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Will the Cloud Produce Another Kodak Moment?

Sad news this morning as we hear that Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 in the US. Founded over 120 years ago, at it's height in the 1970's and 1980's Kodak owned 90% of film sales, and 85% of camera sales in the US.

However, the business failed to evolve and innovate fast enough as the market transitioned from traditional film-based photography to digital. It's not that the Kodak management didn't see the change, they put a huge amount of investment into turning the business around and by 2005 Kodak were the No.1 seller of digital cameras in the US. However, they failed to anticipate the commoditisation of this market, as well as the transition from standalone cameras to smartphones (the best camera is the one you have on you).

The lesson I take from this is that the new digital and internet age has created a wildly dynamic marketplace. Pre-Internet it took decades, if not centuries, to build up the infrastructure and market reach of a global company. The barrier to entry was high for start-ups. But today, an Evernote, or a Dropbox can be selling in every market in the world with highly innovative products within days - highly disruptive.

I get excited about the contact centre market we're in. It is populated by large global companies who have on-premise business models from a past age. As a cloud business we are able to innovate faster, and be in every market in the world without the need for warehouses, distribution centres or retail outlets. We have a very clear vision of how contact centre technology will be delivered in the future, and it will be interesting to see whether the big players can get there in time.

I'm sad for the passing of Kodak, but I'm more excited by what it means.
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