• A clear view on product cost price – creating a time-driven activity-based costing system in a belgian medium-sized food manufacturer

      Antidze, Mikheil; Dong, Hang (2019)
      Based on cost information, companies make important decisions about pricing, product mix and investment. A thorough and clear view on product cost price is essential to any company. In our research company, a Belgium-based medium-sized food manufacturer, the currently-used cost system is falling down on its job. The obsolete cost system outputs static and outdated cost price data, which barely gives any useful indication for products pricing today. Our task is to redesign a new cost system that is able to adapt to new changes within the company and from markets and give accurate and succinct results to managers. The aim of this paper is to introduce the steps we followed to develop the new costing price model in the company, the methodology we choose and the reasons behind it. In the beginning of the text, we first take a close look at different types of commonlyused cost systems nowadays and the possible connections that can be made with various costs in our research company. Next, we follow to introduce how the currently-used model looks like, the main structure of it and the main defect. Then the paper moves to how we start our cost analysis, the procedures we followed to develop the model. For example, production procedures identification, costs grouping, cost model structure designing and then the most appropriate allocation method choosing for each part of costs. We realize that the key to best reflect the costing reality is to choose the most appropriate allocation methods for different costs. In our model, all the costs associated with various functions of the business is carefully taken into account and a mixed of cost systems is used. In the methodology part, we first clarify which cost systems we use for each part of cost components and our main assumptions. A clear cost structure of is shown after that. Which starts from production cost and production overhead, followed by warehouse
    • A design of business structure and methodology for improved business development

      Kerstholt,Robert; Verelst, Charlien (2018)
      DEKRA Belgium (from now on referred to as DEKRA) is a mid-sized company that is part of the globally active DEKRA Group. It aims to assist in everything around safety and accidents at work, on the road, and at home. DEKRA does this throughout the whole safety lifecycle. Meaning that it provides services to prevent, handle, and improve. Most of DEKRA’s business considers the automotive industry, where it provides services like expertise in car damage and handling claims for insurance companies. The business activity of DEKRA is not limited to the automotive industry, with their departments industrial and personnel, they cover claims from insurance branches such as cars, cargo, real estate, liability, accidents, and health. DEKRA’s aim is to be the partner covering the entire safety lifecycle. DEKRA has strongly grown in previous years and the objective is to keep growing at a high pace. The company sensed the need for an improvement with regards to business development to reach this goal. This lead to a project to find out what this need exactly was, where it came from, and to provide a practical plan to fulfil this need. This report starts with preliminary research in which the exact need for business development gets tracked down. Tracking down the need for business development started with gathering general information about the company. This resulted in an understanding of the context. With this understanding, meetings were held in which targeted questions were asked about the motives for initiating this project. This lead to further research which revealed why there is indeed a need for improved business development. The reason for starting this project was illustrated with a couple of examples. These examples provided the insight that as DEKRA grew, certain company dynamics changed. This change in dynamics impacted the effectiveness of business development. Operations used to be able to somehow run the whole operational business and on top of that develop new business. Currently, the flaws of this system become evident. It is not possible anymore to expect operations to fulfill such tasks. They should no be expected to fulfill these tasks because it is not their expertise, nor do their day-to-day responsibilities leave enough time. This combination asks for a change that provides business development expertise and at the same time reliefs operations from tasks that do not fit their responsibilities. To provide this change, the logical solution is to assign one or multiple employee(s) with business development expertise and available time to do business development. Within DEKRA there is not enough spare capacity to meet both of those requirements. Therefore, new employee(s) are required to fulfill the business development need of DEKRA. Further research showed that for those new employees it should be clear who has the final responsibility for what. Organizational structure provides the necessary clarity. Designing this structure yields two options. They either work together as one team or they work separately. The first option results in one department from which business development is done company wide. The second option results in separate units that develop business for their specifically assigned department only. An evaluation of both options leads to the conclusion that setting up one department is the best option for DEKRA. This will bring organizational structure that fits DEKRA. The next part considers methods to develop business. This is about making what the department should do concrete. To concretize the function of this department, the exact scope of tasks that falls within the responsibility of the business development department was to be defined. To not reinvent the wheel a broad range of companies was studied in order to find learn from other companies about what to do to develop business. An evaluation of successful business development departments showed that business development can fulfil these tasks: creating an ideation culture, collecting business opportunities, creating an overview of business potential, evaluating potential business, making the step from plan to realization, adopting new business into day-to-day activity, marketing for the new business, managing the business development process. An additional conclusion with regards to the newly hired business developers is that they should get a job title that helps other employees to understand the function of business developers. This will lead to a higher chance of acceptance. The design of business structure and definition of tasks do not make clear what steps to take to improve business development. The real value for DEKRA comes from a practical plan. Therefore, a plan that describes how to do business development follows. From other companies was learned that there is not one set of tasks that will lead to effective business development for every company. The activities to develop business should be customized for the company. The next objective was to filter the list of tasks that business development departments usually fulfil. The value of performing these tasks at DEKRA was evaluated for each task individually, this lead to a set of tasks that is customized for DEKRA. Business development’s first task will be to collect business opportunities. This should be done in two ways. Firstly, by taking an active role with the aim to connect to the right people and sources of information. Secondly, attending meetings with customers and taking a similar active role to ensure opportunities are seized. The next step will be to create an overview of business potential; this can be done in various ways. How this is done will not be a difference of night and day. Making sure this step will not be skipped is what is most important. When the overview also displays the opportunities clearly and in order of urgency, then this step is performed very well. After everything is neatly organized, it is important to evaluate the potential business to see which opportunities are worth follow up. The most efficient way of doing this, is to start off with the pass/ fail evaluation method. Then a second evaluation round, where the evaluation matrix is used, results in a thorough evaluation. More practical information about how to create and use this matrix can be found in Appendix E. The end result of the matrix will be a tool for comparison and focused discussion. After deciding to further develop an idea, the realization of the idea should be prepared by establishing commitment through idea ownership and making a planning that tackles the pragmatic challenges. Then, the development and testing of minimum viable services will result in the actual realization of the business opportunity. Providing operations with necessary information to deliver the minimum viable service is driver of success. In parallel, business development should devise and realize a go-to-market strategy. To finish the business development cycle, the responsibility for the service should be transferred to operations. Operations will then adopt the new business in day-to-day activities while providing feedback to the business development department. DEKRA’s internal knowledge on management provides a solid basis to manage that all these tasks are performed correctly. However, it advised to spend extra attention on communication. Research showed that the use of a platform can result in the efficient and effective communication aspires to have. The assessment of multiple platforms provides an overview of options and inspiration on how to improve communication. A platform called Yambla has high potential to improve the communication of the business development process as well as the overall communication within DEKRA. A system that integrates DEKRA connect with a platform would make the ultimate communication tool. In conclusion, a business development department has to be set up and should follow a welldevised set of methods to fulfil the tasks that lead to business. The report covers in how to do this in closer detail. The execution of this plan will result in effective business development that enables DEKRA to grow in the future.
    • A practical guide to scale up fist aid training in Southern African countries through blended learning

