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Enterprise hits and misses - AI gets agentic, open source AI is a conundrum, and CIOs put their business acumen to the test

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed July 8, 2024
Summary:
This week - agentic AI is the buzzword du jour, but what's real and what's white board? CIOs are forging new ways to serve the business, but back end systems still matter. Open source AI needs definition, and your whiffs include Zoom-based car rentals.

Jazz musician playing the saxophone in the studio with joyful improvising. Close-up retro portrait © Master1305 - Shutterstock
(© Master1305 - Shutterstock)

Lead story - Modern CIOs in practice - obstacles, lessons, surprises

Mark Chillingworth has been profiling CIOs for his diginomica series, uncovering field lessons. Now seems a good time to pick out a few of the top insights, starting with this week's CIO interview - Gregg Lowe reduces complexity at Boyd Gaming

My top lesson from this one? That a modern architecture should connect directly to business results - and improved customer experience: "To reduce complexity and decrease outages, the CIO and his team defined a new architecture." Result? Boyd Gaming no longer has any three tiered systems. 

This was not an easy undertaking, but as Mark writes: 

By tackling the infrastructure, networking and applications, the CIO has also increased the level of integration across the business, which has benefited loyalty programmes.

Last week, Mark published CIO interview - Whirlpool’s Murat Genc has real-time vision. My top lesson: appliance-makers need a real-time view of both inventory and customer demand; batch models don't fly. But as Mark notes, supporting that real-time view requires more than just modern tech: 

A product focus, centers of excellence and cloud platforms all combine to bring Whirlpool closer to being a real-time business, the Global CTDO says. For appliance makers the ability to operate in real time is essential, Genc says. His three years in China with P&G informed this belief.

In CIO interview - Park Industries’ David Lloyd carves out re-platforming of business foundations, we get further into the connection between internal systems and customer-facing digital services: 

None of this would have been possible without both the re-platforming and the change in mindset towards technology. Lloyd introduced Agile development methods, something he had done in his previous role with financial services firm Wells Fargo. He says business analysts, developers and members of the business line can create a fully functional solution within a day for feedback, whereas in the past, this took weeks and months

These stories aren't enterprise fairy tales; Mark always includes the rough edges. Technology gets tested but so does leadership. These CIO profiles reinforce that customer-facing projects are not separate from getting internal systems/processes/data/talent/automation right. If anything, the latter needs to be in place first, if you want to serve customers more effectively across channels. That makes the CIO's live harder, but: it opens up a new kind of business relevance. Mark's upcoming installments will be worth a look.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

  • How AI is playing a key role in purchase decisions -  Barb parses some interesting data on how buyers are using AI during purchasing - and how AI is delivering results so far. I'd like to see more data on all of this, particularly the ROI aspects, but it's a good basis for conversations. This quote from 6sense shows that some things about B2B buyers haven't really changed: "Buyers decide when they interact, and they interact when they're ready and not before, and you hounding them and calling them is not going to change when they respond." AI isn't going to change that...
  • Workplace challenges for the visually-impaired - tech solutions to tackle a rising issue - Cath delves into some much-needed workforce innovation: "To try and overcome some of these issues, Fox has developed a simplified user interface for Genesys’ Cloud-based call centre applications, which Lighthouse Works’ call center staff use. Called EquiVista, the interface can be tailored in line with each individual employees’ visual capabilities."

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

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Busy times in the UK last week... Stuart made a cloudy pitch to the candidates: UK General Election - will the next Government take on concerns around cloud licensing practices? I'll vote for that! Mark Chillingworth took a hard look at diversity talent shortfalls in Tech Talent Charter closes as diversity struggles for recognition. On the tech-for-good side, Cath profiles two organizations pushing forward in New legislation sparks private sector investment opportunity in environmental monitoring.  Finally, I look at the state of curated enterprise news on Alexa in Can you get a decent enterprise news briefing from Alexa? Yes - here's how - including diginomica's new Alexa skill

If you add diginomica, you can then ask 'Alexa, open enterprise news' and get our latest updates that way. Flash Briefings have lost some of their best tech updates over the years, but other tech podcasts are still available as Flash Briefing skills.

For those who like audio with their morning puttering and coffee brewing...

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top eight

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

Oh boy: 

More headline-of-the-week contenders: Hippopotamuses can become airborne for substantial periods of time, researchers discover, and Fiverr Freelancers Offer to Dox Anyone With Powerful U.S. Data Tool

And: who says you have to choose? 

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.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, - all from Adobe Stock. Feature image from Shutterstock credited above.

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

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