Case Studies: Product Development

  • Digital Communication at Dell Photo

    Digital Communication at Dell

    Jennifer M. Farrelly T'09
    Length: 22 pages
    Publication date: 2009
    Case#: 6-0032

    Every second two new blogs are created, seven PCs are sold, 2.2 million emails are sent, 520 links are clicked, 1,157 videos are viewed on YouTube, 31,000 text messages are sent. With the explosive growth of social media, society and corporations are embracing this phenomenon as much more than a passing trend. This case focuses on computer manufacturer Dell Inc.'s social media strategy and how it has successfully integrated digital communications into every aspect of its business model. Case readers are put in the shoes of Bob Pearson, VP of Dell's "Conversations & Communities" team, who is tasked with developing Dell's social media strategy. After a rocky start with social media--including an actively blogged service crisis termed "Dell Hell"--Pearson is challenged with not only creating a department and strategy from scratch, but with developing internal buy-in and skill sets needed to get Dell started with Web 2.0. Pearson faced important decisions including how to structure the internal team,what guidelines to set for blogging and social media participation, and how to measure success. The Dell case focuses on how new social media technology is changing not only corporate communication but also business functions such as product development, customer service, marketing, and customer engagement. It offers many valuable lessons for both students and business professionals as they continue to join the Internet age. 

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    Topics: Marketing, Product Development, Sales, Social Tech

    Industry: Computer

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  • Hulu, To Be Or Not To Be Photo

    Hulu, To Be Or Not To Be

    Rama Oruganti T'09, Alva H. Taylor
    Length: 24 pages
    Publication date: 2009
    Case#: 6-0030

    Los Angeles-based Hulu.com had finished 2008 with impressive growth in both viewership and market visibility. The video portal startup, established in 2007 with the backing of NBC Universal and News Corp., had 227 million video views and had become the sixth most-visited online video web site. Popular media had taken notice and prominently featured the company. Even the harshest Hulu skeptics, like Michael Arrington of the popular TechCrunch blog, acknowledged its success. But Jason Kilar, the CEO, was cautious about the future. This case examines the explosive growth of Internet TV and potential for significant change in a well established industry. 

    *Teaching Note Unavailable; Please Request Supplemental Readings Below via "Request Teaching Note"*

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    Topics: Product Development, Services

    Industry: Media

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  • Information Risk Analysis at Jefford’s Photo

    Information Risk Analysis at Jefford’s

    Hans Brechbühl, Chris Dunning, Stephen G. Powell
    Length: 8 pages
    Publication date: 2008
    Case#: 6-0029

    Jefford's faces several information security threats and must decide which risks to mitigate and at what cost. Headquartered in the U.S., Jefford's, a fictitious Fortune 500 company, is growing rapidly with much of the expansion coming in emerging markets. They face numerous risk management decisions, including how to mitigate problems with stolen/lost laptops, malware, fraudulent website transactions and protection of personally identifiable employee data. This case can serve as a good basis for a discussion on information security and risk management approaches. In Part B, the case provides detailed data on which to do a cost/benefit analysis, and with the help of the teaching note, creates a robust Monte Carlo simulation using Excel and Crystal Ball or similar software. 

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    Topics: Information Technology, Product Development, Services

    Industry: Electronic Controls

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  • Garden.com - At the End of the Runway Photo

    Garden.com - At the End of the Runway

    M. Eric Johnson
    Length: 25 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 6-0017

    In the etailing gold rush of 1999, Garden.com was celebrated by both the dot.com media and the traditional business press as the quintessential virtual supply chain. INC magazine called Garden the "Perfect Internet Business." Yet by early 2001, Bill Pond, Director of Product Management found himself laying off his last employee and shipping his last order. 

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    Topics: Innovation, Product Development, Supply Chain

    Industry: Garden Supply

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  • New York Times Digital Photo

    New York Times Digital

    Chris Trimble
    Length: 21 Pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 2-0006

    In 1995, the New York Times, launched New York Times Digital, a new venture dedicated to building a profitable business focused on distributing news context in multimedia format online. In implementing the venture, the company created a unit that was quite distinct organizationally. Many challenges followed. 

    in pdf format

    Topics: Innovation, Marketing, Product Development

    Industry: Media

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  • Learning from Mattel Photo

    Learning from Mattel

    John W. Torget T'00, under the supervision of Sydney Finkelstein
    Length: 8 pages
    Publication date: 2002
    Case#: 1-0072

    After just three years as chairman and chief executive, Ms. Barad’s 18-year storybook career with Mattel ended dramatically on February 3, 2000 with another disappointing earnings announcement. As one of only three women running a Fortune 500 company, she became a role model for millions of women aspiring to positions in the top ranks of corporate management.

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    Topics: Marketing, Product Development, Sales

    Industry: Toys/Video Games

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  • Cisco Systems (A): Evolution to e-Business Photo

    Cisco Systems (A): Evolution to e-Business

    Philip Anderson, Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble, Katrina Veerman T'01
    Length: 25 pages
    Publication date: 2001
    Case#: 1-0001

    Cisco Systems prides itself as an "end-to-end networking company." The phrase describes not only their product line but the way they run their business. They created many of the e-business practices that later became cornerstones of the software packages used throughout industry to make businesses more efficient. This case reviews their accomplishments and their method.

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    Topics: Information Technology, Innovation, Product Development, Services

    Industry: Network Hardware

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  • Cisco Systems (B): Maintaining an Edge in e-Business Photo

    Cisco Systems (B): Maintaining an Edge in e-Business

    Philip Anderson, Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble, Katrina Veerman T'01
    Length: 6 pages
    Publication date: 2001
    Case#: 1-0002

    As of March 2001, Cisco Systems enjoys a reputation as the most sophisticated e-business in the world. For its executives, the question of how to maintain this leadership position is paramount. Funding mechanisms, organizational models, and measures of successful innovation are just some of the issues that become increasingly complex as Cisco grows.

    Topics: Information Technology, Innovation, Product Development

    Industry: Network Hardware

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  • Do You Yahoo? Photo

    Do You Yahoo?

    Jamie A. Neidig T'02, Professor Richard A. D'Aveni
    Length: 24 pages
    Publication date: 2001
    Case#: 6-0005

    Two recent changes in the competitive landscape, AOL's merger with Time Warner and Terra's acquisition of Lycos, were pitting Yahoo against 500-pound gorillas for both eyeballs and advertising dollars. Formidable competition was coming from small niche sites as well as large, traditional communications and media companies, including phone and cable companies.

    Yahoo was not considering mergers, but did make moves into new product lines ranging from e-commerce, to movies, Internet phone services, and intranet development. Considering Yahoo's expansion into so many new diverse product lines, Matt worried Yahoo was set to become the jack of all trades and the master of none. On the other hand, perhaps Yahoo was simply casting a wide net to become the portal with everything -- the portal of choice. Matt knew that Yahoo's historical strength was as a content aggregator, but he wondered if that model would sustain future success.

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    Topics: Internet / Connectivity, Media, Product Development

    Industry: Internet

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