BlackBerry and the mobile business
BlackBerry and the mobile business:
Blackberry is a prestigious line of phones and smart phones for the business and the enterprise personnel. Blackberry has also specialized in a line of mobile email and the mobile world owes a lot to this company formed by RIM based out of Canada for bringing the push notifications and making business email a reality. The greatest innovation that blackberry introduced was the blackberry software itself which allowed an enterprise to setup an email exchange and send emails to a person working with them and owning a blackberry wherever he may be. The email will reach him if mobile signals are available and he is carrying a blackberry. According to Rysavy (2009) today blackberry commands a 20.8% market share in the worldwide smart phone sales and is ready to pit up competition with any mobile player out there which makes it the second most popular and admired platform with a growing user base after Nokia Symbian OS which leads the party having the hugest market share out there. Today blackberry service is being offered by nearly all of the mobile services who have done a contract with blackberry to offer phones and services in their region.
Blackberries first moved in to business hailing as a small company from Canada with their all time classic two way pager to keep the business people informed with on the air paging service that was already pretty famous especially in the US to keep sales personnel connected with what is happening in the office and changing scenarios. Learning from their success and failures in the market innovative techniques were used by the flexible and ever ready Blackberry team which was enthusiastic about its growing future to come up with its blackberry line of phones for the enterprise world in 2002 (Halevy, 2009). The blackberry was an innovation a disruptive one because it showed the world what an email productivity increase was seen in the businesses by using this technology and it was not all the blackberries other than being great phones also came equipped with a plethora of other goodies like Push email, Mobile, Text and Internet messaging, fax capabilities and web browsing capability which was at that time one of the best. It was a breath of fresh air especially for corporate America which wanted to keep its employees connected, increase team leadership and also make their lives easier. It was a convergent device at its best that improved upon technologies already available but to the best of its capabilities and in a good way so much so that it became a disruptive innovation for many.
Not only did its success depend on the offerings that it brought to the mobile medium through its own mobile but a greater part was played by the service being taken up by other mobile operators and corporate email service offering firms. It was seen as a good opportunity by the senior managers at RIM because it offered them a chance to expand their services and not being able to spend a lot in the form of marketing budget as other OEM’s would be doing that for them and expanding their service on their own cost. Palm Treo which today is a dwindling enterprise was one of the first to group up with blackberry in offering its great services and was able to make its own size grow a lot due to this competitive edge of email on the go that was offered by them.
Blackberry over all has been a very innovative company with new services and innovation incorporated on a daily basis in the total and overall offerings from this great enterprise that has done a lot for the mobile industry itself and today’s innovations have all taken impetus from the buildup that was started by this goliath of an industry monster Blackberry. It was the perfection bringing factor in the buildup of the QWERTY keypad and the ROKR keypad that exist in the mobile industry. Business email benchmarks were setup by the innovation that they were in themselves and today many industry players have benchmarked the innovative and creative muscles that blackberry has had.
One of the greatest innovation that blackberry is given accolades for was the trackball that is easy to use and helps make things a lot easier on the go, the joypad that was incorporated in many of the sony erricson phones were a problem and a pain, the innovative muscle of blackberry can be seen from the fact that it was able to condense all the feelings of their customers and the heavy mobile users that were currently using other mobiles and come up with such a big industry development that till date is being offered by many of the greatest and best performing cell phones and companies in their products.
Innovation and the Smart Phone industry:
Innovation according to mckeown (2008) is something that incorporates spontaneity and acts of creativity to build something new or to come up with a value addition to any product that already existing and with this value addition could be overseen as a new product. Newness is also a thing that changes from people to people and we can define Newness either according to the perception of the consumer or the company.
Innovation and newness or the perception of such is true for the cell phone and smart phone industry. It is one of the industry that changes the most with time and most improvement over the most shortage of period are coming in this ever changing industry that has become a mammoth in the world getting the most interest and love from people with real passion and interest as people wait for hours and hours in lines to get their hands on the latest product by their favorite companies Blackberry and Apple being one of these innovative goliaths that keep
changing and adding value to their products to differentiate themselves and give more value to their users over a time period.
Blackberry is a part of this every growing, every innovating industry that keeps changing and keeps getting better and offering new services and products to keep the customers interested and asking for more. Innovation is a major topic of Sociology, Economics, Marketing, Management and Anthropology etc.
