Enterprise hits and misses - coronavirus spreads as companies mount their response

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 16, 2020
This week - coronavirus spreads, but enterprises mount their response. AI hype gets a puncturing, an Internet founder raises web concerns, and a gender equality data project launches. In whiffs, breaches-r-us.


Lead story - Enterprises cope and respond to coronavirus

MyPOV: If there was one shift from last week's news it was the industrial impact of coronavirus - and how companies are grappling with the changing circumstances.

A big part of this is the immediate push to remote work. I applied a critique in The remote work surge is short-term. If it's going to stick, misconceptions must be overcome. Bonus: contrarian telecommuting tips, including my disdain for remote video addiction.

The looming issue, however, is doing remote at enterprise scale. Kurt took a good thwack at that issue from an IT angle in Coronavirus is exploding the remote workforce - here's how IT should prepare. He writes:

Unfortunately for today's emergency work from home (WFH) policies, the underlying hardware, software and support infrastructure are only designed to accommodate a small subset of the employee population.

That scale-up can't happen overnight. Obstacles cited by Marko include:

  • VPN Capacity
  • VoIP capacity and remote number extension
  • VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) or services
  • Remote security and client support staff

Solving scale issues amidst a crisis is no picnic, but Marko offers advice on mitigating that. Meanwhile, Stuart looks beyond the ludicrous mass-hoarding of toilet paper panic buying to assess retail impact in Coronavirus toilet roll panic buying is only the start of omni-channel retail's biggest supply chain test. For grocers, the problems are daunting:

Fear of infection was also likely to lead to an uptick in online shopping and a late February increase in activity - and in order size - has indeed been reported by a number of brands. But of course those increased orders need to be fulfiled. Inventory needs to make it to distribution hubs.

We're going to find out a lot about our retail supply chains the next few weeks. Let's hope they are stronger than our fears. On a comparatively upbeat note, Mark Chillingworth explores the possibilities for lasting healthcare transformation in Coronavirus to spread digital healthcare revolution?

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Martin ruminates on the modern CIO's predicaments in Are CIOs being left to navigate a `fractal sea’ by tech vendors? Johnson & Johnson threw around the word "study" too freely for Neil's taste. Time for a dressing down then: Apple and Johnson & Johnson team up for Heartline Study app - a healthcare wearables breakthrough, or a questionable study? So Brian doesn't write a piece for us this week, but still finds a way for us to flog his stuff - clever fellow. See Den's take in Book review: The Real Deal - technology deal making in the 2020's.

Finally, we rolled out two nifty diginomica reader features this week. Den does the honors in:

Check 'em out, and leave your unvarnished comments as always.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Lead story - AI gets a coronavirus reality check, while research opens up 

MyPOV: I wasn't a fan of those who fawned over "AI" getting in (relatively) early on predicting the coronavirus (to be fair, we did it too). MIT punctured that hype in AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one:

The hype outstrips the reality. In fact, the narrative that has appeared in many news reports and breathless press releases—that AI is a powerful new weapon against diseases—is only partly true and risks becoming counterproductive.

Yes, AI can potentially help with diagnosing the coronavirus, but even there:

Even if they are successful, it will take time—possibly months—to get those innovations into the hands of the health-care workers who need them.

AI gets an even harsher skewering here: Why Big Data Missed Early Warning Signs of COVID-19. Look, I'm glad AI has matured to the point where smart humans can apply it in this circumstance. But let's not hand out any awards just yet. Meanwhile, there are human bottlenecks to overcome: Global Officials Call for Free Access to Covid-19 Research. And new security issues loom: COVID-19 Drives Rush to Remote Work. Is Your Security Team Ready?

Honorable mention

Beyond crisis management, resiliency is what we're looking for right now. McKinsey has a twofer on the topic:

A couple more picks:

Overworked businessman


This one's four years old, but I got a kick out of these stubborn fools determined souls who held firm against The Man and his endless construction projects: Photos of Chinese nail houses that defy developers.

A couple brutal data breaches this week: Secret-sharing app Whisper left users' locations, fetishes exposed on the Web (no word yet if Whisper changes its name to Shout). Then there was this doozy:

data breach fail
(data breach fail)

Yep, that's an image credit fail - let's see if we can suck less next week around here... 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. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang. 


Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - Oracle, Workday, Zendesk, ServiceNow and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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