital market with an EPS of $ 12.61. This high performance of Amazon in the stock market attributes it with a formidable capital base which enables it to hold its global position in spite of competition from other ecommerce companies like ebay and Alibaba.
Amazon, being the largest ecommerce has its subsidiaries in all its markets in Asia, Europe, Australia and South America. The subsidiaries of Amazon are public limited companies listed on the top stock exchanges in the respective host countries. For example, Amazon in the United Kingdom is listed on the London Stock Exchange as shown in the graph above (figure 2). The above graph (figure 2) shows that the share price of Amazon in general experiences an upward trend and performs strongly in the stock markets of the host countries as well. This high performance in the capital markets of both home and host countries attribute Amazon the required capital base on which its strong operation rests.
The product umbrella of Amazon consists of cloud computing services and ecommerce services. The strong capital base of the company allows it to acquire firms along with their brands from all over the world which in turn strengthen its product umbrella. For example, A9.com is a R&D company which Amazon acquired in 2003. Amazon does not limit its acquisitions and merges strategies within IT related firms and even acquires rights from other industries to make boost its operations. For example, the company holds a license in Federal Maritime Commission which allows it to import goods from China to its American market. These strategic acquisitions of the company allow it tpo dominate the ecommerce market and make products available to consumers. These acquisitions and mergers enable Amazon to enjoy deep market penetration in the global market. The products of Amazon also include payment platforms like Amazon Pay and video streaming software like Amazon Prime. The company has also developed hardware like smart speakers under the brand name Alexa.
As far as competitors are concerned, Amazon faces competition from multinational companies like Google and Apple. Google competes with it in terms of cloud computing and hardware like smart speakers. HomePod owned by Apple competes with Alexa which Amazon owns. The two multinational giants lock horns terms of video streaming as well (apple.com, 2018). Amazon faces stiff competition in the online shopping sector from companies like Alibaba, eBay and regional ecommerce companies (ebay.com, 2018). The company faces stiff competition in terms of payment gateways as well from payment gateway offering companies.
Issues being analysed:
The analysis of the business background of Amazon points out to several issues which the ecommerce giant is facing in the global market. The following are the issues which Amazon faces while operating in the global market:
Competition from multinational companies in product markets:
The first issue while Amazon faces while operating in the global market is competition from multinational as well as regional companies, which are also expanding into the international market at a very fast pace. The product umbrella of Amazon can be divided into ecommerce platforms, payment gateways, video streaming, smart speakers and cloud computing.
Amazon faces competition Alibaba which is a Chinese ecommerce conglomerate based in China and eBay which is an ecommerce company based in the United States of America. As far as Alibaba is concerned, the Chinese ecommerce multinational company gives competition to Amazon in terms of ecommerce platforms, payment gateways and cloud computing (alibabagroup.com, 2018). The company toughest competition from eBay in its home market, the United States of America as well as in the internal market. eBay offers online shopping portals as well smart devices which compete with their respective Amazonian counterparts (ebay.com, 2018). Amazon faces stiff competition from multinational companies like Microsoft and Google in terms of cloud computing services. The company receives stiff competition from the regional companies dominating one or several of its significant markets. The European retailers like Schwarz and Tesco from Germany and the UK respectively also market products online (ecommercenews.eu, 2018). This competition which Amazon receives from its competitors is a serious issue because it effects the revenue generation. 
Competition in the stock market:
Amazon faces stiff competition from companies like Google and eBay in the stock market. These companies like Amazon are listed on several stock exchanges in the world and compete with it in the stock market. This is a serious issue for Amazon because this competition which it receives from these companies effects its capital generation, thus ultimately eating into its financial sustainability.
Data theft issue:
The issue of data theft is one of the most serious issues facing Amazon because its entire business is dependent on digital platforms. Data theft is a serious issue because it leads the multinational company lose its sensitive business data to unauthorised groups. Amazon indulges in financial transaction with two types of customers. The first group of customers consist of companies which market their products on the platform provided by Amazon while second category consist of final consumers who buy products online. This data theft in the portals of the ecommerce giant has been highlighted by leading international magazines like the Forbes (forbes.com, 2018). This only points out how grave the issue of data theft is proving for Amazon and its business. The data theft results in the company losing sensitive pieces of information like customer data which also includes financial information. Thus, it can be inferred from the discussion that data theft has emerged into a threat which challenges the entire business operation of Amazon.
