Enterprise hits and misses - AWS blows off the multi-cloud at re:Invent, while the robots-jobs debate gets an optimistic entry

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed December 9, 2019
This week - Amazon doubles down on its cloud dominance at AWS re:Invent. The robots-and-jobs debate gets an optimist entry, and the anti-password identity movement picks up steam. Your whiffs include a $100,000 banana, and yeah, Peloton.


Lead story - Who’s afraid of losing their job to a robot?  Not most American workers, new study claims by Jerry Bowles

MyPOV: Jerry breaks down a jobs study so optimistic, you'd think that robots were hiring unemployed humans off of street corners, and then conducting the survey. To be fair, plenty of jobs reports are not as sunny as this one from Sykes Enterprises.

Jerry quotes Ian Barkin, Sykes' chief strategy and marketing officer,

What we found in our research is actually that over 70% of employees today would be thrilled to work side by side with automation that enabled them to be better, more effective, more accurate  and faster at their jobs.

Thrilled eh? More from Barkin:

An overwhelming majority of those surveyed have never lost a job due to new automation technologies at their workplace--and most also noted they do not worry about losing a job due to intelligent automation. Only about 5% say they have faced job loss.

Jerry contrasts these upbeat findings with a starker Pew Research survey from 2018.

I had a darker view on robots-and-jobs a few years ago. Now I'm ready to concede that in the shorter time horizon, there is more of an "augmented intelligence" at work, rather than the kind of robotic intelligence that would eliminate jobs en masse.

That doesn't change the blunt fact: organizations can - and do - use today's automation tech as an efficiency play. Headcount can be reduced. Some companies - well documented on diginomica - have found a good balance, by automating the mundane and moving workers into higher value/customer-facing roles.

Still, those who think they know how this plays out come off as unbearably smug. As Jerry cautions:

Nobody has a great understanding yet of how this human plus robot thing is going to work out but it's going to be a central issue of the Fourth Revolution.

The Pew study illustrates how expanding the time horizon creates more uncertainty, and rightly so:

About eight-in-ten U.S. adults (82%) said that by 2050, robots and computers will definitely or probably do much of the work currently done by humans.

Jerry warns that the biggest danger to optimistic jobs data is passivity. I agree. The future of work is not some kind of "rising tide raises all boats" benevolence. It's an ongoing problem.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

AWS re:Invent shows that it's Amazon's world, we're just paying rent to live in it - Amazon unloaded enough announcements at re:Invent to make even the most seasoned PR person holler for espresso. In his roundup, Kurt fared better. After noting Amazon's confident indifference to "multi-cloud," he concludes: "Other cloud providers are on notice that AWS is playing for keeps, not just a small piece of the enterprise pie." At the heart of 90 or so press releases is this:

Re:Invent 2019 shows an AWS unabashedly promoting a cloud-native future with AWS at its center.

Does that render the data center irrelevant. Not necessarily - but it's not at the center either:

While the vision doesn't banish corporate data centers to oblivion, it does render them secondary, as necessary appendages to the AWS environment where required by law or regulation (data privacy) or performance.

More vendor picks:

Meanwhile, Den crashed disrupted covered the SAP UK & Ireland SAP User Group conference, and emerged with a fistful of unflinching editorial: SAP customers are revolting - here's why, Trust is top of mind at UK and Ireland SAP User Group Connect 2019, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals goes SAP S/4HANA on private AWS.

If I'm SAP's new leadership team, I take these missives as motivational fuel. I've always said, the best rebuttal is a slew of happy - and vocal - customers...

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - Next up in my fall event highlights series: what I learned by pressing an identity expert on his views: Constellation Research's Steve Wilson says digital identity is dead, so where do we go from here? And: Neil Raden is upbeat about... facial recognition? Well, not really, but he's willing to listen to upstart firms: Facial recognition revisited - can it save lives and actually protect privacy?

Finally, Brian and I conducted our annual subversion of the vacant absurd ridonkulous non-event known as the toxic guru festival tech predictions in The 2020 enterprise software un-predictions. Readers enjoyed riffing on our new tech words for 2020, including "Platulence: the result of marketers hyping up a pile of unrelated micro-services as a 'platform.'"

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven from the enterprise web starts with RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady, who breaks out five things to take way from re:Invent 2019. Of particular interest: how Amazon is positioning against Microsoft/Github, and whether the latter may pose a long-term threat.

We revisit the identity theme in this one from Steve Zurier: Mega Breaches Are Forcing Us to a Passwordless. Yes, we've been here before, but Zurier takes a similar stance as Steve Wilson: this time, it's different. Zurier:

While it's true the industry has been slow to change, a closer look reveals that much progress has been made in 2019. For example, Microsoft and Google now support passwordless standard FIDO2, and Apple made it clear it intends to support FIDO2 for its Safari browser In another important move, Apple says iOS 13.3 (likely available early in 2020) will support popular FIDO-compliant authentication devices like the YubiKey.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman


Another entry in the "who needs fiction?" category:

Via Brian Sommer, a whiff that can evidently land you in jail:

Meanwhile, it's been a couple of weeks, but I'm still miffed at "Mr. Brandon" for leaving my millions in airport storage:

On a more serious note, Apple whiffs a bit here:

Finally, the infamous Peloton ad whiff was a bizarro one, where the ad itself was hardly the biggest whiff - all the things around the ad, from Peloton's self-righteous PR play, to the social hate sent to the male actor in the ad (as if the character were a real person), loomed larger than the goofiness of the ad itself. It's not an ad I would have green-lighted, but it's not the biggest offense against western civilization either. Just that same week, a far more ridiculous ad surfaced. But then, our viral outrage is nothing if not curiously selective.

That said, lemonade from someone else's lemons tastes especially sweet, eh?

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 - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - Oracle NetSuite, Infor, Coupa, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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