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Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Kirk Plangger, Richard T. Watson. The Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management (referred as “Surveillance Customer” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Marketing, Security & privacy.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management Case Study


As surveillance technology advances and becomes more data rich and less intrusive and costly, brands collect vast quantities of customer data in order to gain customer insights to remain competitive. Brands conduct customer surveillance often without considering the consequences on customer relationships. Because of customer surveillance activities, customers may also experience privacy intrusions and turn to customer secrecy strategies that hide or disguise their data. To reduce this reaction, we propose a set of surveillance prompts to structure market intelligence databases to increase the efficiency of, and thus reduce the quantity of, customer surveillance activities while increasing data integrity and the potential value of customer insights. By discussing the need for brands to collect business and market intelligence, as well as detailing five types of customer data resources, we lay the groundwork for selecting potential customer data resources that best fit a brand's customer insight needs. We conclude with a discussion of two important considerations of a brand's customer surveillance strategy.


Case Authors : Kirk Plangger, Richard T. Watson

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Marketing, Security & privacy




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10002356) -10002356 - -
Year 1 3456215 -6546141 3456215 0.9434 3260580
Year 2 3955318 -2590823 7411533 0.89 3520219
Year 3 3970987 1380164 11382520 0.8396 3334117
Year 4 3231518 4611682 14614038 0.7921 2559665
TOTAL 14614038 12674581


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2672225

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Profitability Index
3. Payback Period
4. Internal Rate of Return

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Surveillance Customer shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Surveillance Customer have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Sales & Marketing Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Surveillance Customer often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Surveillance Customer needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10002356) -10002356 - -
Year 1 3456215 -6546141 3456215 0.8696 3005404
Year 2 3955318 -2590823 7411533 0.7561 2990789
Year 3 3970987 1380164 11382520 0.6575 2610988
Year 4 3231518 4611682 14614038 0.5718 1847631
TOTAL 10454812


The Net NPV after 4 years is 452456

(10454812 - 10002356 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10002356) -10002356 - -
Year 1 3456215 -6546141 3456215 0.8333 2880179
Year 2 3955318 -2590823 7411533 0.6944 2746749
Year 3 3970987 1380164 11382520 0.5787 2298025
Year 4 3231518 4611682 14614038 0.4823 1558410
TOTAL 9483362


The Net NPV after 4 years is -518994

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9483362 - 10002356 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Surveillance Customer to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Surveillance Customer has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Surveillance Customer can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Surveillance Customer, then the stock price of the Surveillance Customer should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Surveillance Customer should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

Kirk Plangger, Richard T. Watson (2018), "Balancing customer privacy, secrets, and surveillance: Insights and management Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.