Leveraging Solvay Group Culture with a Third Generation Intranet Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Introduction

            Solvay Group was founded as Solvay and Company by Ernest and his brother Alfred Solvay in the year 1863 in Belgium. It was often referred as “company of engineers”. This group was involved in the industrial production of sodium carbonate (soda ash), patented by Ernest Solvay. There were many new technologies and products that were developed by Solvay Group through their research and development. The new technologies and products included sodium carbonate derivatives, chlorine, plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), peroxygens, specialty polymers and range of therapeutic areas in pharmaceuticals.

            Solvay Group grew into a global group and it was working in 50 countries on every continent, operating in sectors like pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics. In the beginning of the year 2001, Luis Serrano became the head of e-Enterprise Services at Solvay Group. The vision of the group was to join the next generation of intranet that would welcome vast amount of knowledge and experiences within Solvay Group. Serrano knew that implementing the next generation intranet would give benefits to the group in future.

Case Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

            It is very important for the company to identify its strengths and make strategies accordingly. Solvay Group was based on the industrialized production of the chemicals. It was considered to be the company of engineers. Solvay Group was grown into the global group and it was working in 50 countries, present in all the continents. The major strength of the company was that it was working in different countries and was having different entities. Whereas, Solvay Group was having a different range of products which gave it an edge during the demand fluctuations in the particular categories. It has a strong workforce, which was around 3000 employees. Moreover, they were providing their services to serve a large customer base.

Weaknesses

            Like all businesses Solvay Group also had some weaknesses that were supposed to be worked on and eliminated. The major weakness of the company was the image which was being dented by the anti-allegations acquisition. Moreover, the company’s reputation was also affected due to the joint lawsuit, so it was a weakness for the company. The financial flexibility of Solvay Group was also limited due to the increasing level of indebtedness. These were the major weaknesses of the company which Solvay had to look upon.

Opportunities

            There were many opportunities for Solvay Group, which they could use for a successful business. Similarly, Solvay had many opportunities like it could cater the huge customer segment in Europe and in this way the capacity could also be increased. The Asian markets were also in the development stages so it could be a great opportunity for targeting the Asian markets for growth. Epichlorohydrin market could also be targeted as this market was growing on an annual basis and had high demand also.

Threat

            The market share was threatened due to the increasing of intense competition in the chemical industry. Moreover, changes or fluctuations in the change rates could also be a threat for the company as it could affect the financial position of the company. There was also the threat of the manufacturing process in chemical industry, which could affect the performance of the company.

Features of the New Intranet Platform

            The new platform included many features that could be very beneficial for Solvay Group. The features of the new intranet platform were that it consists of the shared technology components, services and also different standards of the information technology functions. It also included the applications which could be very useful for the company also. Moreover, the customized solutions could also be built through the new intranet platform. The new platform offered solutions to different problems and more customized solutions could also be built via this platform. It could also cater the different needs of the local users.

            Solvay Group was operating in 50 different countries all around the world. Therefore, through new intranet platform, there could be a global, common, shared intranet portal which was based on the user profile and different capabilities which could give a standard gateway for the intranet, and could be useful for the whole group. Via the new platform the users could be authenticated, their access rights could be verified.........................

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