Enterprise hits and misses - COVID-19's digital lessons take hold, Uber gets a gig economy wake-up call, and an enterprise buyer debate takes hold

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 22, 2021
This week - pulling COVID-19 digital lessons from the education sector - but will they stick? Plus: the enterprise buyer one-throat-to-choke debate heats up again. Uber must give UK drivers "worker" status, and tech companies' "diversity theater" gets called out. In the whiffs section, I backtrack on NFTs.

King Checkmate

Lead story - COVID-19's digital lessons - the education sector in focus

MyPOV: At this point, it's a placeholder: COVID has accelerated digital adoption across sectors. What gets interesting is the the industry story - and how organizations adapted, often under duress. Cath's Digital lessons learned for the education sector during COVID-19 shares how several UK schools fared.

One thing on my mind: how much will the advantages of digital learning be retained in the years to come? Otherwise we squandered an opportunity. Cath quotes digital learning advisor Andy Perryer, who advises Cognita Schools across forty locations:

Now that learners are back at school though, Perryer is keen to ensure that "the best bits of edtech continue to remain in place" and is developing a five-year strategy on that basis. For instance, because Teams helps "remove barriers to learning", the idea is that, in future, international students could be invited to attend particular classes held in the UK and vice versa.

Another advantage is that if a local student were to break their leg and have to stay at home, "it doesn't mean that learning has to stop", Perryer says.

At its best, digital collaboration gives students access to outside experts. Then there is the potential payoff of applying digital data - as long as the ethics of data privacy are in place. Cath cites two lessons from James Browning, of the non-profit Academies Enterprise Trust:

The first involves enabling collaboration beyond the school's four walls to ensure learners benefit from the expertise of teachers elsewhere. The second entails using predictive analytics tools to mine student data, ranging from attendance and attainment to behavioural information, in order to enable the best outcomes for them - as long as it is used within ethical frameworks and codes of conduct, that is.

But not all the takeaways are happy ones. As Derek reports in COVID-19 - lower income students suffer the most with remote learning, digital learning tech ran smack into the UK's so-called digital divide:

This digital divide has not been helped by the Department for Education not having an existing plan in place to deal with such widespread disruption to the schooling system. Emergency plans existed for localised disruption, such as flooding, but there had been zero preparation for a pandemic situation prior to March 2020.

A good reminder: true transformation is intentional, and depends on a strong collective resolve. Otherwise the digital tech we apply won't fix the underlying problem, whatever its purveyors might claim.

diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

Maximise 2021 coverage and analysis - Stuart kicked off his wall-to-wall ServiceMax virtual event coverage with a 1:1 interview with CEO Neil Barua. This event marked a turning point for Salesforce and ServiceMax: from frenemies to besties. Why? The answers provide clues on the importance of platforms, asset management, and unified data models.

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven picks

Overworked businessman


As you know, I'm a sucker for making fun of big telecomm. This Techdirt headline did the trick: AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave. In other oddities, Taiwan is pleading with its citizens not to change their name to 'Salmon' for a restaurant promotion.

Karma can bite you: last week, I said something open-minded about the possibilities of NFTs. Now we get:

Whiff indeed. I suppose this was inevitable:

On the plus side: dogs with (digital) jobs!

Finally, I'd like to think the pandemic made us a bit more humble. But not always:

Coming to a (virtual) open mic night near you... 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.

A grey colored placeholder image