Enterprise hits and misses – Dreamforce in context and Hadoop by the numbers


Jon’s cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) – on diginomica and beyond. This week: Dreamforce in context. Plus: debating the finance robots and Hadoop by the numbers. And your whiffs – airline wifi fails galore.

Cheerful Chubby Mandiginomica hit: Dreamforce in context – by Stuart, Derek, Jess and Phil

quotage: “Confrontational competition doesn’t serve customers well. It’s easier to compare and contrast what vendors have to offer if they’re talking about each other’s offerings with mutual respect and openness. So it’s to be hoped the new style of co-operation that Microsoft and Salesforce have established will now spread to other vendors.” – Phil

myPOV: At diginomica, doing things halfway ain’t our style (yeah, we might be half-assed from time to time, but we’re never halfway). With four aces on the ground in San Fran (Jess, Stuart, Phil, Derek), and one manning the web flight deck (Den), we were all over Dreamforce 2015. I couldn’t do justice to all that reportage, so I’m just gonna pick my faves. But if you fancy the full rundown, check our complete Dreamforce 15 coverage – with more analysis still flowing in.

Happy children eating appleExecutive interviews and keynote analysis:

  • Vertical thinking with Salesforce’s John WookeyCall me a nutter, but I thought Salesforce’s industry cloud announcements on the run-up to Dreamforce were as significant as any of the San Fran news. Phil has already dug into the industry cloud scenarios prior to the show. At Dreamforce, Stuart sat down with John Wookey, EVP of Salesforce Industries. Wookey shed light on Salesforce’s delicate/important goal to build out industry clouds in conjunction with expert partners, without erring on the side of over-developing functionality and leaving partners at risk.
  • Marc Benioff – why Microsoft is Salesforce’s new BFF – The practical romance between Salesforce and Microsoft was another big story, indicative (I hope) of vendors compelled into unlikely partnerships in the interest of customers. During Stuart’s tet-a-tet with Benioff, he got the expected “Salesforce is not afraid of Microsoft,” but that was followed by: “We do it in the name of the customer. Customers want us to work with Microsoft. They have a lot of Microsoft technology. They have legacy Microsoft technology and they’re interested in some of the new stuff that Microsoft is doing. We have to work with Microsoft.” I like that kind of talk.
  • Former White House CIO: ‘It’s a big mistake for governments to build instead of buy’ – Derek scored a sit down with Vivek Kundra, Salesforce’s head of public sector, who has plenty of knee scrapes adventures as the White House CIO to draw on. Derek wanted to get Kundra’s tech on the percolating buy-versus-build public sector debate (Kundra, an early advocate for cloud-first in the public sector, lands firmly on the ‘buy’ side). Derek then goes further with Kundra into digital change in the public sector and emerges with one of our best Dreamforce ’15 pieces.

Dreamforce customer use cases:

News from the cloud services ecosystem: A late-breaking partner news story came by way of Accenture’s purchase of Cloud Sherpas, one of the largest pure-play cloud integrators, and a player in the Salesforce services ecosystem. Phil weighs in with Accenture moves to embrace cloud ‘at tipping point’. Phil also got surprising reactions from Salesforce integrators Appirio and Blue Wolf.

I do have one beef with our on-the-ground team: where’s my Foo Fighters concert review? Priorities people!

Vendor analysis, diginomica style – Salesforce wasn’t the only vendor on the move this week: SAP said CRM is dead, or if not dead, an outdated way to look at customer engagement (more on that in a sec).

As Stuart reports, Oracle took a different but equally bold tack. Oracle’s Larry Ellison, explaining that Oracle was now out of the “cloud startup” phase, let it be known that whoever wins the cloud ERP game will win the cloud. And, as fortune would have it, that plays to Oracle’s strengths.

Den analyzed the SAP angle in SAP wants to own the real customer relationship. You should care. which reviews SAP’s New York City customer engagement event last week. From Den: “Right now, SAP is concentrating on talking up ownership of the relationship master record. In that scenario, it doesn’t really care who owns the back office master record and if that is Salesforce then so be it. But that is not the end game.” SAP has a HANA-load of work ahead to make customer engagement a technical reality, but an end run around CRM into an era of seamless touch points is a bold/flamboyant endeavor that we’re sure to hear more about in the TechEd season.

Den also has news on a pretty difficult story: Bill McDermott to continue as CEO SAP despite serious injury. I’ll step back from all the BS and vendor fisticuffs and simply wish Bill the best.

Jon’s grab bag – some think pieces this week for you to ponder over a tea/coffee/bagel:

Eight takeaways from prof Andy McAfee’s second machine age discussion – wherein Den engages in productive navel-gazing (yes, there is such a thing). Den digested McAfee’s Dreamforce talk with an eye towards how his views, and McAfee’s, have evolved since they both faced off over the Enterprise 2.0 debate. Whether we are entering a second machine age, there is an essential debate here that impacts our careers and quite a bit beyond. Speaking of which:

Employee advocacy insights from those who’ve been there – Barb Mosher Zinck is in the midst of a fruitful – and popular – series on employee advocacy that looks hard at the people and processes that make it tick.

Finance and Accounting – next target for the robot revolution? – Our Chris Middleton posted a provocative piece on the impact of robotics on finance. Chris takes issue with a report from an ACCA report called The robots are coming? Implications for shared services. Den also has issues with the report, but from a different angle. He critiques Chris’ position also in Refining the robotics argument for finance. The end result: a double helping of questions on how robotic process automation can change finance, the role of skilled human intervention, and what the stumbling blocks are.

