Lead story - Finance industry disruption, or not? Challenger banks and crypto's push
MyPOV: Crypto's true believers would have us believe traditional finance institutions are set to crumble, no match for the momentum of decentralized commerce.
Others aren't so sure. Two diginomica pieces hit on these trends. Start with Gary's US challenger bank Current uses Neo4j graph technology to build services centered around customer relationships.
What's a challenger bank? Depends on who you ask. But if a bank wants to integrate centralized and decentralized technologies (blockchain/crypto), would a relational database be a business model hindrance? Current addressed this by going with a graph database instead. Gary quotes Current's CTO:
Relational databases didn’t seem the right match for doing that, as running a query to find all the relationships and qualified signatories for a minor account would take too long due to the constant need to create new tables in-memory. as JOINs are executed in SQL. This would cause performance issues.
unfortunately come with a brutally hip sexy new buzzword. Gary:
Now, graph is now being used to aid the company move to DeFi - the alternative payment processes for trading in cryptocurrency or obtaining a mortgage without recourse to an intermediary using blockchain-based smart contracts. The aim at Current now, he said, us to bridge traditional and decentralized finance to build what Current frames as ‘hybrid’ financial products, which it believes provide the most value back to our members in the shift to Web 3.0.
(If you missed the last round of buzzword bingo, DeFi = decentralized finance). Derek hits a different angle in UK says it is ‘open for crypto business’ - despite serious concerns. Derek:
The British Government this week announced that stablecoins - a form of cryptocurrency that is typically pegged to a fiat currency, such as the US dollar - will be brought within regulation, meaning that it could soon potentially be used in the UK as a recognized form of payment.
A series of announcements relating to cryptoassets, and more broadly distributed ledger technologies (i.e. Blockchain), were made by the Treasury this week, with the aim of positioning the UK as a ‘global hub’ for crypto business.
Whether we like it or not cryptocurrencies and digital assets are a growing area of technology in the finance market and it is better for governments to be at the forefront of understanding the implications of their growth, using regulation to ensure an element of control and stability, rather than to ignore.
Does all of this constitute that shopworn term "disruption"? I am loathe to apply that term, especially in enterprise settings, where dramatic/overnight shifts are as rare as a live blockchain project at production scale.
Still, these stories unquestionably amount to change, and in my view, sensible approaches, in the form of "hybrid" banking strategies, and proper regulation/governance (though whether crypto regulation turns out to be "proper" remains to be seen). Even if I won't give the "d word" blessing, diginomica would be amiss not to cover these topics, and so we will.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Google Cloud launches BigLake to ‘unify data lakes and warehouses' - Does Google have a solution for the enterprise data swamp? Derek has the latest.
- Salesforce upgrades Marketing and Service Clouds for the demanding digital customer - Yes, customers want more personalization, but they aren't willing to concede trust. Stuart explains how Salesforce intends to tackle this. Also see: Derek's use case, Peloton gets the Halp it needs by integrating its service desk with Slack.
- Microsoft unveils its cloud-first Windows strategy for hybrid work - Looking back for a moment in his analysis, Phil writes: "Few back then - including, I suspect, Bill Gates himself - would have predicted that, a quarter-century later, Windows would be on the verge of completing the transition to a cloud-first, device-independent operating system." I've got something to say about Windows 12 rumors, but that will have to wait...
We're on the verge of a frantic series of virtual, hybrid, and on-the-ground-only events, as vendors look to make up for a sluggish event year. Here's round one:
- Coupa Inspire - price benchmarking for ocean freight, Scope 3 emissions reporting - Phil
- Team 22 - Atlassian brings out Atlas to lighten the load of team co-ordination - Phil
- SaaS can't deliver without digital adoption - WalkMe Realize 2022 puts the focus on digital adoption ROI - Jon
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- How Volumetric Building Companies is going live on S/4HANA via RISE with SAP - and no external consultants - Jon
- IFS triples valuation in two years to $10 billion - CEO Darren Roos eyes cloud growth, acquisitions - Phil
- What I’d say to me back then - Stacey Epstein, CMO at Freshworks, on not self-limiting your ambitions - Madeline
- New Relic boosts SRE with automated service level objectives and alerts - Phil
Jon's grab bag - Neil examined the critical AI problem of autonomous technology (From autonomous cars to autonomous weapons, the AI ethics issues can't be ignored). Meanwhile, Derek bears down on the NHS's healthcare data plans in A “generational opportunity” to create a “small number of secure platforms” for NHS healthcare data. Finally, Twilio's new report raised a host of questions for Barb to dig into. She writes:
Although there are some good takeaways in this report, it wasn’t clear what personalization brands and consumers were asked about. There are so many ways to personalize experiences, so which ones work best? And, equally important, which ones do brands get wrong? (Personalization and trust - the critical elements of B2C customer engagement).
Not to mention the problem the other problem Barb raises: earning trust with first party data, another obstacle in brands' "cookieless" future that Barb. Personally, I give personalization a very mixed report card, with most of the bona fide wins coming from the easier/narrower project of on-site recommend engines. Stay tuned...
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- SEC Moves Toward Mandatory Climate Reporting: Are You Prepared? - I take issue with "stakeholder capitalism"
hype festivalsbecause I don't yet see the accountability, aka regulatory teeth. Well, as Constellation's Doug Henschen points out, climate reporting may be about to get a decent set of teeth.
- Atlassian cloud outage could take days to resolve - No, it's not nice to feature this story the same week as Atlassian's big show, but hey, this is not a small/insignificant outage.
- Turning point for artificial intelligence: Will the large cloud providers dominate? - I'd like to say no, but worry it's yes. Joe McKendrick weighs both sides: "The complexity and diversity of AI applications go well beyond the cloud environments where they are run -- and therefore reduce the dominance of a few cloud giants."
- Six Steps to Responsible AI in the Federal Government - A hefty report to sink into, via Brookings.
- Anch.AI launches free Ethical Governance Platform to encourage adoption of responsible AI practices - Not sure how I feel about ethics-as-a-platform service, but, it's free (at this point), so it may be a resource to kick tires on. Bonus points for an epically goofy executive pic!
- Accounts deceivable: Email scam costliest type of cybercrime - I rarely envy a headline, care more about the substance, but "account deceivable" is pretty clever, and email remains a phishing nightmare.
- Why Netflix Should Sell Ads – No, not exactly an enterprise piece, but this is Ben Thompson at the top of his consumer tech analysis game, and stirring the pot to boot.
So people would prefer a threesome with a robot than a human... Huge bonus points to the Toronto Sun, by fluffing their piece out with a classic feature image. That robot looks really uncomfortable. I also didn't know that pet cloning is getting more popular, despite the cost.
Twitter has been dominating the tabloids-r-us tech headlines in spectacular fashion this week:
Prolific Shitposter Now Owns 9.2% of Twitter https://t.co/j5fpzn6jra
-> regardless of whether you agree with the points, this has got to be in competition with the headline of the year...
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 7, 2022
Have you noticed that return-to-office always seems to be flypaper for foot-in-mouth types?
Good riddance to work from home, Google’s former CEO says https://t.co/0V2kRakw1v
"Google’s former chief of human resources Laszlo Bock called the company’s three-day schedule a “boil the frog method"
-> that's the spirit!!!!
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 10, 2022
Finally, with air travel making a comeback, do you get the feeling that some of us are bit rusty on travel etiquette?
Traveler told TSA he had 'no idea' a sword was concealed in his cane https://t.co/PhTkPhKWjV
-> travel is all about adapting :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 10, 2022
I'm sure I'll be making a carry-on mistake or two of my own pretty soon... 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. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.