Enterprise hits and misses – October 27, 2014

SUMMARY:

Jon’s cheeky weekly review of which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond – for the week ending October 26, 2014.

Cheerful Chubby Mandiginomica hit: “SAP TechEd && d-code” coverage by Den

quotage: SAP has many problems to solve. Coming out of TechEd && d-code, my view is that these issues are marketing problems and not technology issues. Having the benefit of attending three major tech conferences in quick succession, it is clear to me that SAP has a very strong technology story but is far too weak in talking to the line of business buyer.”

myPOV: Heading into SAP TechEd/d-code, SAP was looking to right the messaging ship from a rough Sapphire Now and HANA reality checks via user group surveys from two key user groups, ASUG and DSAG. Den and I were there to have our usual back-and-forth with SAP executives – and to get the latest customer views, a slew of which we captured on (forthcoming) video.

In Steve Lucas’ opening keynote, he had a chance to fall on his face kicking off the first SAP TechEd “post Vishal Sikka.” But instead he hit it out of the proverbial ballpark, thanks to high energy showmanship appropriate to Las Vegas – including disarming jabs at SAP’s own product naming conventions and marketing binges. More importantly, Lucas called a bunch of upstart partners, developers, and customers on stage in rapid succession. The collective impact of their stories was palpable, and could mark a turning point. It’s a model for future enterprise keynotes, which Den dissected in A refreshing start to SAP TechEd and d-code 2014.

The next morning, Björn Goerke took a more conventional keynote tone, but included the same (welcome) emphasis on the HANA Cloud Platform. The message of “simplicity” CEO Bill McDermott pounded home at Sapphire Now was underscored here, but in subsequent Q/A and blogger meetings, several of us hit on why simplicity is going to be a challenge for SAP – something that culminated in Den’s call for SAP to provide a roadmap for simplicity for its customers.

More interesting news came by way of Business ByDesign, which I jokingly referred to as a zombie product because it just won’t die – though that may be unfair since some zombies can be killed whereas I’m not sure ByDesign can be – it’s now repositioned as an upper midmarket product, albeit with a partner-dependent product roadmap.

Again, Den provides the skinny in SAP Business ByDesign – alive and kicking. Last but definitely not least, he posted an SAP TechEd and d-code show wrap. Included at the bottom of the wrap is our SAP TechEd video show finale, a “three dude weave” with myself, Den and the always-quotable SAP Mentor Graham Robinson.

Happy children eating appleCustomer use cases:

Vendor coverage: In NetSuite tops Wall St estimates, claims cloud ERP tipping point, Stuart relays the (mostly) good news of the cloud ERP vendor that posted a modest earnings loss but a revenue victory (compared to guidance). Expected jabs against rivals (e.g. SAP) spice the mix. At the Jive customer show, Derek had a sit down with Jive marketing chief Elisa Steele, and got her viewa on Jive’s competitive advantage in a crowded collaboration space.

As for the marketing cloud, the hype cycle is still warming to the unbearable boil we can expect in years to come. Stuart got a firsthand take from Marketo at Dreamforce, relayed here in Marketo CEO – marketing cloud wars for years as CMOs build relationships with CIOs.

Don’t miss

  • The problem of achieving genuine value from analytics continues as a diginomica theme, this time from Janine Milne in Why are HR professionals deliberately sabotaging the potential of analytics? Drawing on views from Nick Holley, Milne shows that even as HR gets over its fear of tech, it runs the risk of creating dashboards without insights.
  • Euan Semple continues his guest series on diginomica with The challenge of social tools in the workplace. MyPOV: relieved to see Semple’s starting point isn’t a big bang/big budget collaboration project, but “An ecology of low cost or open source tools, strung together by local programmers.”

