Enterprise hits and misses - AI confronts the unbiased data oxymoron, while SAP, Oracle and Workday get a next-gen analytics review

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed November 4, 2019
This week - is "unbiased data" an AI oxymoron? Has RPA as we know it run its course? SAP, Oracle and Workday get a next-gen analytics assessment, and a Gartner analyst is sick of hyperbolic scale. Plus your whiffs.


Lead story - AI, change management, unbiased data, and other oxymorons - stories by Derek du Preez

MyPOV: Derek's latest AI forays grabs top billing this week. We start with AI and ethics - ‘Unbiased data is an oxymoron’, fresh from the debates at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona. Derek writes:

One of the key points that hit home for the audience came from Ariel Guersenzvaig, Senior Lecturer & Researcher, ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, who declared that there is no such thing as unbiased data.

He quotes Guersenvaig:

Unbiased data is an oxymoron. Data is biased from the start. You have to choose categories in order to collect the data. Sometimes even if you don’t choose the categories, they are there ad hoc... So even if a dataset looks fair, the way we put it together is not unbiased.

However, David King, CEO, FogHorn Systems, countered that bias is more of an issue with AI and people. When it comes to machine data (e.g. predictive maintenance), the issue isn't bias, it's the data itself:

To be honest the fundamental challenge, mostly, is that you don’t get a good data set. Getting data out of industrial processes is not a simple thing.

Then there is the problem of giving into AI/personalization hype instead of cultivating trust:

Companies still don’t understand that behaving responsibly when using AI will build trust with customers. Godoy said that companies are not being transparent enough.

The people problem extends into the AI project itself, which Derek addresses in ‘Financial gains from IoT and AI won’t happen unless you start with people and change management’. Derek says it's a two faceted problem:

  • Workers still fear AI/IoT/automation, and worry they are being replaced.
  • Companies continue to view "change management" as a soft topic.

Derek lays out the AI project predicament:

Couple this with an ‘industry view’ that change management is still a soft topic - a ‘nice to have’ that you bolt onto a technology project- and it quickly becomes easy to understand why so many projects are stalling or failing. Sarrazin said.

I'd say these loaded issues will keep us busy until the next IoT Solutions World...

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage, as fall event season rolls on...

A few more vendor picks, without the annotations:

Jon's grab bag - Jerry gives us an update on the enterprise Beverly Hills 90120 quantum drama in Not so fast with your “quantum supremacy” claim, IBM tells Google. Den sandblasts his way through RPA punditry in RPA - parsing the BS in a fast changing world: "I can't help wondering whether RPA has run its course. At least in its current iteration."

Stuart raises thorny questions about the big consumer tech acquisition of the week in Data and the allure of the enterprise wellness market drive Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit grab, but privacy concerns won't be healthy. I shared diginomica feeds and new discoveries for fellow RSS addicts in RSS still wins - new ways to consume diginomica, Twitter, Facebook and more - with custom RSS feeds. Finally, Barb's profile and podcast added depth to The changing role of marketing in startups - reflections and insights from startup pro Craig Zingerline.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Assessing the next-gen analytics plays of Oracle, SAP and Workday - by Doug Henschen

MyPOV: Big ERP players aren't going to let best-of-breeds walk away with their analytics business without a strong (cloudy) countermove. Constellation Research's Doug Henschen analyzes SAP, Oracle and Workday's approaches in Analytics For Applications: Three Next-Generation Options. Henschen nails the Oracle/SAP analytics challenge:

All-Oracle and all-SAP shops are less common than they used to be, but the more committed the organization is to Oracle or SAP apps and Oracle or SAP data management options, the more open they will be to OAC or SAC and related application content and warehouse services. If it’s an organization that went cloud years ago and is deep into using RedShift, Snowflake or other cloud-based data management options, I don’t see them going back.

Workday is playing its cards differently, with a narrower analytics scope:

Workday’s is a co-existence strategy with existing data management and analytics investments. What’s available and coming will complement HCM and financials, and it’s not built or intended to serve as broad BI, analytics and data management foundation.

ERP vendors of all stripes are taking heat from a new breed of cloud analytics, planning, and performance management vendors. It's a battle the ERP vendors must take up, or risk losing a strategic edge to analytics vendors - who are more than eager to leverage ERP data to cozy up with C-suite spenders. How they will fare is a big story to watch - which I'll revisit at upcoming Looker and Tableau shows.

Other standouts

  • Why I'm a CDP Skeptic...And What We Need Instead - It's a Constellation kind-of-week as Nicole France returns to her CDP (Customer Data Platform) stomping grounds. Order some double espressos for CDP marketers as they update their LinkedIn profiles dig into this: "Marketing isn’t the only part of the business that needs a holistic view of customers... Creating yet another data silo, especially when it purports to be a single source of customer information, is a short-sighted, ill-advised investment."
  • Even after Microsoft wins, JEDI saga could drag on - TechCrunch's Ron Miller follows up on a big AWS vs Azure story: "The decision has been made and it’s time to move on. Amazon will go home and lick its wounds. Microsoft gets bragging rights and we’re good. Actually, this might not be where it ends at all."
  • Johnsonville's Journey: Assessing SAP Digital Access - ASUG Board Member Ron Gilson of Johnsonville Sausage continues his instructive, multi-part series, digging into the fine print of how Johnsonville is approaching SAP's Digital Access program.

Honorable mention

Overworked businessman


So, the headline-of-the-week contest is a doozy again:

More foodie fodder: we also found out the Hamburglar was real this week:

On a more serious note, this unsavory "connected travelers from hell" story unfolded last week: Virgin passenger sexually harassed via in-flight text messaging system.

Gartner's Hank Barnes is bummed out about the cavalier (ab)use of scale:

Thinking it's gonna be a rough holiday season for Mr. Barnes as retailers push to meet holiday e-commerce, umm, "scale?" Ben Haines brought an important twist:

Finally, this is not an enterprisey thing, but some super-talented writers over at Deadspin got the corporate long knife this week.

Is there anything worse in this world than small minds with thin skins? Yes, I guess there is: small minds with thin skins who are in charge of something...

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. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

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

Read more on: