Despite having already blogged about the Halogen – SuccessFactors lawsuit just days ago, it continues to gnaw at me. It’s the moral and ethical aspects that are problematic, not the legal issue. Why is that?
Initially, I thought it was due to my present work with some university business students. We are focusing on corporate strategy, so far slightly skirting the ethical dilemmas of business, but next week we will launch headlong into competitive intelligence and some of the moral implications associated with scouring for competitive data. Do I think Halogen Software’s alleged behaviour will negatively impact these students? Not really, although it may entice some to push the envelope.
Taking shortcuts to find silver bullets to enhanced competitiveness tends to be short-sighted. Although it may uncover a key differentiating factor—a unique feature or a certain price point—replicating it will only be a momentary fix. It is the company’s processes that directly generate new features, reduced prices, improved margins or superior support. Matching a product feature, for example, only works until the competitor’s process kicks in, adding a new, compelling feature. It is the development and near flawless execution of these processes that yield those ongoing differential advantages.
Halogen’s alleged attempts to unearth SuccessFactors’ secret sauce may have been in vain. Sustainable competitive advantage is the direct result of an organization’s core competencies which spawn new and improved features, products and prices. Attempts to bypass the process to quickly replicate a competitor’s differentiated feature may provide only temporary relief.
Ryck Marciniak (Guest Blogger)