Guest Column | May 27, 2014

A Must-Read: "Blue Ocean Strategy"

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Larry Cecchini, President and CEO of Secure Designs

By Larry Cecchini, President and CEO of Secure Designs

As IT service providers, we are used to competition coming at us from all sides, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it.  For years I’ve searched for inspiring ways to stand out from the crowd.  Then I read Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Rene Maurbogne (published by Harvard Business Review Press, 2005). It hit me like a lightning bolt. It was grounded in fact, quantitatively analyzed, well substantiated — and it validated the path on which we already were on.

The book is based on a study of 150 case histories of company strategies spanning more than 100 years and 30 industries. The authors’ thesis is that companies can succeed not by battling competitors, but rather by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. These strategic moves create a leap in value for the company, its buyers, and its employees, while unlocking new demand and making the competition irrelevant.

I have a marketing background, but Blue Ocean Strategy made me look at marketing afresh: rather than looking at opportunities and identifying potential needs, success lies in understanding the customer perspective, pain points, and decision drivers and driving this focus back into your own organization, no matter how counter-intuitive it seems at the time. The book goes further, tying different concepts together and pointing to what needs to be done in order for the company to work together and deliver a “blue ocean.”

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