CASE Case Scenario 1: Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI) Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI)

Question : CASE Case Scenario 1: Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI) Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI) : 1413279




Case Scenario 1: Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI)

Blast Furnace, Inc., (BFI) provides customized development of automated rich-media applications, and scalable solutions that allow media and entertainment companies, as well as enterprises and government organizations, to deploy, manage and distribute video content on IP-based networks. The company was founded in 1997 and went public in 2004; its stock trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker BLST. While providing solutions to a variety of firms and industries in North America, BFI has experienced its fastest growth with the security products that it designs and sells to the U.S. government and U.S. government agencies. This growth is based on its propriety VUE software, which is a complete identification solution for capturing, analyzing, and managing multi-biometric information. Proprietary analysis algorithms aggregate and cross-compare multiple biometrics to increase accuracy and lessen dependence on single identification techniques. Additionally, specialized encoding techniques reduce file size and increase analysis and response times. VUE supports a wide range of applications ranging from ID issuance and verification to gated entry screening for border patrol, airports, government buildings, and corporations. Essentially, VUE is able to sift through massive amounts of digitized multimedia files to create a unified ID dossier of an individual and then identify those individuals rapidly anywhere in the data. Such a capability is of great interest to security organizations, particularly since the World Trade Center bombing, because it allows the user to identify suspects within minutes on a real-time basis anywhere digitized media is being created (like that created by the hidden and visible surveillance cameras in airline terminals, banks, ATMs, and other public locations). Once a suspect is entered into the system, the software is capable of scanning all data sources automatically and without stop. For two years, BFI has had this market to itself but now two new entrants, a Belgian start-up and the subsidiary of a Finnish telecom firm, are staking out positions in large non-U.S. markets like Europe and Asia. BFI’s management fears that if it limits its efforts to North America, then these aggressive competitors may eventually develop strongholds in other markets from which they can launch successful attacks on BFI’s home turf.

1.(Refer to Case Scenario 1) Should BFI expand its operations outside of North America?

2.(Refer to Case Scenario 1) Assume that BFI has chosen international expansion. How quickly should it move? Which activities would you recommend BFI to internationalize first?

3.(Refer to Case Scenario 1) How would you evaluate which country or countries BFI should enter first?

4.(Refer to Case Scenario 1) If BFI engages in international diversification, it can expect that its returns decrease initially but then increase quickly as it learns how to manage under conditions of greater geographic diversity.



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