Reinvention: Expect the Unexpected

Executive Insights4 minutes readOct 12th, 2021
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The past two years have challenged us all to exceed in the art of the pivot. We have transformed the way we work, interact and connect with one another. Ultimately, it’s made one thing even clearer: change at previously unexpected rates may be inevitable and organizations must view it as ordinary course. We have to expect the unexpected.

Now more than ever, our world demands transformation. Organizations must match or exceed the pace of competition, maximize the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and meet the ever-changing needs of clients.

Reinvent all the time

As business environments rapidly change, organizations must follow suit. In fact, many organizations have reinvented themselves. Here are a few examples:

  • National Geographic published its first magazine in 1888 and was a staple on coffee tables, office desks and waiting rooms everywhere. In fact, it is one of the most widely-read magazines of all time. However, in 1990 the organization began to lose subscribers at a dangerous rate as print began losing traction to digital. In order to remain successful, National Geographic capitalized on digital media by debuting its own online platform and TV channel with cable programming. National Geographic remains a household name by sharing powerful stories on digital platforms that educate, explore and protect the wonders of the world. Today, it has more than 350 million combined followers on its digital platforms.
  • As a result of the pandemic, Walt Disney Company was losing foot traffic at its amusement parks and retail stores. However, the company recognized the importance of building its own streaming platform in order to connect with its customers virtually. Its platform, Disney+, has more than 100 million global subscribers today, competing directly with leading platforms like Netflix. Now, consumers can experience all things Disney in the comfort of their own homes.

Examples of successful reinvention are not common but the consequences are clear if organizations don’t welcome and embrace change. According to the American Enterprise Institute, only 51 companies on the original Fortune 500 list from 1955 were on the list as of May 2020. That’s almost a 90% turnover, with many of these organizations either bankrupt or gone as independent companies due to a merger or acquisition by another company.

Celebrating the Unisys brand

Reinvention has been on my mind. We recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Unisys brand, which was created by the September 1986 merger of Burroughs and Sperry. However, our company is built on more than 145 years of game-changing innovation and has successfully reinvented itself time and time again. As a technology company, Unisys innovations have been changing the world ever since we introduced the first commercially successful QWERTY typewriter in 1873, with subsequent introductions ranging from the first adding-subtracting machine, in 1911, to the ENIAC, the world’s first large-scale digital computer, in 1946. These are just a few examples and you can learn even more about our company’s history and transformation here.

But reinvention is about more than bringing innovation to market. Unisys may still be a technology company, but we are a fundamentally different – and stronger – company than we were just a few years ago. Still think of Unisys as a mainframe company? The Unisys of today no longer sells hardware. ClearPath Forward®, our signature operating environment, is both fully software-enabled and available in the public cloud. We’re now a global IT solutions company that is a leader in digital workplace solutions and cloud markets.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for reinvention. Every successful organization will do it differently, and some will be fortunate to do it several times. But it is imperative that you engage in the process and don’t sit still. Listen to your customers, evolve with market demands and step out of your comfort zone. Expect the unexpected.

Tags-   business strategy IT solutions Transformation


About The Author

Peter Altabef

Peter A. Altabef has served as chair of the board of Unisys Corporation since April 2018, and as CEO of Unisys since January 2015. He also served as president of the company from September 2015 to March 2020.

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