Why Blackberry Is Too Slow and Unfit to Compete


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There’s lots of buzz happening around the new Blackberry BBM app, but is this another late attempt to get back into the smartphone market?

The free Blackberry app reached 20 million downloads in its first week post launch and the masses are talking. Yet, it’s unclear how it will have a sales impact for the company.

Still, Blackberry is celebrating: “We had hoped for a smashing success and we’ve had one,” said company spokeswoman Victoria Berry.

Earlier this year there were rumors suggesting Blackberry wasn’t going to be around much longer, and with other text messaging applications like WhatsApp and Kik already dominating the text messaging space, some question Blackberry’s Speed to Intelligence.

According to a recent report titled: Ready, Set, Compete: How to Gauge Your Company’s Speed to Intelligence, every employee has the potential to make their company more competitive, but not all employees get the insights they need to compete fast enough.

In today’s digital era, most employees are left in the dark because information is managed in a disjointed, incomplete, and inconsistent fashion, causing companies like Blackberry to move slowly when threats and new market opportunities arise.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Oracle revealed that 93% of executives believe their organization is losing revenue – on average, 14% annually – as a result of not being able to fully leverage the information they collect.

Innovation requires companies to be constantly aware of the market, competitors, and upcoming cues or trends impacting a company’s ability to compete. Many employees agree competitive insights are important, but most never get the insights in time.

For Blackberry, being aware of their market and competitors didn’t seem to be a priority until it was flat-out too late. Just a few years ago, almost everyone owned a BlackBerry and they loved it, whether it was for work or play. Blackberry was an industry leader commanding a global market share of 20 percent in 2009, but eventually the large smartphone company lost favor among its raving fans as Apple and Samsung/Google phones gained popularity. Since then, Blackberry’s market share dropped to a current 2.9 percent. Could the new BBM app mean Blackberry is still in the game? Or were they too sluggish to respond?

Even though the reasons behind Blackberry’s decline are debatable, it’s clear Blackberry fell out of touch with what was happening around them. And if the competitive insights reached the desk of key executives, it never became actionable enough to drive timely innovation.

If Blackberry learned from their mistakes, they should monitored competing texting applications such as WhatsApp, which has 350 million active monthly users and Kik among other large players in the messaging space. That’s if they want to tap into the instant messaging market. It’ll be interesting to see how Blackberry takes advantage of the nostalgia behind its BBM buzz.

“We still have a few more tricks up our sleeves and I will look to share more with you as we bring new features to BBM in the coming months,” said Andrew Bocking, the BlackBerry executive in charge of BBM.

There’s a lot questions, but not enough answers. But one thing is for sure: Speed to Intelligence matters.

Speed to Intelligence helps companies measure how quickly information is captured, analyzed, distributed and used by knowledge workers in today’s digital era. When intelligence on key topics can be captured and shared easily between knowledge workers, department heads, C-level executives, or even customer-facing employees, Speed to Intelligence becomes a sustainable competitive advantage for the entire enterprise.

If you’re not improving your Speed to Intelligence, companies like Blackberry can weaken and become paralyzed to threats or new growth opportunities from minimal actionable intelligence.

If an organization were a living body, Speed to Intelligence would be the heartbeat. It indicates the rate of collection and distribution of intelligence across all areas, which keeps organizations alive and moving. Like a healthy blood flow to organs and appendages, Speed to Intelligence encourages a healthy information flow to teams and leaders. Not every company will have steady heart rate all the time. Actually, companies should be prepared to switch between Proactive and Reactive rates.

The Proactive Rate is steady with a continuous information flow, which is key for an Early Warning System – a process used to understand and forecast the corporate landscape. This means the organization is…

> Monitoring relevant topics and areas of concern

> Sharing information with other department

> Actively turning information into intelligence

The Reactive Rate is a sudden, adrenaline rush of information. This is often triggered by developing external factors, like an influential law passing, the launch of a disruptive technology, or a new sales opportunity. This means the organization is…

> Pulling information that has already been collected

> Sharing this information to make the best decisions quickly

> Responding to cues to capture new opportunities or defend its position

When organizations monitor their Speed to Intelligence, they quickly realize that:

> Technology can dramatically speed up how people are informed about key developments affecting the business

> Everyone should know where and how to access information for timely day-to-day responses

> Information should always be kept lean by structuring it into digestible formats

> Leaders should have a way to quickly request or use information to make better decisions when assumptions are unclear

If Blackberry had considered this, then the BBM app could have been the preferred text messaging app when iPhone and Blackberry users were scrambling to stay in touch with each other. Instead, Blackberry loyalists became iPhone and Android fans who have gotten their communication fix from other texting apps. Speed to Intelligence proves that everyone has the opportunity to lead as long as they can move fast enough.

Emmanuel Trenche
Emmanuel Trenche is VP of Marketing Communications at clearCi, a competitive intelligence software company that helps businesses get the insights they need to compete. Emmanuel has served as Diversity Chair for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Advertising Federation, and has substantial experience in B2B marketing by working for brands like Wachovia, AT&T and Ecopetrol out of BogotÁ, Colombia.


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