Enterprise hits and misses - B2B buyers are changing, RPA needs to change, and event season finally winds it down

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 16, 2019
This week - RPA gets a wake-up call - and a manifesto. B2B buyers are changing; sales and marketing can't keep up. Microsoft pulls a multi-cloud slight of hand, IoT security puts coal in the smart device stocking. Plus: your whiffs.


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:

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

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

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:

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

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Lead story - The New RPA Manifesto: Follow HFS’ Ten Laws of Robotic Process Automation to create a Thriving Industry - by Phil Fersht

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...

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman


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


Finally, AI gets back on track: 

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:

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.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

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

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