Lead story - How Corona-life is changing customer expectations, and compelling brands to find a better way
MyPOV: COVID-19 applies the industry squeeze - then it's up to brands to respond. Top question: is this a permanent shift in business practices? Stuart tackles that in "What we're seeing right now will not go away" - BT CEO Philip Jansen on how COVID-19 has changed customer expectations forever. He quotes Jansen:
My aim is to invest more heavily on the back of this crisis. My aim is to look for opportunities for the company and think long term for all our stakeholders, to see whether or not we can grab new opportunities out of what has been a really, really difficult situation.
For other brands, COVID-19 has lit a fire under those omni-pursuits. Stuart has a prime example in For Bed, Bath & Beyond, an unexpected COVID-19 symptom - omni-channel retail acceleration...finally! The bad news? Coronavirus has shuttered stores and knocked down sales.
On the good tip: Bed Bath & Beyond's mobile app orders are up over 75% year-on-year. And after dragging heels on store pick-ups, that's all changed. As Stuart notes: "It is grimly ironic that it took a pandemic finally to kick-start some urgency." This doesn't ensure a bright future, but for a brand Stuart tagged with "Bed, Bath and beyond hope" just a few months ago, crisis may yet prove opportunity.
Kurt examines the food supply chain in The critical role of IT in assuring food safety in pandemic times:
The head of analytics for New Zealand's NZX exchange believes that the pandemic will cause food consumers to demand greater traceability that documents how food was produced and compliance with safety regulations.
Which leads us smack into one of blockchain's most overhyped - yet also promising - use cases. Kurt again:
I remain skeptical that blockchain will become mainstream in the food industry due to the overhead of implementing a blockchain system from field or feedlot to shelf.
Kurt is rightly cautious about flogging blockchain here. The issue at hand is food traceability, a problem that demands more tech intervention. How blockchain will figure into that remains to be seen.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- The cloud and how to make a mess of it - Looks like Martin has diginomica title of the week just about nailed down. "What constituted OK practice in an on-premise environment is very definitely ‘not Best Practice at all when it comes to operations in the cloud."
- Tech vendors work on apps to certify your COVID-19 immunity - Add Phil to the few who can write
soberlysensibly about blockchain potentials, without falling prey to the twin perils of feel-good hyperbole or close-minded cynicism.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style
- Reports from the Workday front line in a time of COVID-19 - Phil breaks out the first in a series of Workday analyst sessions this week. Crux question by Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri: "How do we make sure we maintain high levels of customer satisfaction when many of our people are working from home?"
- As COVID-19 puts Stakeholder Capitalism to the test, will it be no turning back for business? - Stuart parses the views of Salesforce International CEO Gavin Patterson. Will this be a turning point for Stakeholder Capitalism, or just an inspired crisis response before a return to corporate
- Misinterpreting data comes with a price tag - Yellowfin's CEO explains why generic BI projects are off the table - This debate on data literacy stems from one of my fave interviews of the year to date.
Infor Inspire - virtual event redux - Derek was on hand for Infor's virtual Inspire event, pulling in a CEO take and a customer case:
- Infor recognises that Coronavirus may change how enterprise IT projects are delivered
- ActionAid improves transparency for donors by moving financial systems to the cloud with Infor
At Inforum 2019, Infor was already talking up changes in cloud application service delivery. That sure seems like a timely push now... Whatever you think of SAP, they sure know how to liven up an enterprise quarantine. Den was on the case with this twofer:
- Jennifer Morgan out as SAP fleshes out Q1 FY2020 and the immediate future
- SAP Q1 FY2020 analyst call - the good and the worrying
My quick hit on Morgan's exit: however SAP
does a PR pretzel explains this decision, you can never convince me Morgan got a fair shake as co-CEO during this short stint in volatile times. That said, CEO Klein's leadership is informed by customer dialogue, and he seems determined to address product and data platform issues - SAP's thorniest obstacles.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Acumatica's CEO on customer change - is Coronavirus the death blow to on-premise software? - Jon
- "I did not go into HR to be sitting by myself looking at myself on Zoom all day!" - the lowdown on lockdown from DocuSign's Chief People Officer - Janine
- Insurance software provider CDL uses ServiceNow for business continuity during COVID-19 - Derek
Jon's grab bag - Neil takes on an analytics darling in Is digital transformation dependent on pervasive analytics? Not really. Finally, Den gets to the data essence of a looming B2B problem in Unpaid bill tracking from Sidetrade reveals early pandemic impact.
Best of the rest
Lead story - Effective IT Cost Optimization Starts with Internal Alignment - by Len Riley
MyPOV: Newsfeed readers liked this UpperEdge IT management primer by Riley. Gist: in uncertain times, cash is king, and cost control starts from within. But managing It cost across multiple stakeholder groups isn't exactly a picnic. As Riley notes, it's a new level of hot for the CIO hot seat:
Given the typical size of the IT budget relative to other departments, IT will be under tremendous pressure to reduce costs. They will also need to lead the debates on fixed vs. variable and discretionary vs. non-discretionary spend.
Final pro tip from Riley: don't go directly to the vendor community as your first step in a cost reduction initiative.
- Covid-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation - Yes, it's polemical, but it's the right debate: "We’re great at devising shiny, mainly software-driven bling that makes our lives more convenient in many ways. But we’re far less accomplished at reinventing health care, rethinking education, making food production and distribution more efficient."
- Managing manufacturing organizations during coronavirus - It doesn't get much more "real world" than this McKinsey piece.
- How to Restructure Your ERP or HCM Implementation Project - It's not exactly business as usual for large scale software projects. Third Stage's Eric Kimberling calls timeout - time to restructure your transformation project.
- Safe Paths: MIT Coronavirus Contact-Tracing App Protects User Privacy - Contract tracing apps might be a pandemic necessity, but they are a potential privacy disaster. MIT wants to change that: "A multidisciplinary group of experts led by MIT have recently launched an open source, privacy-oriented app that addresses these concerns."
- The unsung heroes of the COVID-19 crisis? Robots - Suddenly, being around machines isn't so bad - and they don't sneeze.
- Self-supervised learning is the future of AI - My corona-free pick of the week.
My top COVID-WTF headlines of the week:
- Coronavirus: Library books rearranged in size order by cleaner - via Den Howlett, this deep clean ran well amuck.
- Even the Insane Clown Posse Isn't Insane Enough to Gather This Year - "the semi-sane clown posse"...
- Icelanders urged to hug trees to overcome isolation
So, TIBCO had a wacky meeting, even by TIBCO standards:
Speaking of whiffs, I'm having some issues with our site back end at the moment, so I've got to cut this short. I'm going to try pouring some Lysol on it and see if that solves anything. Catch you next week...
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.