Enterprise hits and misses – IBM and Facebook make the diversity case + election data science


In this edition: IBM and Facebook make the case for LGBTI inclusion, elections bring new ways on data access and voter empowerment. Plus: HR analytics on the rise and the bi-modal IT debate is ON. Your whiffs include a surprise entry.

Cheerful Chubby Mandiginomica hit: Why LGBTI inclusion is vital to business success – Facebook and IBM explain by Derek du Preez

quotage: “I do think things are changing – at least in the USA and the UK – but there is still an incredibly long way to go. Far too many people feel like they can’t be themselves at work and as a result don’t feel secure and will inevitably not give all of themselves to their work.” – Derek

myPOV: “Diversity” is one of those feel-good bromides that is anything but easy in the real world. But as per Derek’s quote, there are persuasive arguments that companies with more open/inclusive approaches get a better result – both with talent recruitment and morale. Fresh back from the Economist’s LGBTI event in London, Derek reports on discussions about why workplace diversity matters. He includes views from Facebook and IBM. There is important stuff here on how to manage diversity in disparate regions.

Derek points out that the levels of LGBTI diversity at corporate leadership levels is “thin on the ground at best.” I also agree that more diverse teams usually lead to a better result and more creative ideas. My concern, however, is that diverse backgrounds are often under-utilized because of restrictive product design and decision-making processes.

We need more research on how including diverse views during early design phases gets a better result. Stuart hit on these issues from a different angle with his update on Salesforce’s anti-discrimination stance in Georgia (Salesforce ups Georgia anti-gay battle as Benioff warns of economic “rolling thunder”).

Happy children eating applediginomica four: my top four selections on diginomica this week

  • From gut feel to hard data – the HR analytics journey at HSCIC – Janine scores with a terrific HR use case. In her words: “What’s great about the experience of the HSCIC is how the organization ably demonstrates that kicking off HR analytics does not take a massive investment in technology or in resources. Instead, what it takes is someone with drive and the gumption to just start somewhere.” Yup, that’s a bingo.
  • ITV boss – digital’s losing its sex appeal to TV advertising – Stuart strikes again with a counter-intuitive media story on digital advertising and the trough of click bait disillusionment. ITV boss – digital’s losing its sex appeal to TV advertising. I’m not wholly persuaded but frequent flyer commenter Clive Boulton says: “Thoughtless digital advertisers throwing pops-up and other disruptive and unpredictable badly targeted and low quality ads into the stream are turning people off.” I hope you’re right, Mr. Boulton – and not just for reasons of glaring commercial self-interest.
  • A&F – America’s ‘most hated’ retailer drills down on omni-channel – Good news/bad news for Abercrombie and Fitch, via Stuart – the firm just won the lovely distinction of being the most hated retailer in the U.S. So much for “customer centric shopping experiences.” Still, online revenues are now 28 percent, so that’s enough silver lining to ease the PR sting. Stuart’s last word: “A&F needs to get its stall set out properly and soon.”
  • VRM – the flipside of CRM breaks out (part 1) – In a meaty two-parter (part two here), Cath makes the case for why vendor relationship management (VRM) could be the next CRM – or the CRM that really counts. It’s early days for VRM, which got its initial push from privacy advocates looking to compel companies to provide better tools for consumers to manager their data. Doc Searls is knee deep in this thing, which Cath argues “is just the very start of a huge shake-up of the information economy.” See what you think…

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my top choices from our vendor coverage:

Jon’s grab bag – Kurt Marko takes up the debate on bi-modal IT in Bimodal IT is only harmful when oversimplified, and takes on Phil’s position in the process. Fisticuffs! Den’s got a Friday Roast aimed squarely at Air France, which includes rarely-heard anecdotes from the bowels of his travel experiences.

