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.
- 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:
- AWS fuels growth at Amazon - cloud business up 40% year over year - Amazon's Prime price increase nabbed consumer tech headlines. As Derek writes, the big enterprise story is doubtless AWS growth, despite viable competition trying-like-heck to catch up.
- Citrix heads private to merge with TIBCO in $16.5 billion cloud gambit - One of the more intriguing examples of
strange bedfellowsenterprise mergers is underway. Stuart penned the initial report. Martin, long-time TIBCO watcher, added context in TIBCO-Citrix Take 2 – gluing together the future’s glue?
- Safety first - Salesforce launches Safety Cloud to help American customers deliver in-person experiences in the Vaccine Economy - Is it possible to be as far out in front of a story as Stuart's been on this one? He's even waiting for the press releases to catch up...
A pair of stories shared groundbreaking approaches to customer success - advances we can/should all learn from:
- Want to move from customer success hype to action? Start with a maturity model - the Sage Intacct SaaS vertical example - Jon
- Enterprise buyers come on down to Coupa Community.ai to find out if the price is right - Phil
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- JustPark drives towards scalable future with Google Cloud - Derek
- Laiye and Microsoft - why Chinese RPA is heading West to secure your data! - Chris
- Acumatica Summit 2022 - why Green Bay Packaging turned to cloud ERP in a pandemic economy - Jon
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:
Fascinating how Wall St can cope with every Facebook sin except a fall in user numbers, innit? Privacy concerns, electoral allegations, hate speech - blind eye turned. Prospect of less revenue - abandon ship!!!! Almost enough to feel for Zuck. Almost...
— Stuart Lauchlan (@WhoStu) February 4, 2022
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
My top seven
- Cloud infrastructure market soared to $178B in 2021, growing $49B in one year - Why isn't AWS feeling the squeeze of increased competition? Because, as Ron Miller reports, everyone's winning in this game. Via Canalys: "For the quarter, it broke down as Amazon with 33%, Microsoft with 22% and Google with 9%."
- Ford suspending three major assembly lines, including the Mustang Mach-E, over chip shortage - These persistent shortages aren't just an inconvenience for muscle car enthusiasts; they have an unwanted ripple effect.
- Why the heck is there still an automotive chip shortage? - Best short answer: because you can't ramp up high-performance chip factories by snapping fingers.
- Seven Mistakes You Wish Your CFO Had Not Made You Make - Lora Cecere found a new angle for our supply chain woes - and how to address them: "Focus the entire organization on margin. Develop capabilities to understand market signals and baseline demand."
- We need to decouple AI from human brains and biases - One of the more original takes on confronting AI bias.
- OpenAI rolls out new text-generating models that it claims are less toxic - Yes, a "less toxic" GPT-3 is a pretty low bar. Still, it's a relevant pursuit: "The researchers acknowledge that it can be overly deferential, confused by instructions that assume false premises, and struggle to follow instructions with multiple constraints (e.g., 'List 10 movies made in the 1930’s set in France')."
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:
Meta is putting a stop to virtual groping in its metaverse by creating 4-foot safety bubbles around avatars https://t.co/qTfDu0Z9vn
-> I guess this qualifies as innovation....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 5, 2022
Our self-driving futures:
Model XXX: Tesla Driver Caught Watching Porn In UK Traffic https://t.co/JbmxZPmi3K
-> our "smart"/connected future just keeps better and better, really opening up exciting possibilities for human progress. h/t @iC
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) January 20, 2022
Finally, for the reader that asked me why Forbes articles never show up in this roundup:
I was going to make an exception and share an interesting AI article from @forbes, but it was not to be. Thoughts and prayers go out to the article, it seems like it's struggling for air. pic.twitter.com/I2kncc9Xv6
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) January 22, 2022
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.