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Enteprise hits and misses - decentralized finance wins buzzword bingo, personalization gets questioned, and climate reporting heats up

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed April 11, 2022
This week - decentralized finance wins buzzword bingo, but is it an enterprise disruptor? A personalization report issues benchmarks, and raises questions. Time for AI ethics - as a free service? Thanks to the Twitterati, the whiffs keep coming.

King Checkmate

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.

These changes 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.

Derek concludes:

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:

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:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

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

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


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:

Have you noticed that return-to-office always seems to be flypaper for foot-in-mouth types?

Finally, with air travel making a comeback, do you get the feeling that some of us are bit rusty on travel etiquette?

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.

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