Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blackberry: A Lesson in Strategic Planning

The article, "The Real Value of Strategic Planning" highlights the limitations of a company's formal strategic planning program.  The relevancy of this article to our course of study focuses on the methods that a company can use to increase the benefits of its strategic planning initiatives.  Although a company often develops its best strategies through informal meetings and planning, a well thought out strategic planning strategy can be used to lead a company through significant market upheavals and sudden changes.  One company whose strategic planning failed its growth initiatives is Blackberry.

Blackberry once dominated the smart phone market.  Its strengths included a strong privacy and security platform as well as its keyboard.  Blackberry strategically positioned itself as the market leader in government and corporate business.  It was an early entrant into the industry and enjoyed tremendous market share.  Over time, however, Blackberry was unable to keep a hold of its strong market share and industry leader position.  



Blackberry, did not align its strategic initiatives to a changing maketplace.  New entrants like Apple's iPhone and Samsung's line of smart phones correctly identified new features and applications that its users demanded and developed its R&D and development strategies accordingly.   Meanwhile, Blackberry stubbornly held on to its initial strategy of producing devices that satisfied outdated needs like security and a traditional keyboard.

Strategic planning must be used by corporations to correctly identify trends in the marketplace, new user needs and innovative features.  Blackberry failed to recognize the need for enhanced multimedia capabilities, innovative design and user-demanded applications.  As such, it fell behind in R&D and could not satisfy the changing market landscape.  Blackberry recognized the need to meet the new requirements of the marketplace after many new entrants into the industry had emerged and captured marketshare.  As such, it played catch up to all these new products and suffered catastrophic loss in market share.  Blackberry showed how hard it is to overcome a lack of correct strategic planning and permanently lost users to more innovative brands.

Corporate strategy departments must ask, "At what point is it required for a company to change its fundamental product?"  "What market conditions indicate a need for new features and overhaul of current technologies?"  "Are incremental changes a desired approach to test and meet user needs or is a fundamental overhaul necessary to stay ahead of competition?"

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