INFORMATION MAMANGEMEN AT MM MUSIC
Table of contents
Part A: Analysis – Business Process Models and strategy analysis 3
Business process models 3
Strategic Analysis 5
Part B: Open Source Software Comparison Table 7
Part C: Report 8
Current situation 8
Part D: Reflection 12
Conclusions and Recommendations 13
Information Management at MM Music
MM Music is a band that intends to convert into a music agency. This transition comes with the formalization and expansion of MM Music’s business. Although the transformation looks daunting, it is viable if the new company adheres to the statutory requirements and leverages information and communication technologies. This case study analyses the business models, competitiveness and attractiveness of the new company. It also compares the different open-source information management systems that MM Music agency could use and how the new company would be set up successfully.
Part A: Analysis – Business Process Models and strategy analysis
Business process models
MM Music can adopt the artist-to-consumer or the subscription business models. Figure 1 displays the artist-to-consumer business process model, while figure 2 shows the subscription business model process.
The artist-to-consumer model has a direct linkage between the music creator and the consumer. However, the artist may lack the resources and capabilities to present his or her work to the consumer. Therefore, MM Music agency promotes the work of the musician without signing in to the agency. However, the contractual agreement is on revenue sharing, in which the agency withholds some agreed percentage of the collected sales and royalties.
Figure 1. Artist-to-consumer business process model
The subscription model illustrated in figure 2 demonstrates a closer relationship between MM Music and the music artist. The artist records music with the help of MM music, which is added to the music database of the agency. However, the fan has to subscribe with the agency to access the music in the firm’s catalogue.
subscription model demonstrates how the signed artist would relate with the consumer, with the agency acting as an intermediary.
Figure 2. Subscription business process model
In both models, the consumer requests for the desired music held in the database of the company. Also, the consumer pays to listen to or download the song audio or video. However, the models differ in the level of engagement between the music artist and MM Music agency. The subscription model present a closer relationship compared to the artist-to-consumer model. In addition, the artist-to-consumer model works for the disbursement of the music made by the MM Music band. As such, since the band and the agency are one entity, operationally, there are no intermediaries between the band and its fans. Both models are cognizant that MM Music agency would act on its own behalf and on the behalf of a signed musician or band, hence they can be used concurrently.
A SWOT analysis of MM Music is summarized in table 1. The analysis summarizes the strengths and weaknesses as the internal factors and the opportunities and threats as the external factors surrounding MM Music. This analysis reveals the competitiveness and attractiveness of MM Music as a music agency.
Table 1. SWOT analysis of MM Music
Internal factors Strengths
• Long-standing experience in music
• Have young family members interested in business
• Make decisions democratically
• Have created a brand in Northern Soul Weaknesses
• Lack of business skills and expertise
• Lack of technological awareness
• Huge capital requirements to upgrade the skill level of the two brothers
External factors Opportunities
• Increased market beyond north-west England
• Revenues through online digital avenues
• Touring the entire United Kingdom and beyond
• Offering agency services by signing in other singers and bands Threats
• Intense competition from existing band in the UK
• Obsolescence of Soul music
• Piracy of music
• Exit of band members
• Publishing of music only by musicians and bands signed by the agency
The strengths of MM Music reside in the longstanding experience of the two brothers, Mike and Morris, with the band, thus being closely associated with the brand of the brand. As such, the fans are already familiar with them being in the band. Moreover, the brothers are already familiar with the operations at the band because they handle most of the business aspects, such as bookings, payments and marketing. Besides, the band is already popular in north-west England, and therefore enjoys some public following. The two brothers have willing assistants in their daughter and niece, who are ready to be associated with the company and help manage it. As such, the company has willing family members that can be incubated for management, which would ensure continuity of management at minimal cost. In addition, the use of democracy to make decisions elicits collaboration and buy-in, thus reducing internal conflicts in decision-making since everyone would be in agreement. The democratic style uses the intellectual and experiential diversity in the company, hence improved the quality of decisions. However, MM Music is weakened by the lack of business skill and expertise in the two brothers, who are expected to be the managers. Such lack of business knowledge may influence the performance of the performance of the agency. Moreover, huge finances would be needed to train the brothers in business and management, which would be time consuming at the expense of the business. This would drain the scarce financial resources of the band, which should be directed toward developing the music agency to attain modern standards. Therefore, the management and growth of the agency is likely to be affected adversely by the incompetence of its managers. MM Music agency does not use the digital technologies used in the music industry to support its business processes. The band has been using antiquated business management processes that rely heavily on postal services and the telephone. This hinders business processes such as marketing, accounting and communication, hence making the running of the business to be inefficient.
