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It was successful in the sense that it nurtured a number of critical projects which were transferred to the core businesses.In fact, many opportunities NVO identified were too far ahead of their time; for instance, NVO correctly identified “the internet of things” and found opportunities in multimedia health management – a current growth area.While the core business focused on incremental improvements, Nokia’s relatively small data group took up the innovation mantle.
To make matters worse, Symbian exacerbated delays in new phone launches as whole new sets of code had to be developed and tested for each phone model.
While Nokia posted some of its best financial results in the late 2000s, the management team was struggling to find a response to a changing environment: Software was taking precedence over hardware as the critical competitive feature in the industry.
In response, disciplined systems and processes were put in place, which enabled Nokia to become extremely efficient and further scale up production and sales much faster than its competitors.
Between 19, the headcount at Nokia Mobile Phones (NMP) increased 150 percent to 27,353, while revenues over the period were up 503 percent. And that cost was that managers at Nokia’s main development centres found themselves under ever increasing short-term performance pressure and were unable to dedicate time and resources to innovation.
They had to meet the various and growing demands of increasingly numerous and disparate product development programmes without sufficient software architecture development and software project management skills.
This conflictual way of working slowed decision-making and seriously dented morale, while the wear and tear of extraordinary growth combined with an abrasive CEO personality also began to take their toll. Beyond 2004, top management was no longer sufficiently technologically savvy or strategically integrative to set priorities and resolve conflicts arising in the new matrix.
By this stage, Nokia was trapped by a reliance on its unwieldy operating system called Symbian.
While Symbian had given Nokia an early advantage, it was a device-centric system in what was becoming a platform- and application-centric world.
But as I argue in my latest book, “Ringtone: Exploring the Rise and Fall of Nokia in Mobile Phones”, this ignores one very important fact: Nokia had begun to collapse from within well before any of these companies entered the mobile communications market.
In these times of technological advancement, rapid market change and growing complexity, analysing the story of Nokia provides salutary lessons for any company wanting to either forge or maintain a leading position in their industry.