quotage: “Bottom line – unless you have a clear line of sight through to the cost of EU operations then the current volatility must be avoided. The only sensible thing to do right now is defer any decision until there is more clarity and stability.” – Den – digibyte – post-Brexit buyer advice
myPOV: Oh boy. Leave it to Yankee doodle over here to try to make sense of Brexit when I can’t even explain domestic politics in the U.S. I’ll skip over the cultural meanings of Brexit to focus on the tech/enterprise clues we have to date, with the disclaimer that these are early volatile days.
Den got the tech view going with Brexit – an interesting tech perspective from the US, a riff on a thoughtful piece from fellow Yank Denis Pombriant, who posits that technology could solve problems Brexit raises (such as biometric validation of border crossings, mobile purchasing, basically, “there’s an app for that.” A tad optimistic methinks, but we’re in dire need of that right about now.
Chris wades into thornier tech waters with Brexit and data governance – where to now?. Chris’ killer quote goes well beyond Brexit: “People are waking up and recognising the sovereign reality: that ‘the cloud’ is about data centers, built on land under national laws, not castles in the air. This is partly because of incoming European data regulations and the ongoing war of words between the EU and the US over data governance.” As for doing digital business in the UK, Chris warns “The very best we can say is that there is no clarity and no roadmap.” Ouch.
Stuart raised a slew of new issues today in Brexit – random jottings through the maelstrom, including a blast at the “social media echo chamber” that accomplished nothing useful. He also cites early reactions from diginomica partners Salesforce and NetSuite, who are clearly not fazed in the long view with their investment in Europe and in the UK specifically. In times of crisis, Phil is a good one to turn to; he gives things a good head scratch instead of pouring gasoline. I like his sentiments in In due diligence on big decisions, go with your gut, though I’m almost as wary of gut feel as I am of predictive tech infatuation.
- Whole Foods is replacing up to 90% of its systems – strong focus on cloud and data – Derek doesn’t see a full-on rip-and-replace very often, but Whole Foods is taking the plunge – with proof points around process efficiency, customer focus, and data/analytics. Sidenote: If I’d known tofu could be this lucrative it might have changed things in college…
- Email marketing may not be dead, but is it moving in a new direction? – Barb is onto something here – personalization is falling short due to data disconnects. She examines one company, MessageGears, that has hybrid answers.
- On due diligence – lessons from Tesla and Palantir – Den applies his BS detector to a couple of brand darlings, bringing the focus to the buyer, where due diligence is overlooked at great peril. A big clue in vendor evaluation: transparency versus obfuscation.
- What if we’ve been doing digital government all wrong? – Published prior to the Brexit vote, Stuart takes on a a new report that argues the mimicking of private sector for government-as-a-service if fundamentally flawed.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- DataStax is shifting from selling databases to data-driven software – Derek on his latest sit down with DataStax co-founder Matt Pfeil in London this week, and how Datastax is addressing an ultra-competitive NoSQL market by pushing up the stack. I expect these themes to ratchet up as Derek and I hit MongoDB World in New York City this week. (“Most people don’t want to work on databases, they want to work on the core business.”
- Changing the CERN lightbulbs with ServiceNow – Martin with an intriguing ServiceNow use case, expanding markets by taking IT tools and setting them loose in new contexts. Particle physics anyone?
- IBM wants to have its cloud native and hybrid too – Vendors: don’t try to charm Phil into liking your cloud with slick “hybrid” marketing. It won’t fly. low-value out Phil sees some merit/seriousness in IBM’s cloud pursuits, while warning of the “cognitive dissonance” sparked by balancing pure cloud services and hybrid approaches.
A few more vendor picks, without my running banter:
- Service Cloud – Salesforce’s 360-degree growth engine – Phil
- Accenture CEO is all about ‘The New’ – Stuart
- Nutanix details vision as an enterprise infrastructure platform – Kurt
Jon’s grab bag – So Robotics sales hit record high and market shows no sign of slowing, meaning the sales figures for industrial robots have increased by nearly four times since 2009. Derek breaks down the numbers by geography. No alarmists here, but he warns we are far beyond automotive and manufacturing now. Thinking out loud: could we train robots to vote?
Yeah, robots are writing (some) articles now, but that’s the least of our media issues, as Den notes in The dangers of machine driven content publishing, where stats and algos have a lovely way of encouraging (human) writers to produce celebrity-preening crap, serving up a homogeneous cow patty on our Facebook feed. We haven’t solved grocery delivery either, as Den notes in this takedown, Online US retail grocery: a smorgasbord of mediocrity.
