Cray Research

Essay by aalookaaparanthaUniversity, Master'sA+, October 2004

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Executive Summary

Cray entered the industry as a pioneer, developing the foremost high-end supercomputer ever know to man. The customers were limited to academic and government professions. In the following eight years, Cray continued to develop even faster supercomputers and is set to release two more gen-erations, X-MP and Cray-2, in a year. Though Cray has not changed functionally, competitive land-scape has migrated significantly: consumer base is now a majority of industrial users, demanding software and services, and competition has caught up to Cray's processing power benchmarks.

The Market Forces Survey indicates that the strategic levers and key success factors that Cray has exploited to occupy the preeminent position in the past do not fit well with the new market that Cray is trying to target. To the new market of commercial and industrial users, Cray has to position itself as a Partner and not as a 'distanced-from-reality' Innovator / Pioneer.

Cray needs to add service capabilities to its offerings e.g. customization, maintenance, training, planning etc. To be successful Cray will have to bring about many changes including aligning it organizational structure with client industries; reducing dependence on individual stars; introducing cross functional teams; partnering with third party vendors to fill in the gaps in Cray's software capabilities; making R&D more client need focused and accountable; Product development driven by Marketing more than R&D;institutionalizing the knowledge of people like Seymour Cray, Steve Chen into knowledge data-bases or proprietary tools; partnering with clients in the all stages of value creation.

Cray needs to approach the implementation of this strategy in a phased manner. It will have to start with a study to assess the profitability of pursuing specific industries and simultaneously commu-nicate with its employees and get their feedback on proposed changes. This would need to be followed with the rollout...