      Wakkach, Asmae; Van Daele, Clément; Villetti Chitolina, Paola (2018)
      Findings in Southern African countries concerning the number of deaths that could be prevented by first aid skills are worrying. In South Africa, for example, fifty percent of the number of deaths caused by road traffic accidents are cases where first aid could have made the difference. First aid knowledge is spread by various players offering training in the specific subject, but not to a satisfactory extent. To tackle this problem more efficiently, leveraging public and private partnerships and investing in digitalization is a solution, especially as mobile usage is booming and creating opportunities in the region. From this perspective, Belgian Red Cross Flanders (BRC-FL) is planning to launch blended learning projects for first aid in Southern African countries, offering a combination of online and offline training, that aim to be more convenient for the customer and easier to scale up. In Chapter I, the report kicks off with a market research to offer a background and overview of trends in the Southern African countries, the first aid market and blended learning market. To provide BRCFL support in launching the future projects, Chapter II entails a general model that will assist the project managers and management team in developing, managing and monitoring blended learning projects in South African countries, including frameworks and practical guidelines for the various steps the organization needs to go through. Currently, BRC-FL is working towards the launch of a blended learning project targeting the transportation sector, called SaFER, together with South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) and Empower School of Health (ESH). In Chapter III, the SaFER project is used as an application of the general model developed in Chapter II, where advice is given for the different stages of the project, including the analysis of the value chain and addressing the responsibilities to the parties involved, evaluation of ESH as partner in the project, evaluation of the technology and product development and the expansion to other countries. In addition, a special focus is given to protect the interest of SARCS in the future agreement with ESH. Chapter IV addresses two new high potential projects in Southern Africa. Project 1 takes place in Malawi, targeting the manufacturing industry for consulting purposes regarding first aid, while Project 2 is in South Africa, targeting rural population to provide primary health care services. The main takeaways and recommendations presented are with regards to SaFER, as this specific project is the primary focus of this report. The first main concern of the project is about how to develop a digital product and which technology to use. After evaluating the different possible scenarios, the main conclusion is that a mobile application is more suitable for the SaFER project as the blended learning project is targeting essentially drivers. Furthermore, different feasible scenarios are provided regarding the platform development and design and how the online product should look like as there is no one ideal solution at this moment. The most important is to move towards the digitization of the content and ship the product as soon as possible to the market, no matter the partner. The second advice concerning the digitalization of the content within the SaFER project and the projects to come is that it needs to be kept in-house. Executing this activity will provide BRC-FL the ownership of the digital content, and thus makes it important in the long run if the project becomes successful as it would be easier and faster to scale up. Lastly, the partnership with ESH leaves various question marks. To start, there are doubts if ESH really has the capabilities and experience it claims to possess, as well as its network in the African countries. Furthermore, the questions arise if ESH is the best option for the project, especially when needing to give up being responsible for the digitalization. It is not possible to find clear answers for the first questions yet, however, if the digitalization of content being made by BRC-FL is not an option for ESH, pulling the plug for the partnership is recommended.
    • A research for the impact and functioning of the Visual Player system in on-trade outlets in Belgium and the Netherlands, as a foundation for future improvements.

      Janssen, Stef; Willaert, Gilles (2018)
      The Bacardi Visual Player is a TV-screen placed in on-trade outlets in Belgium and the Netherlands that displays visuals of Bacardi brands. The objective of this program is to build brands in the on-trade and to influence the consumer buying decision towards Bacardi’s category. Until today, Bacardi has no understanding of the impact of this initiative on these objectives. They do not know any marketing KPIs of this system, nor the possible impact on sales. On top of this, Bacardi has no insights from outlet owners on what is currently working well and what is not. The only thing that is sure for the moment is the fact that the amount of well-functioning Bacardi Visual Players is significantly decreasing. Does Bacardi keep investing in this system ‘as is’ or not? If not, what do they need to do to improve this program?
    • A riziv/inami-reimbursement proposal for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (opat) in Belgium

      Dezutter, Olivier; D’Hondt, Louis; Vandenbroucke, Louise (2019)
      Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial (or antibiotic) therapy (OPAT) is the parenteral administration of antimicrobial therapy in the outpatient setting (e.g. at home). A way to deliver parenteral therapy in an outpatient setting is by means of non-electronic medication pumps, elastomerics. Although the elastomerics are a convenient and comfortable way to administer OPAT, the elastomeric pumps are not often used in Belgium. This mainly because of the low implementation of OPAT comparing with other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. However, the therapy is considered safe, cost-effective and convenient in the international literature To increase the potential of elastomeric pumps in Belgium, Baxter wants to raise the implementation of OPAT in the Belgian hospitals. Therefore, Baxter’s in-company project (ICP)-objective is to develop a RIZIV/INAMI (Rijksinstituut voor ziekte- en invaliditeitsverzekering/ Institut national d'assurance maladie-invalidité)-reimbursement proposal for OPAT. Not only Baxter benefits of the reimbursement of OPAT, also the patient, hospitals, and especially the RIZIV/INAMI, as substantial savings can be achieved on their side. To develop a reimbursement proposal for OPAT, the ideal way in which OPAT can be organized should be identified. Therefore, all stakeholders in the OPAT-ecosystem in Belgium including the patient, caregivers, physicians, hospital, hospital pharmacy, peripheral pharmacy, RIZIV/INAMI, private insurance, pharmaceutical industry and medical technology, home nursing and an external firm Remedus were interviewed. By interviewing these stakeholders, a large variety in the implementation of OPAT in the Belgian hospitals and thus a varying ecosystem is discovered. This is due to the recent implementation of in Belgium and the lack of a clear governmental framework. Every hospital has his own idea and organization of OPAT. Another important issue is the lack of reimbursement of OPAT, making this treatment expensive for the patient in comparison to a regular hospital stay. This mainly due to the ambulatory price of antibiotics and the use of medical materials (including elastomeric pumps) The following three different OPAT-scenarios could be identified in the Belgian hospitals: 1) the firstline scenario, where OPAT is seen as primary care, so the general practitioner and peripheral pharmacy get the responsibility of OPAT after start-up of OPAT in the hospital, 2) the hospital coordinated OPAT, where the hospital keeps control of the treatment and 3) the mixed scenario, where the hospital initially coordinates OPAT, but after a certain period the responsibility is shifted towards the first line care. Based on the interviews with hospitals and the other stakeholders, we concluded that the best current way to organize OPAT in Belgium would be the ‘hospital coordinated OPAT’ scenario. The actual reimbursement proposal consists of four elements. First, the reimbursement proposal includes a compensation of €300 per OPAT-treatment for the organization and coordination of OPAT by the hospitals (OPAT-initiation lump sum). The €300 lump sum is intended to cover the extra costs caused by the initiation of OPAT. Secondly, since there is an immense diversity concerning the antibiotics (much variation in the administration rates, delivery systems and costs of the antibiotics), the reimbursement proposal excludes the antibiotics from a lump sum. We concluded that the ideal way to deliver the antibiotics to the patient is through the hospital pharmacy, so the reimbursement of the antibiotics should be the same for an OPAT-patient as for a patient staying hospitalized. Consequently, the patient should only pay €0.62 co-payment per day independent of the (quantity of) antibiotics used for his/her treatment. Thirdly, as the administration rates of the antibiotics vary a lot and therefore also the medical materials used, five different daily lump sums for the medical materials are developed: three for bolus and intermittent administrations and two for continuous administrations. The former three are: €3.15 per day, €4.90 per day and €6.65 per day, for one, two and three administrations a day, respectively. For the latter, the daily lump sum for one continuous administration equals €32.85 per day, whereas for two administrations this equals €64.30 per day. Fourthly, home nurses should get a compensation dependent on the number of patients visits they have to do in a day. A compensation of €31.19 is provided in case of one and two administrations a day, while a compensation of €46.19 is foreseen when three administrations a day are needed. The financial implications of our reimbursement proposal for some stakeholders could be calculated. Based on a sensitivity-analysis of different parameters such as the changing number of patients, changing variety in antibiotics and changing duration of OPAT, the calculated savings for the RIZIV are around €20 million. The value for the patient is the fact that he/she is not financially penalized anymore while being able to recover in at home setting. Furthermore, the hospitals can receive the OPATinitiation lump sum and part of the money for the medical materials and reimbursement of antibiotics from the RIZIV/INAMI. With the recommended organization of OPAT and the proposed reimbursement, a good foundation for OPAT in Belgium is formed. However, there are some issues we could not address that still need to be solved to obtain an even better implementation of OPAT, such as the insurance of optimal quality and follow-up, involvement of the peripheral pharmacies and acceptance of providing OPAT in retirement homes.
    • A SAAS business from scratch: The discovery, validation and launch of a citizen development SAAS platform within an incubator ecosystem

