Enterprise hits and misses – Not-Safe Harbor cloud fallout + digital cannibalization


Jon’s cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) – on diginomica and beyond. This edition: Assessing the post-Safe Harbor cloud fallout, and the necessity of digital cannibalization. Also: Future of work nuance, and UX-style whiffs.

Cheerful Chubby Mandiginomica hit: Beyond Safe Harbor -what will the cloud fallout be? by Stuart Lauchlan and Den Howlett

quotage: “The end of an important week for the cloud industry – and not in a good way. For the next few weeks, we’ll see more announcements of new European in-region data centres from US vendors – hello Box! – and more US firms trotting out ‘model clauses included’ messaging, while European firms like Skyscape and Huddle will, quite rightly, play an opportunistic indigenous European card.” – Stuart

myPOV: Stuart’s been warning us that it would come to this. Last week, the expected strike down of Safe Harbor by the European Court of Justice added another layer of turmoil to cloud companies navigating the international mess landscape. Stuart was on the case in Safe Harbor RIP – the day after. But as he was quick to point out in Microsoft and model clauses – where the cloud stands after Safe Harbor, the legal quagmire may cause deeper economic woes if the U.S. prevails upon Microsoft to disclose information held in Ireland data centers.

Stuart is rightly concerned about the big picture implications as these rulings shake out. European cloud vendors may seize the market opportunity, but that doesn’t solve all the issues raised. Meantime, Den’s been different takes, as in Ripping off the post-Safe Harbor Band-Aid. He’s skeptical about the governments of Brussels and Washington doing the needful, and raises the idea of the U.S. tech vendors organizing for a solution. Will this fallout result in Europe in the “technological slow lane,” as Stuart fears? Time will tell, many hands still to be played. Watch this space, ok?

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

  • Digital transformation and… cannibalization? Sick of the digital-vendor-wannabe dog-and-pony show? How’z about some digital views from the real world? Jessica’s got them in Four lessons in driving digital transformation, with views from London’s CDO Summit. Companies on the path to digital share insights on how to overcome cultural resistance – I’m partial to “Show employees clearly that digital transformation will make their working lives better, not worse.” Derek’s got a twist in Want to be a digital success? Cannibalise your own business. Constantly. Fresh back from NetSuite’s London Cloud Tour, he’s got customer views on digital – specifically on how you must literally eat your own business if you want to stay ahead. Bonus points for mentioning Blockbuster, one of the carcasses on the road to digital I have a personal connection to (a story for another time).
  • Old ERP is dead, where is the New ERP? – Brian Sommer’s had it with ERP. He’s been in the bowels of ERP product briefings too much for one lifetime. More to the point: he sees ERP as outdated for the needs of a digital economy. In part one, Old ERP is way past its “Best When Used By” date, he makes his case: “In the digital economy, data is often more important than plants, factories and inventory. The obsession with tangible assets is being replaced by a focus on data and intangibles. ERP wasn’t designed for the latter.” Examples such as Airbnb, which owns no hotels but is worth more than Marriott, nail the point home. In part two, Sommer cites a few vendors he sees as on a better path for digital companies. Den riffed on Brian’s pieces in
    The New ERP will be CEO. What is ‘CEO’ you may ask? Customer Experience Optimization (sidenote: another brutal acronym). Den sees potential, but for now “We have a spaghetti monster of half-baked solutions coming down the pipe.”

Vendor analysis, diginomica style – Phil has another angle on vendor evolution in
As cloud goes mainstream, partner channels mature. He maps out a five-point cloud vendor maturity model to evaluate partner ecosystems. He also notes where several key cloud vendors land on said scale. No one is at five yet, but take heart, Phil used to be a teacher way back when, and I’ll bet you anything he was a tough grader.

Phil also filed a two part profile on sales acceleration vendor InsideSales (InsideSales CEO predicts data science bonanza, part 1 and part 2). Speaking of European data centers, Martin reports on NetSuite’s progress in ‘Coming soon’ just came for NetSuite data centers. Derek’s got a nifty update from a company at the heart of subscription economy thinking (Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo on overcoming the problem of ‘product culture’).

