Lead story - Does the American Express return-to-office policy mark a turning point?
A few months (centuries?) ago, Derek issued a workplace warning:
I noted how leaders have lost control of the office, and that they need to realize choice is key.
He didn't stop there:
Hybrid is the future. If leaders don't come to terms with this, they risk putting their organizations at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
Despite Derek's wake-up call, I worried that too many employers would cling to rigid return-to-office
fantasies policies, albeit while putting them on a Delta variant hold. Or, they would continue to congratulate themselves on so-called "hybrid" policies that are, in my view, baby steps. Well, Derek has an update, via a company that's doing it right: American Express shows leadership with future of work policy - gives employees flexibility and control. He writes:
As we enter the Vaccine Economy, there's a distinct impression that organizations are either scrambling to figure out their ‘future of work' policies, or are leading with ‘stick' and telling their employees to get back to the office ASAP. Some companies - Goldman Sachs, we are looking at you - have issued statements on their workplace expectations that now seem positively old-school, given what a lot of people have gone through during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And then we have American Express, taking the forward-thinking route with its Amex Flex policy. Check Derek's piece for the details, but it's a mix of office-based (for a few), hybrid (for many) and remote (for select cases). But as Derek notes, there is more:
In addition to the above, American Express is also introducing a ‘work from anywhere' component for those that can work remotely. This means, as part of Amex Flex, employees will have the opportunity to work up to four calendar weeks from a location other than their primary work location each year, during which time they won't have to come into the office at all.
Now we're getting closer to my definition of flexible work. Shouldn't 'work from anywhere' mean 'anywhere you can get on the freaking Internet' - Antarctica included? Derek:
There's a lot to like here. Clear communication from the top of the organization. A flexible framework that gives employees and leaders scope to adapt, as well as room to apply the principles to varying needs of individual employees. And a recognition that the old 9-5 hours full time in the office are actually not conducive to excelling in a digital-first environment.
Yep - one thing that's missing from this: the creation of localized office 'hotspots' to ease commutes. But, yes, a lot to like. As Derek rightly points out, the work isn't done:
But this isn't where the work ends. With a policy in place, Amex now needs to focus on its maturity model for enterprise digital teamwork - which my colleague Phil Wainewright outlines here.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Conversational AI - can IVAs like Amelia change the customer experience? Neil isn't exactly a chatbot cheerleader, so I found his take on Amelia notable: "Amelia is so powerful that she can train digital assistants for specific tasks without having all the capabilities of a cognitive digital assistant, which sets her apart from RPA and chatbots." My prior Amelia demo didn't go so swell, but if Neil isn't too grouchy about Amelia, I'm keeping an open mind.
- The battle for talent and inequality at work - two problems, one major headache for businesses - Madeline reviews a notable SuiteWorld panel. Much of the news is grim, or same-old, but I did like this: "Deloitte has been running a program for the last five years called Encore, a return to work program that recruits primarily women who have been out of their careers for a while. This entails some very specific on the job training, not just for a few weeks but over a couple of months." With more sustained return-to-work trainings, the tech talent issue improves - imagine that! I've only
had a big ol' chip on my shoulderbeen banging on about this since around 1997...
- Data drives Autostrade out of tragedy - Mark filed an important use case, and a story to watch: "This is not the first time I have interviewed a CIO brought in when an organization is at its lowest point."
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Cloud growth stands out in a steady Q3 for SAP, but pressures remain - Stuart parses SAP's latest numbers, and finds both upside and cautions. High on the upside list? 60 percent of S/4HANA customers are net-new.
- Grow, ship, pour, analyze - how Counter Culture Coffee drives their sustainable coffee business forward with Zoho One - Zoho issued a major Zoho One update; I tracked the news from a customer angle. Also see: Madeline's Shawbrook Bank ditches spreadsheets and Word for Zoho CRM.