      Debacker, Sibrecht; Spileers, Andreas; T’kindt, Lander (2021)
      This report validates the business idea of Cloudr, a tool that converts spreadsheets into web applications. For this, the challenges of spreadsheets within organizations and their current solutions are portrayed, after which the feasibility of the proposed business concept is analyzed. Insights from literature review, qualitative research (interviews with business users, IT and potential partners) and quantitative research (a survey) are provided. Moreover, enlightenment is provided onto the technological, strategic and financial feasibility. Current literature reinforces the challenges of spreadsheets within organizations such as version control, data governance and the management of shadow IT. Current low-code platforms are not sucient to resolve these challenges, as many business users consider them to be either too complex, or too limited in functionality. The current competitors within the spreadsheet conversion landscape have not successfully exploited all opportunities at present, leaving room for a solution such as Cloudr. Furthermore, both the survey and interviews with business users confirm the diculty of creating web applications, whereas the IT department understands the risks of shadow IT practices and the need for data governance. Initial conversations with strategic partners have even highlighted their interest to collaborate. Therefore, we see an opportunity for the proposed business idea within the low-code market: a tool that converts a spreadsheet into a Microsoft Power App, both as an exact copy or through altering the layout using a layout builder. The technological feasibility of this concept has been validated successfully through the development of a functional proof of concept in which all core functionalities are included. This proof of concept is suciently sophisticated to be used as a demo pitch towards initial prospects. Technicalities that are not yet implemented, are validated through conversations with field experts. No major technological complications are expected, although it will be dicult to opt for a true SaaS approach as introducing customer stickiness is not evident when making use of third-party platforms as a conversion tool. A strategic analysis points out the achievability of the business idea from a strategic point of view. There is a reasonable amount of threats, some of which can be alleviated by leveraging the Cronos ecosystem. An example of a significant threat is the bargaining power that Microsoft has as a supplier of Power Platform. A market size analysis indicates that a sizeable market is available. Lastly, the financial forecasts are promising, with an estimated revenue of 2.3 million euro and a net profit of about 500,000 euro after-tax in year five. For this, a total investment of 200,000 euro besides the injected start-up capital is required within the first year. Given that the feasibility of the business concept has been validated successfully until now, our recommendation is to continue the development of Cloud and further investigate the interest of the market. This is why we have set up a meeting with a potential first customer after our project, during which we will pitch the business concept of Cloudr.
    • A strategy and business model assessment of Euroinvestor. A Danish financial media for private investors

      Cleyman, Bo; Goossens, Elisabeth; Mohay, Peter (2021)
      The global media landscape is undergoing drastic shifts. Over the last couple of years, the industry saw advertisement revenues decline due to the emergence and domination of the large American technology companies. Media users and advertisers can now easily search and find news content beyond the platforms provided by media companies. On top of that, media companies are no longer in charge of the technological infrastructure, and commercial standards they use for providing content to their own users. Global players such as Facebook, Apple, and Google now determine significant parts in the commercial value chains of media companies. In addition, the business models and value chains that have grown historically in have vanished thanks to new technologies. Strategy analysis, formulation, and business model innovation have never been more important topics in the industry than today. For this in-company project, hosted by DPG Media, performed by Bo Cleyman, Elisabeth Goossens and Peter Mohay, and academically supervised by Prof. Dr. Kurt Verweire, the students of Vlerick Business School were assigned a project for Euroinvestor. The company is part of Berlingske Media, the Danish holding company under DPG Media. Euroinvestor is an advertisement funded financial news media that targets private investors. It is a small, but rapidly growing financial news media that targets private investors. Until now the growth of the company has increased yearly in pageviews and unique visitors. The company’s recent boom in traffic is caused by a surge in individual traders, who now have access to commissionfree online broker apps, governments stimuli, and lots of downtime during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the company’s financial results are disappointing. Euroinvestor had a negative EBITA margin of -40%, which translated in a negative result of - €381.000 in 2020. The Belgian management team is eager to learn whether Euroinvestor has more potential in terms of revenue growth and profitability. During the in-company project, it is the assignment of the students to break down the problem and find root causes of the poor performance of Euroinvestor. Additionally, it is requested to investigate opportunities to improve its performance. The students formulate the research question as follows: “Is it possible for Euroinvestor to increase profitability to 30% with €1 million in EBITA within the next three years through strategy and business model improvements?” The project was divided into two periods. The first period took place in Belgium. During the time in Belgium, the students took the opportunity to conduct a thorough strategic market analysis using Michael Porters (1979) Five Forces framework to analyse the Danish media industry. This analysis was executed through both primary and secondary data collection. To complement the findings from the literature review, primary empirical insights were collected by way of industry expert interviews and focus groups. Furthermore, the company’s annual statements were analysed, and several internal stakeholder meetings were arranged to clarify remaining questions about Euroinvestor’s strategy and business model. In Denmark, multiple internal stakeholder meetings and feedback moments were organized, as well as regular update meetings with the DPG Media steering committee with the aim of developing a realistic and ambitious 3-year business plan. The strategic market analysis showed that in Denmark the advertisement revenue excluding the revenue earned by Google, Facebook and LinkedIn declined in 2020. Furthermore, advertisers have numerous alternatives to advertise on as entry barriers are low. On the other hand, the target market increases as the digitalization and the pandemic have caused a surge in private investors. Consequently, the students did literature studies on alternative revenue sources in the media industry as well as investigate and interview other companies within the financial media industry to find out more about successful business models. It appears that affiliate partnerships and subscriptions show to be the most promising alternatives. For the strategy evaluation of Euroinvestor, the students applied a framework of Vlerick Business School. This framework states that winning companies should have a unique and focused definition of four building blocks: Whom do we serve? What do we offer? What is our value proposition? And what is our value proposition? It is concluded that in order to become more successful, a more detailed, elaborated, distinctive and focused understanding of these blocks should be described. It is crucial for a company to make sure that the quality of the strategy is high for execution to be effective. Consequently, those building blocks were redefined. The target group is segmented into three different subgroups: the passive, casual and active private investor. The total potential market size is estimated to be 1.300.000 people. The students observed that these different groups have different needs that need to be satisfied. Regarding the product offering, the students concluded within the financial media industry it is necessary for Euroinvestor to offer a deep selection of specialized products of very high quality. The value proposition of the company should be in offering qualitative products and connectivity with and among its key customers. And finally, a pivot in operating model is recommended towards a more customer intimate model., Finally, a business model is developed that translates the new strategy of Euroinvestor in a concrete three-year business plan. Business modelling is about how you organize your activities and resources both internally and externally to make money. For this reason, the business plan was structured into the three revenue streams: advertisement, affiliate partnerships and subscription revenue. These revenue streams are necessary to make the company more profitable. For each revenue stream a detailed description of its products, strategic fit, operational requirements and financial implications are presented. Within the advertisement revenue model, it is advised to elevate the quality of the website by investing in a better user experience and user interface, better tools, and new content. Two affiliate partnerships are proposed and described in detail. Finally, the subscription package is presented. This package includes model portfolios, Euroklubben, weekly workshops and seminars, and access to a Euroinvestor audio library. In terms of financial projections, in the business plan it is estimated that Euroinvestor would increase its total revenues to €3.280.600 in 2024, which is 63% higher than the base case. The revenue split in 2024 will be: 71,9% advertisement revenue, 3,7% affiliate partnershiprevenue, and 24,4% subscription revenue. Finally, its profitability margin will increase to 30,89% in 2024, which is 24 percentage points higher than its budgeted 7% margin for 2021. This equals an EBITA of €1.013.297 in 2024. To conclude, this document includes a thorough market and company analysis that can be used as a guideline for Euroinvestor’s future activities. Additionally, it can be used a source of inspiration an information to enter the financial media industry.
    • Accelerate company growth in the complementary medicine market by redefining the value proposition and determining a new B2P2C go-2-market strategy