MM music has numerous opportunities of business growth and development. For instance, by leveraging on its established brand in north-west England, the agency can expand its market to cover the United Kingdom and other European countries. Notably, the band has enormous business opportunities in expanding its tours to the larger UK and Europe markets. Further, the band could increase its revenues by availing its music online to increase its revenues. Similarly, singing other musicians and bands would increase its revenues from the royalties earned for their agency services. However, MM Music agency is threated by the fierce competition in the music industry, which is crowded by other musicians and music companies that have a longstanding online presence. The music genre of the band many have limited audience as music preferences change fast. Moreover, availing music online may expose the agency to piracy through unauthorized downloads and sharing. This vice would deny the agency the much needed revenues to cater for the signed musicians and bands. Besides, the signed artists may publish their music individually without going through the agency. These contraventions would not only breach the agency contracts leading to expensive litigations, but would also sour the relationship between the agency and its signings, causing musicians and bands to disengage with the agency.
Part B: Open Source Software Comparison Table
Various open source software that MM Music can use are available in the market. Open source software is often cheaper in the long term because they are often purchased once and the subsequent updates are available free online or at a highly discounted price. However some open source software is available as free downloads over the internet. Most software have broad functionalities and have to be customized to suite the given needs of an organization. As such, no one software is a total fit for all the processes of an organization.
The selection criteria uses in this case included the architecture and ownership (open-source or not), cost, type of information management, hosting of the software and the support for mobile devices. Table 2 compares four information management systems commonly used in the market.
Table 2. Comparison of popular integrated information system software
Criteria Software solutions
SuiteCRM Odoo Axelor ADempiere
Open source • Yes • Yes • Yes • Yes
Freeware • Yes
• Without agent-based customer support • Yes
• With monthly payments • No • No
ERP • No • No • Yes • Yes
CRM • Yes • Yes • Yes • Yes
Host • Owner system• • Owner system• • Owner system
• Cloud • Owner system•
Mobile apps • No • Android
• iOS • Android
• iOS • no
The decision-making approach can be either based on human intuition or on objective algorithms. The intuition approach is subjective and is often influenced on non-essential features such as the look-and-feel of the interface and other superficial attributes. Moreover, it has no standardize and justifiable approach of weighting the criteria. However, the objective approach weights each attribute in the criteria bases on its importance to the organization. As such, multi-criteria decision-making methods such as the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) are commonly used in selection processes (Chai, Liu and Ngai 2013, p. 3972). However, since Mike and Morris may be unfamiliar with the objective decision-making techniques, the services of a consultant are necessary.
Part C: Report
MM Music is currently operating as a band that has an ad hoc structure. The band’s performances are confined to North-West England where it has a huge following. It has a rudimentary business structure in which two brothers, Mike and Morris, act as part-time band members and band managers. Specifically, they play in the band when they are not teaching music technology, which is their day job, and manage the band’s business activities such as recording, events, marketing, communications and accounting. Mike and Morris perform these activities without the help of other band members, who focus strictly on playing music only. As such, Mike and Morris have assumed the managerial role in a unit without a business structure.
The managerial roles of Mike and Morris are not delineated. Therefore, it is not clear who performs what management role in the band. However, it can be assumed that the brother interchange their roles and activities freely. Besides, the two brothers perform all the management duties at the band without any internal or external help. In this regard, the band manages its own affairs without a separate and dedicated management team. This diffusion of roles is likely to lead to business function and process inefficiencies. However, these inefficiencies may be shadowed by the simplicity of the band’s activities, which are essentially recording music, attending events, and playing live music.
The business activities of the band include performing for payment, marketing over the media and through its website, event scheduling and contracting, receiving payments. While the entire band participates in revenue generation through their live performances and studio recording, Mike and Morris also address the administrative activities. The band markets itself by making public appearances in parties and live shows. It also markets itself by featuring in radio and television programs for interviews and performances. Besides, the band has a website for marketing purposes. People can learn more about the band, its members and activities, through its website. The administrative activities, such as scheduling, and payments, are simplified. The band’s shows are booked over the phone, which performance contracts and payment cheques are conveyed through the postal services.
The performance of the band is suboptimal because its members are not engaged in it full-time. It is likely that the band does not generate enough revenue to sustain its members without having to undertake other activities. The 12-shows-per-year frequency means that the band performs an average of one show per month. However, because it performs in a local context that is sub-national, it is likely that the band does not attract large crowds or generate much income from their shows. Another cause for suboptimal performance is the limited use of digital technologies. The band has not leveraged the internet to disseminate its music and create an additional revenue stream to augment that from the live shows. Besides, there is no evidence that the band uses other digital and online tools for marketing apart from its website. Moreover, there is no indication that technology is used to automate the band’s business processes. For this reason, the bands business activities remain manual and tedious in an environment of automation. The avoidance of technology erodes the competitive advantage of the band, making it unable to compete favorable in the national and international market.
MM Music will transform from a mere music band to a music agency. Essentially, the proposed change would transform the brand into a music label that no longer relies on just performances and music production but also on promoting musical talent as well. These changes will transform the organization and structure of the band fundamentally. Precisely, the band will transform from a small-sized single-function organization into a medium-sized multifunctional business enterprise.
