Enterprise hits and misses – public cloud vs private, AI vs human trust


In this edition – private cloud gets called out by a public cloud advocate, humans call out humans for not trusting AI. Your whiffs include a sharing economy fail and a Yelp career implosion.

Happy children eating appleLead storyThe false equivalence between private and public cloud – by Kurt Marko

quotage: “I’m reminded of the adage, “You can’t invent the light bulb by continuously improving the candle.” It seems that the purveyors of private cloud are fixated on candle optimization while the Amazons, Azures and Googles are mass producing better and cheaper light bulbs.”

Kurt’s private cloud “light bulb” takedown riled up the Twittersphere this week, and for good reason. This ruthlessly argued piece on behalf of public cloud should give pause to all but the most enthusiastic private cloud marketeers. I refuse to say “never” when it comes to private cloud but I can appreciate a finely-polished sledgehammer like this one.

The biggest advance in the cloud debate? Enterprise buyers are becoming much more sophisticated about the pros and cons of the cloud architectures vendors push, from multi-tenant to hybrid to who-the-heck-knows.

It’s less about one right answer than spirited/informed banter about the components of cloud “value,” which Kurt pushes here. Readers should carefully parse Kurt’s critique of the hybrid options that are now in vogue. Bonus: for more on public cloud in action, check Gary’s Met Office – ‘Chaos is welcome in our new cloud’.

diginomica three – my top three stories on diginomica this week

  • Cloud-based analytics is music to PPL’s ears Jessica with a neat Birst use case the ties into a noble effort to actually pay musicians fairly for their music when it’s played across TVs and public places without prior compensation. More Birst to follow.
  • An eyewitness history of SaaS in twelve chapters – A true SaaS advocate (Phil) shares his testimony on how we got to where we are today, including the bittersweet glory of his pioneering ASP days. Phil brings us through rise of microservices, AI, and, everyone’s favorite slide manure buzzword: “multi-cloud.”
  • Chatbots don’t replace humans, but they can make experiences better – Barb gives us a level-headed – and illustrated – view of the pros/cons of chatbots, or “Botty” as she coins them. Check the “six rules for designing a better bot.”

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

  • Zodiac Aerospace flies in Birst to support local data needs – As Inforum kicks in, Derek files a nifty use case via Infor’s still-shiny analytics acquisition (Birst). I liked this realistically-stated benefit: “Right now we have a slow deployment, because we are dealing with these key people learning Birst. But once they’ve got the right skill set, the time to market is very quick.”
  • Tone at the Top – Lew Cirne, CEO New Relic talks authenticity and joy – Den continues his “Tone at the Top” series where he hobnobs extracts leadership insights from smart peeps. We don’t hear “joy” cited as a workplace goal very often: “Find that balance between the joy and the discipline. Right? There’s discipline and hard work, but when you were a kid, to pick up basketball was for the joy of the game too. I feel like that’s the way we ought to think about building our business.”
  • Lifesize recipe for SaaS success? ‘Smother customers with love’ – Phil on a videoconferencing vendor (Lifesize) with a different, SaaSy sales strategy – where the initial sale is just the beginning. Then comes the smotherin’ love, baby.
  • Oracle launches dedicated Oracle Government Cloud in UK – The big red elephant in the cloud room is on the move again – Derek’s got the story.

Jon’s grab bag – Derek filed a dandy with Nominet Trust is investing in the digital future of the disadvantaged youth. With a digital skills shortage in the UK, upskilling 300,000 disadvantaged young people is right plan/right time.

As a SoundCloud buff, I got duffed by Stuart’s SoundCloud hits a duff note in the digital disruption of the music industry. Man, the digital music biz is one tough racket. Den puts his transportation (mis)adventures to good use in Ten things I learned about an Uber-based North South divide and the destruction of elites. Finally, Stuart throws another (nonexistent) privacy shot across the bow in NGOs warn that America isn’t living up to its end of the Privacy Shield deal.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Lead story – Will we trust AI – and why is AI different – stories by Vijay Vijayansankar and Robbie Allen

myPOV: Back to the AI blogging mudbog well we go, first with Vijay Vijayasankar’s Will we trust AI? Wherein Vijay asks how we can trust machines that may: make decisions/assessments we object to, make biased outputs, or force the machine into split-second ethical quagmires like: potentially injure a forklift operator or injure the worker(s) below? Vijayasankar’s answer: education, and upfront/transparent discussions.

It is important to discuss these [issues] thoroughly upfront, and during the projects . When done right – and transparently – AI can and does add significant value to us.

In Why Artificial Intelligence is Different from Previous Technology Waves, Robbie Wilson also braves the AI hype and comes out drinking the AI Kool-Aid. Why? It’s kind of a long story, involving eight different technology waves (AI being the eighth). Wilson likes the low barrier to AI entry for developers/startups, and how the massive investments in AI from Google, Amazon, etc benefit the entire industry (a rising tide lifts all boats hypothesis).

But Wilson cautions that obstacles remain, most notably: humans. He brings up trust as well: “As a society, we will not fully embrace technologies that can save millions of lives like autonomous cars.” As someone who trends dystopian, I see the distrust of machines as healthy and natural. That said it’s nice to hear from builders who believe such things can be overcome.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanRaise your hands if you didn’t see this one coming: Umbrella-sharing startup loses nearly all of its 300,000 umbrellas in a matter of weeks. Rainy days for sharing economy buffs…

And this week in “vent spleen, flush your dreams,” a dean at Yale gets placed on a grim-sounding leave over some tacky, self-indulgent Yelp reviews. Hope those felt good to post…

I’m not sure these are whiffs, but the idea that the FBI would run your tattoos against a database of predicted criminals isn’t such a my life/my body feeling (they are piloting this in a prison but you get the idea – image recognition changes some things). This isn’t a whiff yet, but the W3’s move to support DRM on videos could end up chaffing our collective behinds. “Battle for the soul of the open web” might be a tad overdramatic, but our wallets will definitely be pried open if this plays out.

Finally, I haven’t banned ZDNet pieces from hits and misses like I did Forbes, but seriously, have you checked the ZDnet reader experience lately?

1. click  ZDNet link.

2. wait for autoplay video/ad to obscure screen.

3. click “skip” on obnoxious/irrelevant video. (“your page will load in 15, loser!”)

4. return to article.

5. wait for newsletter sign up to immediately obscure screen before you have time to assess value of said article.

6. click on “close”

7. start reading article to determine if it is even something worth your attention.

8. WTF

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.

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 - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing. Infor, which owns Birst, is a diginomica premier partner.