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Description:
This case study examines issues surrounding consistent delivery of content in a global environment. The NBA chose Akamai as its content delivery provider. You probably receive content from Akamai on a regular basis when you surf the web and might not have even known it. Akamai’s business model involves delivering content where the user is not aware that the content is coming from a variety of Content Delivery Network (CDN) nodes. How can organizations where you work leverage a CDN?
UPDATE: While this case study is still valid, the NBA has changed directions (sort of) and entered into a new partnership with Microsoft to provide both live and on-demand streaming of games – they will still use Akamai, but now Akamai has integrated its Content Delivery Network with Microsoft’s Azure platform. These things happen frequently in our business environment. So while the NBA has changed its strategy, the principles behind their former partnership with Akamai remain relevant. This case used to be a video case study, but the owner of the video (either the NBA or Akamai, I’m not sure) recently removed it from the public domain. We’ll press on and examine the case just using the written portion of the case study for now.

Instructions:
Read the Case Study included at the bottom of this page. Answer the 5 questions at the end of the Case Study and submit your answers in a single MS Word document via Canvas. Your answer for each question should include at least one supporting argument for your answer or position.

CASE STUDY
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the leading professional basketball
league in the United States and Canada with 30 teams. The NBA is one of four North
American professional sports leagues. The other leagues are the Major League
Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League. While
focused on the North America, the NBA has a large international following and is
televised in 212 countries and 42 languages around the world.

Increasingly, fans want and expect high quality game videos, RSS feeds, widgets, and
Fantasy leagues. NBA.com has an inventory of over 400,000 digital assets, including
15,000 videos. Last year, there were over 850 unique visits to NBA.com from 20 countries.
Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is a company that provides a distributed
computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery. Akamai
is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1998
by MIT graduate student Daniel Lewin, along with MIT Applied Mathematics professor
Tom Leighton and MIT Sloan School of Management students Jonathan Seelig
and Preetish Nijhawan. Leighton still serves as Akamai’s Chief Scientist, while Lewin
was killed aboard American Airlines flight 11 which was crashed in the September 11
attacks of 2001. Akamai is a Hawaiian word meaning smart or intelligent.
Akamai’s primary service is provided by its proprietary EdgeNetwork. Akamai transparently
mirrors content—sometimes all content, including HTML and CSS, and
sometimes just media objects such as audio, graphics, animation, and video—from
customer servers. Large firms deliver their content to over 240,000 Akamai servers in
130 countries in 2019. These local Akamai servers cache (store) this content awaiting
local demand. Akamai’s network is intelligent enough not to distribute content to a
local server until and unless there is local demand.

When you click on an online video at NBA.com, the domain name is the same, but the
IP address points to an Akamai server rather than the NBA server. The Akamai server is
automatically picked depending on the type of content and the user’s network location.
Akamai’s EdgePlatform is one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms.
The benefit is that users can receive content from whichever Akamai server is closest to
them or has a good connection, leading to faster download times and less vulnerability to
network congestion or outages. The Internet was never designed to handle large volumes
of video simultaneously streaming from a single corporate server to all Internet devices.
However, this content can be sent to the “edge” of the network where Akamai servers
are located, and on a local or regional basis, stream this content on demand from local
servers. Akamai’s 216,000 distributed servers allow it to monitor global Internet traffic
patterns, attacks on the Internet, and latency (delays caused by excessive Internet traffic).
In addition to image caching, Akamai provides services which accelerate dynamic
and personalized content and streaming media. Akamai’s personalization product is
called EdgeScape, a geolocation service. Much Web content delivered by Akamai is
personalized to the user’s location and Internet service types. This allows Akamai’s
customers to gain insight into where end users are coming from and what kind of
Internet service they are using. Armed with this knowledge they can customize Web
content for individual end users through a wide range of criteria, making their site
more relevant and compelling to everyone who visits.

For instance, Akamai knows your:
Internet service provider:
Country Code: US
Region Code: NY
City: NEWYORK
Area code: 212
Latitude: 40.7128
Longitude: 74.0092
County: NEWYORK
Time zone: EST
Network: verizon
Throughput: vhigh

Akamai Stream OS is another service that runs on Akamai’s EdgePlatform. It enables
the NBA to get more from its media by providing a simple, automated solution for
managing more than 500,000 media assets, assigning business policies, and publishing
content to multiple distribution channels. NBA.com and NBA Mobile reached a
combined 16.7 billion page views and 4.2 billion video views in 2015. The NBA’s new
Game Time mobile app set a new record with 7.5 million global downloads in 2015.
Since implementing Akamai Stream OS, NBA.com’s traffic has increased
exponentially, with over 60M unique users in 222 countries accessing NBA
Web content each month.

Akamai’s suite of products has helped the NBA reach record traffic levels while
effectively maintaining employment and infrastructure costs.
The reach and stability of Akamai’s network have allowed the NBA to grow
advertising revenues by 500 percent since 2001.

CASE QUESTIONS

1. Using Porter’s competitive forces model, analyze the NBA’s market situation. How
does the use of Akamai help the NBA compete in this market?

2. Using Porter’s generic strategies model (Table 3.4), what do you think is the NBA’s overall
strategy or strategies?

3. Why is it important that all fans in the world have the same experience?

4. Why is it important that individual franchise owners can build, manage, and distribute
on the NBA platform their own content?

5. The NBA relies on a number of “partnerships” to deliver its product (live & recorded games, merchandizing, etc.). Who are the NBA’s partners?
How does the concept of a strategic ecosystem apply to the NBA’s partnership
strategies?

