quotage: “ I was reviewing the web site of a local consultancy today. They claim to be in 9 verticals, have dozens of market offerings/solutions, etc. and yet only possess a few hundred personnel. Upon further review, I noticed a couple of people consistently generated the bulk of their thought leadership. In other words, for all their thought leadership positioning, it really is the stuff of a dedicated few practice leaders.”
myPOV: In a three part missive, Brian Sommer spiked the services punch bowl with some potent ideas about how firms (and individuals) can differentiate. Sommer makes his case from the buyer’s angle also: “Service buyers don’t want an un-differentiated team.” He’s preaching to a choir I already sing in, but I do wonder if today’s services firms can make these transitions.
As Sommer points out in part two, often it’s the same handful of executives that receive the bulk of the visibility and promotion. But customers want teams, not rock stars who dazzle in a pre-sales meeting and are nowhere to be found when the clock starts running. Or, as Sommer puts it: If “people are our most important asset”, how come no one knows anyone at your firm?”
- Jessica – In Oddbins raises a glass to a new hosting service for e-commerce, Jessica tells the story of how this wine retailed conquered its e-commerce performance problems – just in the nick of time for a successful Christmas season.
- Den – A fascinating dinner in Walldorf leads to An informal conversation with Luka Mucic, CFO SAP. Mucic has one of the tougher and more interesting jobs in software, guiding SAP through a major business model change.
- Phil – Mobile and cloud applications are notorious for dodging the IT department. Phil explains why “Shadow IT” is misunderstood in How cloud apps creep in under the enterprise IT radar. (Sidenote: I hit on Shadow IT from a different angle in Strategic CIOs defy stereotypes, but must overcome digital skills shortfalls).
- Derek – A headline like City Council invests £1m in a ‘retail store’ experience. Shuns digital-by-default makes your think that the Plymouth City Council had screwed the digital pooch. But the story is more nuanced, as Derek reports.
- Janine – “There’s a very big gap between the promise of data analysis and the ability to do it” – a keeper quote from KMPG’s Tim Payne, which leads Janine Milne into real-life project examples. The result? Analytics – HR’s crown jewels.
- Stuart – It’s not easy being Facebook, reporting your earnings in Apple’s massive iPhone shadow while Wall Street yawns. Stuart had both stories, in Facebook tells investors to like the long game and 2015 – the year of Apple Pay, Apple Watch and the Apple Enterprise?
- Martin – Microsoft is teeing up Windows 10 with all the pressure of Tiger Woods trying to win another major. In Putting corporate flesh on the Windows 10 bones, Martin extrapolates Microsoft’s consumer-oriented Windows 10 demo, which he contends will have a “profound” impact on the enterprise.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style – NetSuite is on a roll with its seventh consecutive quarter of 30%+ recurring revenue growth, with e-commerce success and international expansion promising a vigorous 2015. Stuart has the story in NetSuite passes halfway stage to $1 billion run rate. Brian/Phil/Den sat in on a significant Plex briefing – Brian filed the story, with added flavor from Den.
Meanwhile, Derek has an update on ServiceNow (he’s been tracking them since their user conference last May) in ServiceNow reports losses, but beats expectations. CEO aims for $1bn revenues in 2015. And despite the hipster-quality IPO, Martin Banks wonders if Box hasn’t boxed itself in. Moving to the cloud often means sober conversations with investors. VMWare is getting to know that dance, as Stuart reports in Cloud costs – and VMware’s about to start paying. Finally, Phil is on top of Huddle’s executive shuffle in Huddle appoints new CEO in surprise move: what’s up?
Best of the rest
quotage: “The point here is that free and easy-to-use tools are great, but be careful not to confuse widespread access to tools with reaching correct and valuable conclusions.” – Doug Henschen
myPOV: The theme of actually achieving value from data was a focus for several writers. In Doug Henschen’s Data Analyst: Does Everyone Need to be One? Henschen peels open the cliche of democratizing data and finds that better tools doesn’t mean better results. Henschen kicks tires on Microsoft’s new “freemium” Power BI tool, as well as Tableau’s free Tableau Public.
Rigorously testing your own hypothesis and being vigilant about your own biases are two of the attributes that point to the people, not the tools, as culprits for conclusions gone awry. CFO blogger Samuel Dergel tackles this from another angle in Analytics, Shmanalytics? Why the CFO should care. Dergel’s point: good CFOs make decisions based on data, not gut. Actually he goes further: if you’re not helping your company make strategic decisions informed by data, you’re not a real CFO.
