SouthWest Airline’s Meltdown is a Massive Learning Opportunity for your Business. Here’s 3 Key Takeaways.

SouthWest Airline’s Meltdown is a Massive Learning Opportunity for your Business. Here’s 3 Key Takeaways.

By now, most people have heard about the major technology meltdown Southwest Airlines experienced over the holidays, and the nightmare that ensued for both the company and its customers. 


Image source: paddleyourownkanoo

As COO Andrew Watterson put it in a leaked call, “We had people that were legal. We had aircraft that were available, but the process of matching up those crew members with the aircraft could not be handled by our technology,”

The result of Southwest’s technological shortcomings? Millions lost in revenue, and a severe hit to brand loyalty and image.

While it’s too late for Southwest, it’s not too late for you. Here are 3 important lessons to learn from the 2022 Southwest meltdown:

1. Don’t wait for a crisis — update antiquated systems today.

Too many companies wait for the catastrophic meltdown before addressing their tech problems. Southwest may be able to pick up the pieces, but has a lengthy road of reparations ahead of them. 

Many companies never overcome their lack of digital investment. Below are some brands who failed to invest in digital and went bankrupt as a result:

  • Blockbuster was slow to adopt new technology and was overtaken by Netflix
  • Blackberry failed to focus on smartphone trends that mattered most to consumers 
  • AOL refused to adopt broadband over dial-up internet 

As you can see, no company is safe from the pitfalls of poor digital choices. The three brands mentioned above were once household names in America, but failed to see the writing on the wall and invest in the right tech.

2. The more outdated your tech, the more vulnerable you are. 

Antiquated tech doesn’t just leave you at risk for competitor takeover—it also leaves you vulnerable to a whole host of problems including:

  • Loss of productivity: Antiquated systems lack the sophistication needed to efficiently complete tasks. As a result, employee productivity takes a hit—which creates a ripple effect across the business.
  • Slower business growth: By not investing in tech you’re losing out on opportunities to expand your digital footprint and generate new business. Eventually, this will have a negative impact on revenue—and you’ll feel pressure to react quickly in order to catch-up.
  • Compromised data: How many data breaches have there been over the past several years? Protecting your customer data is essential from an ethical and business stand-point—and reason alone to invest in better technology today. Being on the losing end of a data breach will hurt your bottom line far more than any digital investment you make.
  • Loss of market share: Let’s face it—most modern-day consumers center their daily lives around technology. In order to stay ahead of the curve you need to be quick to stay on top of digital trends and willing to adopt new technology.

3. Investing in digital future-proofs your business — especially during an economic downturn.

Southwest’s very public infrastructure meltdown should be all the motive leaders need to update antiquated systems, even in a slowing economy. 

The reason being is simple—investing in digital during an economic downturn future proofs your business. Why? Companies that succeed long term are the ones who are unafraid to adopt new technology and use it as a growth engine.

Digital transformation positively impacts every part of your business—from productivity, to consumer experience, and even the bottom line.


It’s Too Little, Too Late for Southwest — But Not For You.

Southwest built their business model around being the most efficient airline. Somewhere along the way, they lost sight of this mission.

Don’t lose sight of your mission. Instead, use digital transformation to drive it forward. Don’t know where to begin? We can help.

If you’re looking to address aging digital infrastructure and fuel rapid growth with new technology, let’s chat


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