A new company will have to be formed to accommodate the additional business activities of an agency. The business activities of the new MM Music agency will be more than those in the original band configuration. Now that the new company will become a full-time small business, its organizational structure, activities and processes will change to accommodate the management and promotion of musical talent. Notably, business functions will need to be defined more succinctly. For instance, the MM Music agency will need to have a management team with specific well-defined responsibilities. In this regard, Mike and Morris will have to take up full-time managerial roles that are well-defined and structured. Besides, the new company should consider engaging professionals in its management team to inject professionalism in the running it its expanded business, considering that Mike and Morris have limited managerial skills and competencies.
Also, the new company will need to create new departments to undertake the new functions. For instance, MM Music agency should have a band department and a talent management department to separate the band activities from those of identifying, developing, and promoting other musicians and bands. The talent management department will come with new activities such as talent identification and screening, talent development, music recording, promotional initiatives to popularize the signed talent and their music. Moreover, the accounting activities will be expanded due to increased revenue streams. Similarly, events management will expand to accommodate the additional musicians and bands. Therefore, this department will require a qualified talent manager who will work alongside Mike and Morris. Also, MM Music will need a dedicated accountant and legal advisor. Nonetheless, Mike and Morris should undergo managerial training to improve their management competencies. In the same vein, MM Music could have an internship program where young music managers are incubated. This approach would avail skilled labor cost-effectively, and accommodate the two young relatives before they can be assigned employment responsibilities.
To transform MM Music into a music agency, a new company will have to be registered under the U.K. laws. Business licenses and permits, and tax registration will need to be obtained to regularize the business. MM Music will also have to register with the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Phonographic Performance ltd (PPL), which protect music against piracy and collect royalties from public airplay of music, respectively. Further, the new company will require a chequing account to handle the revenues accrued from the live performances and online sales. After complying with the statutory requirements, MM Music will need to develop contracts for its signed artists. These contracts should stipulate the responsibilities of the agency to the signed artists, revenue sharing models and payment modalities. Also, MM Music will need an information management system to help coordinate its business processes. This system would help automate business functions such as scheduling, marketing, accounting, contracting, revenue collection and payment, internal communications, human resource, procurement, and banking among others. This system will help monitor and evaluate the performance of the company and its artists, along with offering business intelligence and customer relations support. This system should be accompanies by digital music catalogue that is availed to fans for purchasing of the music. The system should enable fans to listen and download their preferred songs and videos for a fee. That means that the system should have a payment portal that is connected to the company’s bank account through which payments can be received. In this regard, a flexible information system with modules for enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relations management (CRM) and event booking is advisable. Moreover, open-source software solutions are recommended for their cost-effectiveness and value delivery (Adewumi, Misra, Omoregbe and Sanz 2019). In this aspect, Axelor is recommended because it integrates ERP and CRM along with its ability to run from the cloud, as summarized in table 2. Similarly, MM Music should digitize it marketing activities by augmenting its website with social media presence. Apart from promoting the company and its artists, the digital marketing platforms would also be an additional revenue stream for the company. For instance, the company would receive payment for advertisements hosted on its webpages and music viewed through YouTube.
Part D: Reflection
This assignment was engaging and educative as well. I was able to contribute to the online discussion by delving into the complexities of transforming an informal business into a formalized one. I found that establishing a small and medium-sized business of well-structured in the United Kingdom, although it is a daunting task that requires familiarity with the formation processes. Moreover, I was able to contribute to the demonstration of the pertinence of digital technologies in improving the efficiency of business processes. I discovered that the market presented several viable information management systems that were cost-effective for the cash-strapped new business startups. Notably, open-source and free downloadable software was available online for use by startups. However, the choice of software needed to be aligned to the needs of the firm because different solutions offered different capabilities and automated different business processes. However, these solutions have the capability to improve the efficiency of business processes if they were customizes to the needs of the firm. Moreover, users in firms needed to be familiar with the different information management systems to use them effectively and efficiently. As such, the technology skill level of the users influenced the effectiveness of the digital solutions. In this regard, I found that the internet had plenty of learning opportunities for entrepreneurs with limited managerial and technological capabilities. As such, I was able to demonstrate that entrepreneurs had enormous opportunities of implementing their well-planned business ideas and running successful businesses if they took advantage on the freely-available online resources. This information is particularly important for young entrepreneurs that have wonderful business ideas by with limited financial resources.
Conclusions and Recommendations
MM Music agency is a viable company that can leverage its longstanding music experience of its band members, and particularly, Mike and Morris. The transition into a formalized SME is possible by going through the statutory requirements, which are well structured in the United Kingdom. There are sufficient online resources, like Axelor, which is an integrated, open-source CRM and ERP solution, to support the business processes in a young firm. Besides, enormous online training resourcing exists for upgrading the managerial and technological skills of entrepreneur. The use of these resources levels the business environment for new entrepreneurs, thus preparing them for the competitiveness in the contemporary marketplace.
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