Best of the rest
quotage: “While the power vacuum among the UK parliament adds to instability over the next three months, organizational leaders can expect the UK to lay out a longer term plan and time line much needed to calm markets. However, the BREXIT referendum has emboldened non-incumbent EU political leaders to push back on globalization and immigration.” – Ray Wang
myPOV: My own fatalistic tendencies about Brexit were challenged by smart pieces that refuse to be defined by the irrevocable. Wang provides analysis for enterprises while warning that “Moving forward, global leaders must rethink the social contract in creating a playing field that equalizes the opportunity and access to the gains in digital disruption.”
Phil Fersht of HfS Research wades through the services impact in The broader issues behind Brexit send a frightening message to the services industry. HfS Research says they have “precisely pinpointed” that 30 percent of routine, low value positions will be phased out by automation in the next five years. In other words, we take action or Brexit is just the beginning: “This means we need to ensure our businesses and colleges alike are actively involved in reorienting this 30 percent to avoid their exit from working society. This is serious stuff which needs to be urgently addressed by our politicians, if they genuinely want to get back in touch with their increasing base of disenfranchised voters.”
And yes, Buzzfeed makes a key point that Apple, Amazon, And Google Are Silent On Brexit Vote. But from an enterprise standpoint, shouldn’t we dismantle of the myth of “predictive” analytics? Forget the egg-on-face pollsters. We can predict when a vending machine five thousand miles away will run out of Snickers bars, but we can’t get an advance window on events that shake our markets? Sure, technology can help us, but progress isn’t inevitable either. We can start by facing up to the limitations of our tools and, by contrast, all that be accomplished when we decide business shouldn’t wait on the sidelines for a better world to invest in.
- Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem – another feel good story, as in “Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many “intelligent” systems…” And yes, some data of cautionary algo tales is included.
- Bimodal IT: What’s Not to Like? – So algos are out to screw us and Europe has fallen, but we still have… bimodal IT. Don’t let the title fool you – it’s a useful pros-and-cons type of piece.
- CFOs using data to move on from ‘bean counter’ moniker – from bean counters to data nerds – CFOs are truly progressing. But in seriousness, the big thing is pulling diverse data from across the business, in theory to make better decisions. It’s really the CFO-as-collaborator.
- GE Digital Provides a Report of Progress on Digital Industrial Efforts – a supply chainy view on GE’s digital pursuits, including its Predix operating system, and how it’s evolving into a data analytics platform.
- How Can We Heal the Global Supply Chain? – Hmm, did we run out of bandaids? Oh, and how’s this for a zinger: “Excellence will not automatically happen by having young, energetic, cheap labor in Excel ghettos around the world.“
- TV Advertising’s Surprising Strength — And Inevitable Fall – The future of advertising is a hot mess right now, with Internet and TV ad believers squaring off. Not sure anyone has figured it out yet, but we might as well learn from the knee scrapes.
I’m not sure which was more shocking: Brexit or Lionel Messi over the goalposts in penalty kicks. As someone who botched a penalty kick in a tourney myself, and tasted the bitter tang of post-game orange slices, not sure I will tag Messi with a whiff. It was simply a missed chance to cap off an all-time legacy. He’ll have others; whether he retires from the team as he vows, or not.
The jury that found in favor of Led Zeppelin in the copyright suit over “Stairway to Heaven” might have whiffed though – that opening riff is eerily similar. And just think: if you worked for Buzzfeed, you’d already be done with your cheesy sub-linkbait blog post by now and sipping on a cold one, daring the robots to replace you.
The hands-down whiff of the week came via email that began: “Thanks for stopping by the our booth at MongoDB World!” The only problem being: the show hasn’t actually happened yet. The final line read: “P.S. We hope you enjoy and proudly display your K. Eights lego minifig!” I won’t reveal the name of the company as that would be kick-while-down. In the wild west, having a quick trigger finger helped you survive. Not so much in email marketing.
So I replied to the CEO with an email that pretty much said “nice try.” I got a sheepish response, which made me wish I had asked, “How did you know I was going to stop by your booth?” That is some Minority Report marketing technology, eh? The question is, do I swing by their booth to ensure timeline retroactivity, or risk breaking the space/time continuum? I guess you’ll know my decision by next week…
Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Man © Dudarev Mikhail - all from Fotolia.com.
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