Lead story - Macy's omni-channel plot thickens, while Amazon and Walmart face off - retail stories by Stuart Lauchlan
MyPOV: Stuart updates high-drama retail storylines this week, starting with a good news/bad news deal for Macy's in The omni-channel transformation at Macy's is finally working, just as Trump's China trade war comes along to complicate things.
Macy's omni-channel successes include mobile spend in My Wallet, My Stores and My Stylist. STORES, featuring in-store pop-ups around narrative/community themes, are promising. But trade and tariffs are the stuff of concern. Stuart:
It's clearly an unwelcome distraction, stealing executive attention as the company looks to find ways to mitigate and minimize any impact, which is why the Macy's CEO hopes that "these trade actions will de-escalate."
Well, he can hope, but I wouldn't be holding my breath if I were him.
Meanwhile, Amazon and Walmart take their behemoth skirmish to another front: same day delivery. Stuart frames the issue in One-day logistics challenge delivers up a new front in the omni-channel retail war between Walmart and Amazon. Still reeling from the blocked Walmart-Sainsbury's merger, Walmart refocuses on catching Amazon in the U.S. same day delivery game - making the case that a Prime membership is not required, and, well, Walmart stores are everywhere, easing logistical hurdles.
Better move fast. Amazon will have something to say about grocery delivery before long. Stuart:
And with the majority of Walmart’s e-commerce business coming from groceries, there remains the still-to-be realised challenge to come from Amazon in that space.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Carey Group builds on Applied platform to demolish recruitment bias and build diversity - Jess on a company that's applying a cloud-based platform to improve recruiting, and diminish the inherent biases of resume screening.
- Bringing serverless convenience to containers - Kurt struck a chord with this analysis of where Microsoft and Red Hat are headed: "The next stage of container evolution entails addressing the potentially disruptive technology of event-driven serverless functions." Plus a new buzzword to
send us running for cover from marketeerswhet our whistle: FaaS (Functions as a Service).
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. It was a cloud ERP kind of week for the diginomica road crew:
- Six big observations from FinancialForce Accelerate - Brian issues his review of FinancialForce CommLive '19, including why PSA stood out even more than financials - and why he thinks HR needs another look.
- New CEO Mike Ettling wants Unit4 to run like a cloud company - "Best kept secret" Unit4 is on the move, with a microservices architecture in place. Phil asks: can Unit4's transformation go further down the XaaS route?
- PowerPlex 2019 review - CEO Bill Berutti on why Plex's shift in cloud manufacturing strategy will fuel growth - I was on hand for Berutti's Plex keynote debut - there were some surprises. Customer use case: PowerPlex 2019 - Toyotetsu takes the real-time cloud manufacturing plunge.
Meanwhile, Den made his
curmudgeonly inquisitive way to the iTelligence UK event - the largest SAP partner in the UK by customer count. He found SAP making S/4HANA headway: iTelligence UK sees accelerating SAP S/4HANA demand, and a five month conversion story to back it up: You think an SAP S/4HANA conversion is a nightmare? Check out IESA's five month journey.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- AppianWorld – from 'low code' to 'no code’ via 'ready-rolled' - Martin
- HSBC reduces friction and boosts revenue by going paperless with Adobe - Derek
- Nutanix .NEXT – fire starting in the belly of the channel - Martin
- New Relic pitches "single pane enterprise view" with new platform offering - Stuart
Jon's grab bag - Cath filed an important piece on mental health and the tech industry, Mental Health Awareness Week - the tech industry crisis that organizations need to tackle. No surprise from this survey - two thirds of tech industry workers feel stressed, and more than half have struggled with depression.
Stuart parses fresh data on the digital skills gap in US, UK among countries that need to do better on digital up-skilling, warns OECD. One sample: "Across the US population, 10.2% of workers are in occupations at high risk of automation and would need moderate training to move into occupations with low or medium risk of automation." Too bad we're better at documenting the problem than finding solutions.
Best of the rest
Lead story - Systems Integrators held to account, and advisory offered
MyPOV: Though some big SIs have offered convincing digital services, I've long wondered when SIs will be forced through the depth of business model change that software vendors are now compelled to undertake. This week, seasoned advisors gave their take on getting more out of your SIs - or holding them to account.
Start with How to Amplify the Value of Your System Integrator - Wish You Had a Manual? - by John Belden of UpperEdge. Belden ties better SI management to five project phases/areas. Given the long-time problem of talent bait-and-switch, I especially liked Belden's tip on SI bench management:
When the SI proposed staffing for your project, probably only 10% of the firm was available for your assignment. This means that 90% of the talent was not considered. This doesn't mean that it should not be actively considered in the future. Concentrate on the existing gaps and weakness of the project team, and constantly look to improve.
