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Abstract

A major barrier for growth of large multi-business unit firms is the inability to resource the critical initiatives to win - both in terms of dollars and people. The underpinning of the challenge involves the conflict between resourcing current cash-generating legacy businesses vs new initiatives which may not, in the short term, produce positive financial results. Most companies do not have a formal portfolio process to deal with this fundamental issue. Danaka is a fictional company based on real business experiences. The company has strong growth markets as well as markets that are commoditizing. Unfortunately, the latter represent a sizable portion of the company's business. A framework is given that establishes a matrix to analyze the Danaka businesses using their critical financial criteria - cash generation and top-line growth. Projects are divided into four categories based on how they fit into the matrix, and resource allocations are then analyzed. Students discover that the current allocation does not enable Danaka to meet its aggressive growth goals. The case incorporates an interactive spreadsheet model in which students can dynamically change the various resource allocations and see the impact on future top-line growth. The essence of the case is how to manage the resource allocation for a multi-business unit firm when present allocations will not meet future growth goals.
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Abstract

A major barrier for growth of large multi-business unit firms is the inability to resource the critical initiatives to win - both in terms of dollars and people. The underpinning of the challenge involves the conflict between resourcing current cash-generating legacy businesses vs new initiatives which may not, in the short term, produce positive financial results. Most companies do not have a formal portfolio process to deal with this fundamental issue. Danaka is a fictional company based on real business experiences. The company has strong growth markets as well as markets that are commoditizing. Unfortunately, the latter represent a sizable portion of the company's business. A framework is given that establishes a matrix to analyze the Danaka businesses using their critical financial criteria - cash generation and top-line growth. Projects are divided into four categories based on how they fit into the matrix, and resource allocations are then analyzed. Students discover that the current allocation does not enable Danaka to meet its aggressive growth goals. The case incorporates an interactive spreadsheet model in which students can dynamically change the various resource allocations and see the impact on future top-line growth. The essence of the case is how to manage the resource allocation for a multi-business unit firm when present allocations will not meet future growth goals.

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