Lead story - The great "content experience" debate leads us to... ContentOps?
MyPOV: Nothing beats an enterprise debate that flares across blog posts. Give me that hearty exchange over the animated GIFs and
trollish posturing guru festivals that pass for debate on social media.
My productive sparring with Barb that started with takedowns of phrases like "contextual experiences" culminated in my roundup, From content to experience to context - a buzzword debate that actually matters.
In the process, we roped in everyone from Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce to Hank Barnes of Gartner to Taj Forer of Fabl. The question is: where do we go from here? I hammered on two challenges brands are falling down on (exceptional content and authenticity). But Barb took up perhaps the most important point of all: taking the good stuff to scale.
The most tedious buzzword ever created is DevSecOps. Bad news: there's more Ops marketing hamster wheel crudlingo where that came from. That said, "Content Operations" is a perfect phrase for what Barb is getting at, in her essential two part series on doing (effective) content at scale. In part two, Building effective and scalable Content Ops, Barb writes:
Getting past the siloed development of content in an organization is hard. Each department has its schedule and set of initiatives, most of which will require some form of content. Priorities will differ, content creators will have their own approach to creating and managing content, some even flying by the seat of their pants. Change, even for the better, is hard.
Fortunately, we are not in the wild west of the content game anymore. There are proven ways of tying content into lead gen, measuring its effectiveness, building opt-in lists. And to Barb's point, the so-called "Content Center of Excellence" is now accumulating a body of field experience.
B2B content isn't about marketing anymore. It's about planting the seeds of trust in a broad fashion. As Barb points out, that puts pressure on the rest of your customer-facing operations to build on that trust - and not betray it. Otherwise content is just "dead-end experiences."
Here's the gotcha I keep coming back to: the operationalizing of content can easily turn inspired/freely-expressed viewpoints into a numbifying series of checks and balances - otherwise known as the land of nobody cares "staying on message."How we do both at once should keep marketers on their toes for some time. As for that elusive word "context," that should keep us debating for a while.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- The need for speed - how Target is meeting the 'same-day' expectations of omni-channel retail customers - Amazon still owns the "same day" logistical edge. But as Stuart reports, some retailers have moved from wake-up call to better execution: "The need for speed is increasingly apparent in digital retail and we’ve moved on from the kind of complacency around this that we saw in some quarters a few years back." However, Target can't rest easy on strides made - same day order fulfillment beyond Amazon is still up for grabs. Also see: Stuart's Listening to the customer's digital signals - Lands End's data scientists focus on search is paying off.
- The transitive property of cloud security - the weakest link can be the one you didn’t know existed - Kurt continues his
no FUD allowedmulti-article probe into the overriding tech issue of the summer: "All of these shortcomings are the result of growing pains, where the pace of technological change outpaces that of sound governance and security controls. However, the situation also means that cloud users must redouble their security efforts."
- Can we create better algorithms for screening candidates - and reduce hiring bias? Make-up call: I bricked on including Neil's piece last week. Good to read Neil's justified screening skepticism, up against a smart team from Georgia Tech who think they can make hiring algorithms better.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Slack talks up enterprise adoption as it posts Q2 results - Ahh, the IPO
dog and pony showsheen wears off quickly, eh? Even for the industry hypergrowth darlings. Phil's on the case: "As we saw with the reaction to Dropbox's results last month and now Slack's this week, investors are impatient to see evidence of continued growth from these digital collaboration vendors and skittish when doubts emerge." Speaking of hypergrowth, Phil got a look inside Slack's hiring-at-scale conundrums: Hypergrowth at Slack puts the pressure on HR.
- I put out a double shot from the Freshworks Refresh user event. They dished out a strong dose of CX disruption in Refresh 2019 - Freshworks CEO warns about "old, clunky CRM" - and puts their CX strategy to the enterprise test. Follow that with a provocative push on productizing customer success: Can Freshworks change the CX market with better customer success metrics?