      Vermeiren, Evelien; Schirwis, Elija (2019)
      The European market of complementary medicine is booming due to the rising awareness in society of improving lifestyle needs. Lifestyle includes the behavior and activities that defines our daily life, for example the food we eat that directly affects our health. Various studies show that good nutrition acts preventive and lowers the risk for many diseases. For example, our food habits can prevent or stimulate heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. For consumers, nutritional supplements are a more effective way to absorb the daily recommended intake of essential vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Consequently, the market for consumer health, in particularly for nutritional supplements is growing with CAGR of more than 6% in Europe. However, this market is highly fragmented and many small- and medium-size companies offer very similar values to the consumer for both their products and services. Therefore, Energetica Natura (EN), operating in the Benelux countries and France, wants to redefine its value proposition and make a clearer statement towards its clients: both the professional and the end consumers. A team of two MBA students, Elija Schirwis and Evelien Vermeiren, was engaged in this in-company -project (ICP) and determined the following two research questions: • What value should Energetica Natura bring to the professional and end-customer? • And what corresponding go-2-market strategy is required to achieve company growth? To reach these goals, the company realized that it requires a clearly defined Value Proposition to communicate towards their professionals and the end-consumers. In the scope of this ICP project, the team analyzed the company data, studied various market reports, carried out interviews with Energetica Natura’s employees and professional clients, conducted a survey with the end-consumers and applied various frameworks in order to draw conclusions and to prepare recommendations. The recommendations that followed from this research are as follows: 1. To strengthen the company’s capabilities, they need to collect more profound data on the professional clients, the end-customers, the lifestyle trends, and the dynamics on the European markets in order to stay ahead of the market and respond to market trends 2. Incorporate the new value proposition for the professional and end-consumer market that is based on three drivers: Partnerships, Specialization and Lifestyle 3. Implement the optimization suggestions in order to improve the go-2-market strategy for the professional market. These suggestions are based on two pillars: Focus on defining specific target groups and augment the digitalization of internal processes. 4. Start building on the newly designed end-consumer go-2-market strategy that consists of three main drivers: Develop on a fully digital customer journey, design a GPS “light” questionnaire for the end-consumer, and launch a specific end-consumer brand Finally, this report is prepared on the premise that the proposed recommendations are useful and pragmatic for the company and that the new value propositions is substantial to accelerate the company’s growth in complementary medicine market. Our team is convinced that this report will serve as a practical roadmap to support Energetica Natura’s go-2-market decision for the B2P2C market.
    • Agile leadership and resource allocation in a global pharmaceutical company

      Fadoua, Amraoui; Timea, Rezi-Kato (2020)
      UCB, an innovation and R&D-based biopharma leader, has been growing off of its stable portfolio over the latest decade. In the next years, they are about to lose exclusivity on two of their major blockblusters, Cimzia and Vimpat, together accounting for more than half of the company’s net sales in 2019 (UCB, 2019b). While there are 6 new drugs. Currently in the R&D pipeline, their exact faith is still a question mark. Topped with international uncertainties, the external environment also brings doubts reaching from political (US elections) to economic (COVID-19) questions and more. In these uncertain times, one thing is sure UCB can no longer rely on its stable processes established over the years. They need to be able to show agility and quickly allocate resources to where it brings the most value for the organisation.
    • An opportunity assessment to launch a private placement service in the Belgian market

      Stockmans, Stéphanie; Van Hove, Pauline; Van Saet, Olivia (2019)
      Although the expectations of both emitters and investors emphasize the need for a private placement service, knowledge about private placements in the Belgian market is very limited. This can be explained, for example, by the fact that not many private placement deals have been disclosed yet. Due to the changing needs of emitters, KBC Securities (KBCS) is often challenged with the expectation of its clients to offer them as many financing options as possible. Moreover, KBCS wants to keep its investor base satisfied by offering compelling solutions when it comes to portfolio diversification. Accordingly, this report was commissioned to examine the possibility of launching a private placement service on the Belgian market. KBCS’ question with regard to private placements was very clear and was taken into account to determine what type of private placements should be sought, namely “is there an opportunity to implement equity private placement as a service in the Belgian market that meets the following requirements; (1) an issuer needs to be a private and mature company (2) an investor should be professional and not operate through a fund and (3) the focus should be on large deal sizes?” Methods of analysis include qualitative research, consisting of both primary and secondary research. Involvement of experts and investors facilitated the interpretation of data and the development of a shared understanding of the private placement landscape. Data was collected using 23 interviews. Statements that follow from these interviews are supplemented with secondary research obtained through articles, journals, reports and websites. Literature review shows that the European market for private placement is strongly dominated by debt. The neighbouring countries of Belgium, France and Germany, seem to dominate the European market for private placements of debt. When debt private placements are positioned against, for example ordinary loans, it is concluded that these products are generally riskier, require a higher interest rate, are more flexible and encompass more information asymmetry. It was decided that the scope of the business case would focus solely on equity private placement for the following reasons; (1) This research points to a higher demand for equity than for debt private placements in the Belgian market and (2) KBCS is triggered by the “little crowd concept” and has a genuine interest in this equity product. Note that this focus does not necessarily mean that there are no opportunities to offer services in terms of debt private placements or combinations of both. The most important stakeholders involved in a private placement are an issuer and an investor. According to our analysis, issuers are SMEs with stable cash flows and a well-grounded future plan. Targeted investors can be both wealthy individuals and family offices. They seem to be looking for well-diversified portfolios and a high return in exchange for a higher risk. In addition, they adopt a “buy-and-hold” strategy for private placements. These potential clients find private placements appealing because, for example, they offer them flexibility and confidentiality. Interviews have indicated that a due diligence from the perspective of the investor and a screening of the emitter performed by the arranger are the services that are at least expected when an intermediary is brought in to facilitate the process. In addition, the respondents indicated that networks instead of platforms should be used to bring contracting parties together because clients greatly appreciate the personal contact that they have with the arranger. The Belgian equity private placement market is characterized by a high demand from the investor’s side, low competition and therefore a high risk of market access and a difficult to estimate supply from the emitter’s side. In terms of competition, there are only two direct competitors who offer equity private placements in the Belgian market, being SDM-Valorum, which focuses on small deals with a maximum deal size of €10 million and Degroof Petercam, which focuses on larger deals ranging from €36 to €100 million. These large equity private placement deals are only issued by listed emitters. In addition, there are two types of indirect competitors that pose a threat to the relevance of an arranger, being private equity firms and family offices. On the one hand, this study indicates that the demand from Belgian unlisted emitters for equity private placements is concentrated at the lower end of the deal sizes, since historical private placement transactions in Belgium had an average and median transaction value of €23,40 million and €4,75 million respectively. In addition, only two outliers out of 19 transactions reached a transaction value of more than €10 million. As a result, this project is aimed at a deal size between €500 thousand and €10 million. Building on this latter range of deal sizes, KBCS requested to focus on two potential revenue models, namely (1) the matchmaking model and (2) the full-fledged model. Model 1 leads to less income as a result of a smaller number of services offered, since KBCS is only obliged to bring the contracting parties together and to perform a screening, including a due diligence for both contracting parties. It was therefore decided that the income from the matchmaking model would only be based on a success fee, usually 2% to 3% of the deal size. In this case the break-even point is reached at two to three deals a year if the deal size is at least €5 million. Under model 2, the service offering from KBCS is much more extensive. As a result, it requires a fixed fee in addition to a higher success fee. According to this model, the revenue is based on the sum of a fixed fee ranging from €10 thousand to €25 thousand and a success fee of 3% to 4,5% of the deal size. The exact number of deals needed to reach a break-even point differs greatly in terms of the number of deals, the fixed fee, the success fee and the deal size. Building on this latter range of deal sizes, KBCS requested to focus on two potential revenue models, namely (1) the matchmaking model and (2) the full-fledged model. Model 1 leads to less income as a result of a smaller number of services offered, since KBCS is only obliged to bring the contracting parties together and to perform a screening, including a due diligence for both contracting parties. It was therefore decided that the income from the matchmaking model would only be based on a success fee, usually 2% to 3% of the deal size. In this case the break-even point is reached at two to three deals a year if the deal size is at least €5 million. Under model 2, the service offering from KBCS is much more extensive. As a result, it requires a fixed fee in addition to a higher success fee. According to this model, the revenue is based on the sum of a fixed fee ranging from €10 thousand to €25 thousand and a success fee of 3% to 4,5% of the deal size. The exact number of deals needed to reach a break-even point differs greatly in terms of the number of deals, the fixed fee, the success fee and the deal size. If KBCS decides to accept the range of services that apply to equity private placement deals that can reach a maximum deal size of €10 million, a competitive advantage can be gained. This by elaborating on its focus on medium-sized companies, its current service and client base, its reputation and its existing network. The way in which KBCS commercializes the service will be thoroughly screened by the banking committee. In addition, KBCS must be aware that offering personalized communication and assistance throughout the deal process leads to customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. The latter enables them to increase market share, because loyal customers will act as a brand advocate. The KBCS website will serve as an important tool to arouse interest by highlighting success stories and a detailed plan that explains what clients can expect until deal signing. It is concluded that the private market is booming and that there is a common belief that it is a good time to implement equity private placement services. However, it is also concluded that the answer from our research to the question of KBCS is unfortunately negative. This, because the demand from Belgian emitters for equity private placements is hooked up at the bottom of the deal sizes and large deals are issued by public companies and assisted by Degroof Petercam. If KBCS continues to insist on large deal sizes, the company must admit that emitters are listed. On the basis of interviews, however, it is assumed that there is little interest from Belgian private companies to issue large equity transactions as they simply do not feel the need to grow quickly and thereby raise big amounts of capital. Private companies can be served by KBCS only if the latter is willing to offer equity private placement services for smaller transaction values. For these deals, it is recommended to use the full-fledged revenue model, as research has shown that issuers within this range need a larger number of services. It is also recommended to (1) check whether there is a need to recruit additional staff, (2) to measure success in terms of the number of deals that must be done in order to breakeven, but (3) at the same time keeping the importance of clients’ expectations and the overall strategy in mind, (4) to raise awareness of the equity private placement services and (5) to prepare themselves by picturing the profile of each investor to become a pool of potentially interested investors that can be contacted in no time if KBCS is approached by a company to support an equity private placement deal.
    • Analysing the digital behaviour and communication method perception of groups (personas) of Belgian general practitioners

