Case - Monitoring Emerging Markets at Johnson Controls

How Johnson Controls Monitors Emerging Markets Using Plaza

Interviewed for this case is Arman Hosseini from the Power Solutions business at Johnson Controls. Arman is Market Intelligence Analyst, Global Sales and Marketing.

Background on Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls Power Solutions sees significant growth opportunities in emerging markets, including China, Brazil, India and others.  As part of assessing and prioritizing these opportunities, the industry leader leverages an in-house intelligence portal to provide vital information on market developments to employees around the world. In this case interview, we ask Arman about the various market intelligence deliverables provided online to employees.

Johnson Controls’ intelligence portal, Connections, caters to up to 400 active users with different functions and responsibilities around the world - about half of whom are focused on or have a specific interest in emerging markets. 

The web-based portal features many different types of market intelligence. With customized front pages for different user groups on their major emerging regions, employees are provided with one-stop views of the most pertinent market developments and intelligence updates for their work.

Employees can also choose to receive customized email alerts every day or once every two to three days.


Interview 

Customization and local language market monitoring has been key to encouraging usage of the intelligence portal at Johnson Controls.

Arman said, “In our industry, not all intelligence has a broad enough audience to be picked up by mainstream media.  Many supplier, competitor and component information is very specific to our industry and only a handful of other parties would be interested in news regarding these topics”

“We found we could be missing out on meaningful information from local news sources in emerging markets. After we started a local news tracking service in China for instance, we found that our news output on the country increased by about 100%. There had previously been entire sections we were missing out on, such as information on Chinese competitors that may not be big enough to be covered in global news outlets, but that are important to us nonetheless. This provides us with valuable data and insights, and informs our overall perspective and strategies.

Various reporting options

Johnson Controls Power Solutions actively monitors emerging market news and distributes the information through various deliverables and formats.

1. Regular summary reports

Summaries of news from all available sources are distributed through Johnson Controls’ intelligence portal to all users on a monthly basis, so they can review everything that has been happening in the industry in the past few weeks. The summary reports have been very popular throughout the organization, and Johnson Controls is working on including internal feedback and discussion mechanisms.

2. Country reports

With the help of M-Brain, Johnson Controls now has in-house reports on 15 different countries in a standardized format. The contents cover many different topics; from broad regional market and economic overviews, to information on local competitors, suppliers, market channels and regulations.

“By having individual country reports with standardized data in the same format, you can benchmark countries against each other and gain an understanding of the key market dynamics. This can help Johnson Controls tremendously in prioritizing markets and approaches,” said Arman.

3. Focused country report: China

In conjunction with its local market monitoring efforts, Johnson Controls has introduced a country report on China, covering all the Chinese news they have collated in the past month, for download through the portal.

“The company’s non-Mandarin speaking expatriates in China, together with other global colleagues, have found these reports especially useful, particularly as we ramp up our investment in the country,” explained Arman.

He went on to say that the country report has helped company executives gain insight into the timing of China’s growth, how it will look like over the next decade, and how to plan for products that will meet local market needs. The report also provides insight in the changing regulations and how they impact their business. Moreover, executives now have a handy reference on the most up-to-date competitive landscape, covering new market entrants, major contract wins and issues that other companies may be experiencing.

4. Competitor and supplier profiles

With every company, having information on one’s competitors and suppliers is vital to maintaining a competitive advantage. As such, users of the intelligence portal can download global and regional competitor and supplier profiles as needed.

5. Market forecasts

Rather than solely rely on third-party forecasts, Johnson Controls has begun to develop its own quarterly forecasts covering more than100 countries, and using market sizing models developed in-house.

“Being the market leader, we have our own views of how the global market will develop and rely heavily on our local intelligence in our various markets. By providing a single source of intelligence, we help our regional teams in their local planning efforts,” said Arman.

Key success factors

When asked for his thoughts on some key success factors for market intelligence in general, Arman provided the following points:

  • Building a common, scalable intelligence platform accelerates adoption and ensures the sustainability of the initiative
  • Ensure that the MI platform is flexible; work across languages and media

  • Provide strong “editorial” oversight and ongoing management of content – distinguishing between low and high quality intelligence

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