- Coupa's next innings as Business Spend Management is recognised as key to digital transformation - Speaking of disruption, Wall Street seems to have a crush on Coupa's Business Spend Management (BSM) category push. As Stuart says, new customer logos impress, but we're still in the "early innings" of BSM.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- How automating finance improved customer experience at Tango Card - Phil (Oracle NetSuite use case)
- MongoDB revenue soars on customer growth and enterprise cloud platform choice - Stuart
- Taking the SAP customer sentiment temperature in Australia - it's cool at best - guest opinion piece by Graham Robinson, SAP Mentor
- Atlassian bets on cloud with free editions of Jira and Confluence - Phil
Best of the rest
AI graduates eighth grade, while we debate the perils of automation and algorithmic economies
MyPOV: "AI" passed a multiple choice science test, and the tech press went into
clickbait triage overdrive. My favorite was Fast Company, which decided that AI was now possibly smarter than an eighth grader. Even though this "AI" system, called Aristo, is designed only for multiple choice tests, and nothing else. Yep - Aristo's grasp of language, reasoning, and common-sense knowledge is significant, but so are its limitations.
Other notable AI/automation stories this week:
- Singapore underscores need to build trust as AI continues to evolve - another government takes a crack at an AI ethical framework. But is that train too far from station?
- The Big Picture of AIOps: Why You Need AI to Take Over DevOps - Don't say I didn't warn you about those 'Ops buzzwords: "AIOps is all about building a culture of trust around AI. In other words, trusting AI to alert you to real problems impacting end-users."
Why Fast Food Is the Ticking Time Bomb of Job Automation - Quote of the week comes from Gizmodo, of all places:
As soon as the fast food companies can automate those jobs, they will. The only things preventing those companies from doing so are the projected costs and the functionality of the automated systems. That’s it.
Lora Cecere brought a supply chain angle to the automation debate in To Move Forward, We Need to be Clear on What We Are Automating. Cecere likes the customer analytics trends she's seeing, but not the impasse:
Automation requires clarity. Data scientists think they know the answers, and business leaders are unable to speak their language.
Finally, to wrap my AI special comes an edgy reminder from Real Life: algorithms are anything but neutral (The Algorithmic Colonization of Africa).
Honorable mention - security edition
- Hunting botnets and Chinese hackers targeting finance - Nice work from the Enterprise Times:
"We are also unlikely to see any slowdown in attacks against CMS. This puts incredible pressure on administrators who are often not security professionals."
- Software as a service and enterprise cybersecurity - McKinsey's security survey of SaaS customers yielded concerning/unsuprising conclusions: "They expressed a fair amount of frustration with shortcomings in vendors’ cybersecurity capabilities, which often caused delays in contracting and implementation."
- Why Manufacturing Supply Chains Need Zero Trust - Botnets might be fast, but they aren't as prolific as Louis Columbus on the security beat this year.
- Apple takes flak for disputing iOS security bombshell dropped by Google - Still trying to figure out exactly how much of a whiff this is for Apple. What I do know is that Apple's above-the-security-and-privacy-fray positioning has taken some big hits this summer.
Suspension-of-disbelief took some big hits this week. First, DNA hints that the Loch Ness Monster might be nothing more than a giant eel that likes to scare people every hundred years or so. Meanwhile, I hit Twitter for some SnarkOps:
Alien civilizations may have explored the galaxy and visited Earth already. We just haven’t seen them recently. https://t.co/hDmEUyepsj via
interesting "reporting" from @businessinsider....
last line: "We're in desperate need of some data points"
-> I'll say
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 8, 2019
The original study was much more cautious than the headline, but
Speculative Outsider Business Insider didn't sweat that. We aren't using Google Maps in the womb just yet, but don't bet against Google:
Google files patent for using A.I. to track a baby's body and eye movements https://t.co/0YO8DoDRth
-> of course they did - gotta get 'em used to sharing personal data early and often
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 8, 2019
Reader Zachary Jeans spotted some Kubernetes mockery I missed:
— Zachary Jeans (@ZacharyJeans) September 6, 2019
So Clive (see below) wanted me to mock the latest "inventor of Bitcoin" fiasco a few weeks ago. But I was more interested in the strange saga of a missing piece on Coindesk:
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 21, 2019
The piece went up on Coindesk.com; a day later it was scrubbed. Now, a few weeks later, it's all over the Interwebs - that is, everywhere except Coindesk. As far as I can tell, the piece is harmless fluff. If it was written on tissue paper, I would have thrown it away already.
But pulling the article creates intrigue: why? We'll never know, but call me a crusty crank. If you pull a piece, you owe readers some explanation, however trite and disingenuous. Even: "It was a cheesy piece of junk that our editor should never have approved; they have now been transferred to Sudoko Weekly" would have been fine. Now I fear we'll solve Nessie and ET before we solve this...
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.