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The corporation operates in the telecommunications industry. BlackBerry is also popular for the manufacture of wireless equipment. The global headquarters of the company are at Waterloo, Ontario. However, the company has…
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Table of Contents: Executive Summary…………………………………………………………………...………2 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………3 Table of Contents Sources of Competitive Advantage 3
How the organization’s current structure, culture, and core competencies could be improved 5
Innovation 6
Appropriate Human Resource Management Policies 7
Economic Factrors 8
Global factors 8
Building and Sustaining a Business Strategy for the Company 9
Proposing Strategic Changes 12
Conclusion 13
Refrences………………………………….………………………………..………………...12
Appendix………………………………………………………………………………...…...13
Executive Summary
BlackBerry is a Canadian company that was founded in 1984. The corporation operates in the telecommunications industry. BlackBerry is also popular for the manufacture of wireless equipment. The global headquarters of the company are at Waterloo, Ontario. However, the company has offices in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. BlackBerry Company launched smartphones in 1999. In stock exchange, the company is listed as “BBRY” on the NASDAQ and “BB” on the Toronto Stock Exchange. BlackBerry was formerly recognized as Research In Motion Limited. BlackBerry has attained global popularity as a major provider of wireless solutions to the global market of mobile communications.
BlackBerry Company has a vision of continuously providing wireless solutions sufficient to satisfy the needs of the global mobile communications market. The company has a mission of improving information access through the realization of innovative ideas. BlackBerry Company has several strategic objectives. The company aims to ensure the durability of its products. This entails production of commodities, which can withstand the wear and tear of constant usage. Attaining long battery life for its mobile phone products also forms part of its strategic objectives. BlackBerry Company also has a goal of achieving profitability from its operations as soon as 2016. The company aims to retain its respectable market position and recognition. In this regard, BlackBerry Company aims to guarantee the efficiency of its products, especially for the sake of its high-end clientele. BlackBerry Company has a strategic objective to provide quality products at affordable, competitive prices. Its pricing strategy has been set up in a manner that ensures retention of high quality customers.
This essay will discuss the company’s competitive advantage, its business strategy and the strategic changes that need to be implemented, so as to achieve its organisational goals.
Introduction
BlackBerry is a telecommunication company based in Waterloo since its foundation in 1984 (Kao, R. et al., 2011). This company was founded by Mike Lazard’s and Douglas Fregin, and operates as Research in Motion in the formal circles, although it is better known as BlackBerry (BlackBerry, 2014). The entity was well known for its production of pagers, functioning as a leading producer of high-end communication devices for more than two decades The BlackBerry was the first pager that could execute a dual way mode of communication. Since 1999, BlackBerry thrived on its introduction of durable smartphones to suit the intense Internet demand. The company operates under the brand symbol “BB” and “BBRY” under the Toronto stock exchange and NASDAQ respectively (Afuah & Tucci, 2003). The company has however not always had a successful streak in operations. This paper seeks to understand the Research in Motion entity, drawing from its mission, vision, objectives and structure to understand its
Sources of Competitive Advantage
BlackBerry operates in the communications industry. This industry is intensely dynamic, making competition extremely stiff and exerting further demands on all participants. In the case of BlackBerry, the main competition has come from Apple Inc., another producer of telecommunications devices. Apple focuses on the production of android devices, which is a direct attack on BlackBerry’s products. In addition to the dominance by Apple, BlackBerry has to compete with Samsung this is especially on the global scale, where Samsung tends to target all market segments and thus presents problems for BlackBerry.
Due to this stiff competition in the industry, it becomes necessary therefore to have a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage enables an organisation to have an edge over the competition (Johnson & Evers, 2005). It therefore serves to keep excess competition off. Most of the successful companies usually have a strong competitive advantage. Research inn motion have for a long time been able to perform well financially till recently. This can be attributed to the ability of the company to keep competition and having a well-differentiated product.
The main competitive advantage for BlackBerry is the durability of its products, especially the time span that the battery for its devices lasts (Lazaridis & Trust, 2010). The hardware of the phones produced by Research in motion has always been outstanding when one considers the quality of their hardware. While other smartphones have always been associated with a short battery life, the company has been able to ensure that the handsets produced use the minimum power possible, so that the battery can stay longer (Kang, 2009). This is in comparison to other devices like Apple Inc.’s phones, which rarely last more than six hours in continuous use. For a long time, the company ignored any other objectives in its marketing plan, hoping that the strategy would enable them to overcome all competitors.
In addition, the company has produced a competitive advantage by maintaining a high level of efficiency. Its devices are highly efficient and this has ensured they maintain their position as the only service provider to governments in the G7 this goal has been achieved by maintaining its durability, and enhancing the security of its device usage. By doing this, the company seeks to protect its position in the market (Kao, R. et al., 2011). The company is aware that it is essential for market leaders to strive and maintain their leadership position
Moreover, the company designs products that satisfy customer needs, yet they can be accessed at affordable prices (Allen et. al, 2010). The company has been able to master the ability to know the customer needs and then produce devices that are able to satisfy those needs. The target market of research in motion is the business executives and other high profile people. Most of the applications that are designed for usage by blackberry phones suit this class.
The company has made partnerships in the market to facilitate the achievement of this objective. These partners include Foxconn, which is a telecommunications company based in Indonesia (Haig, 2011). The company sufficiently supply BlackBerry with hardware, and the latter will produce high quality software and services. This arrangement enables the company to make these devices available at lower prices to the customer.
BlackBerry also has most of its loyal customers in significant organizational and civic positions, which makes it easier to sell high end products (Johnson & Evers, 2005). Other strengths for this company include the fact that it was the pioneer of the modern android devices. Although the first mover advantage has long lost effect, the company could take advantage of it for future ventures (Afuah & Tucci, 2003).
How the organization’s current structure, culture, and core competencies could be improved
BlackBerry’s organizational structure and formal design has dramatically transformed in the last one-year. This change took place as a result of its apparent failure, and the possibility that it needed to be acquired by another firm to survive. Previously, the organization was run by two CEOs, who were the co-founders of the firm. Balsillie worked as the company’s corporate image representative. Lazardis, on the other hand, was concerned with the technical functioning of the organization. However, after Balsillie and Lazaridis exited the firm as CEOs, a new structure now exists.
The firm is running by one CEO, John Chen, a board chairman and several directors (BlackBerry, 2014). Eliminating the two CEOs is expected to provide a better decision-making process for the entity. The company adopts both a functional and divisional organizational structure. Therefore, under the CEO, the firm has ten main departments and middle level managers. While these managers operate under the CEO, the firm also has managers in charge of the European Region, Australia and New Zealand (BlackBerry, 2014).
The combination of these structures presents an advantage to the organization, as managers are able to concentrate on specific roles without worrying about functional roles (Kao, R. et al., 2011). However, the structure may also present a problem for the organization (Castaldo, 2012). This is due to the problems in establishing proper communication structures and clear spans of authority (Plunkett, 2010). Once the formal structure fails to cater for these problems, the employees may encounter problems like contradicting instructions (Afuah & Tucci, 2003). This culminates in poor productivity, low teamwork and eventually reduces revenue and profits.
However, there is stillroom for further improvement. It is apparent that Research in motion has lost its former glory (Castaldo, 2012). There are some aspects about the firm that needs to be addressed so as to ensure that the company is able to bounce back to where it belongs. Some of the most important improvements that are necessary are as discussed.
Innovation
Research in motion is in a very challenging industry. The technology industry is a very dynamic one. There are always news and better products being produced and the industry keeps on evolving quite rapidly. Companies that survive in this industry have to be very innovative and come up with original products that satisfy the needs of the consumers. The company should invest in its research and development department, which will ensure that they are not left behind when it comes to producing new technologies. They should also be in a position to attract and retain top talent, which will ensure more creativity in the company.
Appropriate Human Resource Management Policies
The company needs to come up with better human resource policies (Chen, 2013). Human resource is very vital in the technology industry (Kang, 2009). Due to the fact that the industry keeps on changing, employees needs to be motivated so as to come up with innovations necessary to steer the company forward. Such policies should be in a position to attract and retain top brains in the industry.
Company’s Culture
The culture of research in motion at the moment seems to be bureaucratic in nature (Nakamura, & Sharma, 2003). This is the most inappropriate culture for an organisation is a dynamic and changing business environment (Johnson & Evers, 2005). The culture of the organisation needs to change to allow room for communication and innovation. The management should try to have a less power distance and allow an open door policy (Afuah & Tucci, 2003).
Economic Factrors
Analysis of the world’s economic uncertainties is plausible for the Black Berry company if it projects a more successful future. In the face of seasonal fluctuations in the global market for products and services, Black Berry has to be worry of their future presence in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market. As such, there is need for sustainable advancements in innovation and value addition to their finished products (Kontes, 2010). Such innovations should also encompass relationship within and with its supply chain that extends across and throughout its product’s life cycle. The company is poised to face stiff competition from other giant mobile devices providers in the markets such as U.S-based Apple IPhone and Korean Samsung, among others. Strategic planning for the company’s long-term production, marketing and profiteering is inevitable. Such planning, if embraced, would mean seeking and considering all the stakeholder’s views in planning and decision making for economic advantage over prospective competitors dealing in similar products and services (Greenhalgh & Rogers, 2010).
Global factors
The ultimate success of Black Berry Company depends almost entirely on the dynamic global factors including climate change, peace and security, global recession, global political stability and socio-cultural variations across different regions (Mathur, 2010). These factors have both negative and positive influence on not only Black Berry but also other similar companies. Since it is a multinational company, Black Berry’s production processes and marketing of the company’s products is likely to affect and get effects from the global economic and environmental condition (Unhelkar, 2011). Considerations for global environmental concerns have become prerequisites for any company seeking to attain economic prowess and advantage over others. For instance, Black Berry ought to put in place, adequate measures for mitigating likely impacts of their products along their life cycles (Unhelkar, 2011). Such strategies should also encompass viable and or relevant Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) interventions meant for the benefit of its global supply chain and linkages.
Building and Sustaining a Business Strategy for the Company
A business strategy is a plan that guides a firm’s operations in order to achieve its goals by providing value to the customers and other stakeholders through a sustainable product offering. There are six core elements of a business strategy. Some of them include: markets, purpose, resources, products and services, business system configuration, and responsibility and accountability.
Every business must have a purpose. The purpose of an organisation is to articulate by its vision and mission statements (Kazmi, 2009). These two statements are very vital since they guide the members of an organisation in achieving the goals of the organisation. The vision of Research in motion is well communicated on its website (Chen, 2013). This is aimed at providing solutions to the global telecommunications network, including the software that allows the BlackBerry Smartphone to provide mobile access to email, applications, media and the Internet. However, the organization has consistently failed to make a definite mission statement. If BlackBerry has an internal mission statement, it has not made it known to the public. However, analysts have developed a spectrum of the company’s mission and come up with common mission statements (Tubbs Gillett, 2011). The most articulate mission statement for BlackBerry is stated as:
“BlackBerry is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market (Vera, 2014). Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, text messaging (SMS and MMS), Internet and intranet-based applications” The mission of this company depicts the nature of their operations and their main areas of focus (Allen et. al, 2010). These operations focus on creation of not only software and hardware for communication, but also an attempt to make access to information easier (Haig, 2011). When studied objectively, the mission statement of this company plays a very basic role. It only makes the goals of the organization clearer, failing to give any inspiration to the employees in the accomplishment of these goals.
However, the mission statement is sufficient in helping the organization set its objectives. The strategy of the organization centres on the mission statement, thus making the general direction for BlackBerry clearer. As management takes the organization through various phases in the market, it might be forced to change the mission statement to aid in the accomplishment of new goals.
Resource is the other element of a business strategy that is concerned with allocation of resources by the management (Kang, 2009). The company has not been efficient in allocation of resources. When the business was doing well, the management ought to have made use of the excess income in activities like acquisitions. This would have ensured growth in research and development activities so as to create new innovations (Kao, R. et al., 2011). With the changes in management, the allocation of resources might improve as the company seeks to cut costs and launch new products.
Business configuration refers to the infrastructure of the company and the way that a given firm does business (Mittal & Gupta, 2010). The business configuration of research in motion is changing in order to bring back the era of profitability (Matt, 2014). The firm has undertaken several steps towards this by contracting manufacturing to cheaper countries like Indonesia. There have been considerable changes in the management too.
A product is the other element of a business strategy. For a long time, the company has been producing some of the best smartphones in the world, which resulted to a great brand loyalty from its customers. Over time however, competition has taken a large portion of the company’s market share. To respond to this, the company is in the process of launching new products so as to compete with the industry leaders such as Apple and Samsung. BlackBerry also has further opportunity in introducing its own tablet. The best approach would be to set lower prices for it, greater capabilities and maintain its durability. This would ensure that the device was effective and performed well in the market (Kazmi, 2009).
