The Changing Environment

McCarthy, Ed
December 1996
Journal of Financial Planning;Dec1996, Vol. 9 Issue 6, p42
Academic Journal
Recent history offers numerous examples of well-established industries and firms that suffered setbacks when their competitive environment changed. Looking at Apple Computer Inc. and International Business Machines Corp., one sees that, in spite of their pioneering roles in the PC industry, both lost their leadership positions. In a more recent example, the emergence of the Internet into mainstream use, and particularly the Web's popularity, poses a serious threat to proprietary online services like CompuServe Inc. and America Online Inc. Unexpected developments have affected financial planning, as well. Another example of a competitive environment shift has been the transition to fee-based services. For much of the 1980's, the planning process was seen as an excellent technique for generating needs-based sales, and fee-and-commission compensation was the standard arrangement. The point of this history lesson is that no industry or firm is completely immune to changes in its environment. It is often extremely difficult to recognize new competitive threats in their early stages and developments that seem unimportant today can become serious challenges tomorrow.


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