Enterprise hits and misses - big tech stocks falter, enterprise tech holds on, and Twitter moves into bizarro world

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed October 31, 2022
This week - big tech stocks get spanked, but enterprise tech bellwethers hold strong. AI for hiring gets scrutinized, while Twitter gets strange. But will Musk's Twitter be brand-friendly? And where will B2B pros go for their social fix?

King Checkmate

Lead story - AI use in recruitment is growing – but users are ignoring big risks?

Short answer: yes, they are. This growth means AI is operational in areas where the impact on human lives (and careers) isn't necessarily understood/accounted for.

Chris parses a new report by Littler, an international law firm. One problem Chris hones in on: the operationalization of bias. Example:

If in the past, senior managers rejected applicants on gender, age, faith, sexuality, or racial grounds, or denied jobseekers from specific groups, locations, or postcodes/zipcodes, then a pattern-based algorithm might interpret this data as meaning that such candidates don’t succeed. In this way, the bias becomes automated.

So what's the solution? We can't roll all of this back - but we can start with a better evaluation of AI hiring tools (the survey found that only 27 percent of organizations kick tires on more than one AI tool before buying). Oh, and most organizations are pursuing AI for efficiency and cost savings. That's my second conclusion: expand your buying criteria. Chris again:

Most organizations are focused on the efficiency, time, labor, and money-saving metrics associated with AI/automation, but comparatively few are considering the risks of bias and discrimination that – unintentionally or otherwise – may be enabled by it.

What would motivate companies to be more rigorous? Well, the curious fact that this study was funded by a law firm should be a clue. Implementing AI software doesn't excuse you from legal responsibility for discrimination. Littler advises companies address this with vigor during their contractual negotiations with software vendors. Good advice - to a point. But offloading discriminatory harm onto a third party isn't enough.

Here's a much more energizing/productive conversation: how can we use AI not only to automate, but to identify/correct human hiring bias - not exaggerate it? Huddling with lawyers, even those who put out helpful surveys, shouldn't be the end of this conversation. As Chris concludes: "In short: most companies could do much better."

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Usually I don't obsess over enterprise short-termism quarterly earnings, but this quarter's different. Would enterprise bellwethers take big hits, alongside Google? (Not to mention the rest of FANG taking a stock dive, with Apple's earnings being the lone happi(er) story. So far, enterprise earnings are in a better place, as investors look to balance sheets and cash flows, not just cloud multiples (though subscription-based revenue remains a crucial Wall Street criteria).

A few more vendor picks, including event reviews:

Jon's grab bag - Mark filed an interesting use case: TrustFord uses Druva technology to give employees peace of mind over data security. Finally, I'm not a big fan of overhyped "Web 3.0" for several reasons: it's a lumping together of tech on separate adoption tracks, it's an over-commercialized vision of the Internet, where everything is monetized and "tokenized," and: I don't see how we get (back to) decentralization from here, as grand as it sounds. On that third point, the "how," Chris filed a story that has some viable-sounding ways of addressing it: How Janeiro Digital wants to ‘fix the Web’ - CEO and CTO interview:

Fixing the Web is a bold aim for any venture, after three decades of citizens handing their personal data to corporations, and getting little in return except tracking and advertising – plus permission to use a cloud platform, of course.

True, but when it comes to helping users claim (and control) their own data, it's a conversation worth having.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • As overall cloud infrastructure market growth dips to 24%, AWS reports slowdown - I think we can say the pandemic-cloud-push is over now. But, as Ron Miller points out: "Most companies born in the cloud aren’t going to suddenly build a data center, and those in the midst of shifting to the cloud need to keep moving workloads because of all the benefits the cloud brings around business agility."
  • The Messy Middle Challenges Buyers and Vendors - Gartner's Hank Barnes on why the messy middle isn't a good place to be - for buyers or customers.
  • How to manage risk as AI spreads throughout your organization - Good to see a post about hands-on AI pitfalls: "Three areas have proven to be particularly worrisome: bias, safety, and war." Just three small areas - insert "lol" here.
  • Low-code and no-code are making developers' jobs better in two ways - Amidst Joe McKendrick's latest low-code post is a wake-up call for IT professionals: Industry observers agree. "'The professional's role is now to customize and connect the low-code solution to the organization's resources.'"
  • Microsoft Full Circle - Not the most critical analysis of Microsoft ever written, but - a thorough overview of how Microsoft got here, by Ben Thompson.
  • Europe Prepares to Rewrite the Rules of the Internet - I wouldn't exactly call this Web 3.0, but for Big Tech, there is clearly a different kind of accountability ahead.
  • Twitter in the Musk Era: What’s In Store for Brands? - Constellation's Liz Miller raises the Twitter questions for brands, including the future of Twitter advertising. However, when Miller wrote: "Alienating users OR advertisers in week one is quite literally risky business. Musk, while audacious and bombastic, has the business sense to understand this." By this weekend, Musk already Tweeted against whatever business sense he supposedly has. However Twitter unfolds, it will be interesting, but I don't think it will be particularly (corporate) brand-friendly.

Overworked businessman


Speaking of which:

Josh Greenbaum chimed in:

I dunno - TikTok anyone? Pinterested? Hey, at least Microsoft can't force you to use Teams to participate in LinkedIn, so that's something. Oh, and here's a reminder that we don't need AI to mess up hiring:

I figured I might take a page from Europe and hold Big Tech accountable:

Wish me luck - the site owner is a bit hard to track down these days... 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.

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