      Dölling, Lisa; Zachariadis, Ilias (2018)
      The aim of the In-Company Project at MSD Belgium is to investigate what (open source) data is available in the market place about MSD Belgium’s three personas of general practitioners (GPs) with a relatively high degree of digital affinity in order to improve MSD’s digital communication with these important customer groups via various digital channels. MSD Belgium recently conducted a market study together with the consultant firm IQVIA which resulted in the categorisation of Belgian general practitioners in seven personas. Whilst these personas give an insight in different behaviours of the company’s targets, MSD Belgium is dissatisfied with the quality and the outdatedness of the digital parameters (Kruijff, 2018a). MSD Belgium would like to gain a deeper understanding of the digital affinity and the online behaviour of its personas, particularly the personas which were identified to have a high digital affinity, namely persona 0 (Dutch Speaking Digital Growers), 5 (Multi Channel Sita Lovers), and 6 (Young Online Females) (MSD Belgium, 2018d). In order to answer the above outlined management question, we used a number of different methodologies. On the one hand, we conducted desk research by consulting literature and analysing secondary data. On the other hand, we conducted primary research, inasmuch as we conducted an email survey as well as interviews with healthcare professionals, employees of MSD Belgium, and external consultants. The digital affinity of GPs is of high importance for MSD Belgium’s digital marketing due to the company’s client segmentation. MSD Belgium currently has potential customers which are in target (‘blended target’) or out of target (‘digital target’). Only blended targets are subject to visits from medical representatives, as the prescription volumes of digital targets are too low to warrant visits from representatives in a cost-efficient way (MSD Belgium, 2018d; Meijer and Meir, 2018). However, 78.7% of all Belgian GPs constitute digital targets. Whilst their prescription volumes are predominantly low, and MSD already captures a considerable market share, there is room for expansion. If MSD Belgium successfully launches well targeted digital marketing campaigns ultimately convincing GPs to switch to the MSD’s diabetes products Januvia or Janumet, the company can generate a significant amount of extra revenue. Beyond that, sales to digital targets are subject to a higher profit margin than to in target customers due to the lack of medical representatives involved. The market research conducted by IQVIA gives first insights about the digital behaviour of GPs in terms of channel preference, clicking behaviour and MSD meeting attendance, as well as online presence. However, data on the channel preferences was subject to large extrapolation, with insufficient back-testing, which impairs the credibility of the results. Also, data on online presence can be considered inferior, as IQVIA’s methodology was flawed due to a lack of identity verification. Research on social media, namely LinkedIn and Facebook, has shown that the online activity of the digitally affine GPs is limited, providing slim grounds for profiling. However, we managed to identify trends providing psychographic insights on the personas. Persona 0 has strong commercial characteristic. Persona 6 is a truly humanistic group. Last but not least, persona 5 appears to be a cross-over of persona 0 and 6 demonstrating commercial, scientific, and humanistic traits. Whilst the personas’ activity on social media was limited, the analysis of their open and click behaviour for the diabetes campaigns demonstrated a higher digital receptiveness compared to the other personas. Through our primary research, we could verify the popularity of communication channels amongst GPs, which only differ insignificantly between the personas. We identified face-to-face meetings with medical representatives, scientific meetings/reunions, and e-learnings to be the most popular channels. On the other hand, physicians strongly dislike call centres, social media communication, live tele-conferences with medical representatives, virtual representatives, and apps. This demonstrates that even the most digitally affine physicians have a strong tendency towards offline communication. In terms of content, all personas showed scientific interests, with a high emphasis on scientific studies and updates on treatments. Also, commercial attitudes are present as tips on management of a practice as well as information sources enjoy general popularity. The content preferences are mostly in line with the psychographic profile identified through social media. MSD Belgium is able to implement persona-specific actions based on the psychographic profile of the personas created throughout our analysis. Beyond that, our primary research enabled us to recommend more general actions to MSD Belgium related to the communication channels, content used in its digital channels, as well as the accessibility, structure, and content of MSD Now. Processing of personal information in order to build a profile of an individual’s personality and behaviour is affected by the EU General Data Protection Regulation. MSD Belgium’s data processing needs for the personalisation of marketing campaigns can be based on either consent or legitimate interest. As current profiling activities at MSD Belgium do not lead to automated decisions which have a legal effect on the data subjects, consent is not a premise for the intended profiling exercises. In conclusion, it is possible to build a profile of the personas based on (open source) data available in the market place to aid the development of person-specific communication strategies. We identified channel preferences, preferred information sources and content, thoughts on MSD’s online platform MSD Now, and the receptiveness to MSD Belgium’s diabetes email campaigns per persona. However, due to the limited activity on online networks, further primary research and other profiling efforts are required to build a reliable picture of the personas
    • Analysis of industry 4.0 and its impact in business operations

