Enterprise hits and misses – cloud software audit realities edition


A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) – on diginomica and beyond. This week: cloud software audit pains, the problem of pervasive analytics, Oracle’s PaaSy moves, and PR whiffery

Cheerful Chubby Mandiginomica hit: The realities of cloud software audits, by Den and Brian

quotage: “I thought that because a cloud application software provider was responsible for the hardware, system software, database, etc. that the customer would be far removed from those audit and license issues. For the most part that is correct. However, there were a number of other mechanisms by which customers could run afoul of their cloud software agreement that may trigger additional monies owed.” – Brian

myPOV: If we thought software audits were consigned to the “legacy” world of on-prem, well – we thought wrong. Back from a recent cloud event in Chicago, Brian hits on some events that can trigger a vendor moneygrab cloud audit, including exceeding user counts,  third party integrations that change user levels, and shadow IT complications. He hits on practical tips buyers can use. One of my faves: include language on what can trigger an audit in the initial contract.

In his Friday roast: the curse of cloud app audits, Den picks up on these themes but reframes them, raising questions buyers should address prior to purchase, and referencing Ray Wang’s SaaS Bill of Rights from 2009. Den also makes the point that the entire pricing model is outmoded: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the better way of pricing is based on metered resource usage and not the blunt instrument of user counts plus flat module access costs.” Roger that! Shall we consider this a wake-up call? I’d say so.

Happy children eating applediginomica six: my completely subjective “top six” stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style – Larry Ellison himself announced Oracle’s latest PaaS offerings. That level of endorsement didn’t go unnoticed by Den, who parses the news in The importance of Oracle’s PaaS power launch. On the SAP side, contributor Dick Hirsch did his Encyclopedia Brown thing and pieced together the latest S/4 HANA developments in SAP S/4 HANA revisited, public GA for cloud editions, more messaging issues.

In the strange-but-oddly-logical-bedfellows category, Phil assesses the IBM/Box partnership. Nutshell: Phil likes the move for Box and thinks IBM may be approaching a coherent cloud apps strategy. Den doesn’t think as highly of IBM’s efforts to host WordPress on Bluemix, however (BIG bonus points for working “full frontal lobotomy” into a post!) Then we’ve got Stuart on why Blackberry’s CEO still believes in handsets, but customers remain tight-lipped (sidenote: is there a better person to try to turn Blackberry around than the sunny-side-up John Chen, still flush with loot from his Sybase-to-SAP sale?)

Jon’s grab bag:  In one of our most mind-expanding pieces of the week, Phil muses on a connection he’s found between the impact of devops on IT and a new approach to manufacturing beyond the old school “waterfall” approach – sound familiar? Check Crossover concepts: manufacturing devops and process debt.  Hitting on devops from another angle, Martin explains why Enterprises need to see beyond the cultural barriers to continuous delivery (Not sure I’m ready for the “CD” catchphrase though Martin).

Stuart nabs the diginomica headline of the week award in Snouts in the content marketing trough for SnapChat, WPP and the Daily Mail, and the strange/logical bedfellows continue – though this time with a media twist, and heaping dose of vintage Stuart Lauchlan snark – probably well deserved, though I’ll defer to him on matters of UK media. Finally, I’ve long felt enterprises have much to learn from sports teams about doing fan engagement the right way. Guest contributor Gail Moody backs that up in a personal story involving the recent NBA champs (Golden State Warriors: a fan’s eye view of digital customer experience).

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Not picking one piece for center stage, but here were the standouts:

