Blackberry 10: Revolution?
At LooksCloudy we like to look at how technology impacts consumers more than just vendor PR. Let’s face it, corporate/IT departments make purchasing decisions for entire businesses but they are still people after all. And when ordinary people make consumer cults at their own free will (Apple, Facebook, Zappos, Starbucks, etc) the corporate adoption is never far behind.
One of the most resounding corporate success stories has been Blackberry. At one point it was a device brand so addictive that it was commonly referred as Crackberry. It helped turn email into a realtime messaging platform for some and despite hard times Blackberry is still embedded in many large organizations.
Sure, iPhone and Android have hit Blackberry market share hard over the years and the financial performance has been far from good. Research in Motion has had a massive change in leadership and technical talent to the point that many bet on their demise. But here is the kicker: Company has more cash on hand than it’s worth in the markets. It has a large loyal client base. Today, it announced Blackberry 10 and it wants to look beyond it’s smartphone + keyboard combo.
The Verge has a great video of the new device in action if you’re curious but Blackberry spent a lot of time talking about something that it hasn’t had too much success with: onscreen keyboard. It also talked about Blackberry beyond the phone – in cars for example. Given the performance of the Blackberry tablet it is certainly a risky bet.
This is perhaps the most interesting development this year and an unfolding lesson for those of us in the IT business: Can you take something you’re really famous for and sell your clients the exact opposite just because they like you?
This is interesting because the IT service industry is just at that pivot: We’re profitable and our clients are buying our traditional products – but we also want to sell them stuff that makes us more flexible, profitable and efficient. Take clients that buy tons of customized hardware and get them to lease it. Or go from hardware to the cloud. Or from break fix to the managed services.
Whatever transition your business is going through, paying attention to what Blackberry does and how they do about it will speak volumes. Microsoft has always had a shotgun approach – this is our next and you’re going with it. Microsoft is also a dominant player with lots of dependencies. Blackberry – not so much.
How does a brand and loyalty to the experience transfer as the business undergoes change – time to survey your clients and find out what they really love about you. Then push that message forward.