Brian’s got the latest on a gaggle of HR vendors in HR Month in Review — the HR Tech preview. He did a separate profile on one of ’em (Simppler makes recruiting simpler). Sidenote: if Simppler can develop a feature to alert a recruiter when a candidate is likely to break their verbal agreement and take another offer, they will have the holy grail of recruiting solutions. Don’t mind me – that’s just the bitterness of an ex-recruiter who got his tuckus sizzled a few times. Den wraps my vendor coverage picks with digibyte: Amazon and Accenture get cozy, watch out everyone else. He thinks it’s one of the most important deals of the year; I can see why.

Jon’s grab bag – It’s not what I’d call a feel-good story, but Derek raises some key security issues in Fear of serious cyber attack at nuclear plants is ‘ever present’, warns think tank. Gist? Adopting digital tech without corresponding security measures is a breach waiting to happen. Finally, Den’s got the sneaky-important story of the week snagged in How do we feel about Google AMP’ing itself? Stoked. It’s about Google trying to make the mobile web faster, but scratch the surface and it’s Google versus Facebook versus Apple for mobile UX supremacy, and the enterprise should be taking notes. Hopefully a more open web will win out.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Is software eating the future of work? Work futures by Alan Patrick and Jamie Dobson.

quotage: “But here’s the rub – The Humanist, People-Centric approach is just a subset of the whole “Future of Work” trope – you don’t have to go far before you find three other very different futures being created.” Alan Patrick

myPOV: This week’s picks are kudos and throwdowns. The throwdown part: there seems to be another self-styled “future of work” analyst cropping up everyday. But when I read their blogs, I see no meat on the bone, just a collection of vendor triviata. Call yourself a “future of work” analyst, be prepared to back it up with something that makes us think. I’ve already noted the substantive Work – The Future series by Tim O’Reilly.

Agile Elephant’s Alan Patrick, quoted above, has been serving up well-thought posts, the latest of which is What is the (real) Future of Work? As Patrick drills in, there’s more than one future of work in play here, from automation to digital offshoring to uberization. Don’t creative professions fare the best? Not so fast! Patrick has a different conclusion creative can be automated and aggregated. It’s about high value or commodity/pricing. High value may be safe, the rest is in question. The “messy middle” of hybrid skills jobs might be the story to watch.

Over at The New Stack, Jamie Dobson frames this up in OpEd: Software Is Not Just Eating the World — But Capitalism, Too. There is some “sharing economy” hyperbole in here (I don’t see the owners of firms like Uber or Airbnb sharing their equity equally with their employees). But Dobson may be right about software changing capitalism, altering supply and demand concepts through digital scale and marginal costs of production. Pondering…

Other standouts

  • Living the Dreamforce and assessing the FinancialForce – Paul Greenberg’s epic event reports are always worth the wait. He’s got your definitive Dreamforce review, complete with letter grades for each part of the program (Livin’ the Dreamforce 2015: Can Salesforce seize the day?). My only Greenberg beef: where’s the coffee review on these report cards? Coffee quality > food. I tend to agree with Greenberg’s gist: Salesforce has most potent #ensw ecosystem but harnessing it is another matter. New IoT, vertical clouds and connected customer push is keeping storylines fresh. Meanwhile, Frank Scavo continues his fruitful review of Salesforce.com cloud ERP providers with FinancialForce – complete with buyer recommendations, a feature we don’t see often enough on #ensw blog posts. (FinancialForce Expands Its Footprint in Cloud ERP).
  • Why ‘Perfect’ Is the Enemy of Diversity – Jason Lemkin is a SaaS blogger and fellow Enterprise Irregular. His wife, Mallin Yen, also a SaaS executive, wrote this terrific post on hiring for diversity, which is drenched in field experience. There is some potent stuff here on the dangers of seeking the “perfect” candidate, and the self-defeating biases within: “If you go for just the obvious candidates, you’ll miss out on the diamonds in the rough who just need a little polish to shine (not to mention end up with a homogeneous workforce and recruiting the same candidates every other company is trying to recruit).”
  • Firstround does the needful on Slack and Holocracy – Firstround is a terrific spot for in-depth pieces you won’t find elsewhere. Two examples from this week: Unlocking the Benefits of Self-Management Without Going All In on Holacracy and Dark Patterns: The Sinister Side of UX – Unlocking the Benefits of Self-Management Without Going All In on Holacracy and Slack’s First Product Manager on How to Make a Firehose of Feedback Useful. The former is the story of firsthand experience with Holacracy style management, and how a lighter-weight style that took insight from Holacracy while distancing from its rigidity prevailed. The Slack piece is about making fateful product decisions and co-creating metrics that inspire, rather than deflate, the team’s dedication. The coast isn’t all clear for Firstround – I have them lined up for a whiff as well.

