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American Express was established in 1850 as an express delivery company in New-York Ccity. Because of certain delivery services inconsistencies of UPS at that time, American Express commenced to deliver correspondence, parcels, gold, and currency. In its beginnings, the company clientele were mostly banks. The company was involved in stock certificates, notes, and financial instruments deliveries. Towards the following years, the company began to emerge in the financial services (Americanexpress).

At the end of the 19th century and the genesis of the 20th century, the company began to permeate a paradigm of distribution channels throughout Europe. The company introduced its first credit card in 1958. A similar analogy to Harrison-Keyes scenario is the Turnaround and Growth strategic project of American Express. One of the company’s dominant priorities was to allay and divest several businesses that were plaguing its balance sheet. American Express intent was to restore its strength, and concentrate on travel and financial planning businesses. (americanexpress).

In the pursuit to remain as the dominant factor in the financial service industry, the company proceeded with the acquisition of IDS (Investors Diversified Services). This investment elevated American Express has a prominent competitor in the financial services besides the card and travel businesses. Another enterprise for American Express scrutinized for reengineering effort in the advent to cut major operational costs. Afterwards the company reestablished its distinctive financial strength, and became a major driver in the market again. A key concept that American Express employed, was the strong matrix management.

Citing Gray ; Larson “This form attempts to create the feel of a project team within a matrix environment. The project manager controls most aspects of the project, including scope trade-offs and assignment of functional personnel” (Gray ; Larson, 2006, p. 66). The distinctive difference between Harrison-Keyes and American Express is the level of project organization. The inherent success of American Express is attributable to its strong matrix project management. On the other hand, the certainty of Harrison-Keyes successful implementation with the e-book publishing remains fickle.

Synopsis of Barnes and Nobles The conception of Barnes and Noble started in 1873 when Charles Barnes started a book business in his Illinois home. Then 44 Forty-Four years later his son, William, team up with G Clifford Noble in New York to form the company known today as Barnes and Noble. Over the years, their innovative and savvy business strategies led them several firsts. They became the first bookseller in the USA to advertise on television, the first to offer books at a discount and the first to implement the “superstore” concept.

Like Harrison-Keyes, Inc. , Barnes and Noble also faced several challenges brought on by the high tech industry. Although today Barnes and Noble web site is the company’s largest store enabling customers to order books from anywhere at anytime, they were aware that electronic publishing had changed the traditional publishing framework. Aware that this new technology portends the new publishing landscape where just about anyone could become a publisher and self-publication and e publishing were usurping that traditional publishers. (corrected).

Barnes and Noble made the strategic decision of trying to capture e-publishing in its beginnings infancy as a means of surviving the new technological age, competing against companies in the same industry , and recovering profits lost to low cost retailers. There were several issues affecting Barnes and Noble successful endeavor. Major e-book publishers felt the terms were unfair. It was difficult to entice established authors away from traditional publishers. As a distributor, Barnes and Noble found it difficult to compete with marketing and editing expertise that authors expect form their publishers.

Barnes and Noble offered the largest standard royalty of 35%; this was still not enough for the authors, whose books when sold traditionally fetch a higher price compared to the price the books being sold for via e-publishing. The added costs of digitizing the books were not taken into account, the royalty that proved enticing were only for the out of print titles since these required little editing and digital rights were easier to obtain. E-books were restricted to established authors, and sales did not take off as expected since the publishers did not release enough e-books and the charges for the ones released were high.

As a result, Barnes and Noble decided to exit the e-book market. Like Harrison-Keyes lack of proper planning, risk analysis, and covering all the bases led to this failure. In addition, this is an indicative of lack of project management skills in order for the company to be successful. Synopsis of Bank of America Bank of America has been one of few banking companies to successfully transcends the great division between project conception, planning, scheduling, control, and implementation by mastering the strategic management process and bringing several projects to life.

“Strategy formulation includes determining and evaluating alternatives that support the organization’s objectives and selecting the best alternative” (Gray & Larson, 2006, p. 26). As one of the world’s largest financial institution, Bank of America also known as “Bank of Opportunity” is the largest commercial bank in market capitalization and deposits in the United States, with divisions in corporate, consumer, investment management, and international operations.

The company serves over 59 million consumers offering a full range of investing, banking, risk management products and services to middle market businesses, large corporations in over 175 countries and a 99 percent fortune 500 company clientele locally and 83 percent globally (Bank of America). As Harrison-Keyes, Bank of America is facing new competitive landscapes b? wrought by the internet and technological advancements?? division.

Even though Thus, Bank of America is involve on several strategic projects, such as; combining the bank’s wide range of financial services via the internet, providing their customers with high tech digital and internet technology, creating an end-to-end electronic marketplace with e-procurement capabilities unifying all their branches and divisions both locally and globally; launching Hong Kong’s first wireless banking service which allowed customers to use their WAP-enabled mobile telephones and PDA’s for information, transaction services, mobile banking and brokerage capability, and providing customers with a convenient channel for conducting secure, reliable banking business anytime, anywhere. However, unlike Harrison-Keyes, Inc. whose haphazard project management style created several pitfalls, Bank of America first clearly defined all their project scope before embarking on a single project. A project network has been developing sequencing the flow of work through the project.

The technological skill sets required were put in place ensuring the facilitation of the implementation process, the life cycle defined from start to finish, and an integrated business and a technological roadmap was created. The results of proper planning and project management has allowed Bank of America to be one of the largest bank, the leader in online banking and one of the world’s top ten credit card issuer, with customer satisfaction in the 98 percentile range and recognition as one of the finalist for the eCRM in the CMP Media’s 2001 RealWare Awards award by as one of the companies with outstanding implementations of technology in the enterprise. JulioReview this sentence is too long Conclusion

Technology and the internet are a challenge for many companies especially those in the area of e publishing. As we have seen in this benchmarking analysis managers should implement a project management strategy aligned with external and internal forces in order to be successful. Harrison-Keyes missed the opportunity to understand that project implementation is an essential concept that successful organizations have mastered to ensure a successful and profitable business. This paper has presented six companies that Harrison-Keyes can benchmark to find possible solutions to the problems they are facing in regards to effectively managing their e-book project.

Successful project implementation and management will allow an organization to grow into the future, expand market share, and improve profitability for years to come. “Strategic management requires strong links among mission, goals, objectives, strategy, and implementation,” (Gray & Larson, 2006, p. 24). Not providing the framework for a reliable and consistent markers for determining a project scope, lack of effective processes and internal and external knowledge were some of the missteps taken by Harrison-Keyes, and can be the recipe for failure. “Project management historically has been preoccupied solely with the planning and execution of projects” (Gray & Larson, 2006, p. 22)

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