Attacking White Space – Identifying Growth Opportunities

This post is continuation of my previous post ‘Attacking White Spaces’. IMHO, this is the least risky among all the three options as we will be focusing more on growth in existing market. As an initial step, I would definitely suggest taking the help of analyst or research firms such as Gartner, Light Reading etc to predict the market growth of your product. For instance, Standalone DPI market is predicted to reach 2$ billion by 2015. Now the real exercise is identifying the source of demand. Firstly we have to identify whether the additional growth is concentrated in a particular geographical region or it is equally distributed. We have to later evaluate our presence in those parts of the world where there is additional growth. By presence, I am referring to the presence of BDMs, Account team, Sales team. Most importantly sales teams connect in those parts of the world are more important as they do the actual selling.

Secondly we have to indentify which market segment(s) (higher-education, service provider and enterprise) will contribute to the overall growth. We have to later evaluate whether our product(s) is positioned to capture those market segment(s). If not, we have to take a quick decision whether to foray into those segment(s). Simultaneously we also have to evaluate our capabilities and competencies to effectively tackle the challenges posed by the new market segment(s).

Finally, we have to drill down our focus to understand how the DPI requirements would take shape in future. We have to make a possible assessment of what customer might require in 2-3 years from now. Here, the inputs obtained from different organization silos are critical in this phase to precisely understand the customer pain points and how their future needs or demands might take shape. To do so, we have to firstly understand the factors that drive the need for DPI and evaluate how those factors can change. We should also think of new factors that might drive the need for DPI. Evaluating all those factors should provide us an approximation of new features/solutions that customer might require in the future. We have to later evaluate the competencies and capabilities of our engineering team to deliver those new features/solutions. We might also have to align with 3rd party vendors to deliver additional solutions. In such cases we have to evaluate the capability of the organization to derive a long standing partnership with those 3rd party vendors.

In the first two cases, we have to factor all the assumptions that were made to forecast growth and later do some due diligence to validate those assumptions. For instance, analyst would have predicted that much of the growth will be contributed by the additional demand for standalone DPI product by service providers in African region. The primary task is to identify the assumptions behind such prediction and later validate those assumptions for their existence. This can be a parallel task done by a group of people as to be wary of such predictions and not to base our product revenue forecast purely on those predictions. We also have to be aware of all the factors (both external and internal to the target customers) that can positively/negatively influence those assumptions. In Telecom sector, regulation/economic growth of the region can be a probable external factor and cash flow of the target customer can be an internal factor as the industry is subjected to huge OPEX and CAPEX.

In forthcoming weeks, i will focus on the following aspects of ‘Attacking White Spaces’:
• Capabilities to create new market – Demand generation
• Unserved vs Overserved market segments

Has Android really changed the dynamics of smartphone market

According to me, there are two tipping points in smartphone market. First tipping point is the arrival of IPhone. Firstly IPhone has changed the perspective of user experience in smartphones and secondly it has paved the way for evolution of apps eco-system. Apple has set a benchmark with respect to apps that success of future smartphone OS lingers on its ability to successfully create an apps eco-system. The second tipping point is Android. Android is definitely a force to reckon with in smartphone market that would otherwise been poised to be dominated by IPhone. Android has given new lease of life for all the handset manufacturers to revive their smartphones portfolio and thereby completely changing the competitive landscape of the smartphone market. Most of the smartphone manufacturers like HTC, Motorola have increased their market share in smartphone market after introduction of Android phones.

Now Android OS being free and Smartphone market being on an exponential growth trajectory, most of the companies that do not have any experience in mobile market are launching smartphones. The list includes Huaweii, Dell, Mindtree and it will keep growing irrespective of the success of the earlier mentioned companies. Everyone wants to have a share of the larger pie to quench their growth requirements. Leaving aside the discussion regarding the ability of those firms to succeed in crowded markets, I can assert that Android is on the path to make the smartphones a mass market product by facilitating flurry of companies enter smartphone market. Had it not been for Android, how anyone would justify the entry of so many players in smartphone market. As always, Google has been a game changer in every segment it enters. As a next wave, I feel that the day is not far off where I can buy my own smartphone hardware and load OS of my choice.