NEWS ANALYSIS: CEO Thorsten Heins and other executives say Research In Motion is revising its management, culture and product development practices so that the company has the best prospects for reversing its market slide with BlackBerry 10.
ORLANDO, Fla.Mixed in with the drama and hoopla that typically surrounds
BlackBerry World, a steely determination was clearly apparent at the heart of
Research In Motion.
RIM may have been
having parties and the usual giveaways for the faithful at BlackBerry World
here, but its purpose was deadly serious: reverse BlackBerrys decline in the United
States and make the company once again a major player in the world of wireless
devices. To accomplish this, CEO Thorsten Heins said that in effect he had to
remake the company and get rid of what he called consensus without action.
Heins and other RIM executives are working hard to ensure that their
customers and the financial community comprehend the level of commitment at
RIM. And theyre working hard so their customers know that something big is
coming, if only they can wait.
When a company grows as fast as RIM has grownadding 20 thousand people in
three yearsHeins said its hard to stay focused. You want to cover
everything, you lose the efficiency of the organizations, he said. Everything
is an opportunity you want to pursue. There are opportunities that are
challenging and are exciting to do. But he said that trying to do everything
at once ultimately leads to doing less. How well is the organization running?
We have a little fat on the hips, he said. We need to be a lean, mean hunting
Were looking at the management structure. How deep is it? Who is
accountable? Heins said that the management complexity meant that a lot of
things didnt get done, so he revised RIMs management structure to be more
efficient. He noted that where RIM once had four COOs (of which he was one) the
company now has one person in that position. He noted that he is personally
recruiting a new superstar head of marketing, and hes cleaned up the
entrenched bureaucracy in development.
The innovation was there, Heins said, but it needed focus and direction.
We had a too complex management structure in RIM, but we've changed this, and
there are more changes to come.
Heins also noted that some of the rumors surrounding developments at RIM
have been incorrect. He said theyre not abandoning the consumer market. Nor is
RIM turning its back on physical keyboards that have been the RIM hallmark.
BlackBerry 10 devices will have physical keyboards for some but not all
models. Furthermore, RIM is considering licensing BlackBerry OS 10.
In a private interview, RIMs Senior Vice President of Software Product Management
Andrew Bocking said the consumer market is very important to RIM, but that
it isnt the companys core business. For this reason, Bocking said, RIM is
working with partners to deliver the consumer apps and games that those users
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.