- Qualtrics and Clarabridge - what happens next? CEO Zig Serafin has a plan - Stuart updates on Qualtrics' latest, quoting Serafin: "Infused into our platform, [Clarabridge] will help people to be able to capture actionable insights from any form of customer interaction, any form of feedback channel." Makes sense - I've held for years Qualtrics must move substantially beyond surveys to nail the promise of "experience management." Pressing customers for survey feedback has a time-and-space ceiling, and we're not far from it...
Virtual event smorgasboard: once again the diginomica team fanned out (virtually), as the event binge continues. Some highlights, starting with SuiteWorld:
- NetSuite Analytics Warehouse - where the rubber hits the road for NetSuite customers in search of insights? - Stuart
- NetSuite banks on HSBC as it pushes into Fintech - Stuart
Martin added his angle on Rocket Software EVOLVE:
Twilio Engage sparked fresh takes:
- Twilio Engage builds on Segment acquisition to challenge the marketing clouds - Phil
- How Spotify almost had its email marketing shut down because of spam traps - Meanwhile, Derek filed one of the most interesting vendor use cases I've seen this year. Check it...
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Asana unveils new tools to manage work at enterprise scale - Phil
- Transparency as a development mindset - how Becour built their renewal energy sourcing platform with Neptune's DXP Cloud - by me. Also see: Phil's Neptune Software partners with Ionic to open up enterprise apps on mobile.
- University of Texas at San Antonio betters employee experience with ServiceNow - learnings and benefits - Derek
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- AI at scale with MLOps: What CEOs need to know - Okay, so this McKinsey piece is a tad dry and larded with buzzwords, but they are right: the enterprise AI convo has shifted.
- Artificial intelligence sees more funding, but needs more people and better data - Over on ZDNet, Joe McKendrick hits similar themes. He flags barriers to (proper) scale: "There are shortages of talent, lack of diversity in the field, and concerns about the handling the data that fuels ever-more-sophisticated algorithms."
- Ransomware Rise Pushes Organizations to Prepare for Attack - It's not all bad news: "We attribute the improvement in ratio of ransoms demanded to those paid, to policyholders better protecting their backups from attack."
- Top 10 Change Impacts During Digital Transformation - If I had to pick one underrated item from Eric Kimberling's top ten, I'll go with End-to-End Integration: "Those end-to-end processes affect people in a very different and significant way."
- Low-code and no-code software redefines developer jobs - Joe McKendrick strikes again: "The movement toward low-code may be more slow-mo that originally hoped." That's not something your read every day.
- Waymo’s Path To Robot Truck Business Means Mastering Wind, Flares And Pedestrians On The Highway - You don't see a realistic piece on self-driving trucks every day, especially on Forbes.com: "Though highways are generally simpler to drive on than city streets, fully loaded 80,000-pound semis face big challenges from slippery roads, fog and high winds."
- Google Researchers Explore the Limits of Large-Scale Model Pretraining - ready to geek out on some training set talk?
This just in - unless you want to count all the times we've done this before: Scientists Built an AI to Give Ethical Advice, But It Turned Out Super Racist. And this one - though I'm not sure if it's a whiff, or a warning:
Deepfaked Voice Enabled $35 Million Bank Heist in 2020 https://t.co/AAeVELcvoY
"‘The Emirati investigation revealed that the defendants had used “deep voice” technology to simulate the voice of the Director. In January 2020, funds were transferred from the Victim Company"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 24, 2021
My riff on Facebook's renaming generated a number of suggestions the Facebook team may have overlooked:
What Should The New Name For Facebook Be? https://t.co/zoYhstHLr5
-> I don't see "Wastebook" on this list...
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 22, 2021
If I had to pick one, I'll go with Tom Raftery:
How about MissInfo? - speaks to their love of Diversity & Inclusion with the Miss, and their love of spreading Information with the Info
— Tom Raftery (@TomRaftery) October 23, 2021
Finally, I've had some AI voice transcriptions lately that are vastly superior to anything I human could have done:
Another AI voice transcription treat, this one from an interview:
"Do you know how many witches operate?"
"No, tell me how Norwegians operate."
"They say goodbye to the world on Friday afternoon and go to their cabins."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 22, 2021
I'm already dreading the days AI gets too smart for fun like this... 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.