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Charting a Growth Path for Radiant Solutions

Don Schaefer, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Jan 11 2018

In November 2017, I joined Radiant Solutions, a business unit of Maxar Technologies, as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy officer responsible for Strategy, Business Development, Solutions Engineering and Marketing. I previously served as President for MDA Information Systems, which is now part of the combined Radiant Solutions business. 

I believe there are two powerful components driving the potential of Radiant Solutions. One is serving our key customers. Every day, Radiant Solutions reveals geospatial insights to help our government customers keep us safe and to help our commercial customers make business decisions with confidence. The other fundamental element of Radiant Solutions is our unmatched capabilities portfolio. Every day we are driving innovation in multisource data collection and enrichment, big data analytics, open source software, cloud native ground and sensor systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence. All these innovations help our customers better understand and navigate our changing planet.

My job is to chart the path for Radiant Solutions, and to help drive business growth, I have established Account Leaders and Capability Leaders across Radiant Solutions.

To describe these roles, I say that Account Leaders are the hunters and Capability Leaders are the weapons builders of any successful company. Just as hunters are dependent upon their weapons to capture their prey, Account Leaders are dependent upon their company’s capabilities (developed by Capability Leaders) to win an opportunity, penetrate a new market, and leverage the company’s advantage to solve a customer problem in a disruptive and differentiated way. To grow our business, these leaders must work together to find the best solutions for customers.  

Every company—no matter the industry—develops business against a defined “opportunity landscape” of current and potential customers. This is where the Account Leaders do their hunting. They “hunt” by getting to know their customers’ needs and challenges, creating relationships within their customer organizations, understanding what is going well for their customer and what is not, learning what competitors are doing well and those that may be vulnerable, and by scanning the horizon for opportunities that could be captured with the right set of capability weapons. Opportunities are easy to hunt if the available weapons are powerful and the best in the industry, but if the weapons are not, the opportunities are harder to win. This motivates the Account Leader and Capability Leaders to work together so both groups can enhance the weapons to fit customer needs, ultimately making the capabilities more powerful and relevant for the specific customer and others down the opportunity pipeline. Additionally, we want our Account Leaders to seek out and find others who can help them grow their accounts, to engage others from across Radiant Solutions, and across Maxar to begin “hunting in packs” within their accounts, bringing in additional capabilities and staff knowledge and relationships to help their accounts grow.  

Capability Leaders, on the other hand, are focused on developing the next capability weapon and on continually enhancing the ones they already created, because they know the competition is constantly enhancing and evolving their own sets of capability weapons. The best Capability Leaders forge relationships with Account Leaders to better understand the challenges and needs of their customers so they can refine their capabilities to solve those challenges and meet those needs.

When an Account Leader brings a new or refined capability to successfully solve their customer’s challenge, the customer begins to trust the Account Leader more, turning to them more often to solve their most difficult problems. Capability Leaders want customers to successfully use their capabilities to solve their problem. With each successful implementation of their capability weapon, the Capability Leader enhances the reputation of not only the capability weapon, but also their team and the company. Working together, the Account Leader and the Capability Leader can actively grow the business and enhance the reputation of Radiant Solutions across all our customer accounts and the industry.

Are you a potential customer interested in connecting with one of our Account and Capability Leaders? Does the idea of being an Account or Capability Leader peak your interest? If so, contact me at don.schaefer@mdaus.com.