This case study examines issues surrounding consistent delivery of content in a global environment. The NBA chose Akamai as its content delivery provider. You probably receive content from Akamai on a regular basis when you surf the web and might not have even known it. Akamai’s business model involves delivering content where the user is not aware that the content is coming from a variety of Content Delivery Network (CDN) nodes. How can organizations where you work leverage a CDN?

UPDATE: While this case study is still valid, the NBA has changed directions (sort of) and entered into a new partnership with Microsoft to provide both live and on-demand streaming of games – they will still use Akamai, but now Akamai has integrated its Content Delivery Network with Microsoft’s Azure platform. These things happen frequently in our business environment. So while the NBA has changed its strategy, the principles behind their former partnership with Akamai remain relevant. This case used to be a video case study, but the owner of the video (either the NBA or Akamai, I’m not sure) recently removed it from the public domain. We’ll press on and examine the case just using the written portion of the case study for now.

Instructions:

Read the Case Study included at the bottom of this page. Answer the 5 questions at the end of the Case Study and submit your answers in a single MS Word document via Canvas. Your answer for each question should include at least one supporting argument for your answer or position. Due by Day 3

CASE STUDY

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the leading professional basketball
league in the United States and Canada with 30 teams. The NBA is one of four North
American professional sports leagues. The other leagues are the Major League
Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League. While
focused on the North America, the NBA has a large international following and is
televised in 212 countries and 42 languages around the world.

Increasingly, fans want and expect high quality game videos, RSS feeds, widgets, and
Fantasy leagues. NBA.com has an inventory of over 400,000 digital assets, including
15,000 videos. Last year, there were over 850 unique visits to NBA.com from 20 countries.
Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is a company that provides a distributed
computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery. Akamai
is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1998
by MIT graduate student Daniel Lewin, along with MIT Applied Mathematics professor
Tom Leighton and MIT Sloan School of Management students Jonathan Seelig
and Preetish Nijhawan. Leighton still serves as Akamai’s Chief Scientist, while Lewin
was killed aboard American Airlines flight 11 which was crashed in the September 11
attacks of 2001. Akamai is a Hawaiian word meaning smart or intelligent.
Akamai’s primary service is provided by its proprietary EdgeNetwork. Akamai transparently
mirrors content—sometimes all content, including HTML and CSS, and
sometimes just media objects such as audio, graphics, animation, and video—from
customer servers. Large firms deliver their content to over 240,000 Akamai servers in
130 countries in 2019. These local Akamai servers cache (store) this content awaiting
local demand. Akamai’s network is intelligent enough not to distribute content to a
local server until and unless there is local demand.

When you click on an online video at NBA.com, the domain name is the same, but the
IP address points to an Akamai server rather than the NBA server. The Akamai server is
automatically picked depending on the type of content and the user’s network location.
Akamai’s EdgePlatform is one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms.
The benefit is that users can receive content from whichever Akamai server is closest to
them or has a good connection, leading to faster download times and less vulnerability to
network congestion or outages. The Internet was never designed to handle large volumes
of video simultaneously streaming from a single corporate server to all Internet devices.
However, this content can be sent to the “edge” of the network where Akamai servers
are located, and on a local or regional basis, stream this content on demand from local
servers. Akamai’s 216,000 distributed servers allow it to monitor global Internet traffic
patterns, attacks on the Internet, and latency (delays caused by excessive Internet traffic).
In addition to image caching, Akamai provides services which accelerate dynamic
and personalized content and streaming media. Akamai’s personalization product is
called EdgeScape, a geolocation service. Much Web content delivered by Akamai is
personalized to the user’s location and Internet service types. This allows Akamai’s
customers to gain insight into where end users are coming from and what kind of
Internet service they are using. Armed with this knowledge they can customize Web
content for individual end users through a wide range of criteria, making their site
more relevant and compelling to everyone who visits.

For instance, Akamai knows your:
Internet service provider:
Country Code: US
Region Code: NY
City: NEWYORK
Area code: 212
Latitude: 40.7128
Longitude: 74.0092
County: NEWYORK
Time zone: EST
Network: verizon
Throughput: vhigh

Akamai Stream OS is another service that runs on Akamai’s EdgePlatform. It enables
the NBA to get more from its media by providing a simple, automated solution for
managing more than 500,000 media assets, assigning business policies, and publishing
content to multiple distribution channels. NBA.com and NBA Mobile reached a
combined 16.7 billion page views and 4.2 billion video views in 2015. The NBA’s new
Game Time mobile app set a new record with 7.5 million global downloads in 2015.
Since implementing Akamai Stream OS, NBA.com’s traffic has increased
exponentially, with over 60M unique users in 222 countries accessing NBA
Web content each month.

Akamai’s suite of products has helped the NBA reach record traffic levels while
effectively maintaining employment and infrastructure costs.
The reach and stability of Akamai’s network have allowed the NBA to grow
advertising revenues by 500 percent since 2001.

CASE QUESTIONS

1. Using Porter’s competitive forces model, analyze the NBA’s market situation. How
does the use of Akamai help the NBA compete in this market?

2. Using Porter’s generic strategies model (Table 3.4), what do you think is the NBA’s overall
strategy or strategies?

3. Why is it important that all fans in the world have the same experience?

4. Why is it important that individual franchise owners can build, manage, and distribute
on the NBA platform their own content?

5. The NBA relies on a number of “partnerships” to deliver its product (live & recorded games, merchandizing, etc.). Who are the NBA’s partners?
How does the concept of a strategic ecosystem apply to the NBA’s partnership
strategies?

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