Lead story – Omni-channel or bust for Kohl’s, Macy’s and JC Penney – retail analysis by Stuart Lauchlan
MyPOV: With the all-important holiday season kicking in, Stuart issued a flurry of good news/bad news retails missives. Start with Kohl’s, an early advocate of “stores are still cool” in Getting personal to drive omni-channel traffic at Kohl’s. Stuart likes Kohn’s online/store mix, and the digital numbers aren’t shabby, but as Stuart warns:
The harsh reality remains that the chain is only turning in just-over-flat growth year-on-year.
A feel-a-tad-better story comes by way of JC Penney CEO – the need for speed in omni-channel retail. After some choppy waters it appears programs like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store are rolling. If that sounds trivial, consider this CEO braggadocio: “Over $1 billion of inventory is exposed to dot com customers from all 874 stores.” Not so trivial. Stuart:
Signs of life at JC Penney at just the right time.
Then we have Macy’s, which gave our resident fashion maven (that would be Stuart) the shopping blues during a recent in-store visit in San Francisco (Macy’s drills down on digital, but the in-store basics are still broken). No doubt that added vinegar to this Lauchlan smackdown:
Macy’s has digital religion, but it could be too late. Meanwhile the in-store customer experience sucks.
Yep, that’s another tell-us-how-you-really-feel award for your collection.
- Ill-advised AI could be as bad as poor outsourcing, says Genpact CEO – Chris unfurls another sharp AI take, this time with a warning from the services side, which involves inscrutable AI black boxes. Oh, and this timely reminder for customers who may be getting hit with an AI marketing overdose right about now: “All should ensure that they don’t rush in with neither a strategic plan nor a real problem to solve.”
- APIs, the indispensable glue for digital enterprise strategies – Kurt on why digital needs the right plumbing, and the right way to expose digital assets. Ergo: “Organizations that treat APIs as a fundamental part of their digital business strategies will have a competitive advantage.”
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Dreamforce 2017 is a wrap, and diginomica published 30+ Dreamforce ’17 stories for your perusal. Den has already curated a tasty mix of diginomica Dreamforce analysis and use cases. But we had a few late breaking stories I’ll serve up here:
- (Tech) Women of Some Importance – leadership exemplars from Google and IBM – Stuart on two standout sessions.
- Embedding apps in Quip is huge for Salesforce – here’s why – Phil does a dapper video turn, with context on why the Salesforce’s Quip acquisition is no joke (sigh – pun intended).
- Dreamforce 2017 – ‘If digital government stands still, credibility and legitimacy is at risk” – Derek hits on concerning diginomica/gov issues from a Salesforce angle.
More vendor analysis:
- ServiceMax and GE a year on – the ServiceMax view – Den made the jaunt to Maximize ’17 to get a closer view on “settling in” from both sides of the acquisition. The ServiceMax angle: customers still deriving value – from big fish to startups with fish to fry. Den flipped the narrative in ServiceMax and GE Digital a year on – the GE view.
- SAP’s IIoT and blockchain ambitions – a heady mix but will it blend? – SAP TechEd Barcelona is in the books. Den’s got the first missive, a forage under the SAP Leonardo hood. The hard part: “My sense is that SAP needs to find a way to market itself that captures the value (sic) their approach implies, dials back use of some of the buzzwords that infest my email inbox, and gets customers out front talking about what the technologies are delivering.” The good part: “The installed base is certainly listening.” Den and I are on the ground here, along with Dick Hirsch, toughing it out under the Barcelona sun, so you can expect more installments.
- Is Kubernetes SAP Leonardo’s Mona Lisa? The role of Kubernetes in the SAP Cloud – speaking of Hirsch, check his vintage pre-SAP TechEd deep dive, which anticipated the keynote announcements, and is also notable for Hirsch pulling market intelligence from an SAP employee’s LinkedIn profile bio update. “Ripped from the headlines” turns into “ripped from your profile.”
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Microsoft fraternises with old enemy Linux, moves toward quantum computing – Martin
- Can SAP provide a comfort blanket for the turbulent financial services industry? – Angelica
- New Relic tops up its enterprise clout with big name use cases – Stuart
Jon’s grab bag – Den put Uber’s London setback in the troubling context of a race to the bottom of human labor outlay in The Uber London employment decision – implications for contingent and gig labor. He also
foolishly bravely went beyond baby and cat pictures in a doomed Quixotic attempt to extract a tiny shred of B2B value from Facebook advertising in Facebook is useless for B2B, sends ads to Russians.
