Enterprise hits and misses – IoT and analytics push ahead, banks and blockchains hit crossroads


In this edition: fresh IoT and IBM Watson use cases point to new business models. Plus: using customer data without damaging trust. The banks hits a crossroads with blockchain pursuits; bad coverage ensues. AWS outage in review, and Wall Street gets SaaS jitters. Plus: whiffs-a-plenty.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: New IoT and IBM Watson use cases – business model are changing, by Jessica Twentyman and Paul Wallbank

quotage: “The company’s flagship product, the Leafy Green Machine (LGM) is a complete hydroponic growing facility, built entirely inside an upcycled shipping container. Each LGM provides a controlled environment, capable of yields equivalent to 1.5 acres of land. That’s about one thousand heads of lettuce a week.” – Jessica, Freight Farms cultivates IoT ‘farm-in-a-box’

myPOV: IoT, analytics and AI can be circular – tech for its own sake, collapsing in on itself. But these two use cases from Jessica and Paul show the best part: when tech enables a shift in business models. In her Freight Farms piece, Jessica writes about how portable farming has become a reality.

But these farming containers are just part of the change. The IoT part is integral to the Freight Farms business model as well. Each LGM contains ten IoT-enabled sensors, allowing farmers to monitor growth conditions via a mobile app. And yeah – you can buy one of these yourself – for 85K. Is the LGM to farming as the 3-D printer is to manufacturing? Nifty.

Paul works a different angle in Unlocking the collective intelligence of Woodside Energy with IBM Watson. This use case is about an energy company in transition to a “data-driven” business. Easier said that done – Paul hits on the nuances of culture change in an oil and gas setting, where engineers are rightly skeptical of numbers in environments where the stakes are high (e.g. drilling platforms).

Then there’s the matter of data cleansing and curation. No magic wands here, but the company’s FutureLabs data science team is progressing on vital projects, such as “Willow,” a searchable knowledge base project. For more stories of tech in context, browse our diginomica use case library.

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:

Jon’s grab bag –  Ever noticed how Stuart’s Yahoo chronicles have all the ups and downs of a British soap? Though lately, this is only breaking bad… Anyhow, for the latest on As Marissa Turns, check Yahoo!’s Mayer is out by millions of dollars as security blame game names names. More DevOps/work culture goodness from Paul in Rethinking knowledge work with GitHub. – though Paul isn’t rescinding his kepticism when it comes to DevOps in compliance-related roles.

Speaking of skeptical, Denis splices some fresh and not-so-flattering numbers in Quantifying social media value remains difficult – latest research. He finds a bright spot in the brutal number that 87 percent of CMOs are not able to document how social media helps to create customers. We can now realistically move ahead with a grasp of social’s strengths – and flaws.

Den closes this week’s picks with My first Ocado experience – it’s all good. Not a bad “frictionless” grocery delivery experience for Den after the indignity spank tunnel substandard test of Morrison’s delivery services. Brace yourselves – Den’s gonna give Morrison’s another spin soon… By the way, just in: Kurt’s Are you smarter than a bamboo farmer? Lessons from the AWS S3 meltdown. More on that next time.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer How to Use & Share Customer Data without Damaging Trust by Steve Shoaff

quotage: “Today, customers are more concerned than ever about what online companies are doing with their personal data, whether it’s sharing it with a third party or improperly securing it. A global November 2016 KPMG survey found that 55% of respondents had at one point decided against buying online due to privacy concerns and fewer than 10 percent feel they have control over the way organizations handle and use their personal data.

myPOV: I’m not sure we have a privacy crisis, but companies that do privacy right have a competitive edge. The KMPG stats ring true – most of us have abandoned shopping carts due to intrusive data requirements. And, as Shoaff points out, strengthened EMEA privacy laws may force this issue. Better to get out in front.

So what to do? Shoaff has five courses of action. Many of these, like “be transparent,” seem self-evident. But maybe not, given how many companies botch this up. Of the five, standouts include “go beyond the regulations” and “put users in control.” Of the latter, Shoaff writes that even progressive policies fall short unless “users can easily view and change their preferences about what types of information they want a company to have, and what to keep private.” How many companies deliver?

