Enterprise hits and misses – IoT adoption needs standards, the H-1B needs a rethink

SUMMARY:

In this edition: why IoT adoption is slowed by lack of open standards. And: why tech companies are taking action on H-1Bs, and that’s not all. Feature charts erodes trust; does AI erode the middle class? Your whiffs include Megadeth getting puppet-mastered, and IoT devices running amok.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit –
Driving IoT adoption – in pursuit of standards and public sector buy-in, by Cath Everett

quotage: “The wide scope that the IoT covers is also generating problems of its own. Not only is there a general lack of skills in both a technical and commercial sense, but the complexity involved means that it takes on average 18 months to three years to build a product compared with a tech industry average of three to six months – another factor that tends to put VCs, and developers, off.” Cath Everett, Driving IoT adoption – standards thinking and commercial considerations.

myPOV: Fresh back from an IoT forum in London, Cath brings a look at the barriers to IoT adoption in the UK – barriers that prove to be darn near “universal.” The biggest culprit? A lack of agreed-upon standards. Why do standards matter? Without them, you can’t just plug an IoT device into the Internet. Standards are also needed for privacy and security. Adding another adoption twist: a shortage of IoT developers. Cath reports groups in the UK are pushing to address these issues, including a new initiative called IoTUK.

On our diginomica/gov site, Cath turns here attention to public sector in The IoT – chasing a public sector happy hunting-ground? With a big public sector market in the UK, the issue of open standards again looms large. Another issue: Cath cites IoT adoption rates of 13 percent over the last four years, far outpacing economic growth rates of 2-3 percent. But the research director of Analysys Mason is quoted as saying so far the use cases for the technology have been neither “radical nor transformational.”

That should give IoT champions, marketers and evangelists some pause. It’s hard to imagine AI taking off either – not unless the IoT standards issues holding machine communications back are addressed. Moral of the story: if you hear a happy tale of IoT at your trade show this spring, make sure to ask the pesky “open standards” question.

Happy children eating applediginomica three – my top three stories on diginomica this week

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

  • After Walmart, Workday signs its retail arch-rival Amazon – Phil with an early take on another provocative feather in Workday’s cap:  “Would Walmart have signed with Workday if it had known its digital nemesis Amazon was also a customer? There was a time when Walmart preferred to build all its own applications to maintain a unique competitive edge. Today, the need to move fast trumps any advantage that custom back-office software brings.”
  • One year on for Tableau and the analysis is not so gruesome – Last year, Tableau went through the Wall Street spank tunnel. Stuart assesses a turnaround, spurred by increased subscription sales: “Baby steps, but in the right direction, although there has clearly been a benefit accrued in Q4 from some big deals that didn’t close in Q3 coming in and boosting the numbers. Selipsky is only one quarter into the CEO role, so it will be 2017 that demonstrates his ability to execute on both the corporate mission and his personal vision.”
  • DevOps on the mainframe? It’s about time, says Compuware CEO – Don’t even try to shovel dirt on mainframes. Phil’s got a fresh angle on mainframe redemption via Compuware: “What if today’s conventional wisdom has got it wrong? What if it were possible, given the right tools, to treat the mainframe just like any other modern platform in an agile, devops environment? Compuware believes the mainframe can indeed take its place in such an environment — not least because, as CEO Chris O’Malley explains, there’s still no viable alternative for the reliable, high-throughput transaction volumes at which it excels.”

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon’s grab bag – Speaking of cooler heads, I really liked the way Chris sliced and diced this one: The Uberbot will replace 250,000 public sector jobs, claims report. And this Middleton keeper: “The problem in all applications of these technologies is that the first things that organisations automate aren’t routine functions, but their assumptions about the world.”

Brian continues his personal trough of disillusionment analysis of so-called smart homes in Is 2017 the year to make your home smart? I don’t think so. Hey, at least the “smart doorball” is working out. Makes me want to show up at Brian’s doorstep to see what his smarty-pantsy doorbell would make of me… Finally, back in his youthful stomping grounds in Bradford, Den puts Uber to the ultimate test, in a town where taxis have reigned supreme (If Uber can make it in Bradford, its future is assured).

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Comparison Tables from Vendors-Fostering Doubt and Distrust – by Hank Barnes

quotage: “None of these tables (even if you show shortcomings) will (or probably should) show every imaginable feature or capability.  But if you highlight things that others do that you don’t focus on, you are not only being more open, you could be effectively qualifying the opportunity.  If a buyer wants (and truly needs) something you don’t do (and don’t plan to do), then they won’t be a great customer.  Better to qualify them out.”  – Hank Barnes

myPOV: This is easily the shortest post I’ve ever picked as the week’s best. But it’s long enough – the point is made. Gartner’s Hank Barnes deconstructs the so-called “feature comparison” table that undermines trust by portraying one product as perfect (coincidentally, the same vendor that made the feature comparison chart in question).

Barnes asks: what if vendors took the risk of indicating the areas where their own product lacks functionality? “How do you think a customer would react to that?  My guess is fairly positively.” I think so too – enterprise folks are weary of the perfect chart, the perfect position in the vendor survey or ranking, the perfect ranking in the ambiguously-funded white paper. There’s no better way to earn trust than to tell the prospects when you’re NOT a fit.

Granted, there are nuances to being that transparent, an issue brought out in the article comments. I’ve encountered some customers this year who intentionally bought a product with less functionality, because, surprise surprise, they trusted the firm and the transparency of the relationship. Along with that trust came fruitful discussions on the product roadmap, and how that can be influenced. Keep pitching the perfect product and watch prospects opt for imperfect solutions from competitors.

Other standouts:

Honorable mention

Whiffs

Overworked businessmanThis was a baffling/awkward mistake: USTA aplogizes for playing German anthem from WWII at Fed Cup. Another audio baffler: Grammys accidentally play Metallica during Megadeth’s speech. That’s as cruel as sending Pete Best a copy of Ringo Starr’s total music royalties. The Grammies blow – maybe they were going for a Metalilca make-up call from that year where the metal award went to Jethro Tull’s flutework instead. Oh, and I keep forgetting to post Former DirecTV Spokesman Rob Lowe Calls Out DirecTV for Being Shitty. Welcome to the cheap seats, Mr. Lowe.

This one’s not funny but it’s a whiff we should all inhale and make note of: University attacked by its own vending machines, smart light bulbs & 5,000 IoT devices. “This botnet spread from device to device by brute forcing default and weak passwords.” Yikes. Note: this is not an immediate news story, but an item from a Verizon IoT report. Still….

Last week while traveling I got this unusual notification from TripIt:

It was not a concern as I’d already been kiboshed from my entire flight. But isn’t this a golden opportunity for some levity? As in, “You will not make your connection – but don’t blame us, we’re just the messenger/we don’t fly the planes” and so on. Instead we get the straight-faced “you will not make your connection.” The tone of this is not unlike if someone said to you, “The salad bar is out of spinach.”  I would have much preferred: “You will not make your connection; you’re f@!cked dude!” And yet those corporate communications job offers never come through… Let’s do as Chris Middleton suggests and automate with humanity – not indifference.

Over to you, Clive.

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, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, New Relic and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.