Enterprise hits and misses - cloud manufacturing ERP comes of age, and avoiding Uberization

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 9, 2016
In this edition: Cloud manufacturing ERP earns its spurs (and proof points) and the frictionless enterprise as a hedge against Uberization. Also: the future of enterprise UX, and Virtual Reality careers beats losing your job to a robot. Whiffs include clickbait fails, predictive gurus botching Donald Trump, and a gratuitous shot at The Good Wife.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: The Cloud Journey – lessons from cloud ERP for manufacturing customers - by Brian

quotage: "I’m still running into folks who possess unnatural fears about cloud technology. Yet, I can state, unequivocally, that these panelists did not suffer personally or professionally for these cloud ERP projects. In fact, their firms seem to be far better off for the experience. I was struck with both the ease with which these executives spoke of their projects and successes and the abject lack of problems they encountered. None of this sounded like the older ERP projects I had so much exposure to in my career."

myPOV: Fresh back from moderating Plex panels, Brian has some cloud ERP morsels from the manufacturing heartland. Bottom line: cloud ERP/manufacturing has come of age, with proof points that separate it from the legacy ERP projects of which too many of us have toiled (or made absurd margins on, at the expense of the customer).

Scanning the lessons, to me the juiciest bit is about how cloud ERP empowers the mobile worker, from shop floor to executive. Some claimed ERP wouldn't translate well to tablets and desktops - tell that to these plant managers, salespeople, and executives with their beloved dashboards. Den brought cloud manufacturing to life in Factory of the future – MFC Netform running on Plex, as he donned the hardhat and got the shop floor view. The combo of Slack and Plex was intriguing - Slack is sneaking into everything these days...

Happy children eating apple
diginomica seven: my top seven stories on diginomica this week:

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

  • Exclusive first interview with new Unit4 CEO Stephan Sieber - A surprise promotion never hurt anyone - at least not Unit4 CEO Stephan Sieber, who held court with Phil on the first interview of his tenure. A few tidbits: more acquisitions could be in store, with services industries and public sector a go-to-market focus.
  • Infosys Confluence 2016 – the ups and downs - Den reflects on a mixed bag, a disappointing locale, but inspired moments around virtual reality and robotics. He parses Infosys' software moves (Mana), and puts digital transformation to the test.
  • The solace of quantum? IBM puts quantum computing in the cloud - Chris Middleton hits the most interesting vendor story of the week: IBM's quantum processor, now available as a cloud service for experimental applications. But Chris wants to know: where are the enterprise apps? Answer: nada yet, but the real-world implications of such massive processing power are not to be taken lightly. Example: the search for super-conductive materials and new medicines. Me: I like that IBM isn't trying to have all the answers - basically, open source this thing and see what use cases emerge.

A few more vendor picks, without my snarky bits:

EMC straddles old and new worlds with an incomplete and unbalanced cloud strategy - Kurt
Adaptive Insights – an update - Brian
Callidus cloud conversion ramps up, but 90 customers stick with on-prem for now - Stuart
What does Adobe’s acquisition of Livefyre really mean? - Barb

Jon's grab bag - LinkedIn's had a rough stretch, but are happier times ahead? Stuart updates in LinkedIn CEO outlines platform thinking. (MyPOV: LinkedIn hasn't even kept their own promise to stop email barraging us, but hey, knock yourselves out). Speaking of rough stretch, Stuart also assesses the New York Times' digital ambitions as the print revenue train chokes on coal fumes. Also enjoyed Gary Flood's A database Game of Thrones, though it seems like he really wanted to write more on Game of Thrones - for that matter, so would I. Spinoff site?

Finally, you probably know that diginomica is three years old, still a loud-mouthed toddler, but definitely pre-school bound. Hopefully you also know we are now the first media company to take the 1 percent pledge - else we did a bad promo job. We couldn't give back without your support, so for all of you who share, comment, criticize, and generally make a nuisance of yourselves in the most wonderful way possible- we thank you.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Enterprise UX: Past, present and future - by Charles McClellan

quotage: "The emerging umbrella term for where all this is heading is the 'post-app' world of pervasive computing, where desktop WIMP and mobile touch-driven interfaces are augmented or superseded by more 'natural' methods of user interaction. Some even go so far as to claim that, as the IoT and AI advance, designing for screens will "belong in the past" and that "the next big step will be for the very concept of the 'device' to fade away".

myPOV: If you can put up with the pop-ups, ZDJNet is running a worthy Enterprise UX series from which this piece is selected. Though the quote above is an accurate view of the future, UX can get ahead of itself, just like Virtual Reality. In the UX reality of now, screens are as common as eyeballs, but point taken: designers have to look beyond. We can also get carried away by comparisons to consumer software, has a different set of criteria - though the two are converging.

That said, McClennan rounds up some useful UX data points and positions, including Gartner's views on intuition-driven versus evidence-based design. What gets inadequate coverage in this piece is how companies should cope with escalating design standards. Not every company can afford an internal design department - or is that an excuse that turns into a problem?