      Adebimpe, Adenike; Arangasubramanian, Divyalakshme (2018)
      Customers have rapidly changing behaviours and expectations and hence a company needs to rapidly adapt to the changing market needs. As a leading telecommunications infrastructure provider, CommScope engages in top-notch strategic measures in staying up to date with the evolving market needs. The evolution of the telecommunications industry is now growing towards the connectivity of IoT devices. Like in most industries, there is a value chain associated with IoT when it comes to the telecommunication services. This research project not only looks into IoT but delves into the business operations of CommScope, exploring various Industry 4.0 technologies whilst aligning them with KPIs to determine the potential impact in the business operations of CommScope. CommScope is a multi-national telecommunications infrastructure provider headquartered in North Carolina, United States. It is located in over 130 countries with over 20,000 employees worldwide in NAR, EMEA, APAC and CALA geographical regions. Since the fourth industrial revolution is the move towards digitisation. The question is - What impact will this industrial revolution have on CommScope? Industry 4.0 can be described at the fourth industry revolution, the current mega trend impacting and shaping companies around the world today. It envisions the automation and connection between people, machines and products within and across an enterprise. This revolution promises to reshape the face of manufacturing by merging the traditional manufacturing techniques with industrial technology to aid data analysis across machines for faster, flexible and more efficient processes which will ultimately lead to the production of high quality products and/or services at reduced costs. CommScope can be categorised as a product company which manufactures a diverse range of product such copper cables, fibre optic cables, connector panels, racking and metal. For a tangible implementation of Industry 4.0, a tailored approach into a particular business division and a focused into one product line was considered for optimum results. Following successful implementation as well as if desired objectives are met in this product line, it may then be replicated in other areas of the business. Industry 4.0 will enable automatic data collection that can be used by CommScope to further aid advancements in big data and powerful analytics which means that systems can sift through the huge sets of gathered data and produce insights that can be acted upon quickly. This will provide effective communications and right channelling of analysed and backed up data securely through systems to the relevant people, processes or machines. This Industry 4.0 network between people, processes and machines involves four main characteristics : vertical networking, horizontal integration, through-engineering across the entire value chain; as well as acceleration through exponential technologies. We conducted a strategic research conducted beginning with exploring the various Industry 4.0 technologies such as Big Data Analytics, Automation, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Shared Economies, eCommerce, 3D Printing, Robotics, Nano Technology, Fintech and aligning them with KPIs in order to determine their relevance and application. Following this, the technologies were clustered into the following segments for a more focused and interrelated use in 1) eCommerce, 2) Manufacturing, 3) Product development and customisation; as well as 4) Supply Chain and Logistics. Currently, CommScope has challenges in its business operations in terms of speed of deployment, production performance, supply chain performance which ultimately impacts customer experience, brand perception and costs. In order to tackle these challenges and ensure CommScope's future value creation, we performed an Industry 4.0 readiness assessment to determine CommScope's current readiness, its ambition and measure the gap between CommScope and other industry players through a benchmark. This assessment entailed interviews with internal stakeholders within CommScope in the EMEA and NAR region. Interpreting the result of CommScope's readiness assessment of Industry 4.0, CommScope is at an experienced level 3 in the legal considerations dimension with the rest of the other five dimensions namely products and services, manufacturing and operations, strategy and organisation and business model at an intermediate level 2. This was also similar to the overall results of the 53 benchmarked companies scoring an intermediate level 2 in all dimensions. Following these results, we shortlisted manufacturing operations and supply chain as the most challenging areas of CommScope's business operations. With this focus, we further identified gap areas in the manufacturing operations and supply chain divisions and recommended key capabilities that CommScope should develop to fill these gaps. In conclusion, we have outlined CommScope's vision and designed a roadmap to the stipulated goal of the "Amazon one-click experience" as a guideline with potential action steps which upon successful implementation can be replicated across all relevant product lines and/or business divisions. For this vision, there are key capabilities that also been identified to be developed to transform CommScope's business operations by moving towards digitisation. This Industry 4.0 journey calls for deliberate commitment in terms of investments of time and resources which will ultimately broaden CommScope's reach and capabilities and open up new potential market opportunities.
    • Analysis of transformation from products to solutions

      Pingali, Harish; Nidyamale Prakash, Madan (2018)
      This report provides an analysis and evaluation of Zebra Technologies transition from product-based company to provide solutions & services. The method of analysis includes qualitative interviewing with semi-structured approach with internal sales teams and channel partners, as well analysing similar transitions in the industry to identify best practices, potential pitfalls to avoid and provide recommendations in making the transition successful. All the results from interview have been presented in the report. The said interviewees include 18 internal sales employees cutting across regions and levels in the organisation and 4 strategic channel partners. The report not only finds the prospects of the desired transition for the company but also finds major areas of weakness that require attention to fuel the company's transformation and suggest some remedial actions to overcome those. The key recommendations discussed in the report include: Building clear go-to market frameworks - Organisational change to deliver clear ownership on solution sales - Communicating Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI) strategy across the organisation - Directing marketing towards solutions - Identifying and working with solution-oriented channel partners - Reviewing incentives to be in line with solutions target - Improving solutions provider brand image. All these key recommendations along with some additional steps have been discussed in detail in the recommendation section. The report also investigates the fact that the analysis conducted has limitations, which include the following, The analysis did not value the financial impact on the organisation and future forecasts of achievable revenue streams after achieving the mentioned transformation.
    • Analyzing and structuring of business opportunities at a Belgian Fintech to gain a competitive edge, with a focus on a mobility solution.

      Duyck, Maarten; Meunier, Sebastien (2021)
      In this research paper we will be analyzing new business opportunities for Monizze, a privately owned company currently offering a platform for companies to supply their employees with extra-legal benefits. The company wants to expand their current product offering and has defined 10 business ideas in the mobility sector that needs further research and analysis to add to their portfolio. The research objective for this paper is to define and select different criteria that can be used by Monizze to go from a broad portfolio of innovative ideas to a focused and clear selection of implementable business solutions. Using different frameworks and applying different research methods we will be coming up with our own methodology to deep dive further into these solutions. We will base our initial approach on the Design Thinking methodology using both primary and secondary research to gain an understanding of the different external and internal factors surrounding the different business ideas. The business ideas will be tested and screened using a scoring matrix that will allow Monizze to gain a holistic overview of the different solutions. The matrix is based around the three lenses of innovation which consist of the desirability from the customer point of view; the feasibility of building and implementing this solution; and lastly the viability of the long term fit with the Monizze business model. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, we will analyze the 10 different solutions by narrowing down the most desirable, viable, and feasible ways to successfully implement the given business opportunities. Each idea is individually analyzed through the matrix to come up with a comparative scoring system. To gain a more accurate and holistic view of each of the different ideas, we applied two ways of screening the final score given by our matrix to accurately narrow down the final selection. In our conclusion we will explore our findings of the matrix and screenings; as well as present the selection of the winning ideas together with the supporting internal and external factors related to each. We will utilize the interviews which we conducted with the clients and management of Monizze to support our findings and find common factors between the scoring analysis and the results. Based on the analysis of the competitive advantages of Monizze and the final results we will make some concrete recommendations for Monizze to further their business opportunities and grow their product offering successfully.
    • Analyzing future-oriented mobility solutions and developing business cases

      El Youssoufi, Hicham; Cnops, Robin (2018)
      The aim of this paper is to analyse two out of the box business cases in a travel and mobility context for three of the KBC group entities; that are KBC-VAB, KBC Autolease and KBC Insurance. Around each one of those cases, a business model has been built, to allow KBC stakeholders to assess the feasibility of the solutions suggested, have test runs, and ultimately put the ideas into the market after having shown a true value. After a brief introduction, a description of the methodology that has been used to conduct this study will be provided. The first part of this report will be dedicated to the first business case; that is the “Connected Bikes”. This part will start with a description of the case that will provide a context to the analysis of the solution, followed by a detailed description of the features that the solution would be equipped with. Then, a target market analysis will be discussed, describing the target market segment profile and need, as well as analysing the value to the customer and coming up with a list of the most asked for features based on the results of the survey that had been conducted (Appendix I). Afterwards, the business opportunity and the value for KBC entities, in addition to the suggested revenue model will be defined, and the later will supported by a simplified financial analysis (Appendix II). The last section of this first part will be focused on the main competitors sorted by the features that they are offering, describing their products and analysing the services they are offering. The second part of this report will tackle the “Olympus Additions” case. As in the first case, this part will start with a description of the case to provide a context to the analysis of the solution, followed by a detailed analysis of the target market, customer profile, need and value. The t hird section of this part will be describing the business opportunity that exists out there in the market. Furthermore, a description of the existing features that Olympus is currently offering is provided. This second part of the report will end up by a definition of the main existing competitors in the same market (B2B) as well as in potential future markets (B2C), supported by an analysis of the services they offer. Finally, a conclusion will smoothly sum up the content of this report.
    • Analyzing the potential to start offering additional warehouse services for a logistics real estate player