We wrap my diginomica picks with Den’s take on Slack (Are you Slacking yet?), a current bone of contention in the blogosphere to which Den adds a personal evaluation. Commenter Ranjit Notani talks about Slack’s utility for “synchronous” communication, which I would juxtapose with email’s virtues, which shine in asynchronous situations, and become tedious when used as a messaging system. Hmmm – I smell the whiff of a new blog…

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer On APIs, artificial intelligence, and the future of democracy – articles by Ben Thompson and Jennifer Riggins

quotage: “Step back to the world as it was: the one where newspapers (and TV stations, etc.) were gatekeepers thanks to their ownership of production and distribution. In this world any viable political campaign had to play nicely with those who ran the press in the hopes of gaining positive earned media, endorsements, etc. Just as important, though, was the need to buy advertising, as that was the only way to reach voters at scale.” – Ben Thompson

myPOV: To paraphrase Bono, this is not a political column. But this week, Ben Thompson made some theoretical hay out of a phenomenon I’ve been pondering. This is not the first presidential election to be influenced by Internet memes. But it may be the first time both Democrat and Republican party leadership have (largely) lost control of the political process. In The Voters Decide, Thompson sets out to determine why that is, filtered through his so-called “aggregation theory.”

Check this: “In an aggregated world it is voters aka users who decide which issues get traction and which don’t. And, by extension, the most successful politicians in an aggregated world are not those who serve the party but rather those who tell voters what they most want to hear.” Thompson thinks that even those with bullhorns (e.g. big platforms) can get scooped by anyone with a better/more viral message.

Yes, user experience goes a long way towards social traction. But where Thompson seems to think voter ascension through social memes is a good thing, whereas I see it as an open invitation for someone adept at manipulating crowds to ascend to power in the U.S. A quick review of the history of fascism is disconcerting in this regard.

Beyond the cult of personality is the democratization of election data. Whether access to this data gives voters new power or just a new hobby is debatable. In How APIs and Artificial Intelligence Help Democratize Election Information, The New Stack’s Jennifer Riggins does a short review of some of the APIs that provide election data to the masses, including the Huffington Post’s “Pollster API” which aggregates thousands of opinion polls into charts. Whether APIs can make democracies better remains to be seen…

Other standouts

Honorable mention
2016 Mobile World Congress was All About the Virtual Reality Virtual reality seems inevitable, the question is when, and how to take advantage without getting the slow adoption/high investment burn.
Confusion-as-a-Service: The massive disconnect between vision and reality – “I have never known a time in the world of business when there is no much hype, confusion and unsettlement.” B-b-but without “digital transformation” we’d have to sell “change management.”
How to Answer Your Boss’ Top 5 Questions About ERP System ROI – As for your boss’ sixth and seventh question, you’re on your own 🙂
Apple’s Cloud Loophole: Mossberg – Digging into the contradiction between lock-down encryption on phones and vulnerable iCloud data. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya 🙂
Future of SAP and SuccessFactors Consulting 2016, part two – definitive info.
Editorial analytics: how news media are developing and using audience data and metrics – a monster report and a treasure trove for anyone involved in digital media, which is… most of us.


Overworked businessmanCompetition for best headline-shaming was tight this week. I’ve got a tie between IRS Tool To Protect Identity Theft Victims Vulnerable To Identity Thieves and Amazon just dropped encryption and launched a listening device called Amazon Tap. Really. And to think I defended Amazon during their culture wars with the New York Times… what the heck was I thinking?

I rarely disagree with Esteban Kolsky. If I had to make a list of the five smartest enterprise peeps, he’d make the cut on the basis of his original thinking and inability to sugar coat. But I took issue with Vindication On My Position: Social Customer Service Sucks. No harm in the post, a mini-rant with a link to a new report by Nice and BCG. It’s Kolsky’s position I take issue with. It’s not social customer service that sucks, it’s customer service that sucks, period.

If the person you’re dealing with is authorized to solve your problem, your chances are good – no matter the channel. If they aren’t authorized, which is, let’s face it, ALL THE FREAKING TIME, you’re up the brown creek, no matter what channel you’re on. In the last month, the list of resolutions I’ve achieved on Twitter includes Comcast(!), Spotify, Dlvr.it, Hootsuite and LinkedIn (granted, I wasn’t happy with the resolutions in three of those cases, and one is incomplete, but there was a result). Even bad news is best delivered without navigating a VOICE MAIL TREE FROM HELL. Emailing or calling these people would have been wildly inconvenient. Twitter’s new longer DMs has also proven helpful in keeping the resolution on the same channel.