Growing dependence of the American economy on the Asian economy:
Borthwick (2018) points out that the growing economic strength of Asia and increasing dependence of the American economy on it is a serious economic issue which Amazon is facing. This is because due to growing importance of Asia is requiring Amazon to increase its business more to meet the needs of the Asian market. The ecommerce giant is being forced to modify its operations according to the Asian conditions. For example, the company is being forced to modify its product line according to the tastes of the Asian customers. Secondly, Asia has its own array of ecommerce companies (quotes.wsj.com, 2018). Thus, increasing business dependence on Asia and the Asia-Pacific region would mean that Amazon is coming under threat of competition from the Asian ecommerce companies. This would in turn result in erosion of both revenue and capital, thus once again once pointing out to the first two issues.
Detailed analysis of the issue:
The following section would analyse the four issues recognised above and their impact they would have on Amazon:
Competition from multinational firms in revenue generation:
The above analysis clearly points out that Amazon faces stiff competition from multinational companies like Google which is resulting the issue of reduction in revenue generation.
The graph shown above shows the income of the Amazon June 2017 to June 2018. A financial analysis of the income statements of the multinational company shows that its revenue generation shows great variance. The income was more than USD 1.48 billion in December 2017 which fell around March 2018 and then again rose in June 2018. An analysis of this variance in the financial income can be attributed to the intense competition which Amazon is facing from companies like Google and Amazon.
A financial analysis of the balance sheet of Amazon shows that the current assets and less than double the current liabilities. This means that the current ratio of the ecommerce multinational company is less than 2:1. This increase in current liabilities can be attributed to the large amount of short term debts and outstanding expenses which Amazon is incurring to boost its business. It can also be pointed out that the company has to adapt its global strategies to the Asian conditions. The intense competition that Amazon is facing is forcing it to change its organisational structure to make it dynamic to cater to the Asian market. Moreover, this analysis of the ecommerce industry shows that Amazon in order to prevent the other ecommerce giants from poaching its employees have to pump more money into staffing, managing people, rewarding them and providing them high incentives. These expenditures, though crucial for retention of talent to retain its market position, is also adding to the salary expenditures of the ecommerce giant. This it can be proved that the competition which Amazon receives from its competitors like Google is having
Amazon does not only faces stiff competition from its companies like Google in terms of revenue generation but also in terms of capital generation. This is because its vast financial resources combine both revenue and capital generation. This financial base as mentioned already attributes the company with its other resources like human resources and the technological power. The graph above shows the value of Amazon shares in five years juxtaposed to its four major international competitors namely, eBay, Google, Apple and Alibaba. A financial analysis of the graph shows that Amazon’s performance in the share market is far better compared to its competitors. It, however cannot be denied that the competitors like Apple and Google still capture large capital. For example, the competing companies shown in the graph do manage to achieve around 200 percent share of the stock market. This in turn eats into the capital generation of the Amazon. The outcome of this reduction of capital generation would have negative impacts on the business operations and subsequent revenue generation of Amazon. Thus, it can be inferred from the discussion that competition which it faces in the capital market have detrimental impacts on its entire business operation.
Data theft issue:
Singhal and Kar (2015) point out that data theft issue is a serious issue to ecommerce companies like Amazon because it has far reaching impacts on the business. First, Amazon being the largest ecommerce company globally commands top position in the ecommerce market. Weiss and Miller (2015) point out further in this respect that the considering the vast problem umbrella of leading ecommerce companies and their market penetration, it would not wrong to comment that their portals facilitate financial transactions worth billions of dollars. As far as Amazon is concerned, a competitive analysis of the ecommerce company points out that its market encompasses literally across the world. The gateways of Amazon handle with innumerable financial transactions from billions of customers. Thus, its portal is the storehouse of sensitive customer data including financial information. According to Stathopoulou and Balabanis (2016) given the intense competition which exists in the market, companies need to retain loyal bases customers to ensure high business generation. This fact is applicable in case of Amazon as well and the company maintains an immense data base of consumers. Thus, data theft results in loss of trust of the customers in the technological capabilities of Amazon to manage their data securely. Thus, data thefts results in breach of trust between Amazon and its customers, thus opening ways for its competitors like eBay to poach customers.
Opderbeck (2015) points out the second dire effect of data theft on companies and their business generation, breach of commercial contracts and their subsequent impact on the businesses involved. The ecommerce companies like Amazon enter into commercial contracts with manufacturing companies like Unilever to sell their products. This results in immense sharing of knowledge between the ecommerce company and the manufacturing companies. Data theft results in the manufacturing companies loose immense amount of sensitive data to unauthorised identities. This creates breach of contract between these two companies even though both of them are victims. This damages the goodwill of Amazon and enables its competitors approach these manufacturing companies to sell their products. This undoubtedly have long lasting damaging effect on the business generation of Amazon. This analysis clearly shows that data theft is a serious threat to the operations of Amazon.
