Lead story - Will Coronavirus mark a tipping point for virtual events? by Kurt Marko
MyPOV: There is plenty we don't know about the Covid-19 Coronavirus just yet. One thing we do know: virtual event technology just got a big push. Kurt:
While there's nothing like face-to-face, honest and open dialog for sharing information and ideas, the time- and financial-inefficiency of big events, paired with the occasional risk of novel contagions or identity theft, make virtual alternatives much more attractive.
Video conferencing via Zoom, and even Google Hangouts,
and no, I'm not putting substandard Skype calls on this list, has improved significantly. But that's not really virtual event tech. Kurt:
However, what's missing is a way to combine the intimacy of video conferencing, the scalability of video streaming and the serendipitous interactivity of live events.
Kurt goes on to preview several companies that have tried to crack the virtual event nut, including 6Connex and vFairs. Regardless of how the event season plays out, I've long felt that companies are screwing up the possibility for online interactivity between major events. Look no further than the stale,
bullhorn-style-we'll-take-your-questions-at-the-end-if-we-have-time "slides and talking points" webinar.
Reviewing the screen shots Kurt provided, I flashed back on some virtual events I slogged through years ago. I would describe my prior encounters in virtual events as more strange than serendipitous, wandering lonely rooms before finding some random partner for a weird chat session. Judging from these screen shots, it doesn't seem to me that virtual events have made a big leap forward in the years since. But I'd be eager to see if my perceptions are wrong. I have a hunch that this year, I'll get my chance.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Executives less confident in AI at scale in 2020, going back to basics - Derek finds some meat on the bone of PwC's AI survey: "It is somewhat concerning - although perhaps not all that surprising - that executives are chasing the benefits of AI, whilst lacking in concrete examples of how they’re protecting against the risks."
- Personalization is not dead - but it does need an overhaul - Gartner made a
linkbaityextravagant "personalization is dead" claim. Barb brings a reality check to the hype - and the anti-hype.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style.
Salesforce had a rather over-the-top week, eh?
- Salesforce's CEO double act splits as Block exits and Benioff builds out his top team - Stuart: "In light of the news of Block’s exit, the recent promotion of Bret Taylor from Chief Product Officer to Chief Operating Officer - a title Block held at one point - can be read with a new significance."
- Salesforce buys Vlocity for $1.3bn in industry cloud takeover - Phil: "One important difference in Vlocity's strategy from Veeva's was a very deliberate decision by its founders to keep its technology in close lock-step with Salesforce's platform." Looks like that move paid off, eh?
- Salesforce, ServiceMax and Silver Lake - a field service ménage à trois in search of a committed relationship - Stuart on more Salesforce maneuverings.
Vendor news rolled on:
- Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri on medium enterprise opportunities, HR market consolidation and Coronavirus precautions - Stuart: "The global sales kick-off conference has been hit by the Coronavirus scare, but it's business-as-usual for Workday with strong Q4 numbers to close off its current fiscal year."
- Consolidation in Cloud HR continues - Cornerstone OnDemand to acquire Saba - Brian puts on his Sommerscope once again, to help us make sense of HCM merger mania.
- No more cheesy corporate gifts - how Saddleback Leather changed the trade show experience at Acumatica Summit - I enjoyed this run-in with a real startup-made-good story. And the phrase "no more schleppy schwag" is born...
A couple more vendor picks, without the
- Noodle.ai's war on industrial supply chain waste - a lofty ambition or practical solution? - Den
- Dole picks Ivalua for a bumper crop of savings on direct procurement - Jess (SAP Ariba use case)
Jon's grab bag - A couple more hype balloons got punctured this week. Martin took on digital transformation (Digital transformation hits the 'Trough of Disillusionment'), and Neil took on NLP (Natural Language Processing - the term is everywhere, but a true NLP app is hard to find).
Best of the rest
Lead story - responding to the Coronavirus tech impact
MyPOV: I looked for another lead story, as I'm sure many are sick of Corona
hysterimedia coverage. But the most thoughtful/interesting enterprise stories were on this topic - and, more importantly, how to respond - so here we go.
Constellation's Ray Wang provides a comprehensive take for event planners in Best Practices: Hosting Events In The Age Of #Coronavirus (COVID-19), from cancellation policies to partnering with local health authorities.
Dave Kellogg hits a different angle in How Startup CEOs Should Think About the Coronavirus. This one hit home:
Nobody wants to work for a CEO who’s panicking. But nobody wants to work for a CEO without a plan, either.
Now for the hard part: culture may need to change:
Sending a strong message telling people not be a hero and stay home when they're sick. Startups are full of people who give it their all, so it's not uncommon for folks who are not feeling well to come into the office for that big presentation or meeting.
Panic? No. Figure out how to succeed within changing circumstances? Yes.
- Robots aren’t taking our jobs - they’re becoming our bosses - The Verge does a deep dive into a troubling topic. The article is slanted grim towards the algorithmic workplace, but this phrase resonates: "The pace of work is only one form of the larger question these technologies will force us to confront: what is the right balance between efficiency and human autonomy?"
- Solving the Cloud Data Security Conundrum - Dark Reading takes on the security issue of 2020: "Trusting the cloud involves a change in mindset. You must be ready to use runtime encryption in the cloud."
- Enterprise blockchain adoption: 8 reasons to doubt – Part III - The Enterprise Times continues their multi-part takedown of blockchain misconceptions. Bonus points for calling out immutability.
- Can Machines And Artificial Intelligence Be Creative? - I never link to
the UX nightmare that isForbes, but this piece on AI and creativity was better than I expected, and a nice lighter fare given the heavy topics du jour.
I haven't listened to this podcast yet, but with the title Everyone Loves White Papers, it's got to be worth a listen. The year is still young, but it looks like Clearview AI may have the "dangerous techno-dorks" award for 2020 pretty much locked up (Clearview AI says its full list of customers was stolen in a breach).
Meanwhile, this TV reporter had a no-good-very-bad-day par excellence:
On second thought, this journalist probably had it worse:
Stay safe out there, and 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. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.