During the same period, I’ve had a so-so experience in email and live chat with a retailer, and a terrrrrible, all-time-suck phone service support experience with Verizon. In each case, it was not the channel that defined the experience, but the competence – or in this case, incompetence – of the service representative The difference was that the Twitter experiences were fast and not distracting to my workflow. The emails and phone calls wrecked my productivity and sapped my will to live.

Yeah, Kolsky has the data on his side. But I have social media hype and the fear of being perceived as a “non-engaging” company on mine. So from where I type, the future of social customer service is bright, propped up by social media hype balloons that are, I can only hope, beyond Kolsky’s reach to puncture.

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 credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa- all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Workday FinancialForce.com and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

    Comments are closed.

    1. This is the ending of a beautiful friendship 🙂

      just kidding, but i don’t think you are disagreeing with me overall. I agree with you that customer service sucks – but the attempts to make them better just by adding social is actually having the opposite. I endorse, fully, a channel of excellence for customer service – and i don’t care what it is. if social works, go for it – but make sure you provide all answers and solutions via it (which you cannot via social). if you simply support another crappy channel with incompetent people staffing it (which is the case in 98% or more of the social setups – and not improving but rather getting worse) then don’t do it invest in better service.

      bottom line, as consumers of service we don’t want twitter, facebook, email, telephone, or chat – or anything really as a preferred channel. if the company were to offer a good self-service solution i promise you to taht you and everyone else would use it. as consumers of service we simply want answers and tools to manage our self-created experiences. same you want, except you are now being forced to find the channel that works best for each company – not in resolving, but in being less annoying. hows that for service?

      i wil take the whiff, no problems – i prefer to have a noticeable instead, but i don’t think we are that far off… you will see more research from my side this year that will support the move to fully automated (but good) service and will eventually write the counter-whiff to this one — as in, you were not sure of my intentions, but i had it right all along 🙂


      thanks for reading, as always – my goal continues to be growing conversations, and this little rant did more to grow conversations across the web that most longer, well researched pieces i had done in the past…

      oh, yeah – pardon the typos and such, just writing quick in a short break in writing… 🙂

      1. Jon Reed says:

        Esteban I’m glad we can disagree in a spirited way – even if we don’t really disagree much – and maybe even improve this charade known as customer service. I don’t really think of your blog post as a whiff so thanks for taking that in stride – it was more of a spleen vent than a whiff – however it’s so rare to see something from you that I object to, even superficially, that I felt I had to seize the moment.

        I do think that social media can be helpful for social customer service in several capacities:
        1. quick resolution of issues, for example confirming a service outage so I don’t have to listen to some call center idiot tell me to power down my cable modem. Quick question and answer on Twitter, done.
        2. proper escalation of issues to the right team – yes, even if it means hopping channels. Some teams are protected by deep voice mail labyrinths and I’m sick of pressing phone buttons and getting hung up on and transferred from here to Hades. I’ve had this work before, Hootsuite recently did a version of this for me where the service was integrated.
        3. Detailed resolution on the same channel – using detail such as Twitter DM. This can work IF the person is empowered to solve the problem.

        I absolutely hate to type this, but I find that more often on social service, folks are checking tools I can’t stand like Klout, but then they are taking more of an effort to fix my issue as they see I have an audience. I’ve never experienced that extra effort via call center service, no matter my lifetime (lack of) value or amount of money I’ve poured down the drain with that provider.
        But yeah, I get that social service can be sloppy and poor. I believe it has a place. Again I am ignoring your data and thinking selfishly and myopically of my own experiences.

    2. says:

      “A quick review of the history of fascism is disconcerting in this regard.”

      Amen. Unfortunately….Reference