Enterprise hits and misses - digital government struggles; tech leaders try not to get trumped

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 12, 2016
In this edition: digital government goes navel-gazing - we extract lessons. Plus: Silicon Valley leaders gear up for a landmark meeting with the president-elect with huge issues on the table. Your whiffs include diginomica readers eviscerating LinkedIn. I call a self-whiff as well.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Australia’s outgoing CDO details the struggles in getting government to change by Derek du Preez

quotage: "It’s incredible that the challenges or blockers that face governments are so similar the world over. As I’ve said before, until we have an honest conversation about what digital means for the public sector – where institutions will change shape, job roles will be different and policy making will need rethinking – we aren’t going to see the wholesale change we need."

myPOV: Readers know that the ups and downs of digital change in the public sector are a big theme in diginomica's bailiwick. Disruptive elections won't change that focus, as we examine the prospects of digital under new regimes. Speaking of which, Derek filed sobering analysis of an outgoing blog post from the departing Australian CDO, who got his spurs in the UK. No real surprises, but a validation of the anti-bodies and the precarious need for political will to push through them. The tech is a cakewalk compared to the red tape and status quo culture.

Derek had more: in Leaked Government Transformation Strategy leaves lots to the imagination, he analyzes a UK document which appears to undermine - or at least pour some icy water upon - some UK gov happy talk about a pending Digital Strategy release.

Derek wonders where the last year went? Or as he says: "I may be being a bit too skeptical, but hey, that’s my job." On the former, I doubt it, but I hope for the UK's sake you are. On the latter - damn straight - and keep on keeping on. Also see: Derek's Slush 2016 – Uber leads discussion on innovation tension in government for some surprisingly thoughtful and non-adversarial thoughts on public/private collaboration from Uber.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica three - my top three stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my four top choices from our vendor coverage:

  • 2017 – the year of IBM’s Blockchain ambitions - Martin on the enterprise vendor that has bet the most on blockchain to date: "Smith acknowledges that it will be that large enterprises with the established IT resources that figure largely in the early adopters, and is aware that there still work to be done to make Blockchain more available and usable by the SME community."
  • Running a non-profit in the cloud – a personal journey for NetSuite’s Evan Goldberg - nifty piece by Jess. As per Goldberg: "There seemed to me to be an opportunity here to cut across these boundaries and silos and look at cancer in a different way. If we can research cancer across organ types, looking at other factors, looking at it differently, we can make faster progress and that’s what everybody wants." Rock on, sir!
  • HPE CTO sees a hybrid future on the edge and in the cloud - HPE's re-invention continues, and Phil's on the case: "HPE must undertake a huge transformation that is only partially complete, with no way of knowing what size or shape the market will be in once it reaches that destination."
  • SAP takes a stand on diversity to beat the talent shortage - Phil filed an update on SAP's diversity efforts at SuccessConnect, e.g. this quote from SAP CHRO Stefan Reis: "I’ve spoken to many of my peers, they see the same trend. If they miss the boat, if they can’t offer that kind of solution — that’s why you hear us a lot talking about Business Beyond Bias, diversity, and inclusion — if they miss the boat, they exclude themselves for a certain talent pool."

A couple more vendor picks, without the quips:

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Trump to Meet With Top Tech Execs: What Should Be on the Agenda - by Chris Kanaracus

quotage: "Trump's views on immigration reform are well-known, but within that topic his stance on H-1B visas has wavered. Initially, he took a hard position against them, then indicated modest support for H-1Bs in the interest of attracting skilled labor. But most recently, Trump once again condemned them and vowed to "end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program." Cisco CEO Robbins is on record saying he believes Trump can be convinced to increase the number of H-1Bs issued. Next week's meeting presents a chance for Robbins and fellow tech execs to make that case."

myPOV: Politics is not the lightning rod we need in hits and misses, but I make the exception here, for a meeting that matters well beyond tech. Constellation's Chris Kanaracus is in his journalistic wheelhouse of old here, with a useful rundown of the topics that matter.