Barclays is connecting the dots across Africa to bring the continent a global bank – Derek filed one more use case from his South African forays, and it’s a dandy. Africa is a leader in mobile banking initiatives. Barclays is taking it further, by attempting to become the only local, regional AND global bank in Africa – the full financial stack, as Derek puts it.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Hadoop survey data, big data fallacies, and GE does IoT – by a few smart folks

quotage: “Companies that deploy Hadoop to drive revenues are about 30% more likely to achieve value from Hadoop than those who are looking to cut costs. Those that provide business users with self-service access to Hadoop are nearly 50% more likely to realize a tangible value.” – Gil Press

myPOV: The above quote is a zinger, right? That’s big-data-done-right in a nutshell. It’s from Gil Press, who analyzes the biggest Hadoop survey to date in 5 Highlights Of The First And Largest Hadoop Maturity Survey. How big? 2,100 folks – a decent sample size. The survey, conducted by AtScale in conjunction with Cloudera, MapR and Tableau, is another step towards defining a market by results, not catch phrases. Oh – and it turns out executive mandates still matter if you want to go from slide decks to real life.

GE’s IoT/big data ambitions are hardly a secret, but now the cat is truly out of the bag and roaming freely. Larry Dignan has the tail tale (sorry) in GE forms GE Digital, aims to be top 10 software company. One of my fave data science bloggers, John Foreman of Mail Chimp, is up to his old snark-with-gravitas tricks in Data is an Asset, an informed rejoinder to a post called… Data is not an Asset.

Other standouts

  • HP Enterprise: Can it overcome layoffs, split growing pains, and FUD?Dignan sets the tone for a mixed bag of a week for HP, with clarity on the HP Enterprise split bringing news of another big batch of layoffs (25-30,000 impacted). This led to some piling on over at re/code, vis-a-vis Meg Whitman Says This Is the Last Round of Job Cuts at HP, Really (can I get an “ouch!”?) CNBC’s Why IBM could be the next HP wasn’t a brilliant piece, but I had to go with it for the quote “… as the companies go along with their horse and carriage“. Double ouch!
  • Digital Transformation, revisited! – It wasn’t that long ago Vijay Vijayasankar took the air out of digital transformation’s tires by likening it to change management (and invoking a fierce debate with Esteban Kolsky for his trouble). Well, Vijay’s back. This time with a more practical focus: questions companies embarking on “DT” should be asking. I suspect Vijayasankar wouldn’t agree with all of Timo Elliott’s points in Surviving Digital Transformation? Here’s How To Thrive In It (see what I did there? Embrace debate!). However they seem to be on the same page when Elliott writes, “Technology is now the easy part – the hard part is knowing what to do with it.”
  • Why Accenture’s acquisition of Cloud Sherpas is both an offensive and defensive move – This one’s right in the HfS research wheelhose. The short version: “Accenture has added considerable strength to its already-dominant position in Salesforce services.” But, as Phil Fersht warns, Accenture won’t get value out of this acquisition by picking the low-hanging fruit of systems integration (that low-hanging fruit is so always so tempting though!).

Honorable mention

News Analysis – Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough Salesforce IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder – First dips into IoT – Holger Mueller had a slew of Dreamforce coverage. Not dwelling on it here as I suspect you got enough for one edition, but here’s one key conference story Mueller was on top of.
Does it make sense to split IT into two entities? – Compiled views on one of the hot topics in enterprise “innovation,” if you can stomach the nomenclature of “bi-modal IT.”
How On Demand Logistics Could Save Brick and Mortar Retail — Another installment in the WTF/Future of Work chronicles.


Overworked businessmanSameer Patel tweetstream brought Artificial intelligence will make religion obsolete within our lifetime to my whiffs radar. As it turns out, the piece ain’t bad, it’s just the shameless clickbait headline. Den poked some fun at This is what a Jony Ive-designed Apple store looks like, mostly for condescending to readers (“When you look a little closer… Yes, we can see the freakin’ trees!“).

Comcast’s CEO had an odd week, with news of regional price increasing clashing with his own apparently useless platitudes (“You can keep raising the price forever… but let’s get it a shot anyhow.)” Oh, and a bunch of hipsters embarrassed themselves in Buzzfeed’s awkward So what is Dreamforce anyway? photo essay.

Travel whiffery: on my flight to Atlanta today, a kid was screaming bloody freaking murder a few seats behind me – all the way down the east coast. I felt bad for the little fella; I remember my first Delta flight also. One underrated thing about Delta: you’re never jealous of the first class passengers. Their sardine can is just a wee bigger than yours.

And what is up with airlines bragging about their Internet molasses, err, I mean, wifi service? Southwest’s wifi is so slow, I’d pay them NOT to use it. Delta uses Go-Go in-flight Internet which is a tad faster, but by “tad” I mean it crosses the finish line ahead of the other turtle. I wish I had a screen shot of the guy to my left, trying to get his gmail to load. Five minutes…loading. Ten minutes….still loading. Yeah, he gave up. He’s playing a game on his phone now.

I think that’s enough for one week… I’ll be back with off-topic faves next week. See you then…

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 credits: 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 and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.