BlackBerry is being pegged as a failing company for enterprise and more. However, BlackBerry is likely the best positioned company to actively attack the Internet of Things web-connected market.
BlackBerry’s new COO, Marty Beard, sees this as the company’s next big plan of action through mobile phones, to connected cars and medical machines. Mr. Beard’s position with BlackBerry is to sell its software to their target market of government, financial, health care and energy sectors.
Beard, and the rest of BlackBerry’s executive team attended the company’s BlackBerry Security Summit 2014 where they answered reporter’s questions. The Wall Street Journal published an edited transcript of Beard’s interview during the Q&A session:
What is your day-to-day role with the company?
I’m going to be involved in everything from marketing, to the way we’re manufacturing, to the way we’re selling solutions, bringing in enterprise application partners and customer support, which will become increasingly important as we move deeper into the enterprise. Our goal is to be as efficient as possible.
What’s your first priority?
Making sure the operational efficiency around product launches is as tight as it can be. We’ve got a very busy fall coming up… in terms of new devices and software. I’ve got to make sure the connection between all of our groups is as efficient as possible, but we need to be flexible and more nimble because mobile moves so fast. We see opportunity and we have the assets and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you bring them together as quickly as possible.
What does BlackBerry need to get back to being iconic?
We need to meet operation goals, which is to be cash flow positive by the end of next year (and profitable by the end of 2016). Then we have to be successful selling into verticals, to be able to show customers as references. Then comes broader growth. It’s an execution challenge, but the brand equity in the enterprise is there.
What are your thoughts on the Apple-IBM partnership?
It highlights that enterprise mobility is important. It takes a lot of work to make those successful. The market is enormous, so even if they are wildly successful, there’s a huge market. Obviously it’s competition, but that doesn’t mean they win 100% of the market.
Some would see it as a risk to go to a company that has struggled. Why join BlackBerry?
No. I have extremely high confidence we will meet the operational goals. Let’s say you join a company at the top of mountain, and all you try to do is stay at the top of the mountain. They’re are risks associated with that. Staying at the top is not a no-brainer. Over the last five to 10 years, we’ve seen incredible whipsaws in mobility. There will be more [market leader changes] and we can’t predict exactly which ones there will be. So there is risk in transforming yourself, but there is also a huge opportunity in the direction we’re going. I love when people think something is done or that you’ve lost A, B, or C. I’m very competitive so I love that challenge. I think that we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.