Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer 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 Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Abby Margolis, Evgeny Kaganer. The Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer (referred as “Data Designer” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, IT.

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 Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer Case Study

Pundits have dubbed personal data "the new oil" of the 21st century. Yet for all the hype surrounding big data, people complain they have less meaning and are frustrated with how poorly brands leverage their information. That's because many companies still mine data with the end goal of streamlining business processes, largely neglecting an essential piece in the data economy puzzle: the person. This article summarizes the findings of a global research project into the values and behavior of data "prosumers" -- individuals who are both producers and consumers of data, and who expect their personal data to be used to deliver new and better experiences. The authors define the core elements of a new design mind-set that companies must adopt as they create new data-rich products and services. In the emerging Personal Data Economy, firms will reap value to the extent that they enable, empower and meet future needs, rather than merely analyzing past behavior. They envisage a new organizational figure -- the data experience designer -- to take the process forward.

Case Authors : Abby Margolis, Evgeny Kaganer

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : IT

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10021223) -10021223 - -
Year 1 3461302 -6559921 3461302 0.9434 3265379
Year 2 3963940 -2595981 7425242 0.89 3527892
Year 3 3972159 1376178 11397401 0.8396 3335101
Year 4 3231039 4607217 14628440 0.7921 2559286
TOTAL 14628440 12687659

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2666436

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. Internal Rate of Return
3. Profitability Index
4. Payback Period

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. Data Designer 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 Data Designer 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 Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer

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 Innovation & Entrepreneurship 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 Data Designer 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 Data Designer 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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10021223) -10021223 - -
Year 1 3461302 -6559921 3461302 0.8696 3009828
Year 2 3963940 -2595981 7425242 0.7561 2997308
Year 3 3972159 1376178 11397401 0.6575 2611759
Year 4 3231039 4607217 14628440 0.5718 1847357
TOTAL 10466252

The Net NPV after 4 years is 445029

(10466252 - 10021223 )

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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10021223) -10021223 - -
Year 1 3461302 -6559921 3461302 0.8333 2884418
Year 2 3963940 -2595981 7425242 0.6944 2752736
Year 3 3972159 1376178 11397401 0.5787 2298703
Year 4 3231039 4607217 14628440 0.4823 1558179
TOTAL 9494036

The Net NPV after 4 years is -527187

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9494036 - 10021223 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Data Designer 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 Data Designer has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Data Designer 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 Data Designer, then the stock price of the Data Designer 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 Data Designer 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 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.

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.

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

Abby Margolis, Evgeny Kaganer (2018), "Why All Companies Need a Data Experience Designer Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.