Enterprise hits and misses - retailers raise their personalization game, the FBI gets an email hack, and the Metaverse gets an enterprise critique
- This week - personalization is an commerce asset, but are retailers ready? The FBI's email servers get hacked, and the motivations are revealed. Another batch of hybrid events get reviewed. In the whiffs, the tech predictions game is already wearing thin.
Lead story - Getting closer to the customer - can retailers deliver on personalization?
MyPOV: I've seen some gaudy stats lately on the impact of personalization, but I'm still waiting to see retailers not-named-Amazon pull this off at scale. Madeline explores Adobe use cases in Getting close to the customer - personalization ploys in action at Boots and Real Madrid. As Madeline explains, Boots has a 25 year history with their loyalty card - and yet there's been a disconnect, in how to apply the data:
But what hasn’t been as straightforward for the retailer is how to use this data to change what each customer experiences. Communications are often common to all customers, and Boots has a limited understanding of how online and stores connect in the choices customers make. According to Robinson, these challenges have often been based on gaps in the firm’s technology, as well as organizational structures and working practices that have maintained silos rather than blending expertise within teams to deliver a common objective.
That strikes me as an apt summary for many retailers today - even those with aggressive digital strategies and mobile apps. So what's next? For Boots, it's a six point plan. I won't detail it all here, but changing from generalized demographics to serving customers based on needs is one key. And there's more:
Second, the retailer is strengthening its data foundation, working to discover new customers and connect the different data sets together into an accurate, accessible single customer view.
It is also transforming the technology it’s using to personalize customer experience, adopting Adobe Experience Cloud across channels to enable connected conversations.
It's encouraging to see a more comprehensive method for personalization emerging - one that includes AI components but doesn't claim that AI alone can solve for this, because it can't. But as we see in Mark's latest use case, H&M CTO Alan Boehme - how the retailer uses digital and data to fashion new business trends in retailing, now is not the time to fall behind on these pursuits, despite the degree of difficulty:
"Boehme says what keeps him awake night is thinking about companies that have mastered the use of data and information."
Also see: Stuart's Building out digital real estate - Sainsbury's scales up its omni-channel clout.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- COP26 - ServiceNow UK&I Chief says more regulation needed to penalize companies not doing enough on climate - Derek keeps the COP26 updates coming: "There will be bigger opportunities for green-focused companies. The markets just need to be forced to create conditions that favour those sustainable businesses."
- Zuckerberg's dream meets business realism - NVIDIA Omniverse is an enterprise metaverse -
Put on your most expensive, err, hippest VR goggles- finally, a metaverse post I can stomach. Thanks Kurt: "We are amidst the latest and perhaps largest rebrand in tech history since it covers both a perennially overhyped concept, augmented-virtual reality (AR/VR), that never (can't be allowed to?) dies and the seventh-largest company by market cap, Facebook."
- Exclusive - Peakon's Phil Chambers on bringing voice of the employee to Workday - Phil digs into Workday's EX pursuits: "This transparency and speed is a much better fit for today's fast-changing work environment than the secretive, batch processes of old."
Virtual (and hybrid) event season rolls on - vendors kept diginomica scribes on the move once again:
- Tableau Conference - let's all data! - Stuart breaks down a vigorous Tableau Conference virtual keynote.
- Tableau Conference - data transformation in action as Bentley Motors drives into its second century - And he follows it up with a fresh use case.
Meanwhile, Freshworks' hybrid Refresh show had the company on a buzz from its recent IPO. Derek filed his virtual 1:1: Freshworks CEO on scaling the Neo platform to enable the ‘art of easy’. Use cases to follow.
I was on the ground for Sage Intacct's recent analyst day, but in the virtual seats for the hybrid Transform user event:
- Sage Transform - can we tie finance software to the issue of digital trust? And does AI and blockchain play a role? - Jon (includes Sage CTO Aaron Harris' changing views on blockchain)
- Sage Transform - how Banyan Treatment Center saved $1m after moving to Sage Intacct - Phil
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- HelloSign e-signature is Dropbox's 'gateway drug' to workflow automation - Phil
- Confluent aims to make it easier to set data in motion across hybrid and multi-cloud - Derek
- The future of cloud ERP is vertical - Acumatica customers share proof points - Jon
- New Relic CEO declares turnaround complete as Q2 numbers beat Wall Street expectations - Stuart
Jon's grab bag - Derek continues his missives on tech confronting sustainability in COP26 - tech companies grapple with how to navigate climate crisis. Meanwhile, Mark filed a forward-thinking use case in Vertical farming pioneer IGS uses workflow automation to improve operations: "The organization is a major user of hi-tech, claiming to be 100% IOT-enabled and using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning as part of its mission to enhance indoor food-growing environments in either agricultural or commercial spaces." Now, there's an AI/IoT use case I can get behind...
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- FBI Hack: No Network Data Compromised After Fake Email Incident - Unfortunately the tech news story of the week was not a feel-good one.
- Hoax Email Blast Abused Poor Coding in FBI Website – Krebs on Security got the scoop, and provided the context: "According to an interview with the person who claimed responsibility for the hoax, the spam messages were sent by abusing insecure code in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities."
- Catching Up with Omnichannel: It Isn’t Where (or What) We Thought It Was - Constellation's Liz Miller is tired of wading through omni-misconceptions: "Omnichannel is about being omnipresent, not about replicating actions in every channel... Omnipresent commerce is about showing up and being present in the moment the customer is defining. This raises a demand for signal intelligence to understand needs and behaviors—something that will get exponentially more challenging and complex as new channels of engagement enter the journey."
- As technology skills demand grows, so does attention to low-code and no-code solutions - Joe "low-code" McKendrick is back, with a roundup of low-code sentiments. I'm not sure low-code will shine in customer-facing apps, however, as one of his subjects asserts.
- The value of getting personalization right--or wrong--is multiplying - McKinsey unfurls some of those gaudy personalization stats I referenced earlier: "Companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts."
- Global supply-chain strategies for retailers during the holidays and beyond - Another McKinsey piece, this one for retailers on the holiday hot stove.
- Microsoft is giving businesses access to OpenAI’s powerful AI language model GPT-3 - Powerful, yes - powerful enough to
make you look like tone deaf idiotsget serious PR egg on your face
So Iceland had fun with the Metaverse:
Iceland Skewers Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse With New Tourism Ad https://t.co/AR86aHg3pd
"The Icelandverse looks much more enjoyable than Facebook's imaginary metaverse."
indeed it does... lmao
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 14, 2021
A piece on investing in the Metaverse made me wonder if I could bet against it:
Can I short it? https://t.co/Sqh64Lk9LM
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 13, 2021
Nice to know if I'm not on the ground at an event, someone else is on buzzword patrol:
Always appreciate a buzzword heads-up https://t.co/ppYlERmRlQ
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 11, 2021
Oh, and are you ready for the tech predictions game? Yawn:
Fave backchannel message of the day, re: incoming tech PR:
"And we're in prediction season again too! - boring!"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 10, 2021
Can we just end "predictions" for good this year?
— Dan Jensen (@dansjensen) November 10, 2021
Sorry Dan, I tried. But we'll find a way to get 'em somehow. Our annual unpredictions might be a good start....
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.