Lessons Learnt from Companies that Failed To Adapt to the Digital Age

In this digital day and age, technology is king. It is thus not surprising that thriving businesses make technology work to their benefit in order to stay ahead. How can businesses stay afloat as technology continues to develop rapidly? Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, once said, “Longevity in this business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future”. The answer is simple – embrace digital transformation and keep innovating in order to keep moving forward. 

Why is digital transformation important?

​​​​​​​Living in an increasingly digital world where everything is interconnected, digitisation is a must to keep up with business productivity and efficiency. Innovation is the key to successful businesses everywhere; it is quintessential for development and growth to keep up with the times. However, it’s not enough to innovate blindly – much has to be planned out in order for a company’s digital transformation to be a successful one.
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​​​​​​​Learn from others’ mistakes - here, we review and take cues from these brands to see how your company can better adapt to our increasingly digitalised society.
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​​​​​​​Kodak

​​​​​​​Once a global icon, Kodak has become a poster child for it’s failure to reinvent itself. A giant in film photography, Kodak was slow to latch on to the digital trend. It thus went obsolete as technology continued to improve digital photography by leaps and bounds. Analysts identified Kodak’s top reason for demise to be the inability to truly embrace the new business models that disruptive change opens up.
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​​​​​​​Lesson learnt: Have an enterprise mindset that is open to change and be flexible so as to adapt your business design to changing conditions. Medium urges companies to be prepared to shift from protecting your company’s competitive advantages to making change radical and revolutionary. Remember that you have to change with the times or you’ll just get left behind. 
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​​​​​​​Ford

​​​​​​​American car company Ford created a new segment called Ford Smart Mobility in 2014 with the aim to build digitally-enabled cars with enhanced mobility. However instead of building this segment into their business, Ford Smart Mobility was a standalone entity. As Ford heavily invested in its new venture, they faced issues in other areas of their company and saw their stock price drop dramatically.
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​​​​​​​Lesson learnt:
Integrate digital solutions into the rest of the company instead of focusing on something totally new. Raconteur highlights that this case study shows the importance of a unified approach, and how it is necessary to embrace transformative strategies throughout the organisation.
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​​​​​​​Nike

​​​​​​​Sportswear giant Nike also faced its own fair share of setbacks, including a digital transformation failure with the launch of their new business unit, Nike Digital Sport in 2010. Nike Digital Sport was created to take the lead on digital initiatives and scale new technological capabilities for the business. Nike then launched an innovative wearable FuelBand, an activity tracker, two years later – with Nike Digital Sport technology, wearers could have access to detailed statistics when wearing their FuelBand. However, due to the lack of internal expertise on the data collected, Nike decided to partner with Apple and focus on being a software provider instead.
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​​​​​​​Lesson learnt: To prevent your company from following in the footsteps of Nike, always make sure that there is a well-defined transformation plan and data analytics platform in place to support the digital transformation rollout. 
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​​​​​​​So what can we learn from companies like Kodak, Ford and Nike? The basics are simple, yet often easily overlooked. While innovation is key to moving forward, be sure not to jump blindly into digital transformation without proper planning and being well-prepared. These companies learnt the hard way so you don’t have to.
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​​​​​​​Not sure how to start on digitisation and digital transformation? We’re here to help. At Canon, innovation is the heart of our business. We’re constantly creating and improving both hardware and software solutions to help your business in its business transformation journey – coupled with a dedicated service team that is able to provide advice and support as well. Read How to Ease Your Company’s Transition Towards Digitisation to find out how Canon can help your business!
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