Evaluate BlackBean Case Study
BlackBean is a tea and dessert company based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Established in 2008, BlackBean has expanded from 20 stores in Vietnam to add 40 more locations throughout Asia. To support regional growth, BlackBean wanted better insight into business operations.
Each store sent point-of-sale (POS) data to the corporate headquarters, where managers manually entered the information into spreadsheets. The stores also monitored other sources such as social media, but it was difficult to make connections between the disparate sources of information. “Our main challenge involved reporting,” says Mark Smith, Senior Manager at BlackBean. “There were a lot of questions that we have about customer behavior. Without insight into regional demand, it’s very difficult to grow our business.”
In addition to wanting to more targeted promotions, the company wanted to improve product distribution. BlackBean had built its reputation on the quality of its highly perishable ingredients, and getting them to the right place at the right time was critical to the company’s success. “We use a lot of fruits in our desserts, and if they don’t taste right, then we lose our competitive advantage,” says Smith.
To meet its goals, BlackBean knew it needed tools capable of pulling together disparate sources of information. However, it also wanted to implement a solution without the burden of purchasing and maintaining additional on-premises infrastructure. BlackBean operates with a small IT team and has little interest in building out a data center. Instead, the company wants a solution that will be easy to use and manage. As Smith points out, “Our employees are not IT professionals, so a highly complex system will not work out for us.”Assignment Instructions:
Write a business proposal for Mark Smith at BlackBean that outlines the following:
- Analyze the current state of BlackBean. What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What kinds of functionality does BlackBean need? What kinds of considerations are there? (i.e., building competitive advantage, better decision-making capabilities, etc.)
- What kinds of tools would you recommend?
- Research and evaluate potential solutions for BlackBean.
- Choose the optimal solution for BlackBean. Justify your choices.
You may make assumptions about the resources and other features of BlackBean as necessary to fill in the gaps for your proposal.