Economic threats owing growing Asian dominance and American dependence on it:
V Fealy and White (2016) point out that Asia’s growing economic dominance and increasing dependence of the American on it is a serious economic threat which the American companies are facing. This is because growing dominance of Asia and the American economy becoming increasingly dependence on it would require the American companies like Amazon strengthen their presence in Asia. First, they would be required to restructure their entire operational mechanism to adapt to the market conditions of Asia. They would be required to modify the products to suit the tastes of the Asian customers. These two changes would attract huge costs.
The second challenge which the growing Asian rule over global economy has brought about over the ecommerce giant is increasing competition from the Asian companies. Nations like China, India Singapore and Thailand already have their resident ecommerce companies which are also expanding westwards. This means that Amazon is facing renewed competition from these companies (Oakes 2017). This is leading the American giant lose customers to its regional competiotors.
Recommended solution:
The following are the recommended solution which Amazon can adapt to deal with these issues:
Application of ethics, values and social responsibility:
Amazon should operate in an ethical and socially responsible ways. The company should provide accurate about products to its customers. It should source products from the local firms while operating in the host countries. This would have several positive outcomes on the company and enable it to manage the first issue, increasing competition from international competitors. First, presenting accurate information would enable the company create a socially responsible image before the society. Secondly, acquisition of goods from local consumers would enable Amazon promote their business which in turn to boost its own business. This is because the local firms owing to the high returns they get from the company would prefer it over other ecommerce retailers. This would ensure continuous supply of products to Amazon which would enable it to reduce its operating expenses.
Holding investors’ awareness programmes:
Amazon should investors’ awareness programmes in association with leading stock exchanges like LSE. It would not be wrong to point out considering the analysis of the financial statements of the company, that it can give higher returns on investments compared to its competitors like Google. Holding investors’ awareness programmes would boost its goodwill as an investor centric company. This would enable Amazon counteract the second issue and attract more investments.
Strengthening its Asian operations:
Amazon should strengthen its Asian operations and pump more capital to empower its Asian subsidiaries. The ecommerce company should also acquire stakes in leading Asian ecommerce companies which would enable it to gain stronger control on the Asian market. This would enable it to deal with the third issue and strengthen its position in Asia.
Future career plan:
The above discussion clearly shows that Amazon can provide a rewarding career to a professional and bring about his professional growth. The following is the career plan which a professional can look forward to post joining Amazon:
Month 1: Training and development of product knowledge
Month 2: Gaining in depth knowledge on the domain
Month 3: Perform highly
Year 1: Appraisal and salary hike
Year 2: Promotion to the post of assistant team leader
Year 3: Promotion to the post of team leader
Year 4: Promotion to assistant manager post
Year 5: Manager post achievement
apple.com (2018). Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/homepod/
bloomberg.com (2018). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/AMZN:US
Borthwick, M. (2018). Pacific century: The emergence of modern Pacific Asia. Routledge.
eBay. (2018). ebay.com. [online] Available at: https://www.ebay.com/b/Electronics/bn_7000259124 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018]. Alibaba Group. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.alibabagroup.com/en/global/home
ecommercenews.eu. (2018). Retrieved from https://ecommercenews.eu/topics/top-10-online-stores-in-europe/
Electronics for sale | eBay. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ebay.com/b/Electronics/bn_7000259124
Fealy, G., & White, H. (2016). Indonesia’s ‘Great Power’aspirations: A critical view. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, 3(1), 92-100.
forbes.com (2018). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/12/19/120m-american-households-exposed-in-massive-consumerview-database-leak/#121119a97961
londonstockexchange.com. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/summary/company-summary/US0231351067USUSDSSX4.html
nasdaq.com (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn
Oakes, T. (2017). Mediating Asia| Mediating Asia: Information, Democracy, and the State In and Before the Digital Age—Introduction. International Journal of Communication, 11, 11.
Opderbeck, D. W. (2015). Cybersecurity, Data Breaches, and the Economic Loss Doctrine in the Payment Card Industry. Md. L. Rev., 75, 935.
quotes.wsj.com (2018). Retrieved from https://quotes.wsj.com/AMZN/financials
reuters.com. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/income-statement/AMZN.OQ?stmtType=BAL&perType=ANN
Singhal, H., & Kar, A. K. (2015, August). Information security concerns in digital Services: literature review and a multi-stakeholder approach. In Advances in Computing, Communications and Informatics (ICACCI), 2015 International Conference on (pp. 901-906). IEEE.
Stathopoulou, A., & Balabanis, G. (2016). The effects of loyalty programs on customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty toward high-and low-end fashion retailers. Journal of Business Research, 69(12), 5801-5808.
Weiss, N. E., & Miller, R. S. (2015, February). The target and other financial data breaches: Frequently asked questions. In Congressional Research Service, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress February (Vol. 4, p. 2015).

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