Enterprise hits and misses – public sector grapples with digital, Uber grapples with itself


In this edition: the public sector wrestles with AI, APIs, and smarter cities. Uber purges, Adobe conquers, and a supply chain analyst reveals. Plus: a special awards version of your whiffs.

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

Lead storypublic sector grapples with AI, APIs, and smart cities – by Derek du Preez and Jerry Bowles

myPOV: A bundle of public sector stories reminded of digital potential and the antibodies to change. In APIs key to a successful digital government – more needs to be done, Derek assesses the merits of a new report by “influential think tank” The Institute for Government, which issued recommendations for better digital governance in the UK. Why APIs? Money quote: “Building a platform on the internet can be expensive, but once it is built, the cost of each additional user is low.” Add the need for public service transparency to that argument.

AI and the public sector seems oxymoronic, but as Derek notes, Accenture’s got some strategy tips for employing AI to boost profitability. Accenture doesn’t see a growth environment in public or private sector right now. So how can the notoriously-feared AI “job killer” spur growth? Via a “virtual workforce” driven by “intelligent automation,” enhancing existing workers’ skills, and sparking economic innovations.

Seems a bit techno-happy nebulous to me, but Accenture’s thoughts on skills gaps are worth a look.  Even Accenture concedes that AI will only be a happy narrative if companies – and governments – get out in front on anticipating disruption, ethics, etc. In other words – wake up call.

If waiting on the feds is naive, the local level may bring answers, as Jerry explores in How Orlando stopped worrying, learned to love the cloud and became a smart city. Turns out “Orlando’s commitment to cloud-based computing goes well beyond email.” It’s early days for ventures like “Intelligence Led Policing,” but Orlando is evidently much further ahead than many cities. I haven’t noticed much besides crummy wifi at the convention center (which made my phone think I was in rural Germany), but I’ll pay closer attention next time.

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

  • Northern Gas Networks moves all its SAP to the cloud – Phil with a SuccessFactors + S/4HANA use case combo: “Moving off the current “mish-mash” of spreadsheets, local databases and diaries that are used to plan for absences will give the organization its first clear view of its readiness for peak periods.”
  • The FinancialForce movie – Secrets of Episode 2 – Brian rounds up an interesting show with a heavy analyst presence, and lots to digest in terms of leadership changes, focus on the service economy, big change in HCM with the ADP partnership, and more. If audio whets your whistle, Brian and I commandeered an empty meeting room for an onsite podcast, FinancialForce Community Live – the podcast review.
  • Infor CEO talks AI plans, democratising retail and rethinking ERP – Derek’s sit down with Infor CEO Charles Phillips hits on plenty, including the intriguing/massive Koch Industries investment, as well as the potential – and contraints – of AI.
  • Adobe shows how to transition to the cloud – Stuart isn’t easily impressed, so when he offers up unmitigated praise like “A stellar example of how to transition an on premise vendor to the cloud,” we’d best find out why. Sidenote to Adobe: make it easier to quickly sign PDFs without signing up for subscription services or squandering time in help documentation figuring the workaround. “Death by a thousand cuts” is now being supplanted by “death by a thousand subscriptions.”

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon’s grab bag –  Martin indulges his F1 fanboyism in Mercedes – blocking out the data ‘noise’ to win the decision-making race, and comes back with data insights (“The important aspect… is building the ability to know what data can be ignored and understanding why it can be ignored”). Jerry applies data for the public good in Zendrive puts the skids under traffic fatalities, which presents some alarming driving stats.

We don’t cover Uber with the obsessiveness of the consumer tech press, but the CEO’s obvious belated ignominious exit earned Stuart’s ire – and commentary – in Kalanick’s departure is the fare for Uber’s car crash of a toxic culture. (Download the Lyft app today!). We go from necessary firings to progressive hiring in Cath’s Beyond young, white males – how to swim in a bigger tech talent pool. I’ll have more to say on Den’s The curious case of Gartner’s MQ for cloud financials after July 4, but meantime, have a look see, with a bustling comment thread.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Lead story – Tell me why – FAQs on supply chains to admire, by Lora Cecere

myPOV: Most analysts have ranking systems. These ranking systems, from quadrants to waves to whatever, tend to lack transparency on several levels. That’s why I picked this post by Lora Cecere, a supply chain analyst who took the time to write a detailed response to a reader question on why Walmart and Amazon were excluded from her “supply chains to admire” review.

As always, it’s not the self-congratulatory divisive biased rankings themselves that truly help customers, it’s the nuances from experts who pull back the curtain. In Cecere’s case, turns out she does admire Amazon’s supply chain, but sees no peer to benchmark it against. As for Walmart, Cecere has included Walmart in the past but says that “We see stalled improvement on performance metrics. Note in Figure 4  that Walmart is last place in driving improvement. They are losing ground in growth to both dollar store format retailers and e-commerce retailers.”

That’s the kind of transparency we should strive for – and that customers should demand of us.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanSome whiffy awards:

Speaking of air travel, I just stumbled upon this 2016 classic, TSA Reveals Its ‘Top 10 Most Unusual Finds’ of 2016. I was partial to the fake corpse, as well as the “Post-Apocalyptic Bullet Adorned Gas Mask.” Here’s hoping Santa gets me one of those “Bladed Dragon Claws”… See you after July 4. Over to you, Clive.

This is a truncated “Jon feels the road burn” version of hits and misses, which by definition excludes some worthy content – from diginomica and beyond. If you read an #ensw piece that qualifies, let me know in the comments as Clive always does. Updated June 28, 6am ET with a few small tweaks, and addition of “wet noodle” to second TechCrunchy award.

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, Beach vacation © lily - all from Fotolia.com.

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