Lead story - Earning B2B buyer trust - where we're falling short, and what's next
MyPOV: I snuck in my dbook preview this week, in the guise of the so-called informed buyer. The burning question:
Does B2B buying really come down to trust? No - not how sexy your AI is, no, not how auto-magical your SaaS is, but how much buyers trust you?
Maureen Blandford's tweet pulls no punches:
Hi Techcos. Buyer here.
Guess what's more important to me than price?
1. Integration (duh)
2. Your humans after the sale
If you can prove to me that your Success Team is better than your competitors', that will win me over v any other buying criteria.
— Maureen Blandford (she/her) (@MaureenB2B) December 6, 2019
Three things have changed B2B buying:
- The shift to subscription (SaaSy) software, which puts the focus on long-term customer results. That puts pressure on software vendors to continually earn their value - well past go-live.
- The emergence of the customer experience (CX) market. A funny thing happened to SaaS vendors: as they emphasized CX software, customers decided to judge them by that standard - across sales, service, and support.
- The independence (and research savvy) of the modern B2B buyer.
So how is buyer trust earned amidst this? I get into that in Earning B2B buyer trust - does so-called "thought leadership" content have a role? I managed to avoid the snark for a bit, until images of vendors sweating inclusion in various quadrants, trapezoids, and awards got me boiling:
Now it's about earning influence, not paying for it. Yes, vendors can still pay money for dubious endorsements from "respected" third parties that frequently don't disclose their financial ties.
So where do we go from here? How do we serve buyers better? The article gets into it, but the full answer will have to wait till the dbook is done. I better go easy on the eggnog...
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Hudson's Bay Company still fixing the digital fundamentals against backdrop of bigger losses and a takeover battle - judging by Stuart's update, doesn't look like Santa is too happy with Hudson's Bay this year: "A totem for what happens when you neglect transformative changes and fail to make necessary omni-channel investments as the world changes around you." Omni-ouch!
- Goal! What enterprises can learn from the England soccer team’s use of data analytics. - Martin with a sporty use case. I liked this counter-intuitive lesson: "Too much data, perhaps inappropriately analysed and tactlessly applied, can be very damaging." Trying hard to resist something snarky like "I didn't know England scored goals, Martin," which would be really classless given the U.S. can't even be bothered to qualify for the World Cup...
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Oracle exits 2019 with flat revenue growth and eating its own cloud dog food - Stuart's take on a "turbulent" year for Oracle, but not one without promise either (autonomous database pickup, cloud ERP push). Plus, Ellison flexes his rival-baiting chops again - just like old times...
- Azure stealthily implements omni-cloud features that mirror those AWS loudly proclaims - Fresh off his analysis of Amazon's blatant rejection of multi-cloud, Kurt argues that Azure is (quietly) doing the same thing: "While AWS’s Jassy has banished the terms “hybrid” and “multi-cloud” from his vocabulary, Microsoft still uses the hybrid term, although the future it describes is indistinguishable."
- SAP Business ByDesign roadmap 2020 - the frog is turning into a prince - no, Den doesn't have a
man crushsoft spot for ByDesign - he just has a thing for quality products with strong product owners, and accessible roadmaps/info.
- Sage Intacct - the macro take on post-acquisition integration - Brian issues a comprehensive review on the state of Sage Intacct. Despite his
platinum-grade BS detector that goes off at the first sign of wallet fracking enterprisesoftware merger wariness, Brian likes what he sees.
We've got a Salesforce two-fer for this week: Phil on why Salesforce is opening up its platform and betting on serverless and CIM. Jess with a fresh Salesforce use case: United Way gets local branches marching in time on digital engagement.
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Workday rings the changes as it ramps product management and marketing with a significant reorganization - Den
- MongoDB revenues rise sharply as Atlas customer headcount more than doubles year-on-year - Stuart
Jon's grab bag - My fall event highlight series marches on, with pieces that
should never have taken me this freaking long rocked my thinking. Start with this standout Tableau use case: How La Nación's data journalism changes hearts and minds in Argentina, and beyond. Then I mined my podcasts for an edgy data conversation: Tricia Wang on why the big data mentality fails - and what to do about it.