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customerIs HR Tech Overshooting HR Capabilities? by Frank Scavo

quotage: “HR is fertile ground for new technologies, from social recruiting to sentiment analysis to wearables. But can HR organizations even begin to consume it all? This is where there is a gap between what is possible  and what is currently realized in practice.”

myPOV: Frank Scavo also weighed in on the HR technology debate (I featured Brian Sommer’s piece last week). Scavo’s post is also framed by the recent HR Tech conference. Scavo boils the problem down: “HR is fertile ground for new technologies, from social recruiting to sentiment analysis to wearables. But can HR organizations even begin to consume it all?

Scavo cites workforce analytics as exhibit A. We’ve been buzzing up workforce analytics for more than a decade, as Bill Kutik also points out in his conference wrap (I’d add “talent management” to the list, which remains more of an oxymoron than a bonafide best practice for most companies).

Scavo sees three reasons for the lack of results from HR tech, including skills development (or lack thereof), inadequate staff levels, and HR being relegated to a support role. The fix to these predicaments won’t be easy, but at least the debate on the technology/people disconnect could help customers build an HR development plan that includes more than throwing some SaaS at the problems, only to find that multi-tenancy can’t solve culture.

Other standouts:

Whiffs

Overworked businessmanI don’t recall a musician apologizing for a bad song before, and I didn’t expect James Blunt of all people to man up. But yes, he has publicly apologized for the rancid wet noodle anthem of pathetically unrequited love, “You’re Beautiful.”  Keepers from Blunt include an admission that “You’re Beautiful” was “force-fed down people’s throats” and that “it became annoying.” To be fair this is a compliment rolled up in a whiff. But does Blunt still play the song in concert? I guess I’ll never know.

Sign me up for cynical rants, but even I had to push back from the ledge that the author of Couch potatoes have killed the internet dream is dangling from. There isn’t time to dissect this one in the unsparing detail it deserves, and heck, I agree with the author’s gasket-blowing over lazy, passive consumption, which he believes has triumphed over the Internet’s promise of engagement and creativity. Granted, the web is becoming a gigantic television set, and that’s can’t be good. But if you think the chance for creative autonomy is now inconceivable, well, that’s a you problem, and an insult to those of us who don’t feel like lying on the train tracks.

Thinking enterprise, I’ve enjoyed Pando Daily’s coverage since Paul Carr arrived on the scene a year ago. Sara Lacy’s recent pieces on Silicon Valley’s “asshole culture,” while over the top, have felt necessary, and both have done a fine job muckraking on the abuse of privacy amongst dotcoms like Whisper. But Carr’s recent post, Aneel Bhusri: I thought Larry Ellison was a nice guy… and then he went off on Workday, was a let down even by click bait standards. It was like a thought on the back of a napkin, only the bottom half of the napkin got soggy so the thought is, well, a smidge of an idea, propped up by copy and paste Bhusri quotes from the Wall Street Journal. Even as pimping this lacks the requisite fur and hat.

Officially off-topic

At first, I thought the Wells Fargo employee who emailed his CEO for a raise and cc’d the entire company was a whiff-in-action, but no – he was asking for a raise for all employees to combat income inequality. Smart or dumb, that took some gonads. Not a whiff – more like white collar bucket list.

For goofy headlines, another photo finish between Man Wakes to Find Stranger Sleeping Peacefully Beside Him, Thailand says military rule is a tourist attraction, and  Man accidentally texts his probation officer asking for weed (and no, things did not go well for him from there).

Animals/nature: 23 Fantastic Images Of The Incredibly Weird Things In The Ocean (neato!). It’s extreme link baiting, but that didn’t stop me from laughing at 14 Cats Having A Bad Day But Not Because Of GamerGate.

Media musings: Boardwalk Empire wrapped its seven season run this weekend. I wasn’t as enamored with the final season as some, but if you haven’t watched this HBO show and can get access, you have seven seasons of well-crafted (and historically informed) storytelling ahead of you. Here’s a retrospective interview with the creator (spoilers galore).

Oh, and Halloween is coming – here’s 5 (supposedly) scary storytelling apps. See you next week…

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. “myPOV” is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo – all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, NetSuite, and Salesforce.com are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.