Honorable mention

Event Report – AWS re-Invent – AWS lobbies for the enterprise – DB and IoT are the cheese – the video and blog report combo.
Dark Patterns: The Sinister Side of UX – The title oversells the article – nothing sinister about it, just practical tips about avoiding bad UX ideas. But: “forced continuity” such as auto-subscribing folks for long term subscriptions IS a design problem.
Meet Project Orca, SAP’s new, Hana-based analytics tool – SAP is rolling out several new products of late, here’s the skinny on one of them. We’ll see if Orca actually has teeth soon enough.
Buyers are More Prepared – Are You? – Understand the informed buyer, or lose.
Two-thirds of business users say they’re now app developers as well – IMO “business developer” tools are not there yet, but in the next 2-3 years, they will be.
Twitter’s moment – would be stronger if if reckoned with Twitter’s pending layoff reports, but still, an interesting optimistic take on Twitter’s predicaments.


Overworked businessmanSo I have a broken “myfi” device that operates on the Sprint network. The small company that supports it is, well, struggling with support. After call center hell, I emailed them. I received a support ticket which inadvertently included this succinct language: “Priority: Minor.” Can’t fault them for honesty, I guess.

I get that services like Pandora have an ad-supported option, but have you seen anything quite as aggressive as this:


I guess I should be chuffed Pandora is looking after my social life with such vigor. Got Viagra?

And, while I’m a fan of Firstround’s blog coverage, I noticed they were the latest to employ the crummy interruption-du-jour, the “exit pop-up.” The exit pop-up is rationalized by the UX community as “good UX” because it is less distracting than an entry pop-up. But as I said in No, pop-ups can’t be part of a good UX – ever:

If I’m walking in a park, I’d rather step on dog poop at the end of my walk than the beginning. But all things being equal, I’d rather not step in poop at all.

Which brings me back to usertesting.com, a very good UX site and the publisher of the “dark patterns” post I picked above. Usertesting.com published the shaky pop-up UX rationalization piece I took to task. The “dark patterns” post has a touch of the same problem. It’s a good piece, but it ultimately tries to justify auto-renew in a UX framework. Auto-renew is simply not good UX for people who are truly in trial mode.

From a pure UX standpoint, the only acceptable solution is to offer a one month trial option that expires after one month, with the option to renew requiring action on the users’ part. Businesses, of course, don’t want to do that. There’s too much money to be made in the lazy coffers of auto-renew.

Cancelling auto-renew is rumpus pain more often than not. You simply can’t turn that into good UX. Heck – just digging out a log-in to cancel can be tedious. Auto-renew is quite handy for paying the landlord, but let’s stop it with the UX window dressing. Yes, we can make it suck less, but it’s still going to suck – at least for some.

Officially off-topic

I’ve got some good ones for ya but need to push away. I’ll add ’em Tuesday morning. See ya 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, NetSuite, Oracle, ServiceMax and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.