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Disruptive Technologies? For how long has Kodak been brain dead?

Disruptive Technologies? For how long has Kodak been brain dead?

I wrote my first piece on Kodak exactly 35 years ago this month. At the time my research note was extremely negative and I compared Kodak to horse driven coach drivers refusing to see that trains and cars would kill their business. During the period Kodak has been consistently late in adopting new technologies at every single step of the way. If you remember, Kodak tried to use their brand to sell audiotapes in the 80’s, then 5 ¼ computer disks, then diskettes in the 90’s and was very late in entering the digital photography market and when they did it was with poor products at an above market price.

Today Kodak is basically only worth what its IP will fetch. Google’s thirst for IP may act as a floor for the shareholders who did not heed my warning… but what is the link between Kodak and outsourcing?

Outsourcing is truly turning into a superior management tool just as we envisaged. Firms and governments are increasingly questioning their skills and ability to be best at everything and are growing better adept at outsourcing services. But better does not mean good and we see a growing need for solid advice from seasoned experts. For the most part outsourcing remains a young industry and the skills are not taught at school just yet.

Structuring the right transaction, working well for buyer, seller and the stakeholders including personnel remains an art with unique needs by service, industry and country.

This past week we were extremely encouraged when a vote within the London financial services community was overwhelmingly positive toward outsourcing. All firms were active in transforming their operations from infrastructure to systems to front, mid and back office operations in order to survive and hopefully thrive.

Speed, market flexibility and competitive value are fundamental needs of modern corporations and governments. Outsourcing is the “disruptive technology” but it only disrupts those who deserve to be challenged.


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