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Sumeru Software Solutions: Creating A Culture Of Serene Dynamism Case Solution
Sumeru Software Solutions was a software solutions provider company based in Bangalore, India. It offers its customers applications services, business process consulting, information services and outsourcing and professional staffing. With a clientele spread in over 20 countries and offices in London, Dubai and Washington DC, Sumero is set on a path of growth accelerated by its strong business values and professional ethics. Formed by the devotees of Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, Sumero was initially created to provide financial assistance for activities of the Art of Living Foundation. It now holds over 200 full-time employees and several part-time employees who are on project-based contracts.
The organization is rapidly growing as the need for IT solutions is rising in the corporate sector. The challenge they face is that, up till now, they have been able to uphold the values of AOL and synchronized their organization, both business and workers, with the AOL teachings and practices. But now the management is worried about how they are going to continue doing so with the rate of expansion and business growth they will have in the future years.
Following questions are answered in this case study solution
Introduction & Problem Statement
The Recommended Action Plan
Case Analysis for Sumeru Software Solutions: Creating A Culture Of Serene Dynamism
The values of an organization form an integral part of what the organization is about. It becomes a cornerstone on which the processes and operations of the company are based (Enquist, Edvardsson and Petros Sebhatu). They are also the values which the customers see in the company’s deliverables. Thus, they portray the branding characteristics of the business (Kumar, Guruvayurappan and Banerjee).
Business is a For-profit entity; that is, its main aim is simply to earn profits (Johnson, Christensen and Kagermann). Some businesses have secondary goals as well. If we take examples of some sectors; the Islamic banking sector’s aim is to earn profits but at the same time, do it in a way that is aligned with the teachings of Islam (Chong and Liu), a hospital’s main goal should be to provide healthcare service to the community, earning profits alongside it but the main aim would be to care, not profits (ideally). Similarly, a school's main goal should be to educate the masses and not generate profits at the expense of education's quality.
Sumero was a similar case. It was a bit more complex than the mentioned said cases because, for one, the organization was not focused on earning profits to increase the owner’s wealth. Instead, it was just a support function for the activities of another organization; AOL. Therefore, this case is to be observed with the focus of not generating profits but for the fulfilment of their business goal.
A company that is expecting large scale growth can retain its values by making their values committable. This means that the company must be ready to hire and fire people based on their adherence to these values. Independent of the performance they are delivering to the business. This also means that the management needs to enforce these values across the company. They will have to make sure that every person lives these values, regardless of whether it is a factory line worker or operations vice president (Liu, Combs and Ketchen).
In Sumero’s case, the review would have to analyze the extent up to which the company will be able to adhere to the values if it wants to remain competitive in the market. This is because Sumero followed not only the philosophical values of Siri Shankarji but also the practices and activities of AOL. In the case, many instances are explained in which the values and practices of AOL were proving to be detrimental to the business: The recruitment of new staff, termination of employees, the sermons interfering with the working hours, etc. in all the cases, the management took a sound decision and amended the values of AOL to incorporate them into their business.
3. Solution Options
In case of expansion of such a great extent, Sumero has several options to go about:
i. Leave the Values of AOL
Sumero can leave the values of AOL and become a purely profit-oriented business. A typical business’s main goal is to make money. The values of the business are also ideally focused on the customer. The businesses which have community welfare or community service oriented values in their values; they are also trying to create a deeper connection with the customer by appealing to his emotions and not just his needs. But they are for the customer, not for any other moral or noble reason (Jenkins).
The values which are not customer centric are present for the betterment of employees or to provide them with a working environment in which they can deliver their level best for the organization (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee). This makes the business successful as their direction itself is the satisfaction of their customers; generating more revenues or the benefit of their employees; achieving efficiency and thus resulting in more profits. They formulate the values around the business goals. In the case of Sumero, the business is formulated around the values of AOL. The company can leave these values behind as they formulate new ones to cater to the market’s changing needs. But a major drawback of this action would be that they would lose the current extent of involvement of the AOL’s spirituality, philosophy and teachings in their business.
ii. Differentiate Between Business Values and AOL’s Values
As the business grows, it becomes hard to adhere to the values developed when the business was a quarter of its size. As mentioned earlier, the values of the business should ideally be focused on the creation of profits. The values of AOL, although very moral and noble, will be difficult to adhere for the new employees. Especially as the new employees who are to enter the company on merit will belong to different ethicalities and nationalities. The practices of AOL which are particularly for a specific type of people will result in the creation of a gap between the new employees' performance and the company's current efficiency if they do not observe these values (Teece).
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