We can only hope the meeting avoids histrionics so progress can be made. Of the key issues, from infrastructure to Internet sales to cybersecurity, it may be the H-1B/immigration issue that will show us the most about campaign rhetoric versus what this country needs: a practical H-1B policy that encourages domestic hiring but not at the expense of losing the global talent pool. Note: this blog post "expires" in 8 days, not like your cottage cheese - more like your jewelry, which goes on lockdown behind your firewall.

Other standouts:

  • Not the Jetsons: 10 Use Cases for Cognitive Learning in Supply Chain - This is the kind of AI/cognitive post I dig - one with actual industry examples, not campy science fiction but things that make sense like moving demand forecasting from weeks to days. Nope - not the Jetsons. Nice one Lora Cecere.
  • The RedMonk re:Invent Recap - I like this team event review deal from RedMonk. It's hard enough to get all three of 'em in the same place much less a blog. Makes for a good mix - though it's a chatty format so if you need a concise summary of monkian views, don't click. Interesting that Amazon's dominance comes with indifference to open source: "Historically, AWS has said very little about open source. They didn’t say that much more this time around..."
  • Looking for Mr. Cloud: The Benioff Scale and SAP’s Cloud Leadership Conundrum - You know someone wrote a good post when it raises points you missed. Joshua Greenbaum hit on an issue SAP must face: where is the compelling "buck stops here" of their cloud leadership? And though I gave SAP props for its well-played diversity approach, Greenbaum is right to note this doesn't extend to the board level: "Despite the company’s honest attempts at diversity, senior leadership at SAP’s is still largely a men’s club." (that's why the "Mr. Cloud" monicker).

Honorable mention

The Thorny Ethics of Computer Programming - Not a wildly original analysis, but an authoritative summary - loaded with links - of a crucial topic that's making the rounds of late.
Why A Bi-Modal Approach to Digital Transformation Is Just Stupid - This week's "tell us how you really feel" award.
Granularity of measurement is directly proportional to fear of failure! - I love it when a post is framed by an unabashed confession: "I came to the sad realization that my penchant for granularity is simply a representation of my fear of failure."
Microsoft CEO Nadella Outlines Initial Integration Plans for LinkedIn - Details revealed. I published a much snarkier analysis, more on that in a sec.
Media's Massive Problems With Jay Rosen - Full disclosure this just came out and I haven't listened yet. But - both parties are massively experienced.
With Uber and Lyft Nearby, Rental Cars May Be Ripe for a Comeuppance - I hope the travel gods show no mercy to the rental car companies.
Biofuel made from human excrement has become easier to produce - Sometimes innovation is excrement.


Overworked businessman
So in my snark-laden post, LinkedIn members are either enthusiastic about Microsoft – or gritting their teeth. I thought I took things a little too far when I wrote:

Let’s face it: anyone who is still active on LinkedIn is active in spite of LinkedIn’s incessant promotions, marketing bullpucky, trivial endorsements, (overrated) influencer blog saturation, relentless emails, unwanted “reply to all” pimpstorms, irrelevant anniversary greetings, and pathetic levels of meaningful conversation compared to the stickiness of Facebook threads. It would be a real feat for Microsoft to dilute the caliber of conversation on LinkedIn further than the meager trickle of insights it generates now.

Fun to write? Yes. A bit one-sided? Maybe. But now I wonder if I let LinkedIn off easy. Commenters on my post - and on Twitter - were scathing:

And this blast from Rod Heitmann on diginomica.com:

The site was created for the professional network. Now it is all gone. I am inundated with useless emails from who knows where. Articles of things I could care less about. Adds that try to sell me things that do not matter to me.

So is this is whiff? Yeah, in a long-simmering way. A deteriorating user experience is a bad combination with Microsoft's horny ambitious LinkedIn integration plans. Add in Microsoft's questionable privacy handling with sensitive user data and you have a whiff that could become a massive odoriferous UX stench.

Oh, yeah, and I'm calling a whiff on myself too. Michael Doane rightfully called me out on Deloitte’s CIO report – culture and talent present a digital obstacle. Though I warned readers this survey was buzzword-drenched, I should have turned up the volume on the Eviscerator for such bloviated, pompous, self-important language. Still squeezed out some value from the report - a whiff nonetheless. And we move on...

Over to you, Clive.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - Fotolia - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.