A company should constantly assess its market, so as to ensure that the customer needs are satisfied and at the same time be in a position to know new developments and trends. The largest market for Blackberry has been the upper market, especially in the Northern American region and Europe (Haig, 2011). There are other potential markets for the company (Chen, 2013). The greatest opportunity for BlackBerry lies in exploring alternative regions that will give it a first mover advantage. Countries such as India only have companies like Nokia as the dominant entities (Castaldo, 2012). This Company is yet to specialize in Android devices, thus giving BlackBerry an opportunity to dominate. For instance, if the BlackBerry Z3 was introduced in Asian countries, it would immediately dominate as other android companies have not been so keen on this market (Mabe, 2005).
Finally, the last element in a business is strategy responsibility and accountability (McQueen, 2010). This is concerned with identification of the people who are responsible for the implementation of the strategic plan (Allen et. al, 2010). The company has a well laid out organisation structure, and each member of the organisation has a role they play to ensure that the goals of the organisation are achieved (Kang, 2009).
Proposing Strategic Changes
Strategic changes refer to the changes in the marketing and organisation structure, so as to ensure the success of the organisation in achieving its goals and objectives. Research in motion needs to undertake several changes so it can return back to profitability. Some of the changes that need to be implemented are as discussed.
First, the organisation needs to lengthen its product line downwards. The company has been making firms that target the high-end market. However, there is a very high competition in these markets from other larger firms such as Apple and Samsung. It should produce products for the lower market. The company has a great brand name that is easily recognised, and thus, this might result to success.
Research in motion also requires widening its product mix (Sweeny, 2009). This can be done by targeting more institutional customers such as governments and large corporations with its products. It has a massive experience with such clients, which will help it penetrate the market faster than any of its competitors (Johnson & Evers, 2005).
The company should also observe the trends in the mobile phones market at the moment. The market now prefers smartphones that have a touch sensitive screens rather than the QWERTY keypad that most blackberry phones have. The company should also form partnerships with firms that will help it increase its market share. One of the companies that have a great potential to help the firm is google, with its android operating system, that is quite popular in the market at the moment among smartphone users (Chen, 2013). Microsoft with its windows might also help the firm in product diversification.
Conclusion
BlackBerry has come a long way to achieve the position it holds in the telecommunications market today. Recently, the company showed risky signs of having reached its decline stage. However, BlackBerry’s analysis shows that some changes in its market approach and management could help revive the company (Castaldo, 2012). The company will require slight changes in the nature of their mission and vision, as these have an intense effect on their capabilities. Their mission statement needs to inspire employees towards achieving their strategic goals. BlackBerry will have to overcome threats like substitutes and competitors like Apple Inc. In addition, the company should consider exploring markets like Asia, where they will have the first mover advantage. Finally, BlackBerry’s change of corporate structure may be its path to restoring profitability. The change will inspire new ideas and a modern approach, which in turn will change employee operations and boost profitability.
References
Afuah, A. & Tucci, C. L. (2003). Internet Business Models and Strategies: Texts and Cases. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Allen, S., Graupera, V. & Lundrigan, L. (2010). Pro Smartphone Cross-Platform Development: iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Media, and Android Development and Distribution. New York: Apress.
Atlantique Telecom, Emitac Mobile Solutions and RIM Introduce the BlackBerry Solution in Niger. (n.d.). - Press Releases. Retrieved July 26, 2014, from http://press.blackberry.com/press/2010/pressrelease-4714.html
BlackBerry. (2014). BlackBerry. Retrieved June 2014, from The Official Board: http://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/research-in-motion
Castaldo, J. (2012). How management has failed at RIM. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from Canadian Business: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/technology-news/how-management-has-failed-at-rim/
Chen, J. (2013). BlackBerry: The way forward. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101300396
Greenhalgh, C., & Rogers, M. (2010). Innovation, intellectual property and economic growth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Haig, M. (2011). Brand Success: How the World’s Top 100 Brands Thrive and Survive. London: Kogan Page.
Hislop, D. (2008). Mobility and technology in the workplace. London: Routledge.
Johnston, C. J. & Evers, R. (2005). Professional BlackBerry. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishers.
Kang, Y. (2009). Real Option Valuation of Product Innovation. Diplomica Verlag.
Kao, R. et al. (2011). Beginning BlackBerry 7 Development. New York: Apress.
Kazmi, S. (2009). Marketing Management: Text and Cases. New Delhi: Excel Books India.
Kontes, P. W. (2010). The CEO, strategy, and shareholder value: Making the choices that maximize company performance. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Lazaridis, M. & Trust, K. (2010). The Power of a Great Idea. Halifax, N.S.: Killam Trusts.
Mabe, D. (2005). BlackBerry Hacks. Sebastopol, California: O’Reilly.
