Business Transformations

I’ve always been fascinated by corporate transformations – how companies totally reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive.  Sometimes the original reason or products of the company are no longer relevant and then the owners have to reinvent themselves in order to continue or grow the business.  Of course, we know SM stands for Shoe Mart – and it was selling shoes as its primary ware before it became the all encompassing brand that means almost everything to the Filipino.  Jollibee started off as an ice cream parlor before it became the quintessential fast food company. Nokia has been well in existence since 1865 when it was a pulp mill.  It eventually expanded to rubber, forestry, cable, electricity and electronics business.  It is most well known for its mobile phones, because for a  while, it was the world’s biggest cell phone company.  Now it has transformed itself after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft, and went back to telecommunication infrastructure.

HP used to Hewlett Packard, a manufacturer of scientific instruments and calculator before it went to become a printer company.  Then it bought Compaq and became a dominant personal computer and server company.  IBM  came from the other side.  A hundred years ago, it used to sell cash registers, and tabulating machines,and typewriters, Then Thirty Years ago, it was a computer mainframe company that got almost all its sales from computers ( with services and software bundled in).  Now IBM is no longer International Business Machines, because machines or computers account for less than 10% of its sale.  IBM is primarily a service company that gets almost 90% of its sales from software and services.

Another famous personal computer DELL is famously also reinventing itself.  From a personal computer, it has started buying scores of software, services, and storage companies to transform itself.  Most recently, it bought EMC, a company that is twice its size that is well known for storage, and also with it, a stake in VMware, which is a virtualization software.

It is expected that when this is done. Dell will get less than half of its revenues from personal computers.

The one that fascinated me, and is probably a very bold step is Playboy.  For over 50 years, Playboy is known for one thing – nude women.  Playboy has announced that starting March of 2016, it will stop publishing nude women.  The CEO said that they want to transform the business, because there is so much prevalence and ease of seeing nude women in the internet, that there is no more value in producing that.  They may be right. Last year, they had an experiment.  Playboy.com, their website, stopped publishing nude pictures, and the traffic purportedly shot up from4 million to 16 million unique visitors per month. That is because without nude pictures, their website suddenly become a forum for serious life and business discussions, and many corporations now allow its access from the office.

How about you. How is your business doing?  Do you see any need to reinvent your product or transform your company.  You may need it – because no product is forever.

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