Case Detail

Case Summary

Rand McNally: Navigating the Wireless Landscape

Case Number: 5-104-038, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL103

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Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Ben Cooley; Jeff Crouse; James Dougan; John Johnson; Kumar Venkataraman; Shun Zhang

Key Concepts

Disruptive Technologies, Market Opportunity Analysis, Partnerships, Ecosystems, Industry Analysis, Telematics, Wireless Networking, Organizational Design, Restructuring


Chris Barnett, director of global business solutions for Rand McNally, was deliberating how Rand McNally should respond to the emergence of wireless technologies for its traditional business of providing static maps and route planning services. As maps became electronic, interactive, mobile, and enhanced with value-added features, Rand McNally’s mapping business was gravely threatened. Yet, the opportunities for Rand McNally weren’t obvious, and the pace at which wireless technology would disrupt its traditional business was also unclear. Chris was considering three opportunities: syndicate Rand McNally’s brand and mapping content to popular Web sites, become a provider of value-added services to businesses, or focus on automobile manufacturers and try to forge relationships for providing in-car mapping services. What kind of technology, organizational, and sales force restructuring would be required to align Rand McNally’s organization with the new environment? Should Rand McNally jump aggressively into the wireless business, or should it take a “wait-and-watch” approach?

Number of Pages: 23

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing, Strategy, Technology

Geographic: USA, Midwest

Industry: Mapping, Printing

Organization Name: Rand McNally

Organization Department: Business Development

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: Sr. VP, Global Business Solutions

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2000