According to most of these studies one of the most important impetuses for change, newness and Innovation is understood in marketing and management where one of the most important goals is to differentiate. Differentiation is a process of having something different from the competitor and being able to say that there is something that is different and you could wait for some period before your competitors could come with a similar product, but remember they can never take your first move advantage away. This importance of differentiation starts from the fact that you innovated and brought something good in. Blackberries move to bring in email services where ever signals of the mobile service were reaching. This differentiation which others could not replicate quickly which can also be called sustainable advantage was one of the biggest reasons why blackberry is known today. They were able to create new service with their blackberry services quickly and add new features to their services to be what they are. So we can say that Innovation and the drive to be better than every other offer in the market is one of the reason why Blackberry phone and service have been such a winner. Another thing we learn is that Competition is very important for innovation to set in and companies to act at their full efficiency and innovate. Without competition there is no such drive to innovate or become better in the long run and give people more value for less. Monopolies tend to bring problems in the companies as people have no better option and competition i.e. fair free economy competition is one part of the economic process that brings the best out of people and companies. According to Dignan (2009) today blackberries command well over 40% of the total market share in America which is the biggest innovative products market in the world and this has been made possible because people have a lot of options from blackberry and can be sure that they are getting the best. Competition so as we can say is the player here that is responsible for today’s innovation activities and constantly pitting the companies to enhance their capabilities and offers that are given to the users and consumers worldwide. Blackberry has just done that and with the upcoming RIM OS 6 which is going to bring many updates and special support for better capacitative touch display is another example of a great product with a great innovation in the pipeline going through some last minute finishes.
One of the most important forms of innovation is end user innovation which is the constant contact with the people who are the actual users of your services and products. This connection or end user innovation can be worked on by making processes and decision so as to stay in contact with the people constantly and being able to represent them and understand their needs and strong sensations for the product and its future.
People or consumer who are basically returning customers are the one who are true loyal customers and are hooked to your innovation and they are the ones who are encompassed in the end user innovation and they need to be involved through surveys and focus groups so as to make sure that the real important things that they need are worked on and they would be satisfied. These users are very important and the main inputs for innovation as they will constantly have the information and new product information that they will need because they use your devices and understand where you are losing out in the real world and where do they see that the device is losing out in relation to the competition when they see other phones and dream to have some of their features. So Blackberry has been in constant contact with what the customers need and tried to get information from them on what they need.
Competitor benchmarking can also be a great impetus and support for any innovation. Blackberry has always tried to include the best practices in the industry within itself and its practices within the company so as to come up with the best devices and services for people who have chosen them. One of the example would be its recent move to include touch screens that are capacitative and offer end to end screens on its phone that are scratch proof learning from the big players of the industry like Apple and HTC it has included these beautiful screens in its phones which have acted out in a good manner impressing both its users with the latest blackberry storm and increasing the sales.
Another important part in innovating companies is played by Experimentation and failure acceptance. Most of the biggest companies today always took a managerial concept that is the entrepreneurial way of managing their companies for the future and being flexible and quick at changes. This is a bit difficult but has to be included by big players like Blackberry and Nokia as they are losing shares fast. One of the good example is symbian which though has the biggest share but still its stock value keeps dwindling as they can’t come up with innovations worth a buy or sustainable for the future and leaves a lot to be desired by the investors. Google has a whole team and same goes for Face book who completely believe in experimentation and believe in testing out weird things which later on upon testing may be turned into real products if found feasible. Blackberry also needs to come up with such a plan to bring out products and service never thought off before.
Learning for failures is also very important and dealing with them in a positive manner as to learn and improve upon the short comings that it had is very important. If companies take failure as something that they can never do again they are wrong for successful companies it is very important to have failures, learn from them and improve upon them to future proof against such moves and to understand the real psychology of their customers which will guarantee better products in the future.
Giving Autonomy and Team Work by turning tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge as explained by Nonaka (1995) and practiced in Japanese companies is very important for survival and constant sustainable improvement in the products and innovation. Basically forming teams of people with different specialties and from different functional groups and making them work on a new product makes everyone sure that all kind of information and knowledge will be condensed to come up with the best product that makes sure that all kind of questions and shortcomings are taken care of and the end product is simply awesome. Blackberry has had this kind of a structure but a lot of stress is on the justification and not on coming up with ideas. When brainstorming sessions are up it is believed that people should not be discouraged and whatever is come up with it should be analyzed and respected. US companies are usually known to underestimate others ideas and following the Japanese model of innovation these creative companies can become much better future proof market players.
