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Enterprise hits and misses - ChatGPT Enterprise launches, Google Cloud Next wraps, and composable ERP gets real

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed September 5, 2023
This week - it's a big week for generative AI with ChatGPT Enterprise - but I'm placing AI bets elsewhere. The first major fall event, Google Cloud Next, is in the books. Enterprise leaders grapple with AI trust, but composable ERP gets field credibility. As always, your whiffs.


Lead story - Is composable ERP ready for prime time? Customers weigh in

How did AI get bumped off the headline spot? Because Phil wrote one of the most compelling ERP posts of the year: MACH early adopters beat a path to the composable future of ERP.

The biggest strength of this post? Instead of another futuristic musing about composable ERP, Phil shares real world use cases from the Mach TWO conference. The use cases aren't the same, either:

  1. Build your own - One customer (Boohoo Group) built their own composable ERP system.
  2. Tie to customer-facing systems - Nudie Jeans "uses a Sitoo point-of-sale system and the Centra headless e-commerce platform as its customer-facing transactional systems."
  3. Adapt your current system into services - Emma Sleep "Emma Sleep has worked with its ERP vendor to adapt the system so that it provides specific services within the overall composable architecture.

I don't think most enterprises will choose to build their own composable ERP system, but it does put ERP vendors on notice: watch out, or your transactional footprint will shrink,  as customers build out composable apps, microservices, and pull in cloud services. What do all these customers have in common? A push towards modernization that does not center around their traditional ERP vendor. As Phil puts it:

Rather than dividing the IT landscape into back-end monoliths and front-end platforms, why not build a single architecture composed of autonomous services? Within this unified landscape, each transactional service forms part of the system of record.

I agree 100% with Phil's critique of the so-called bi-modal approach to IT.  This piece illustrates how customers can modernize at their own pace, without ERP rip-and-replace on the one hand, or all-in-for-the-composable-enterprise fantasies on the other. However, I have one nit to pick. In the intro, Phil writes:

Some early adopters are starting to replace conventional ERP systems with more composable alternatives.

I think I understand why Phil chose the world "conventional," but I would have chosen the word "legacy." Why? Because a major reason why ERP systems are criticized in this piece is not because they are conventional (monolithic), but because of dependence on batch processing in a real-time world. I can think of a number of ERP vendors that would cry foul that they are still dependent on batch processing (a customer might still choose to do it, but the technical barrier isn't necessarily there, and options like 'micro-batch' are becoming more commonplace). Other ERP vendors go so far as to claim they are indeed composable, though as per Phil's prior pieces, those claims likely wouldn't pass the full MACH inspection.

As Phil alludes to, some prominent ERP vendors are rolling out cloud services models that allow their older customers to upgrade to cloud services in place, without having to do a major ERP upgrade. That's not radically different from some of the use cases described here.

However: I am rooting for these MACH-oriented composable ERP use cases. These stories show customers: the art of the ERP possible isn't a slide deck; it's real. In turn, this puts pressure on ERP vendors to make modernization easier, bolster APIs across releases, and accelerate their own path to composability.

diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

Google Cloud Next '23 coverage - the show is in the books, and Derek has the frequent flier miles to prove it. Some coverage highlights:

Via Derek's Kurian sit down:

Google Cloud wants to provide the building blocks for companies to leverage AI according to their needs, via its Vertex platform. Vertex provides not just a collection of models, but a number of foundational services to make AI effective and trustworthy - such as information retrieval, search, conversations, statementment, grounding, watermarking, synthetic data generation.

I find the AI pricing conversation/debate fascinating - as Derek reports, Google currently plans to charge $30 per user per month for its Duet AI assistant services. AI pricing is a topic I'll return to throughout the fall, with rigor.

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Mark Chillingworth delves into a localized use case in Runnymede - from Magna Carta to simplified public services. Barb explores AI's impact on B2B sales in 6sense study demonstrates AI’s potential for B2B revenue teams. Chris looks at why NASA applies AI with an industry/private approach in How NASA is using AI to search its own data universe. Finally, Stuart assesses the state of generative AI for the enterprise in Salesforce research finds business buyer and consumer trust levels in AI decline despite the generative hype cycle

80% state it’s important to have people validating the output of the [AI] tech. That human validation aspect is cited by 52% of respondents as a factor that can increase customer trust in AI, along with more customer control (49%), third-party ethics reviews (39%) and additional government oversight (36%). But the main thing that would make a difference is greater visibility into how AI is being used by an organization, ranked number one by 57% of respondents.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


Who knew that scientologists don't want you fixing your own gadgets?

You have to be really drunk on the generative AI Koolaid to think that mushroom classification is neato use case:

I took another swipe at disappointing enterprise event thinking:

But I'll pay my penance with my next article, which will lay out some practical ideas for the better. See you then...

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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