Finally, Uncle Den
spoiled Christmas handed out presents early with a preview of diginomica's progressive web app plans: Exciting news - we're getting personal, just for you.
Best of the rest
MyPOV: Yeah, I featured this one last week, but most enterprise bloggers were out shopping, and this one still had meat on the bone. One of the best RPA posts of the year, we have ten laws to sink our teeth into here. Fersht boils it down to this:
The RPA we’ve known for seven years is dead. The fate of RPA for the next seven years is contingent on collaboratively supporting something bigger.
What's the problem with the RPA of the past? Well, where do we begin... Fersht might say it was too robotic; I'd say it was too focused on headcount reduction. Either way, it underperformed against the hype.
These ten laws from HfS Research warn against a narrow view of RPA as a productivity tool. See law six: "Treat RPA as a gateway to embrace process mining, process discovery, machine learning, data ingestion and advanced analytics to achieve real artificial intelligence for enterprises."
Fersht challenges the industry to consider dropping robotics entirely:
Why persist in using a word that is deeply associated with job elimination, has confused many, and has added little but confusion and ignorance into the market?
The bottom line?
RPA is dead unless business leaders align it with their broader digital transformation agenda.
So much for relaxing over the holidays...
- A sobering message about the future at AI’s biggest party - Gotta love this type of snarkcraft, via Ars Technica: "Tuesday night, Google and Uber hosted well-lubricated, over-subscribed parties. At a bleary 8:30 the next morning, one of Google’s top researchers gave a keynote with a sobering message about AI’s future."
- Why Ring Doorbells Perfectly Exemplify the IoT Security Crisis - Give your family the gift of
hacking, stalking and uncertain privacysmart convenience this holiday season...
- Johnsonville’s Journey: Addressing the Unanswered Digital Access Questions - Ron Gilson's series for ASUG.com is the most detailed look at SAP's indirect access issues we've seen. Of genuine concern is the need for SAP to clarify licensing questions for RPA - and fast.
- Building the tech talent pipeline - McKinsey delves into the regional variances in tech skills, and how regions can pinpoint the "strengths and gaps" in their tech talent.
- DevOps Metrics That Matter - If you can't measure DevOps, it doesn't really exist.
Bit of a rough patch for the whiffs section this week - I found out at the last minute that Man Whose Farts 'Can Kill Mosquitoes 18 Feet Away' Hired to Create Repellent traces back to a fake news site. Oh, well, we still have
- Bodybuilder set to marry his sex robot girlfriend ‘despite frequent arguments’ (ok, so it's likely a PR stunt...)
Finally, AI gets back on track:
Pooper Scooper Robot Will Find, Detect And Automatically Pick Up Your Dog’s Poohttps://t.co/kU0saMsrbh
-> at least, artificial intelligence lives up to the hype :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 13, 2019
We wouldn't be at the 2019 finish line without one more tale of a startup CEO sucking helium out a balloon, and the life out of their own team:
After bullying and a weak apology, Away CEO goes away - without bullshit https://t.co/r2u3ine9Bq
"in an effort to support you in developing your skills, I am going to help you learn the career skill of accountability."
lolz nicely done....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 10, 2019
This piece from The New Stack reminded me that Brian and I forgot to make fun of the turgid buzzword Service Mesh in our un-predictions..
Finally, thought it was weird to see an article on Lofty promises for autonomous cars unfulfilled come out the exact same time as the announcement that a self-driving truck successfully completed a cross-country delivery. Now, I'm not what you'd call an autonomous car fanboy. I'd rather listen to the punk-sonic masterpiece Tesla by Strung Out than drive in one.
But what's more notable? That predictions on autonomous cars are off by a few years, or the looming possibility that in the next decade (or so), truck driving as a profession will cease to exist? Shouldn't we be preparing for the economic (and human) consequences of this? Nah, let's just make fun of a few overly bold predictions by gurus and techno-goofs.
Hits and misses is on a two week break. We'll be back in January with my annual hits/misses blogger awards edition...
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.