Result: Conduct formal reviews of top candidates by job grade on a bi-monthly basis. Build this into the plan.
Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting hit on similar themes, albeit with an over-the-top post title, Big ERP Systems Integrators Exposed. The "exposed" bit doesn't work for me, given how many of us have been advising customers for years on holding SIs to account - including Kimberling himself. But Kimberling is right; the issue persists:
So, what is the problem? For one, there is no accountability – and things are not getting better... Some may say that no one has ever gotten fired for hiring one of the well-known big guys, but many organizations have certainly been sued as a result of doing so.
Kimberling lays out the big SI problems, from skills competency gaps to biases towards certain software vendors. He sprinkles in enough recent failure references to remind us of the stakes, along with a load of reader comments.
ERP projects are complicated, but in my view, the solutions to the big SI woes Kimberling documents here are pretty simple: customers need to take more control, and keep independent experts not affiliated with the prime vendor on hand throughout projects. That holds true even if customers opt for smaller/specialized firms - another approach Kimberling recommends.
- HPE is buying Cray for $1.3 billion - Okay, not the most scintillating acquisition news of the year, but Ron Miller grabbed the tech news baton. It's all about "high performance computing" and the
marketing roman candle that's about to go offintrigue of quantum computing on the horizon.
- Salesforce outage caused by exposed database script - The "Faulty database script brings Salesforce to its knees" headline from ZDNet is a traffic-lusting editor looking for a click-fix, but while the exposed script only impacted Salesforce Pardot customers, service outages were broader as Salesforce confronted the problem.
- How To Secure Mobile Devices In A Zero Trust World - Louis Columbus continues his "zero trust" series with this unsettling juxtaposition: "86% of enterprises are seeing mobile threats growing the fastest this year, outpacing other threat types." But: "48% say they’ve sacrificed security to “get the job done” up from 32% last year. You know those "expect delays' highway signs? "Expect breaches" should be our mobile security mantra.
- Forget the Hype: How CIOs Can Use AIOps to Solve Real Problems Today - Not a fan of the term, but helping CIOs focus on the right things? That works.
- SAP’s New Digital Access Adoption Program – More Than Just A Two-Step? - UpperEdge with informed advice for SAP customers wrapping their heads around SAP's latest pricing option.
- Progress Report - Workday Innovation Summit 2019 - Workday doubles down on AI and Skills - Constellation's Holger Mueller took a bit of extra time lacing up the red sneakers on this event review, but that's probably why he pushes vendors on Hadoop. Not every blog post can be in-memory.
- S&OP: Can You Make Decisions at the Speed of Business? – Lora Cecere keeps it real on sales and operations planning: "Most companies, over the last decade, went backwards not forwards on S&OP maturity." Yikes.
So if you're one of the 500,000 who signed the
couch potatoes need help meaningless petition demanding HBO remake the final season of Game of Thrones, there is some good news: another scintillating season of The Amazing Race is still in progress - and this is not an elimination round.
In more proof of the decline of civilization, Austrians had to be warned not to go off kissing cows after a social media challenge went viral. Oh, and in a move sure to embolden the "customer experience" crowd (as if they needed anything this exciting) Taco Bell is opening a hotel.
In another slap in the face to those
suckers kind souls who were generous enough to fill out surveys to give brands more data than they deserve to be trusted with, some of those folks got their data exposed for their trouble, due to an unsecured Elasticsearch database impacting an estimated 8 million.
Thanks Autopilot: Cops stop Tesla whose driver appears asleep and drunk https://t.co/J8EK8X6YoX
-> our self-driving future may have a few speed bumps :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 19, 2019
Feral Parrots Are Taking Over America https://t.co/vcEgfMYtVb
-> unless scientists prove these birds are damaging other native species I'm rooting hard for the parrots
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 19, 2019
Meanwhile, I took exception to yet another blockchain Koolaid overdose - an article title which conflated the present with an uncertain future:
ERP and blockchain work together for complex, multiparty transactions https://t.co/VuEIjm0H5E
-> I think you meant "could work together in the future"
demerit for using the word "immutable"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 16, 2019
I hope that the author is now resting comfortably and in recuperation. Finally: Could Quantum Computing Be the End of Free Will?
No. Just stop it. Of course, by the end of the "article," the author quickly dismisses her own title. I want my click back. 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.