      Certyn, Daphne; Van Raefelghem, Eva (2021)
      In the past, a warehouse was considered nothing more than a grey box. Nowadays, companies start focusing more on an attractive designed warehouse, as this could lead to important benefits in the war for talent and in creating a strong brand identity. In this report, the opportunities for WDP to start offering additional services besides its core business are investigated. To define a recommendation, four parts are researched. First, an analysis is executed to determine whether the additional services market shows potential. Based on desk research about the competition and trends in this market and by conducting client interviews, the conclusion is made that this market shows great potential in the future years. Second, the potential position of WDP in the additional services market is defined. To do so, two factors are taken into account: insights from comparable players about their way of working and the needs of the clients in terms of additional services. Based on this research, it can be concluded that clients are interested in a long list of additional services and that they consider WDP as a potential external partner to execute these services, if its price/quality level is conform the market. Third, to determine whether it is interesting for WDP to enter this promising market, it is defined how much value can be created. Value can be created in a direct way via additional revenues and in an indirect way via client satisfaction and the avoidance of vacancy costs if a client decides to sign a (new) contract because of these warehouse upgrading services. Based on this direct and indirect value creation, break-even analyses are executed to determine whether it is possible for WDP to cover the direct costs of marketing and a FTE who coordinates the offering with the value gained by these services. Based on these analyses, the conclusion can be made that it is possible for WDP to create value, when the direct and indirect value creation are combined. To cover the direct costs only with additional revenues, some difficulties might arise if there are not enough clients willing to choose for a big project. However, when the reduction of the opportunity costs by avoiding vacancy is also taken into account, it seems possible for WDP to cover all direct costs. Fourth, the implementation in the current way of working within WDP is researched. The conclusion on the implementation is that change management will be required. Every Business Development, Project, Portfolio and Property Manager will need to adapt its mindset of only focusing on the number of square meters. With the offering of additional services, they also will need to give attention to sales and proactively convincing the client of the added value of these services. Only when internally everyone believes in the offering, an external launch can be organized. Based on these four parts that are investigated in this report, the research question “Is it interesting for WDP to start offering additional warehouse services besides its core business?” can be answered. Based on all observations, the recommendation is to continue with this idea. There are opportunities in the market, WDP will be able to create value and in addition, the offering also highlights its client centric strategy and its ESG roadmap goals.
    • Applying growth hacking techniques on an enterprise software data startup

      Latif, Hashim; Zaborowski, Julie (2019)
      This project focuses on how to implement growth hacking techniques to an enterprise software data start-up in order to determine which channels will be the most effective for their marketing strategy. We first define the problem faced by Soda Data: that they do not know which channels they should pursue for their marketing efforts and how should their marketing strategy be further developed going forward. We then further explain relevant literature regarding digital marketing, specifically in the B2B context. From the examination of literature, we found that social media marketing in the B2B context mostly focuses on using the medium for creating more one-to-one customer relationships in order to acquire more customers in the sales process. We further delved into the world of growth hacking: a marketing strategy used by start-ups for quick growth that is largely undeveloped in the academic literature. In order to solve the problems faced by Soda Data, we also developed a methodology based on growth hacking techniques which combine different types of methodologies, but in our case both design thinking and scrum for designing our experiments and running multiple iterations for testing each channel for effectiveness. We specifically used media richness theory and organizational media control theory in order to study which channels would be selected and to see if this theory can explain the results. For certain experiments, we also used A/B testing in order to see whether a certain message or design worked better with a target group. We divided our project into three stages: pre-conference, conference and post-conference stages. During the pre-conference stage, we tested channels related to two of the consumer personas of Soda Data: the data steward and the data engineer. We created a landing page and tried to get visitors to this page. We tested three different types of messaging and two different layouts of landing pages. During the conference phase, we gave support to the CEO of Soda Data while he attended a conference which had a mixed public of data practitioners. This also provided a channel to generate leads for the business. We developed a series of advertisements, connected with fellow attendees on LinkedIn, created a community on Slack and monitored social media activity live. In the post-conference stage, we tested an additional email campaign as a follow-up to the contacts gathered at the conference. We also started to develop a long-term marketing strategy using SEO and keywords on Google. From our experiments, we found that LinkedIn and emailing resulted in the highest response rate of 44% and 30.2% respectively. This reflects the current literature on social media B2B marketing which shows that B2B businesses largely focus on professional social media channels, and our results show that these channels are also more effective than the mass communication channels. Our results also indicate that organizationally controlled channels were the most effective. This could be because of the increased personal and one-to-one nature of B2B businesses, they need to more tightly control what the message is and to whom it is delivered. Based on these results, we also propose a growth hacking marketing funnel strategy. Our strategy focuses on the successful channels and driving potential leads into customers. This will serve as a marketing strategy guide for Soda Data going forward.
    • Artox.eu: How can a start-up disrupt the market of affordable art?

      Dreyer, Charles August; Smet, Dries (2018)
      This report has been the result of our research for the past two months, focusing on the viability of creating a venture, named Artox.eu that offers an online art gallery for affordable art, where we connect upcoming artists with potential buyers. The main purpose of our research study was to determine our customer base, evaluating the proposition of individuals who would be willing to buy art online and determining our competition and unique selling proposition. The method used for this analysis was to conduct interviews and surveys. We determined our go to market strategy and evaluated different marketing channels. We created analogue and digital campaigns to promote our venture. We were able to capture relevant data from our campaigns that will allow us, to efficiently promote our venture in the future. Results of data analysed show that our potential customers are willing to spend on average an amount of 834€ on art, that our sales process should be painless and offer a certain degree of personalized content to the customer. The results from our digital campaigns where detrimental to figure out who and where our customers were and what where the key demographics to target. We were able to determine through our online campaign that our target customer segment should be individuals, aged between 24-35 years old, with a higher engagement coming from women and customers living in the major cities of Belgium. From our research we were able to conclude and synthesize our final value proposition, Artox.eu will focus its artists portfolios based on three key criteria: - Our portfolio will have a majority of art pieces priced at a maximum of 1000€. - We will offer bellow market fees for every art piece the artist sells (20% commission). - Easy returns and personalized art selection for the customers. The report also examines the fact that the market analysis conducted has limitations. Some of the limitations include: - The ability to track and analyse our analogue campaign, we encountered more difficulties to quantify and evaluate the results of those campaigns. - The barrier of buying art online remains a halt on the growth and the ability to scale our business, customers need to be converted and educated in the habit of buying art online. To conclude, our financial analysis allowed us to determine the feasibility of this initiative, which would prove to be beneficial for all parties, while promoting art and culture on the Belgian market.
    • Assessing how an incumbent private equity player can continue to play a leading role in the belgian private equity market and how it can become relevant in the Dutch private equity market

