If you are hearing to a strategy class in any of the B-schools, you are bound to get past this framework which talks of cows, dogs, cash and finally a question mark. You might be bemused how our cows became relevant to businesses, that too when the matrix originated in the West. Yes, we are talking of the BCG’s growth-share matrix which is considered so much relevant for the adequate allocation of resources to exploit the growth opportunities.cash-cow

Rather than describing the nitty-gritty of this matrix, which you are so much cognizant of, we would like to share our views regarding the relevance of its two measures, especially in today’s context.  We are afraid, the two measures of competitiveness, more specifically the market share axis, seem to have lost its pertinence.

Let’s analyze this with the two, not-so-old developments. Take Nokia, with such a huge market share during its heyday, and a high growth, it would have been shining as a star, enjoying an indomitable position vis-a-vis its peers. Or at least as it matured, it would be peacefully sleeping like a cow, with eyes wide open, seeing its competitors struggle and chewing the dollars cashing in. Aghast! Its situation is so contrary. With its operations around the world, assets in the shape of factories, R&D investments, probably patents too, it got bought by our most omnipresent OS provider for a mere $7.2 billion, who hardly had any grasp over mobile handset business.


On the contrary, check the valuation of your new messaging tool, hey Whats-app!, it’s worth $19 billion without a factory or an assembly line and other physical assets. Isn’t technology more prominent than market share? There is definitely a next big thing being designed as you read this, so Whatsapp don’t sleep like a cow or be complacent of your shining stars. Businesses are evolving fast, your market share might not be the true testimony of your sustainability in the future. So should we evolve the BCG ‘growth-share’ matrix to ‘growth-technology’ matrix?

Blessen Mathai



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