Other standouts

  • When the robots take our jobs, we'll still have virtual reality - that's my mashup of two future-of-work pieces, starting with The New Stack's What Will Happen after the Robots Take Our Jobs? Count me as a sucker for robots-take-jobs FUD, or, as economists cited in this piece ask: "Is any job truly safe?" To the skeptic/bond investor who claims a revamped educational system won't help - maybe we should give it a shot anyway? But the glass was half-full over at Wired, where Going to Work in VR Will Actually Be Pretty Great—We Swear. Fresh back from some convincing VR demos at Collision 2016, I'm less of a VR curmudgeon these days. I'm not sure that the proliferation of selfies proves we're ready for VR, but if VR can't get us to travel less and meet in three dimensional worlds, then we'll be riding on planes for eternity.
  • The SAP and Apple iOS partnership - work revolution, or backing off of UI5? SAP's pre-Sapphire Now announce of the new IoS partnership got a lot of media play. I took a briefing myself and will bring you some analysis, likely next week. For now, check Holger Mueller's blow-by-blow view on the press release, modestly billed as a "work revolution." Next, check on developer John Moy's SAP seeks to rejuvenate its mobile strategy with Apple partnership, which rightly asks what this means for SAP's commitment to UI5, it's Fiori-friendly, HTML5-based environment. Short answer: I see this as a pivot based on the triumph of device-specific design (yes, I dropped the yucko "p" word). As for "why announce before Sapphire Now?", SAP's Quentin Clark told me they wanted their partners to have a chance to digest this news and incorporate into their event pursuits, which makes sense. Stay tuned...

Honorable mention

Qlik Extends Its Platform As Cloud Disruption Looms - Thumbs up for Qlik's data investments (including the Visual Data Preparation tool), demerits for Qlik's "methodical, bottom-up move to the cloud."
Dreams of a SAPPHIRE Keynote: What’s Your Innovation Path? - I think we overrate keynotes and underestimate the nitty-gritty of transparent follow-through, but I'll grant this is a pretty important keynote.
Key Factors in Technology Purchase Decisions – Insights from Peer Insights - Surprised "ease of use" and "strong buyer community" scored so low, but then again all the criteria on this list are non-negotiable heavyweights.
Plex Developing a Taste for Food & Beverage - This is turning into a pretty Plexy hits and misses. Then again this is their biggest show of the year and I pick based on the caliber of content, so there you go.
Pivotal scores $253 million Series C led by Ford on hefty $2.8 billion valuation - Pivotal's funding round doesn't interest me, but the fact that Ford is leading it does.
Reddit and Facebook Veteran On How to Troubleshoot Troublemakers - I like the four type of troublemakers and the grasp that troublemakers can be useful. That said - the "nostalgia junkie" is useless. I caught myself being one upon a time, and left that company so as not to play the fool - or at least the sentimental fool.
Nope, the TV Business Isn’t Dead Yet. Far From It, Really - Fancy some counter-intuitive stats?


Overworked businessman
I issue bonehead alerts on Twitter from time to time; this might be my first "stonehead alert" - and yeah, that's 30,000 potential court cases impacted (I live near Amherst - feelin' so proud). I was going deconstruct "The Good Wife" for its overwrought series finale, but erudite TV critic Alan Sepinwall has done the job for me. Anyhow, thanks to "The Good Wife" for purging me of all nostalgia as it succumbs to the smugness of its creators. And: while I'm usually in favor of bashing Clickbait media, maybe the Paterno family shouldn't be the ones to lead that charge.

With Trump on the verge of nailing down the nomination, it's time for predictive gurus to hit the self-imposed spank tunnel. Nate Silver has taken his lumps for misreading Donald Trump, and another dude from his site is doing the mea culpa routine. I scoured these apologias for predictive lessons. Yes, it came down to over-weighting the wrong variables. But the tougher question is: why? I'm not sure, but I don't see a cure. Predictive and "big egos" will remain unreliable bedfellows, and hindsight will hog all the logic.

So I was at Consensus 2016 with a bunch of Bitcoin heavy hitters immediately after Craig Wright formally outed himself as "Satoshi Nakamoto." He has since backed down, withdrawing from public life with an apology, though without renouncing his claim. Despite some joking from the keynote stage ("I am Satoshi Nakamoto"), the assembled Bitcoiners seemed more amused than concerned. That's reflected in Buzzfeed's Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? It Doesn’t Matter, Bitcoin Investors Say.

So, for those who've been asking me if there was any Satoshi drama at the show - alas, I saw none of it. As for a whiff, it depends. If Wright isn't Satoshi then he's more of an attention clown who didn't do damage of note. If he is Satoshi, then the whiff is either on us, for scaring the bejeezus out of him, or it's on him for underestimating the cutthroat social media environment we now endure.

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, Workday, Infosys, Plex, Unit4 and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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