Enterprise hits and misses - Benioff takes his stand (again) + overcoming buyer distrust

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed February 29, 2016
In this edition: Benioff takes his stand against bigotry, this time in Georgia. Oracle cloud gets diginomica scrutiny and new research on why buyers don't trust vendor web sites. Your whiffs include Hotwire, Adam Schefter, Delicious, and Old Yeller - but not Zenefits? Read on...

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Georgia on his mind – Benioff vs bigotry (again) by Stuart

quotage: "What is so utterly depressing about McKoon’s ‘argument’ is that – aside from the usual basic premise that ‘my freedom is completely dependent on my taking away other people’s freedom’ – it essentially comes down to a childish whine of, ‘If India and Singapore get to do this, why can’t we?’. Reality check – the fact that someone else, somewhere else is a bigger bigot than you are, doesn’t lessen the fact of your own bigotry."

myPOV: I'm not going to elaborate on what Stuart has said so eloquently. But the gist is that Georgia has some legislation under consideration that is similar to that which Benioff (and Salesforce) successfully opposed in Indiana. Stuart does a good job of going into the difficult part of the argument - Salesforce doing business in countries that make Georgia's potential law look gentle. There aren't easy answers there. But as Stuart says, it doesn't diminish the need to take a stand.

Salesforce is a diginomica partner, and I'm not really into anointing heroes. But: I like it when executives act on conviction, whether or not I agree. Speaking for myself, what I hope we can do at diginomica is put aside the phony pretense of pseudo-objectivity and bring you a fierceness of conviction, along with fierceness of self-reflection. We're imperfect as all get out - you know that by now - but we do take positions. This time, we stand with Benioff.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica five: my top five selections on diginomica this week,

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

A few more vendor picks, without my snarky bits:

Jon's grab bag - Kurt takes a different - and useful angle to my recent Apple/FBI encryption coverage in Apple-FBI impasse: a teachable moment for enterprise IT. Yahoo's going through (yet) another rough patch, sparking rumors of all sorts. No one's better than twisting Yahoo's analytical knife than Stuart, who is already casting the movie version of this debacle (Yahoo! goes private? Is this Marissa Mayer’s latest gambit?). And if you're having a case of the Mondays, perhaps you'd like to vent some vicarious spleen with Den in Weekend rant: Get those log files or get outta here? (Based on a true story of time tossed down the porcelain bowl).

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Why buyers don't trust vendor web sites - new research by Hank Barnes

quotage: Looked at together, you can see the impact. Buyers have significant doubts about what providers tell them—doubts fueled by the asset that is easiest for buyers to access–your Web site." - Hank Barnes, Trust, Differentiation, and Messaging.

myPOV: Readers know I take my potshots at Gartner from time to time (haters gonna hate, y'all). But Gartner's Hank Barnes and I have been involved in a fruitful dialogue on enterprise buyers for a while now. His team's research on differentiation and "educated buyers" is consistently insightful. You can sample their latest stylings in the blog linked above, which draws on recent findings on differentiation.

Barnes' post addresses the issue of buyer distrust of vendor web sites.I won't belabor the reasons for that distrust- check out Barnes' post for more - but problems include contradictory information by independent web sites, and by a vendor's own sales/partner channel. The more pressing issue is: how to fix this issue.

Barnes' recommendations are well worth a look, and include everything from better documentation of customer stories, better relations with influencers, and better sales enablement/communication. Enterprise buyers can smell marketing BS. We need to understand how trust developers, and as Barnes points out - how it erodes.

Other standouts

  • Stephen O'Grady gets around to his 2016 tech predictions - It's like clockwork: sometime in the first few months of 2016, RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady will get around to his 2016 predictions. To be fair, O'Grady puts himself through a thorough, slow-cooked process. I could do without the self-grading of past predictions, I really don't give a hooey how accurate the past ones were. But lots to chew on here. Let the barroom debates ensue, re: "SaaS is the new proprietary," "bots are the new UI" etc.
  • The Role of Fear in ERP Implementations - Strativa's Frank Scavo touched a chord by airing out the topic of fear on an ERP project. We can debate whether or not it's healthy to go to work in a state of trepidation, but what I take from Scavo's workshop story is that airing out implementation hopes and fears is a highly productive exercise. I personally like a balance between realistic/worst case scenario thinking and optimistic, data-informed plans. It's too bad more projects aren't brave enough to express such things early, in a group setting, where they can be aired out - and hopefully better addressed.

Honorable mention

Event Report - IBM Interconnect - IBM innovates and partners into the hybrid cloud era - a multi-media event rehash.
No Easter Bunny? - It's gets worse. There is no Santa Claus - nor are traditional supply chain practices anywhere near best practices.
The mysterious HfS business model… revealed - Business model transparency for the win.
Retailers Not Quite Ready for the Cloud - in-store systems and security concerns find retail firms conflicted about the cloud.
Bitcoin is the Sewer Rat of Currencies - A deeper bitcoin dive if you're partial - and the easy blog post title-of-the-week winner, folks.


Overworked businessman
Think you had a bad customer service experience this week? See if you can top Host Analytic's Dave Kellogg, who piled up the indignities in Hotwire’s Demonstration of How to Lose a Customer for Life. Adam Schefter's tweet of Giant's player Jason Pierre-Paul's medial records might be the most expensive tweet of the year. I'm no legal expert but if you need to tweet someone's medical records to be successful, it's time to join Fight Club.

I had a lovely whiff for you regarding Zenefits' recent layoff announcement. I even had some punchy phrases lined up, like "Friends Without Zenefits," (ouch). But once I read new CEO David Sacks' letter to employees, my mood shifted. That's a pretty open/thoughtful letter, not the over-massaged gobble-de-gook I was expecting from re/code's headline.

Remember when Delicious was right there with Digg on the "change agents of Web 2.0" list? Several years ago, Delicious was acquired (I still don't understand the acquisition or business model). Delicious used to power my jonerpnewsfeed on which this happy column is based. But two years ago, I switched to pinboard (an affordable bookmarking service that actually responds to a freaking question).

Readers didn't notice - external sites like Twitter weren't affected. I still use Delicious as a backup, but recently my RSS readers like Frank Scavo informed me that Delicious was slapping sponsored content into their RSS feeds. Not ads - but irrelevant sponsored crud clogging up feeds. Fortunately my pinboard RSS jonerpnewsfeed is available, and my best of enterprise can also be picked up on Feedburner RSS or daily email collection.

But have a look at this fugly screen shot of my main Delicious RSS feeds:


Shame. Delicious could have opted for a subscription model, or even given readers a choice

ScreenHunter_832 Feb. 29 17.16
between pukey, off-topic ads posing as content and a paid service. Instead they press on, a shell of their former selves, hostile to their own user base. Delicious is Old Yeller. Memories of happier times are a comfort to me now...

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

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 - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.