  • Pervasive analytics: easier said than done – Sometimes the title says it all, as in Neil Raden’s Pervasive Analytics: Needs Organizational Change, Better Software and Training. Raden is a believer in what “pervasive” analytics inside organizations can do (for one, it addresses the “data scientist” shortfall by pushing predictive out to business analysts). but he sees dangers/impediments in that prepackaging, not the least of which is woefully inadequate/light training.
  • When it comes to mobile apps, IT is ‘slow, poor and weak’ – Another title that gets the point across. Mary Branscombe (her first appearance in hits/misses, fortunately on the “hits” side) builds on a report from CCS Insight that surveyed uses from six countries, surfacing hard truths about sluggish IT response to mobile apps. As in: “Eighty percent haven’t asked IT for an app because 58 percent said they believe the IT department wouldn’t act on their request.” Grrrreat.  Of course, users are downloading and using productivity apps regardless (Office is #1).
  • Where does Microsoft (and Dynamics) go from here? – Making her second appearance in two paragraphs, Branscombe is back with an analysis of the Dynamics news that serves as a good roundup of the issues I covered in last week’s handicapping Microsoft Dynamics edition. Branscombe updated on Twitter that she and our own Mr. Wainewright debated positions in person last week, but alas, she was too classy to dish the nitty gritty (Sidenote: always good to find a new writer to track for this column, please feel free to connect me to any you read that I may have missed in my imperfect scouring). Geekwire’s Todd Bishop adds a bigger context in Exclusive: Satya Nadella reveals Microsoft’s new mission statement, sees ‘tough choices’ ahead.
  • What are we learning about Docker and devops? – Some fresh takes on enterprise tech this week, starting with Scott Fulton’s event report on DockerCon 2015. Docker is as fashionable to the enterprise as selfie sticks are to teens, but Fulton raises key commercial questions, such as big vendor endorsements, and ecosystem health/stability. Elsewhere in related “modern IT” pieces, Joe McKendrick published a concise/interesting ebook review, Why every DevOps team needs a contrarian thinker.
  • Curation and Algorithms – Not the lightest reading of the week, but one of the most original/smartest, courtesy Ben Thompson of Stratechery. The balance of algorithms and curation at scale is interesting to ponder – smart enterprises may be able to tinker with these concepts more easily than the Twitters/Facebooks/Googles of the world that Thompson evaluates. Plug: Thompson is well worth a follow, and his business model is my favorite in consumer tech (and no, I don’t get paid for the plug, don’t even know the guy).

Honorable mention

Red Hat CEO: How Open Organizations Are ‘Unmanageably’ Awesome – I have issues/hangups with the evangelistic side of “open organizations” as some kind of culture cure-all, but I welcome the discussion and industry examples of companies trying something different.
Event Report – Oracle PaaS Event – 6 PaaS Services become available, many more announced – Because you always need more Oracle PaaS in your news diet. And: Oracle PaaS: 6 Important Developments For Data.
3 Dimensions Of Digital Transformation At Capital One Financial Services – Always nice to see a detailed use case that gives the story room to breathe (not a fan of the Forbes pop-ups or multi-page ticker though – sigh).
Don’t use the cloud like a data warehouse – OK, I won’t.
Netflix Users Try Out the Sleek, Omnichannel-Focused Redesign – Gotta admit, this is a nice/well-thought re-design, though it can’t disguise the indifference towards locking up premium on-demand content. Arguably Amazon Prime has caught and passed Netflix while it tries to become HBO.
Book Summary: Lesson 8 From Disrupting Digital Business – Democratize Distribution With P2P Networks – I’d like to see longer book excerpts, but this approach to sharing related content chapter by chapter is effective.


Overworked businessmanSo CNN gets my sought-after “full of sound and fury signifying… nothing” media award for their breathless “I see an ISIS flag!” reporting gaffe (not yet acknowledged by the network) – link not totally safe for work though).

Speaking of over the top, any day Twitter will be removing its idiotic 140 character limit on direct messages (which The Verge gushes as “enormous change”) Twitter’s self-congratulatory post about this amused me given that years ago, there was a much longer (unofficial) limit on direct messages before Twitter clamped down. If a bad decision fixed years too late counts as “exciting”, I don’t like Twitter’s chances.

So Yahoo is shitcanning closing Pipes, its exceptionally useful service for ubergeeks and feed addicts, so that it can better pursue its flailing advertising model. No surprise I suppose, companies are always underestimating the goodwill and developer cred such projects offer, but Yahoo’s monotone announcement of the closure makes Google’s Reader cancellation announcement look like poetry. When you need PR lessons from Google, that might not be a good thing.

Officially off-topic

Stiff competition for headline of the week, starting with  A Woman from UK calls the police after she was unhappy with her new haircut VS Man shoots down neighbor’s hexacopter in rural drone shotgun battle (and so it begins!)  VS Linkin Park Turn Band Into Venture Capital Firm. If only we could combine them, something like “Man shoots down Linkin Park’s drone to prevent them from getting venture capital haircuts.”

One for the technology-is-making-life-better-all-the-time crowd: How is You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church a positive development exactly? Though I gotta admit, on the tech-for-good side is this 19 of the most mind-blowing Google Street View images from under the world’s oceans.

So while slogging my way through Alien 3 last night, I found myself thinking about the steepest dropoff between part two and part three of a movie series (a bit more of a brain teaser than worst sequel). Two that came to mind quickly are “Back to the Future 3” and “Beyond Thunderdome” (Mad Max 3). And maybe “Matrix whatever.” I may look into this further and report back next week. Oh, and the Godfather of this category, “Godfather 3.” See you next time..

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. ìmyPOVî 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. Loser and Winner © ispstock (keyword search: loser or winner) – all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP and Oracle are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.