Today Blackberry commands a huge share in the markets worldwide as discussed before it has about 20 % of the share of the smart phones market in the world only taken over by Nokia’s Symbian which is a completely forgotten and quickly dwindling platform. While in America Blackberry has over 40% of the market share being the biggest smart phone developer and producer. Americans love innovation, rather all the developed world loves innovation and it is one of the ways to diversify themselves and differentiate from others. They want to associate with the new products and stand out with people and let the brands and products do the talking for them. An enterprise worker and someone who wants to associate with the suit up corporate culture loves blackberry for their productivity, efficiency and how it keeps them connected with the emails and correspondence from their friends, home and work email and how it helps them stay ahead of others. Competition is for sure is coming up and brewing their best to compete and challenge the goliath i.e. Blackberry to steal the hood of email and corporate culture winner that a blackberry always has and always will be. Blackberry needs to make sure that it constantly innovates and gives the people added value for what it is worth and make sure that it keeps offering services, added value and come back offers so as to keep it consumers attached and asking for more. Apple has been predicted by many to come up on top in 2011 and the market share is growing as more and more people wait for iPhone OS 4 and iphone 4g I think it is a good opportunity for blackberry to come up with its RIM OS 6 which is expected to debut soon in the new phones. As iPhone demand goes down because people wait for the new phone, this is the right time to take back the throne of greatness and make sure that its size and part of the pie in the total environment keeps growing. Government and Political situation world over is very important for market player and technology company as the prices can vary a lot over that time limit. The blackberry needs to learn from government’s technological innovations and programs world over where ever it may be working to incorporate certain innovations and newness into its products so as to be sure that it is giving the best to its users. Another problem can be policies and barriers set up by governments like taxes and special speculations that can create hurdles for the company, this is also where innovation can play a big role to pursue and make sure that it stays the best and the constantly innovating company can be sure that it innovates its processes and production types and hardware to avoid such barriers and work things around to keep its share growing in the market and stay acting as the king of the cell phone industry.
From this discussion we learn that innovation is a useful tool no matter what situation or type of condition a company is. Blackberry has used the environment and other tools to its benefit no matter what the situation by using the tool of innovation to make its products and personal processes within the company better.
Innovation, Blackberry and the future:
Innovation is the guiding force of today’s industrial growth plans. It is the process which detail and dictates the processes to guide the company into the tracks of future. Google has guided many of the life changing and life disrupting innovation of today. Augmented reality is one of the guiding innovations of today that many mobile and mobile subscription companies are trying to accommodate. Reality augmentation services let you feel and converse with your environment like never before. According to Arthur (2010) the future of the world and our daily lives is about to change. We will be in contact with our surrounding and the predisposition that the web scape is a complete world online with a different life and different feel and once you are engrossed into it you cannot be taken out or get a with drawl from it. It won’t be true anymore because everything we want and everything online will be mixed with the reality offline. We will point our devices to a physical reality and it will be the reality of our physical world. So basically it would bring some of the online to our physical world and some of our physical to the online world. This is the future to go and all companies today are working towards encompassing this kind of innovation in their devices to make them a success and bringing something new for the consumer. Google with Android and Apple with their OS are trying to accommodate as many of the technologies in their devices as possible. For survival and constant growth RIM 6 the OS for blackberries should also accommodate these techs and innovations to make sure that the future is secure and sustainable.
As a concluding statement all that can be said is that the only thing constant today is change. Change is for sure and will keep on coming and going. Blackberry with is already very innovative services should innovate as much as possible and accommodate change and newness and experimentation on daily basis to succeed and increase the margins and profits that they can earn.
Dignan, Larry. (2009). Rim’s blackberry, apple iphone rule smartphone roost. Retrieved from http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/smartphones/?p=190
Rysavy, Peter. (2009, december). Air pressure: why it must sort out app mobilization challenges. Retrieved from http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/business/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222000504
halevy, Ronan. (2007, february 17). The History of rim & the blackberry smartphone, part 2: the black & . Retrieved from http://www.berryreview.com/2009/02/17/the-history-of-rim-the-blackberry-smartphone-part-2-the-black-white-years/
McKeown, Max (2008). The Truth About Innovation. London, UK: Prentice Hall
Nonaka, Ikujira. (1995). The Knowledge-creating company: how japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. New york, USA: Oxford Press.
Arthur, Charles. (2010, march 21). Augmented reality: it’s like real life, but better. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/21/augmented-reality-iphone-advertising