Mathur, U. C. (2010). Global business strategies: Text and cases. New Delhi: I K international.
Matt, B. (2014). BlackBerry loses its bread and butter as Bold and Curve sales finally collapse. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from BlackBerry.: http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/28/BlackBerry-q4-bb7-collapse
McQueen, R. (2010). BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research in Motion. Toronto: Key Porter.
Mittal, K., & Gupta, S. (2010). BlackBerry for work: Productivity for professionals. New York: Apress.
Nakamura, Y. & Sharma, C. (2003). Wireless Data Services: Technologies, Business Models, and Global Markets. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Plunkett, J. W. (2010). Plunkett’s Telecommunications Industry Almanac 2011: Telecommunication Industry Market Research, Statistics, Trends, and Leading Companies.
Simmons, C. (2004). How to do everything with your BlackBerry (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Osborne.
Sweeny, A. (2009). BlackBerry planet: The story of Research in Motion and the little device that took the world by storm. Mississauga, Ont: John Wiley & Sons Canada.
Tubbs, G., & Gillett, T. (2011). Harvesting the BlackBerry: An Insiders Perspective. . Wheatmark Inc.
Unhelkar, B. (2011). Green IT Strategies and Applications: Using Environmental Intelligence. New York: CRC Press.
Vera, A. (2014). BlackBerry fighting for attention. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from Operations Management & Business Issues in Todays Competitive Environment : http://opsmgt.edublogs.org/
Appendix A
Our group did the report exactly on the basis of “ Tuckman Stages of Team Development Model” (infed.org, 2005). And as it mentioned, we have been through five stages, as in “forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning”. Our team leader gathered members to meetings. Even though we had conflicts during meetings, we came into that our research would be about analysing Blackberry Inc. from business strategy, structure and culture, and each of us was allocated some tasks. The following went through Tuckman “ Performing” Stage, which is the most important part in the model (infed.org, 2005).
First of all, we looked at Blackberry Inc. mission and vision that belong to purpose which under the “Core Elements for Assessing Business Strategy” group. According to the definition of mission and vision, a perfect mission statement should bring “ethics policies and statements of behaviour or value”, in order to lead the business’s whole direction and activities (Bissonette, 2012). Clearly, Blackberry’s mission does not completely cover those areas, as Kazmi (2009) said, it plays a very basic role. And as a matter of enhance a business strategy, the board of company need to consider rewriting a deeply mission and vision statement. What else, Blackberry should consider its product mix; search a new partner firm like Google to popularize its software (Sweeny, 2009). Secondly, follow the strategic planning process, we started to analyse the company’s strategy. We knew that the company strategy had not adjusted the changing of market to compete ther companies (Castaldo, 2012). In I/E analysis, the Blackberry Inc. internal environment and also the culture of organization, some employees were limited by some company policies (Castaldo, 2012), which made them hard to unite and leaded to failure management. External environment, the company is based on the loyal customers such as governments and leaders and they will keep using this advantage to approach the goal (Chen, 2013). In SWOT, we realized Blackberry’s biggest competitors are both Apple and Samsung. Apple and Samsung are both dedicated in smartphone’s practical applicability and stylish exterior which fields Blackberry should strengthen. In weaknesses, although most product prices from Blackberry are not affordable for some middle class household, the company built connection with hardware factories in developing countries, so that they will reduce the cost and lower the price. And then, Blackberry still have opportunities, for instance, they can into Asian countries to get more comsumers. Last but not least, the business structure. As BlacBerry (2014) organized, the company run by one CEO-John Chen, and CEO runs ten main departments. This kind of structure is regarded as the basic reason why Blackberry sale went down in the past few years because it intently affect the “span of control” and “decision-making control”, which related to management approach in course material (Bissonette, 2012). Furthermore, this poor organization structure resulted in inefficient communication between all hierarchies. Blackberry needs to create the most effective and efficient business system.
On the other hand, there are some aspects we should improve. We were focused on analysing the Blackberry Inc. with business strategy such as business purpose and I/E analysis, which is not enough. As the beginning of the paper mentioned, this project is to get Blackberry’s competitive position, but we can give a comprehensive understanding only if we can also cover supply chain and operations and so on.
In conclusion, Blackberry is facing a giant turning, and it matters to company’s future management and function. I highly think Blackberry need to think about the product innovation, strengthen its competitive advantage opportunities and take care of both external and internal organizations, turn over the situation in the next phase. Read More
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