Enterprise hits and misses - CFOs get modern, COP26 gets serious about climate change, and multi-cloud (finally) gets traction

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed November 8, 2021
Summary:
This week - CFOs face the modernization pressure, and climate tech gets serious. McDonalds doubles down on AI, and multi-cloud has its day. Facebook does an about face on facial recognition, but is it a whiff? If so, it has company.

King Checkmate

Lead story - What are the top five priorities for the modern CFO?

Ten years ago, CIOs faced the imperative to move beyond administrative functions (keeping the lights on). In recent years, that's expanded to the entire C-suite, including the spreadsheet-and-compliance-beleaguered CFO. Brian shares his top CFO priorities in Adding up five modern, relevant priorities for today's CFO:

A recent client has been CFO at his firm for almost 15 years. In that time, the company had grown 3X but no accounting technology improvements had been made. Furthermore, the company had to pass on two potential acquisitions as the firm realized its systems and people could not handle the increased transaction volume. In all that time, only one thing had changed: the number of spreadsheets in use had grown exponentially.

Ouch! So what needs to change, Brian? He challenges CFOs: What will your legacy be when you retire? CFOs should leave their workplaces:

  • Fully Digital and Paperless
  • A Place that People Want to Work For
  • Scalable (Up and Down)
  • Flexible
  • Spreadsheet Free
  • A Fountain of Business Insights and not a Documenter of Prior Business Transactions

I don't think we're at a "fountain of business insights" yet - so there's a worthy challenge to tackle. So how are we going to get there? Brian lays out his five CFO priorities. I won't run them all down here, but here's a few action items for the forward-thinking CFO:

  • Metrics that measure the effectiveness of programmatic ad buying (e.g., web advertising, job listings, etc.).
  • Continuing and increasing productivity gains via RPA.
  • New metrics for new business models.
  • Tracking competitors and their products across social sentiment and other big data
  • Effectiveness of radically reimagined processes and the tools that are bringing these to life.

That should keep finance teams busy for a while - and there's more where that came from.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

  • Checking out the Co-op's headless commerce strategy - a co-operative approach with Amazon, Deliveroo and Salesforce - How do you navigate the Amazon-dominated commerce world? With some heavy-duty partnership, including Amazon itself. Madeline on the case: "It was here that Co-op’s role as a last mover in the e-commerce grocery space became an advantage, as the firm had no legacy technology to deal with."
  • COP 26 - is the tech industry really being incentivised to tackle climate change? - Derek gives his initial take from the UNFCCC DEFRA COP26 Technology for Climate Action Conference: "Sustainability and climate responsibility are clearly seen as important, but ultimately most of the companies on stage are measuring success by the returns that are delivered to shareholder." That's a tough dilemmas, but a good one for attendees to grapple with.
  • COP26 - mistrust in data means it's not easy being green - For those firms that want to take serious steps, Madeline shares SAP data on how to get there: "The problem facing firms is getting systems in place to help them introduce and measure green targets. When asked what were the main barriers for their company taking action to improve the planet’s environment, the top response was not understanding how to embed sustainability into business processes and IT systems." Look for that to change in the next couple of years - a number of sofware vendors are (finally) pushing into this.

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

More vendor picks, without the quips:

A few more vendor picks, during a brief break in our fall show coverage:

Jon's grab bag - Mark Samuels filed a couple fresh use cases - I liked George Best Belfast City Airport uses hyperconvergence to reach new heights in IT operations. Finally, Stuart unfurled our chance to yell at "smart" machines that screw up our orders glorious fast food futures in McDonald's looks to supersize its AI prowess via a new partnership with IBM - Count me amongst the "AI will make your drive through experience better" skeptics, but - interesting nonetheless.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

So some ex-jail employees are getting sued for making convicts listen to the children's song "Baby Shark" on repeat. That does seem cruel and unusual...

I won't call this tragic, but it is a setback of expectations:

Meanwhile, as for Facebook's supposedly progressive gesture:

Josh Greenbaum railed against Teams, and rightfully so, but he keeps sending me Teams invites:

I'm not sure I can help with this level of self-inflicted dystopianism,  but I did offer to get Greenbaum a Zoom subscription for the holidays....

Remember that digital twins-and-AI article? It was an okay article, but here was my beef:

If retailers are going to save the holidays, they'll need more than AI this year. I'm not sure why MIT felt the article needed another truckload of hype, but there you have it. Kurt Marko nailed it down:

Pretty much Kurt, pretty much. See you next time...

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.