      Claeys, Arthur; Derdelinckx, Simon; Lijnen, Giel (2019)
      As part of the master’s in Financial Management at Vlerick Business School, a research project was conducted on behalf of Sofindev, a Belgian incumbent PE company. The research is part of the expansion of Sofindev's investment focus. Currently, Sofindev only invests in companies located in Belgium. In the future, it wants to make investments in the Netherlands as well. To make the entry into the Netherlands successful, the goal of this study was twofold. Firstly, the aim of the research was to find out and analyse Sofindev's positioning and market perception. Gaining insights into its current positioning on the Belgian market should allow Sofindev’s management to improve its weaknesses and to take better advantage of its strengths. Secondly, this research aimed to study the Dutch PE market in preparation for a possible entry of Sofindev into this market. The study on Sofindev's positioning and market perception on the Belgian market was conducted with the help of a survey and several interviews with people active on the Belgian M&A market. The results of this study show that Sofindev is seen as a very experienced PE company with a strong track record and a good reputation. The company's greatest asset is its management. More than 75% of the participants in this study indicated that management is very professional and acts as a close partner for entrepreneurs. In the survey, management experience received the highest score (8.24 out of 10). Moreover, the interviewees indicated that their collaboration with Sofindev was a great experience because the management is always well prepared and clearly responds to the needs of the entrepreneurs. According to them, Sofindev is successful in building relationships with its entrepreneurs and this is considered a strong advantage because the respondents indicate that entrepreneurs – in addition to price – attach great importance to the connection they have with the management. Besides the strengths of its management, it appears that Sofindev’s investors are a great added value to the fund as well. The Colruyt family and the listed investment company Sofina add value through their good reputation and their extensive network. In addition to Sofindev’s main added value contributors, this research investigated whether the investment characteristics of the company are clearly known by the market participants. The research shows that the respondents consider Sofindev to be a PE company that is mainly active in the buyout segment and wants to take majority stakes with a planned exit at least five years after its investment. These results are consistent with how Sofindev wishes to position itself. Nevertheless, the perception of the respondents about the equity ticket that the company applies does not correspond to reality. In reality, Sofindev invests between €5 mio and € 25 mio in equity per deal. The results show that the respondents mainly thought that Sofindev is investing in the lower equity segment, namely between €5 mio and € 15 mio. A possible explanation for this can be the fact that some of the respondents believe that Sofindev is rather In-Company Project conservative in terms of pricing. Therefore, financial advisors can think that they are less suitable for a deal if a larger equity ticket is required. Another possible explanation may be linked to Sofindev’s current marketing initiatives. The respondents mentioned that Sofindev takes a too modest attitude. The company has a very good track record, but does not leverage this to remind corporate finance advisors and other market players of their capabilities. Moreover, Sofindev could approach the advisors more proactively as this is a distinguishing factor of some of its competitors. With its new fund in prospect, it is important that Sofindev sends out a clearer signal to the market that it is also active in the larger equity segment, in order to prevent that they will not be informed about some potential deals. Finally, the research of the Belgian PE market also focused on Sofindev's main competitors. The results of both the interviews and the survey show that Sofindev’s main competitors in the Belgian market are Down2Earth Capital, Gimv, Bencis and Gilde equity management. They are considered as their main competitors with regard to their broad local market knowledge, their strong track record, and their buy and build capacity. Gimv and Bencis are considered to be two really important competitors, however, they have an additional differentiator. They both are considered more international than Sofindev. If Sofindev wants to keep its current competitive position, international exposure is needed. Nevertheless, the penetration of the Dutch market can already cope with this. In addition, most of the respondents indicate that the move to the Netherlands is a good idea. They expect extra opportunities and do see benefits for Sofindev and its Belgian participations, because there is already a lot of business going on between the two countries. However, everyone agrees that it will not be an easy task. The second part of this study is dedicated to the analysis of the Dutch PE market. Since Sofindev has the ambition to enter the Dutch market, the characteristics of the Dutch PE market were analysed and compared to the Belgian market. This was mainly done through desk research. The results of the desk research were subsequently cross-checked by conducting personal interviews with advisors within the Dutch M&A sector. Moreover, these interviews aimed to discover how Sofindev can successfully become active on the Dutch market. Research of the characteristics of the Dutch market shows that the PE market has experienced strong growth during the past year. Over the period 2012-2018, Dutch PE investments increased more than five times and grew by a CAGR of 28.88%. This growth was mainly driven by a strong increase in buyout investments. Most deals were realized in the equity ticket segment €1 mio - €25 mio, with an increase observed in recent years in the €5 mio - € 10 mio and €10 mio - €25 mio segments. This can be a favourable observable trend for Sofindev since its equity tickets are in the same range. On the other hand, the competition in this segment is fierce. According to the interviewees, most of the Dutch PE companies are active in the mid-market segment. In this segment, Sofindev not only has to deal with local PE parties, but also with Belgian and other international players. According to the interviewees, its main competitors on the Dutch market In-Company Project are again Bencis and Gimv, but also Capital A, Egeria, Gilde Equity Management, Mentha Capital, De Hoge Dennen, Nordian, NPM, Vendis, Smile Invest and Waterland. These parties are strongly represented on the Dutch market and – like Sofindev – sector agnostic. Therefore, they can pose an important threat. Another characteristic of the Dutch PE market is the clear preference of PE parties to take a majority stake. According to the interviewees, minority interests are not often taken. This can be an opportunity for Sofindev if they choose to take significant minority stakes as well instead of only taking majority stakes. However, the advisors warned about a potential impact loss on business decisions and control if a minority interest is taken because the Dutch entrepreneur will be less willing to meet all the requirements – such as granting a board position or approval ask for CAPEX above a certain amount – of the PE party. Finally, the Dutch PE market is strongly characterized as a market in which deals mainly go through M&A advisors and auctions. Although Sofindev has a good reputation in Belgium regarding proprietary deal sourcing, this is less done in the Netherlands. The main explanation for this is the professionalism of the Dutch market which is – according to the interviewees – the most important difference with the Belgian market. In Belgium, it is not unusual that proprietary deal sourcing is still present as the market is less professional than the Dutch market. Given the characteristics of the Dutch PE market and the differences that exist with the Belgian market, it is crucial that Sofindev enters the Netherlands well prepared. The interviewees recommend Sofindev to realize more than a single deal in the Netherlands. If only one deal is closed, Sofindev will remain an unknown player on the Dutch market as this deal will only be linked to opportunistic behaviour and not necessarily to sustainable value creation. Moreover, Sofindev must carefully select its first deal because it will determine their future success in the Netherlands. The advisors recommend Sofindev to realise its first deal in a sector in which it has some experience and already achieved success in the past. In addition, Sofindev can leverage its Belgian track record in the Netherlands to prove their capability. Dutch entrepreneurs will certainly appreciate this. Furthermore, it is not necessary that Sofindev must significantly change its investment characteristics. It can continue to apply the same EBITDA margins criteria as they apply in Belgium and retain their generalist approach, if they clearly communicate their value proposition. In addition to the importance of their first deal and the persistence of its activity in the Netherlands, it is recommended that Sofindev will approach the Dutch market with the help of a Dutch partner and local presence by means of a flex desk or a permanent office. A Dutch partner will provide Sofindev with local market knowledge and with a Dutch network. Moreover, with its physical location and the recruitment of a Dutch partner, Sofindev will send a clear signal of longterm commitment to Dutch entrepreneurs and advisors. In short, opportunities do exist on the Dutch PE market but Sofindev needs a clear vision and structured market approach with local presence and representatives to outperform the competition and guarantee long-term success.
    • Assessing the value, challenges and collaboration networks of hospital Real World Data for pharmaceutical companies

      Mennes, Nine; Couckuyt, Vincent (2020)
      The first aim of the current research is to assess the value, hurdles and collaboration models of Real-World Data (RWD)/Real-World Evidence (RWE) for pharmaceutical companies. Shortly said, RWD/RWE provide data and evidence on patients collected in a real-world setting rather than under controlled research circumstances. RWD/RWE were unexplored for a long time but have increasingly been finding their way into many use cases for pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare sector at large (see further, cf. Sections 2.2, 4.1, 5.1). RWD/RWE is something new, and therefore its value for pharmaceutical companies (especially in Belgium), is to date largely unexplored and many research gaps exist (i.e. what collaboration models do pharma companies want?). The second aim of the paper is to develop a blueprint for a collaboration model between pharmaceutical companies and hospitals for the exchange of RWD/RWE. The third aim is to assess LynxCare’s strategic value for the pharmaceutical industry. LynxCare is a startup that provides data mining solutions for hospital RWD/RWE.