Assignment 1: Moat Strength Analysis

Assignment 1: Moat Strength Analysis

Due: Sunday, Midnight of Week 5 (20% of Final Grade)


We began this course with a question: “How can we identify which businesses are great?”

In attempting to answer this, we have explored a number of concepts and tools that investors and financial managers have at their disposal. As we looked at these, we found that two terms, Value and Growth, were frequently used to refer to two broad ways of characterizing companies and investment approaches, but we noted that neither is mutually exclusive of the other in identifying a great company.

This assignment invites you to consider how these terms apply to, and how one or the other may be a better descriptor of certain products or services of the business, depending on how one views the playing field in which the company competes. As you engage in this assignment, you will draw on financial facts presented in the report to formulate and defend your position. Merely presenting a number, ratio or trend will not be sufficient to earn a high grade.


To complete this assignment, you will need to:

  • Re-read the analyst report “May the Force be With You: Wide-Moat is the NewestSoftware Empire”
  • Read a section from the 2016 Annual Report, which is available in Weeks 8 and 9 ofyour online course. Read Pages 3-11.
  • Review additional valuation and financial data available on byvisiting this link:, you will find it helpful to review the Moat Analysis and Value Creation Checklist, and the Value Investing and Growth Investing Checklist, as the categories for the questions below are summarized in those checklists.This assignment is organized around the FIVE areas of analysis in the “May the Force be With You: Wide- Moat is the Newest Software Empire” report. Refer to each section of the report as identified below and answer the questions that follow:
  1. Review the section on “CRM Opportunity”
    1. In what stage of the Competitive Life Cycle is the company?
    2. What are the most significant barriers to entry that competitors face? Explain.
  2. Review the section on “Sales Cloud Analysis”
    1. What are the 5 key moat considerations that must address in this market?
    2. Which of these are most important? Explain.
    3. Review
    JWI 531: Financial Management II Assignment 1the section on “Service Cloud Analysis”
    4. Review
    5. Review
    differentiation, etc.) to doing business with Explain.the section on “Commerce Cloud Analysis”
    1. Briefly summarize how Porter’s Five Forces apply to this market.
    2. What are the most important competitive advantages that has in this market?Explain.the section on “Marketing CloudAnalysis”
    1. Briefly summarize the Lay of the Land in this market.
    2. What are the most important customer advantages (product attributes, horizontal
    1. What technology or process disruptions/disintegrations exist that could create challenges in this market?
    2. Which of these present the most realistic threats/opportunities? Explain.

    Submission Requirements

    • Your work for this assignment is to be submitted in the format of an academic paper, including: cover page, executive summary, body, conclusion and references.
    • The length of the body of your paper is to be between of 5 and 8 pages (double-spaced using 12- point font).
    • Note that each topic of analysis has an (a) and (b) component to it.

    o For the first part (a), you are expected to provide a BRIEF SUMMARY in response to thequestion. This requires you to correctly identify the position in the analyst report and to craft a synopsis showing that you understand the facts of the author’s position.o For the second part (b), you must present and defend YOUR POSITION. Your opinion may be in line with positions held in the report or they may differ. What is most important is that your responses show you are thinking about what you are reading and that you are applying appropriate financial tools and concepts to explain why you hold the opinions you do.o You are encouraged to use charts, graphs, ratios, and figures in each section to defendyour position.o As a general guide, each section of your paper should be approximately 1/3 for part (a) and 2/3 for part (b).• For each of the five topics above, you must include at least one additional resource to support your position. These resources can include:o The textbooks from the course
    o… Annual Report

    o Recent news articles