Enterprise hits and misses - AWS (still) rises, quantum computing gets real, but supply chains don't resolve on their own

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed February 7, 2022
Summary:
This week - supply chains don't resolve on their own - how should firms respond? Hybrid work yields lessons, and quantum computing gets a reality check. AWS surges, but so do its competitors. Your whiffs include UX nightmares and (not so) smart cars.

King Checkmate

Lead story - Smart firms aren't waiting for supply chains to resolve

MyPOV: Waiting for supply chains to get "over the pandemic hump" is a strategy set to fail. What's the alternative? Brian gives his take in Supply chain challenges mean new concerns for businesses. Start with this: just-in-time just ain't working.

One of the biggest conclusions for US manufacturers (and their purchasing and production planning leaders) is that they can’t go back to making things the old normal way if that method was a lean or JIT production process. For the time being, JIT is DOA (dead on arrival).

The inadequacies of JIT aren't the only factor. Brian also cites: a global reduction in the production of many items (e.g., semiconductor chips) that could not bounce back quickly when demand recovered, government actions (e.g. bulk PPE orders) and consumers acting ridiculous panic buying.

Supply chain expansions didn't set companies up for success:

Change did occur in supply chains. The chains got long, really long with products often containing parts from half-way around the world. Even when suppliers made capital investments in new plant and equipment, they often chose lower cost countries for these and did not always choose near-shore or local locations.

Add in: a surprising - if not appalling - lack of visibility across supply chains. So where do we go from here? As Brian points out, smart firms will:

  • Disintermediate some sources of raw material, parts and/or subassemblies
  • Acquire design specs for key parts and manufacture these locally
  • Consider new product/solution capabilities, including additive manufacturing

This won't get easier - weather events are guaranteed to keep the disruptive snags coming. Brian argues for more sophisticated planning tools:

Well-run operations will plan for a volatile world and not a return to the pre-pandemic space they knew. The old world is now irrelevant. Sophisticated planning is the new order of the day.

I'll add: more collaborative planning with suppliers. This is an area where the digital gap between those with well-connected networks - and those who simply claim to have such things - will be punishing.

Diginomica picks

  • Collaborative technology is just one part of a successful hybrid-working strategy - Mark Samuels filed a future of work review, via a panel at the DTX Tech Predictions Mini Summit. A quote from Lloyds Bank highlighted the tradeoffs. Yes, there is less hanging out with close teammates at the local pub, but another form of connection has been achieved: "One of the things that we have seen over the past two years is that our teams have gotten much closer as a result of the technology that we've got."
  • Connected Norfolk leads the way - Mark Chillingworth shares rural connectivity lessons, via an interview with Norfolk County Council's CIO.
  • Digital procrastination - putting finance under the microscope - Brian bolsters his "blogger of the week" consideration with this foundational piece on "future of finance" studies - and why digital procrastination is a threat to the changes afoot.
  • New kids on the blockchain - or more of the same old? - Chris bravely forges into the ranks of blockchain evangelists, in search of move-the-needle use cases. The result? Some interesting talk on authenticated digital identities - and plenty of caution flags as well.

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

A pair of stories shared groundbreaking approaches to customer success - advances we can/should all learn from:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Neil issued a quantum reality check in A realistic outlook for quantum computing in the enterprise. Stuart returned to his (necessary) hobby of skewering Facebook, err, Meta in Welcome to the metaverse - Meta reels against trouble from TikTok and Apple's ad impact. As Stuart said to me on Twitter: 

Finally, Derek had a few choice words for the British government's digital "initiatives" in Britain may be kicked out of international anti-corruption partnership it helped set up as it waters down Open Government promises: "Anyone for some cheese and wine?" Ouch!

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

I got lured into this perfect headline: Please make a dumb car: "The proliferation of touchscreens and LCDs has made every car feel like a karaoke booth."

Crash course in linkbait: Slate put out a pretty decent piece called What if quantum computing faces a winter? The editors even picked out an inhospitable winter graphic to make the point. But at the last minute, the actual headline was changed to the less accurate, but much-more-clickbaity "What if Quantum Computing is a Bust?" Insecure much?

On a more serious-but-still-whiffy note:

Our self-driving futures:

Finally, for the reader that asked me why Forbes articles never show up in this roundup:

I can't send you into that business model purgatory UX swampland with a good conscience, sorry! 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, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - Workday, Coupa, Sage Intacct, Acumatica and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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