a close up of a bottle with blue and green paint

Two companies that succeeded by changing their winning formulas

Leentje Chavatte

Leentje Chavatte

Microsoft, Data & AI and Digital Transformation

Read Time, 3 min.

Perceived wisdom often holds that if something isn’t broken, then you shouldn’t fix it. At first glance, this would seem especially true when you’re already an industry leader.

Why change something that’s already working well and giving you a competitive advantage over an industry full of companies trying to supersede you?

The answer lies in the fact that it’s no longer an option to stick with what you’re doing, no matter how well that’s going for you as a company. Times have changed and if you want to continue to lead the way, you need to innovate.

That means being open to new ways of doing things – and using technology to help you get there.

Overcoming the barriers to change

It’s not always easy to take the initiative and become an innovator. It takes guts – and a will to continually push boundaries.

Take the example of AkzoNobel. The Dutch company with a passion for paint has been proudly creating household brand names like Dulux and Polyfilla for many years. And as paint and color trends are ever-evolving, the process of color prediction is a critical part of the company being able to quickly meet modern demands as they emerge.

So, when AkzoNobel started to think about how to evolve their tried-and-tested method of color prediction, the suggestion of turning to machine learning technology powered by Microsoft Azure wasn’t initially welcomed with open arms by everyone at their labs.

“In the beginning, we were quite sceptical about machine learning technology and what it could really do for us,” says Rob Reijers, AkzoNobel’s manager of global color apps development. “We always thought that our physical models” – which form the basis for the company’s ability to predict color accurately – “were the best that we could have.”

“So why would we change?”

Innovation is the key to staying on top

The paint industry is an incredibly competitive landscape. New colors emerge every day and manufacturers in the car and other industries constantly dream up new finishes to give their models an edge on the competition.

That’s why staying innovative has never been more important for AkzoNobel. And their use of machine learning has helped them to do that.

“We were really surprised by the incredible accuracy of the results we could achieve with machine learning technology, and also by how quickly we could get these results,” says Reijers.

“The whole experience completely changed my viewpoint on using machine learning. It has allowed us to be much more creative.”

Read the full AkzoNobel story and discover how the Dutch paint company became more creative than ever by using machine learning technology.

Creating new business models

Another company that has benefited from taking a bold approach to digital innovation is Eneco subsidiary, AgroEnergy.

The Dutch company has specialised in the optimal running of greenhouses for decades. But in recent times, it has become an agricultural tech market leader on the back of its ground-breaking use of machine learning technology and AI.

As the company shifted from being a single-minded energy company to a modern, data-driven service provider, they realised that the tech services they now offered their greenhouse customers could lead to the creation of an entirely new company.

“There was this eureka moment when we realised that this was so much more than we ever thought it would be,” says Laurens van der Spek, Head of Technology at AgroEnergy.

And the key to arriving at that eureka moment was having the bravery and initiative to challenge the established way they were doing things – and make a change that would introduce new innovations to their already successful company.

Free AI report: Artificial Intelligence in Western Europe - How 277 major European companies benefit from AI

Discover how your Western European peers use AI to digitally transform their organization

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

  • a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop computer

    4 reasons Citrix and Windows Virtual Desktop are better together for education

    Educational institutions all over the world experience a huge transformation. We are all familiar with the impact of COVID-19 on digitization in education, but there are more challenges. The digitization challenges faced by educational institutions   Because of the measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, like lockdowns and social distancing, the trend of online or blended […]

  • Girl studying

    Mittelschule Kirchdorf: Reimagining hybrid learning through digitalization

    “What we really wanted to achieve was simplicity for both our students and our educators. Through our digitalization efforts, we’ve seen that using technology to complement traditional teaching and learning is an investment for the future, not just for children, but for everyone.” Martin Schnetzer, teacher and IT admin at Mittelschule Kirchdorf, Austria, reflects on […]

Finance & Insurance

Government

Healthcare

  • A portrait of a doctor from San Raffaele hospital in Milan

    IRCCS San Raffaele: Identifying the COVID-19 patients at highest risk with AI

    2020 has been an unpredictable and transformative year for every industry. But no sector has felt the impact of COVID-19 quite as acutely as healthcare. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions all over the world have had to adapt quickly to a situation that is changing and evolving every day. A major aspect of the challenge […]

  • Two people working together

    Making Every Day Better with Microsoft Teams

    Finland’s second-largest public sector employer, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, deployed Microsoft Teams extensively in its organization of 27,000 employees. Microsoft Teams provides HUS with a foundation for customer-oriented digital transformation, which acts as a part of its vision to be a trendsetter in healthcare. The deployed Microsoft services offer an easy-to-use solution for remote appointments […]

Manufacturing

  • 9 ways to turn your field service centre into a profit centre

    9 ways to turn your field service centre into a profit centre

    A service that generates more profit than cost: it’s the ultimate goal for any organisation. We’ve listed a few tips below to help you make this dream a reality. 1. Know what you’ve got to offer Knowing what you’ve got to offer and knowing how (potential) customers view your story are important elements in marketing […]

  • Potato producers benefit from sensors (IoT) and AVR’s technological innovations

    Potato producers benefit from sensors (IoT) and AVR’s technological innovations

    In Roeslare (Roulers in French), better known by the name “Potato Valley,” potato producers have a particular fondness for AVR’s machines and technologies, which mean they can plant and harvest potatoes more efficiently. More and more of AVR’s machines are equipped with sensors that are connected to the internet (IoT This technology provides farmers with […]

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

Digital Transformation

  • a man and a woman looking at a laptop

    4 reasons Citrix and Windows Virtual Desktop are better together for healthcare

    Healthcare institutions all over the world experience a huge transformation. In this blog we will address big trends that drive this transformation, like the COVID-19 pandemic, enhanced collaboration between medical specialists and the rise of cyberattacks. In addition, we will also explain how organizations can respond to these developments with the joint solutions from Microsoft […]

Press

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]