Other standouts:

  • The Dogshit Bar: A Memorable Market Research Concept – and a memorable title also, courtesy Dave Kellogg. I won’t spoil the whole concept, but the “dogshit bar” exposes problems in your product – problems glossed over by careless market research. Kellogg’s on a good run – see his 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving into Management. “Are you conflict averse” “Do you have a thick skin?” And the kicker: “Are you willing to let go?” (or are you a dreaded control freak passive aggressive fussbudget micro-manager?)
  • Robots and AI doin’ the needful – This was the week of happy robot stories, starting with these cute little pizza delivery buggers, the Starship Autonomous Delivery robots. These ground-cursed machines don’t stress about drone regulatory hurdles. Twitter reader Timo Elliott wonders if these bots can be tampered with/vandalized, but they’ve already survived a pilot in the mean streets of the District of Columbia. Then there’s Google’s Deep Learning AI project, which diagnoses cancer faster than pathologists.

Honorable mention

SAP Indirect Access: What the Diageo Case Means to SAP Customers – needs more on the IoT considerations, but otherwise a solid review.
Op-ed: The Internet belongs to the people, not powerful corporate interests – this is not a left/right issue – it’s an issue of whether the Internet should serve people or moneyed interests.
How Chewse Operationalized Transparency — Starting With Salaries – we don’t see transparency applied to public salaries very often. Seems like a fresh approach to performance/HR in general is what’s working here.
Content Marketing Isn’t Marketing Content – don’t agree with all, for example downplaying sign-up content is questionable. Still, a good field view of why content works – and how a great narrative can be practically applied.


Overworked businessmanThis news that California Berkeley is about to delete loads of public course content makes my head hurt – red tape yuck. Oh, and nice one JetStarter:

The AWS outage is water-under-bridge, but here’s my snotty dig:

(To be fair, Amazon filed a solid post-mortem once the smoked cleared). Last week I wrote a bucket list kinda piece, On filter bubbles and AWS outages – does the enterprise have a fake news problem? Here’s the crud I’m talking about. The title of the piece is mostly accurate, R3 Appears to Admit Defeat, Stops Blockchain Development (published Feb 25). Basically, an influential blockchain consortium is calling it a day.

But as you read, you get the distinct impression banks have given up on blockchain. After raising legit, but widely flogged concerns about blockchain’s scaleability, security, and resistance to centralization, the article states: “However, blockchain technology isn’t what the consortium needs because it simply can’t be implemented into fully regulated markets without tampering with security measures of blockchain technology.”

And: “Technology firms includng multi-billion dollar institutions such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Citibank and HSBC, has seemingly admitted defeat and moved on from blockchain technology development.” So that’s it – the banks have packed up their blockchain lunchboxes and gone home.

Yep – less than a week later, on another site, we get: Ex-R3 members behind new blockchain alliance. Including – you guessed it – a number of current/former members of R3, including Credit Suisse and JP Morgan. Between these two stories is a huge gap in context we are deprived of. Why the exit, why the new beginning? The new article implies that Ethereum’s blockchain might solve some scaling issues, but we’re deciphering quotes at this point. The enterprise doesn’t have a fake news problem. It does have a crap news/eyeball-chasing just-hit-the-publish-button schmuckery problem.

Coolest thing I saw this week

It’s a close race between this cool dude who opened his taco stand in the middle of Seattle freeway gridlock to feed hungry commuters, and these cool “robot bees” that could pick up the pollination slack as bee populations dwindle. See you next time. 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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - Fotolia - all from Fotolia.com.

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

    Comments are closed.

    1. In other blockchain news. Maersk and IBM unveil first Industry-Wide Cross-Border Supply Chain Solution on Blockchain http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/51712.wss

      Open innovation with a consortium of worlds biggest banks with different points of view has to be hard. Richard Gendal Brown, CTO at R3 is super smart. I’m sure Richard knows bitcoin proof-of-work will limit high transaction throughout and Flexible Paxos will better suit a private banking network. https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.06696

      Successful open source projects generally have major committer sponsors contributing code such as IBM with Fabric and Intel with Sawtooth at Hyperledger, with a mix of other community contributors providing requirements and code contributions on jira/github/gerrit.