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  • Henry Haugland

What Color is Your Ocean?


W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s “Blue Ocean Strategy” describes the challenges companies face when they allow themselves to become mired in bloody competition where prices, margins, market share, and relevancy are all under attack. Companies drowning in their “red oceans” typically respond by incremental tweaks to their business model. The alternative is to adopt a “blue ocean” strategy which makes competition irrelevant.


If your survival thus far in the pandemic has been driven by a company culture that embraces innovative value for customers and a workforce passionately committed to doing what they can to make the business successful, chances are that you have evolved a “blue ocean” culture.


However, it would be unusual not to have a portion of your business mired in “red oceans”: brutal competition, shrinking margins, narrow competitive differentials, and fickle customers. It is likely that some of your survival actions were reactions to these rapidly evolving conditions.


The challenge now is to determine what to do with the expedient decisions that made sense several months ago. Tactics used to gain revenue as markets were melting down may not support your present vision. Survival strategies are nearly always “red ocean” strategies and can be an anchor that impedes future growth.

If you are adept at creating “blue ocean” strategies” chances are that your company has a strong data culture. As discussed in a prior post, IDC research shows that companies with a strong data culture produce greater revenue, profit, margins, employee retention and customer retention versus peer companies that have weaker data cultures.


If you feel the rising red ocean waves, take a hard look at your data culture. Data is the language that describes what is to be done, why, and enables measurement of success. Data culture enables and re-enforces your overall enterprise culture.


A vital part of your data culture are the tools you use to understand what is happening across your business. There is a growing C-suite demand for dynamic dashboards that allow a holistic view across all elements of a business in real-time. The insights gained can have a profound impact on developing a “blue ocean” future.