Might as well complete the Howlett-on-edge trifecta with Skynet is here. We just don’t know it, which is less about Terminator (darn!) and more a response to HfS Research’s latest AI and automation data. Let’s wrap this puppy with Chris’ Global tech is world’s third-largest economy, but is it a healthy one? Bonus: action steps for companies that want to be the crusher and not the crushee are assessed.
Best of the rest
myPOV: Mirchandani and I have some pretty staunch differences in our view on the impact of AI/robotics/automation, though I appreciate we can debate it without (mostly) losing our civility.
However when it comes to Mirchandani’s research on digital innovation, I am always learning more. His latest blog series on the topic is up to part three, and it is shaping up as one of the better reads of this year. Check this excerpt:
For years now, pundits have said technology budgets are being taken over by the CMO. That is their narrow definition of digital – implement a social sentiment analysis technology or roll out a mobile consumer-focused app. Much better payback has come from the product side of the house. It is not unusual to find in auto makers more software engineers who report to product engineering/R&D than do to the CIO.
Mirchandani’s exhortation: pursue digital with a capital D, not a lower case d. Lower case “d” is minor gains in cost/efficiency, or worse yet, cheesy mobile apps that don’t change anything. Capital D digital is tech driving revenue growth and increasing your competitive position. Repeat the mistakes of the mid-90s and “end up with newer technology but not much better processes or efficiencies.”
As for the role of human labor amidst automated/digital processes, that’s another part of the debate, and one we are sure to revisit, hopefully in a way that improves rather than polarizes.
- Wild West of the SAP SuccessFactors Consulting Partner Ecosystem – SAP SuccessFactors expert
Jesse JamesJarret Pazahanick calls BS on SAP’s approach to SuccessFactors certification and raises ecosystem quality concerns. Bonus points for Clint Eastwood pic.
- Since when did AI become the job creation antidote to automation’s job destruction? Time for an augmented reality check – Phil Fersht on the latest hype pendulum swing: “Don’t we have a responsibility to inject some reality into this conversation?” Why, yes we do good sir – let’s do this.
- Is Strategic Planning the Key to IT Cost Optimization? – Granted not the world’s most sexiest blog title but UpperEdge has some practical tips for your review.
- IBM makes 20 qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service – not sure how impactful this news will prove to be, especially given IBM has offering a 5 qubit quantum service since last year, but you’ve gotta admit it makes for a sexy blog title. If quantum computing bears fruit, IBM will be right in the thick of it.
- Win Rates, Close Rates and Milestone vs. Flow Analysis – yes, back to the practical, but I’m up for learning about win rates from a SaaS pro (and CEO).
- How Can I Drive Lights-Out Planning? – Supply chain expert Lora Cecere’s concept of outside-in digital change is one of her most important themes. It’s a welcome antidote to failed/shopworn inward-out supply chain planning tactics of the past.
- Pricing access to the Trump White House: the strange case of the Times social media policy – enterprises could learn from this provocative piece on the limits of objectivity and the role of social personas. I may riff on this one in long-form.
Hey guys! I’m creating a new credit card pouch called “Identity Theft.” What’s great about this is that you keep all of your cards safe and secured in it. “Identity Theft” gives you peace of mind! #Relatable #WorstProductNames
— Kaz Wah (@KazAndQuincy) November 13, 2017
Yeah, and the use of Doxing as a name for a product connected to a communications device is either diabolically
creepy self-destructive or world class ignorant. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that dumb and dumber white board session. I sure hope some marketers are updating their LinkedIn profiles.
Oh, and one reader did not appreciate me throwing Fast and Furious 8 under the bus to grind an axe about AI overhype:
— Jamie Oswald ?? (@oswaldxxl) November 8, 2017
Maybe Jamie’s got a point. If enterprise AI is as successful as the Fast and Furious franchise, we might see the intelligent enterprise after all:
I first heard the phrase “intelligent enterprise” in 1996. It remains an aspiration. At best enterprises are intelligent in some circumstances but there is always a “dumb” experience/breakdown waiting around the corner. #sapteched
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 14, 2017
Nice reminder that the TSA is not only wildly inconvenient, it also kinda sucks at its job. Though I can’t blame TSA for this one, only myself, and the enterprise life I
inexplicably willingly signed up for:
My makeshift bed at the Dublin airport – cozy 🙂 pic.twitter.com/CyqKWoSAG4
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 13, 2017
Anyone else want to join me as a holiday music
whining sourass grouch?
Psychologist: Listening To Christmas Music Too Early Can Harm Your Mental Health https://t.co/EM7e47styd -> I needed therapy after Best Buy
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 9, 2017
I hope I’m not alone on that one – let me know. See you next time.
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses – in a good or bad way – let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.
Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com.
Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, ServiceMax, New Relic and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.