- Microsoft reports strong 2nd quarter earnings, no one cares – with all the fussing on Apple and Facebook’s upbeat earnings (and, alternately, IBM’s rough news), Microsoft’s (pretty) strong quarter went under the radar. Larry Dignan had the Microsoft analysis, which includes some strong numbers for the unwisely maligned Surface Pro. The bigger story is the commercial cloud revenue, up 114 percent, driven by Office 365 and Azure. Dignan comments further on the transition in Microsoft’s outlook reflects juggling of Windows’ price decline, cloud rise.
- SAP and Salesforce.com executive interviews lend insight – Two strong Q/As this week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on where big tech is headed and SAP On Cloud HR: Q&A With Mike Ettling. The Benioff interview focuses on the “revolution in data science”; the Ettling sit down includes some frank (and optimistic) comments on SuccessFactors versus Workday.
- Expertise as a service: finding success amidst consulting upheavals – Phil Fersht of HfS hits his weekend blogging groove with Dallas, we have a problem: Advisors struggling to deliver Expertise-as-a-Service, wherein he hits on the problem outsourcing advisors have hiring (and upskilling digital-savvy talent, with stats to prove it. Vijay Vijayasankar takes a more personal view in Crash Course – How to build a career at a consulting company, which contains the deceptively simple advice: “You need to be much better than everyone else, and willing to help everyone, for some unique topic that is in demand.” We have a bingo. But why? Vijayasankar’s answer is blunt: “This is how bosses know that you even exist in the company.”
Gut instinct drives more firms than big data analytics – Yup, back to squeezing value from analytics – a study that found “Only 40% of respondents believe their organisation effectively exploits its internal data to gain competitive advantage.”
More On Why Managers Hate Agile – a bit over the top, but I like the contrast between ideologies of control versus ideologies of enablement (agile).
The growing digital divide and the strategic inertia that can kill – Didn’t know inertia could kill, but if it does, it’s not a death I’d want. But “The ERP Donut” is fragmenting. Inertia + fragmenting donuts = bad legacy breakfast.
Enough Consumer Coolness: It’s Time to Make a Case for Windows 10 in the Enterprise – As detailed a review of Microsoft’s enterprise chances as you’ll see.
How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft – IMO Apple versus Microsoft is the most important business case study of our time. And the final chapters are not yet written either.
So you knew that on Super Bowl Sunday, some brand was going to step in the doggy doo of soulless viral ambitions. This year Nationwide did the honors, with a depressing Super Bowl ad that riffed on child mortality, provoking the expected faux outrage tweetstorm. I dunno, I kind of admired the ad’s ruthlessly unapologetic cynicism. I also enjoyed Totino’s real-time marketing fail, or bizarre attempt at satire, firing off their pre-programmed (cruddy) Super Bowl tweets the night before. (Bonus: begrudging admiration for Totino’s for refusing to even acknowledge the gaffe).
Then there are the weather prediction fails, with metereologists now obliged to hit the apology circuit and go through the social media spank tunnel. Given my penchant for landing in the middle of winter weather travel absurdity, I’m gonna save this one for a full-on Den Howlett-style Friday Roast, but couldn’t we solve all this handwringing by renaming metereologists as “modern witch doctors with weather porn computers”?
Shifting gears: when I read quotage from an influential potentate bemoaning the American jobs crisis in the face of automation and robotics, followed by “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” I’m usually intrigued. Except in this case, the warnings are coming from a billionaire who made his ransom betting against subprime mortgages before the market collapse. Hmm – I won’t call this a whiff, but the word queasy comes to mind. Get your billion betting against working homeowners – check. Advise others on belt tightening – check. Extra credit for no shame!
I was fascinated to read that one of the best films at Sundance was shot using an iPhone (I’ve toyed with smart phone video but not enough to pull off a feature film). I was looking forward to this list of every time travel movie – ranked, but while the list is fairly accurate, the writing is high school fanzine at best.
Glad to see “12 Monkeys,” on the list, and no, do not dabble in the new “12 Monkeys” TV show, which is like Bruce Willis’s character in the original was given a lobotomy, and asked to write an American TV show. Speaking of time travel, I feel for this fellow who is in deep crisis because his severe deja vu has him trapped in a time loop, believing he has already lived every moment of his life.
As for the Super Bowl, I won’t comment on the game having been on the wrong end of some wrenching fan losses, but what a classic. I will confess to disappointment that I missed “Kitty Perry” perform at half time at the Puppy Bowl though. See you next time…
Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.
Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessmen with business trophy. Cheerful young businessman © BlueSkyImages – Fotolia.com, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi – all from Fotolia.com
Disclosure: SAP, Plex, Salesforce and NetSuite are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.