Enterprise hits and misses - AI hits the curve, SAP subverts the two-speed enterprise

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 5, 2018
This week - AI isn't intelligent until it gets to causality. Sapphire Now begins with CRM swagger - bring on the analysis. Plus: Microsoft gets Github, but why? Your whiffs include a tour of Twitter support dystopia via my pals at Intuit.

Cheerful Chubby Man
Lead story - AI may not be intelligent, but it has its use (cases) - stories by Kurt Marko, Madeline Bennett, and Jessica Twentyman

myPOV: we're taking a two pronged stance towards "AI" at diginomica: on the one hand, we're puncturing AI hype balloons wherever we can. On the other, we're documenting use cases where a focused/realistic approach to AI is paying off.

This week, in the balloons-better-run corner, I give you Kurt Marko. In AI today and tomorrow is mostly about curve fitting, not intelligence, he concedes the AI term but not the fight for meaning:

Although I frequently use the term AI, it’s always with reluctance and out of convention and not conviction.

The question is how "intelligent" machines are right now. Marko:

While I regularly chronicle the impressive applications of today’s ML and deep learning software, I’ve recognized that it is a stretch to call it ‘intelligent’. Perhaps ‘adaptive’ and ‘self-optimizing’ are better terms. Even these come with caveats since the models require extensive human tuning of parameters and structure, as I’ve discussed here and here.

Meantime, there's nifty AI use cases to consider. Cath does a health check in AI iPad tech to transform dementia detection. A five-minute Integrated Cognitive Assessment (ICA) tool uses "AI" to identify the earliest dementia signs. Jess takes a fresh look at recruitment in HR GO recruits AI in its search for more engaged job candidates (using "evolution algorithms" to help convert more web visitors into job applicants).

Kurt has done his fair share of AI use case research on these pages, so he too sees the possibilities. But his warning goes beyond AI's limitations:

The technology industry writ large needs to have a collective epiphany regarding the state of AI technology.

Turns out causality is something that flawed humans, who can't beat machines in Go or chess, are pretty darn good at...

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

Vendor analysis, diginomica style.

Sapphire Now reviews, round one - As I write, we're in the middle stage of Sapphire Now, processing a meaty but complicated keynote. Here's a few pieces to wet your event whistle:

Lots more coming as we dig in. Here's my other top choices from our vendor coverage:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

We also welcomed IQMS to the diginomica partner fold - they'll reveal field lessons on connected manufacturing on these pages, or as I like to think of it: a practical take on industry 4.0.

Jon's grab bag - If you fail Den's GDPR scratch-n-sniff thorough evaluation, you're going to get written up: In a post-GDPR world, Fin shows how to flub compliance. Speaking of GDPR padded cell recovery programs, you may get a few tips and tricks from my mix of coping and curation: More fun with email filters, from GDPR sanity to smarter enterprise news alerts.

Oh and research buffs and deep divers will dig our new site search. Den has the update: We haz new search courtesy of Algolia. (Yes, "haz" is a highly technical term used by algorithmic search buffs).

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Lead story - The cost of developers (Microsoft acquires Github) by Ben Thompson

myPOV: Thompson hits two themes in his Microsoft - Github analysis:

  1. Developers are expensive, huh?
  2. Why?

It's the second point that justifies the word count. Thompson's take on the eye-watering purchase price: it's not about money, it's about platforms, and platforms need developers:

Again, though, GitHub revenue is not the point; Microsoft has plenty of revenue. What it also has is a potentially fatal weakness: no platform with user-based leverage. Instead, Microsoft is betting that a future of open-source, cloud-based applications that exist independent of platforms will be a large-and-increasing share of the future, and that there is room in that future for a company to win by offering a superior user experience for developers directly, not simply exerting leverage on them. [Emphasis mine]

And that, folks, is why developers are expensive.

Other standouts:

Things I'd Like to See Go Away - Trust Destroying Claims - Gartner's Hank Barnes had a bit more wood to clear off the ol' analyst shoulder after all. He exposes terrible trust-busting approaches like this one, which I got just a couple of days ago:

“After reading your LinkedIn Profile..” – when the next parts of the message clearly show you haven’t"

  • Signals to the customer: Another e-mail to ignore (or use as fodder for #FridayFails)

Barnes counsels a lesson in brand positioning; I worry that it's too easy to pull a bottom-feeding spray-and-pray fishing expedition online.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman
So... not my happiest news day:

Don't you love it when a helpful article like this goes on to say, "if you want to be fully protected, do a factory reset," as if doing a factory reset of your router is like grabbing a dark roast at Starbucks? Intuit topped that, however, with the "you have one day to upgrade your operating system or Quickbooks won't work anymore" love letter:

Clear as mud - you're off by thirty days, at least when it comes to your own software. But hey, what's an all nighter upgrading system software amongst friends? What was Brent Leary saying about bring-on-the-tech-support-machines? I'd rather interact with a bot that doesn't care than a human that cares... about getting me to go away. On the note, I am gonna go away - for a few hours. 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. '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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

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

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