Enterprise hits and misses - Buyers are changing, Workday is buying, and the Microsoft - Github debate continues

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed June 12, 2018
This week - Another no-vacation-for-you surprise as Workday buys Adaptive Insights. The B2B buyer is changing faster than sales can keep up, and Microsoft's Github acquisition provokes debate - and a big whiff.

Cheerful Chubby Man
Lead story - The buyer-seller gap is real - and it’s a big problem for B2B by Barb Mosher Zinck

myPOV: The informed buyer is a frequent topic of discussion diginomica. Barb brings fresh data to bear, via a study by the Miller Heiman Group. Now, as she explains, a clear story is emerging:

Customers are continually changing how they approach the decision-making process, but sales organizations are not keeping up.

Want data? As per Miller Heiman, only 53 percent of sales representatives are meeting or exceeding quotas - a number that has declined for the fifth straight year. Leading Barb to conclude:

Buyers are changing substantially faster and to a greater degree than sales organizations.

So we know why this is happening, but here's the rub: we don't know quite how to fix it. As Barb explains, we know that salespeople need to engage earlier in the buying process now. But that timing varies by organization and sales cycle. I think we need radically different sales training, and, quite possibly, different recruitment for a different type of sales candidate. Barb shares several more tips, including this keeper: "It’s about an experience, not an interaction."

It's about the salesperson as advisor, armed with relevant data to earn trust. Fewer golf courses, fewer steak dinners, more competitive analysis and hands-on demos - with the clients' own data if requested. Actually, a steak dinner still sounds pretty good... But you get my drift.

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica picks - my top three stories on diginomica this week:

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Sapphire Now blowout - top picks. Sapphire Now is a wrap; you can see our full team coverage of Sapphire Now and the ASUG annual conference here. For this week's edition, I picked one highlight from each of our on-the-ground team:

Bonus: diginomica contributor Brian Sommer was also on hand, bringing his furrowed brow edgy questions to the show floor, in search of SAP partner innovation. I'm not sure he found that, but he found plenty in his illustrated guide of show floor highs and lows, from navigating transformation to "bullsheet." (SapphireNow 2018 - what is the partner ecosystem selling? Hint - not ERP). "Experiences last forever"? That's not a slogan, that's the heart of the problem.

Note: I also did a podcast Sapphire Now show review with Brian Dennett, and a podcast chat on customer views with ASUG CEO Geoff Scott.

Here's four more picks from our vendor coverage:

Workday acquires Adaptive Insights for $1.55bn on eve of IPO - Phil on the news that kicked off another "no-vacation-for-you" news week in the enterprise summer:

Workday already has a planning product, which it announced three years ago and brought to market a year later. But while this will continue as Workday’s product for workforce planning, it wasn’t offering the functionality that enterprise customers look for in a financial planning product, CEO Aneel Bhusri admits today:

We wanted to be in the market now with a financial planning solution — and our product was three years away.

Three more picks:

Jon's grab bag - Martin looks at how metereologists made strides at Reading University by going with cloud scale in Reading University provides free rein to its meteorologists via hyper-convergence. Not sure anyone brings more worthy topics to our pages than Cath. She does it again with Health and Wellness - smart glove to tackle hearing loss is a bright sign.

Jerry looks in the collective mirror and doesn't look what he sees - especially knowing he isn't the only one watching (The Surveillance State has arrived. We are all Winston Smith now). Stuart wades into the international privacy morass in Privacy Shield, GDPR, trade wars and Trump - it’s complicated! He comes back irritated, and I can't blame him.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Lead story - Continued fallout/reaction to Microsoft buying Github.

myPOV: Microsoft's Github acquisition was juicy enough to provoke a slew of follow-on pieces and pitches, one of which wound up in my whiffs section below. This one is right in RedMonk Stephen O'Grady's wheelhouse; he tees it up in So Pigs Do Fly: Microsoft Acquires GitHub.

Given RedMonk was pitching "developers as kingmakers" back when programmers were still pawns on the enterprise chess board, Microsoft was still polishing Windoze, and "open source" was a hobby best not mentioned in job interviews, O'Grady gets to take a few victory laps if he so chooses.

He opted for an even-handed tone instead, addressing the fallout in specifics (e.g. Microsoft competitors likely to bail on Github.). Interestingly, he doesn't see the risk of losing too many "community users" off the platform (keep this in mind for our whiffs later on). Though O'Grady concedes this is a good day for the likes of Gitlab and Atlassian, he doesn't see an exodus coming:

Between the friction of migration and the aforementioned goodwill that GitHub has earned over its lifetime and Microsoft has earned in recent years, there are clear disincentives for developers to pack up and leave for GitHub alternatives.

Time will tell... Meantime, Vijay Vijayasankar likes the move enough to award his rare exclamation point: Buying GitHub – A very smart move by Microsoft!

Three more standouts


Overworked businessman
Make way for the "plubbers":

Okay, I plubbed a couple times today in Chicago... but I don't feel good about it. Oh, and we have a couple early GDPR fail candidates: Google and Facebook (Privacy Group: Facebook, Google Policies Break GDPR laws). But I thought Facebook was a place for friends:

I can't leave our Yahoo pals out of the PR pretzel contest:

Finally, I received a Github PR pitch which said:

Hi Jon - Looks like developers are leaving in droves after the Microsoft/Github news - are you covering this?

You mean, covering something so speculative even the article you linked to has no clue?

Oh yeah, that.

Too bad there isn't any mention in that article of developers actually leaving in giant, disgruntled herds. Folks, I think we've got us a bad case of "when you wish upon your PR..." The only cure- a lifelong residency in Disney World. Or: an hour with a pesky curmudgeon of your choice. Your call...

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 - 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, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.