Lead story – Listen up! Why voice is calling loudest for digital transformation by Chris Middleton
Den is right. Chris dropped the diginomica line of the week with:
Amazon’s progress over the past few years can best be described as a lion slipping into the room disguised as a housecat.
But voice isn’t Amazon’s invention. Chris reviews many players in this international review, from Siri to Alibaba to Kakao. So what’s the message? Brands that don’t invest in voice are falling behind. Media is just the hors d’oeuvres:
The impact will be felt not just in media consumption, which Reuters says is booming as a result of devices such as Amazon’s Echo/Dot, but also in terms of retail, manufacturing, logistics, fulfilment, and communication services. For all of these reasons, AI-enabled smart speakers are best seen as an important new gateway into the home.
OK – $10.6 billion in hardware spending on voice tech in five years, but how do enterprises time the adoption wave? Obstacles loom: try asking Alexa or Google to “re-order the most popular item in our household last week,” and receive the equivalent of a blank stare at the registry of motor vehicles in return.
Transparency and trust will slow transactional voice adoption. But Chris warns brands: Amazon’s logistical prowess and home voice presence is going to
kick their conflicted butt@cks pose a challenge:
That throws down the gauntlet to any organisation operating across any of those fields, either vertically or horizontally.
Who will the winners be? That’s another question Alexa can’t hope to answer – yet.
- Algorithms are undermining the customer experience, and (most) companies don’t care – Phil wanted me to break tradition and feature my own story as this week’s lead. Not this time – but I may go into reader feedback next time around, so add your comments please.
- Blockchain pushes ahead in agriculture trading, and security – Jerry looks at agri-blockchain in ETC showcases the first end-to-end blockchain to enable agricultural commodity trade. If you dismissed this as a bitcoin variant, as I first did, look again – it’s more than just the financial transaction. ETC’s blockchain covers all the sales documentation, allowing “organizations to digitally verify, handle and transfer all records of a sale, including the complicated elements such as contracts, inspection information and letters of credit.” Meanwhile, Madeline turns to security in Is blockchain the answer to security risk in supply chains? Me: a partial answer, maybe – but not a quick win.
- Good news (Esteé Lauder)/Bad news (H&M) in retail transformation – Stuart filed a digital retail contrast. First, the high praise: Estée Lauder’s digital drive opens up global markets (Stuart ranks Estée Lauder’s digital track record up right up there with Starbucks – high praise from his Starbucks-as-digital-gold-standard view). Then there’s H&M gets the digital message, but is it all a bit too late? A not-impressed Stuart piles on – a
grouchyunderwhelming in-store visit from turbo-shopper Stuart didn’t help either: “The layout and presentation was appalling.” Uh-oh.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my top two choices from our vendor coverage:
- New Relic CEO Lew Cirne – “Digital is the new front door” for business – Stuart’s New Relic update includes counter-takes on AI: “Refreshingly absent from Cirne’s remarks is any AI hard-sell, seemingly de rigeur for any enterprise tech player these days. That’s not to say the topic isn’t ticking away in the background in the guise of the firm’s Project Seymour. But Cirne is pragmatic about the current potential for the technology.“
- Built.io and Contentstack bring on the headless CMS experience – Phil goes headless again: “A headless CMS lets the coding and presentation be handled separately. This means the same content can be reused in a mobile app as well as a web site, or presented in an interactive augmented reality context, without having to manually reshape it.”
A few more vendor picks, without the quips:
- 2018 – the year of cross-functional enterprise thinking? ServiceNow CEO sees a trend – Stuart
- Dynatrace Perform 2018 – from APM to the bleeding edge of Biz/Ops Management – Martin
- How BLD Brands built a business platform with Acumatica ERP – crawl/walk/run style – Use case by yours truly.
Jon’s grab bag – Den weighs in from across the pond on the
overrated absurdity ad festival known as Super Bowl Sunday (If we all hate adverts then why do we love Super Bowl adverts?). Den’s answer: Americans are nutjobs (as an American, I say, true.). Granted, Super Bowl ads tend to be better than the norm due to their ginormous creative/production budgets. Still: ads smell and spraying the industry with “AI” won’t help. Maybe “useful” ads can save us? I’ll say no. Barb thinks a revamped sales and marketing might. Check her Sales and Marketing 2.0 – why marketing and sales have to adapt to today’s buyer.
One more think piece from Den, Healthcare – how the Amazon and Co joint venture fits to the Age of Sustainability, as he riffs on Denis Pombriant’s sustainability theme. (Don’t bother asking Alexa to fix healthcare, she “doesn’t know that one.”) We wrap the picks with my latest Digital Media Disruptions, where you get my analysis and action items on Facebook, fake influencers, voice content and more: Digital media disruptions XX – Facebook elevates comments over shares + Alexa’s content future.
