Is it me or are there too many large commercial entities who are not diligent about their own diligence?

Whilst commerce is fraught with danger and risk is unavoidable, risk appreciation and assessment can always be improved.

Prevention is better than cure and the best cures are swift.  Therefore, observing and staying on top of everything from competitor activity, audience issues and customer engagement effectiveness are essential in understanding where threats lie and where operational corrections can be made.

These two companies recently suffered losses and were struck brutally. Could they have foreseen upcoming changes in market behaviour and therefore taken measures to stall or even prevent their demise? Sure, it would have taken a number of operational factors, but what could they have known in advance through being more market diligent?


The Failure of Nokia while divergent in causes can be linked to 3 pivotal areas, the merger and operating system jointly developed with Microsoft, not having a clear innovation strategy coupled with indecisive branding.

Why on earth would the most prolific mobile phone manufacturer of the 2000s trying to modernise its mobile offering go to Microsoft, a company with massive technological capabilities but no proven expertise in the mobile market?

Symbian, the Microsoft-Nokia hybrid Operating system was a bad idea from the start as it was unfamiliar to IOs and Android users. This coupled with the negligible amount of apps on offer made it an unattractive destination for both users and developers resulting in a space which is strange and lonely.

Operational and digital diligence might have shown that the main hurdle to the Mobile market was usability, not technological offering, and Nokia should have used the Android operating system.

This would have significantly reduced costs and increased operational capacity as Nokia developers could have co-benefitted from the wider Android development community in terms of technical capacity and leveraging Googles reputation, thereby making their own brand more solid.

These were the steps used by HTC, Huawei, One Connect and the multitude of other phones on the rise.

This is ironic as Nokia eclipsed Motorola by being user-friendly but ultimately was overshadowed by Samsung and Apple for the very same reason.

Second, the innovation strategy could have been improved with better consumer monitoring. Instead of quickly incorporating button-less Apple and Android displays, Nokia was still in the interim position of mobile designs with mixed Touchscreen and button displays while the major players have left.

What is worse than not being new or current? Being bland and indecisive, this is exactly what Nokia’s phones felt like.


BHS, a staple omnipresent high street retailer just a few years ago has crumbled into oblivion. How does an empire collapse?

Again 3 reasons – not offering a niche; not keeping in fashion or demand; inability to keep up with aggressive competitors.

First, keeping in Fashion, literally in demand. BHS had particular strengths in clothing, towels, homeware and lighting which were touted on social media and through their own branding, British Home Stores? Operational diligence and consumer monitoring again should have told them to focus in this niche and bring in more brands specialising in these niches accompanying their home brands which were already performing above average.

Second consumers were doing more browsing and shopping online and using the retail sphere as a last resort for specialist items, not the bulk of their purchasing. This is in direct contrast with BHS’s modus operandi which is big stores with Gigantic footprints with very little expertise and sales from the online sphere. It was operating in the 21st century with methods from the 20th.

Tesco and Asda, observing the decentralisation of shopping, made many smaller shops and invested in better transport fleets. This combined with heavy investment in their digital capabilities gave them the necessary infrastructure needed to support a 21st-century business. Analysis and improved diligence might have helped spot this threat and aid management in strategically diverting resources.

Diligence and particularly knowing their competitors, could have helped to identify threats.  This information is out there. Use it.


To find out more about how onefourzero’s digital due diligence and insights can help you identify opportunities for growth and potential risks, contact

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