Best of the rest
myPOV: Alan Patrick of Agile Elephant has something we don’t get often: a concise/practical view of blockchains pros and cons. The pros? As per Patrick:
- highly secure
- highly resilient technology
- no trusted 3rd party
I’d add “when there’s a need for equal market transparency across all parties…” And how about the downsides? Patrick:
- relatively low volume (c 6 a second)
- not particularly time sensitive (hours, or even days to complete)
- relatively high transaction value to mitigate the blockchain operating costs.
Some of those downsides will be improved over time, but that’s a good warning list. Patrick cautions:
Worryingly, we see a lot of mooted applications in the press where it is clear there is not a hope in hell that Blockchains (in their current form), will be fast enough or cheap enough to work (see Dinis’s talk on IoT – linked to above – for a typical example). Somewhere between the hype, hope and heuristics is a major disconnect…
Then, a low key recommendation that will send a shiver through the spines of blockchain marketers:
One should always compare the blockchain options to the existing, cheaper “Good Enoughs” around today.
Let’s continue this unsexy and useful angle, shall we?
- A Framework for Supply Chain Leaders to Understand Supply Chain Analytics – When I advise “sharing your IP to win trust,” I could do worse than pointing to this post by Lora Cecere.
- 2018 – are we feeling the manufacturing revolution? I wouldn’t say I’m feeling it, but it’s a far more resilient sector than some would have us believe.
- Into the eye of the storm, DevOps’ bravest warrior finds new hope – Noble attempt to turn DevOps innovators into Lord of the Rings. And: a good case for getting C-level buy in.
- Dreaming the Analyst Dream: How to Run a Great Analyst Event – Josh Greenbaum merges a Salesforce/cloud event critique with a clue-filled missive on how to engage analysts – or how to mess that right up.
- Event Report – ADP ReThink – Great event and a lot in the making – I guess Holger Mueller liked the ADP event, huh? He does have some concerns, and he’d like you to know his shoes are red AND black (I stand corrected!)
- Data Scientist Is The Best Job In America According Glassdoor – I’m pretty sure it’s not the best job in America, but the data does tell a story of customer demand.
- Ringing in a belated New Year with SAP, Oracle, and the CRM Watchlist 2019 – Paul Greenberg blows out the word count with a deep analysis.
I’m not calling this one a whiff like these dorks di: Wrong turn, dummy: Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster heads off course towards asteroid belt. As Mark Finnern said, seeing a Telsa in space might have been the best PR move of the year. Whips the stuffing out of buying a Super Bowl ad. Here’s a real whiff:
“Pepsi tries to create special Doritos for women” https://t.co/daaKLl7OmG -> make a less crunchy chip for women? The women I know would prefer to crunch louder and the heck with it, this company needs to get out more.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 5, 2018
I wasn’t the only one:
OMG thank you @PepsiCo! I spent 26 years not being able to enjoy a snack because they’re so manly and big, but now I’ll be able to eat them with my tiny fragile hands!
Feminism has finally achieved something! https://t.co/jh4aF4PY2g
— Lara Mendonça (@laramendonca_) February 5, 2018
So these Yale students (and professor) are probably regretting taking selfies with two severed heads right about now. They aren’t the only ones sweating the spank tunnel this week:
Journalists struggle to explain why they bought fake twitter followers https://t.co/hLlPfR3XMn -> to ““genuinely contrite” I’d add “colossally stupid” and “couldn’t see forest because my ego is a tree that blocked everything”
Keep in mind though – I am conflicted on this one:
I’m just mad I didn’t get in on the sale and buy 100K followers, those prices were pretty good! https://t.co/P879SFJqpp
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 3, 2018
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 3, 2018
Klout-preening-blowhards hard-working reporters want to have it both ways. Check this world-class rationale:
Awhile back I tapped a friend’s social media business to improve my footprint in the space. Part of several recommendations in expanding reach/visibility was to purchase followers. I took all advice & most pointers was solid. The one lament was the follower purchase. Not needed.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) January 26, 2018
Yay for social media consultants! “Most pointers was solid” – LOLZ! That’s like saying:
I wanted to go on a great white shark tour, so a consultant told me what gear to get. One of the recommendations was to leave the cage and swim around. The one lament was that I swam around in front of a deadly predator and got eaten. Most of the other pointers were solid.
Enjoy the protracted trip inside the spank tunnel. I hope next time I screw up I can write a better mea culpa than that…
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. Updated 8am UK time with a few fresh quips.
Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - all from Fotolia.com.
Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, New Relic, ServiceNow, Acumatica and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.