Enterprise hits and misses - data sovereignty and avoiding the perils of false clouds

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed November 16, 2015
Jon's cheeky weekly review of what hit - or didn't - in enterprise software. This week's edition: cloud data sovereignty and post-Safe Harbor winners. Plus: avoiding false clouds, learning from Slack's platform, and rethinking enterprise development. As usual: your whiffs.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Cloud data sovereignty and post-Safe Harbor winners - by Stuart and Phil

quotage: "With the striking down of the Safe Harbor regulations and no sign yet of transatlantic agreement on a replacement, more and more US cloud providers have taken the decision to shore up their in-region data residency options to appease the more jittery among their customers." - Stuart

myPOV: With no resolution to the strikedown of Safe Harbor, interim winners are emerging, starting with data center providers in Europe. As Stuart notes in Any safe harbor in a data privacy storm – US cloud providers up their stake in Europe, the current play by U.S. cloud companies is to bolster their Euro cloud presence.

Though Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claims this move has nothing to do with the Safe Harbor ruling, Stuart calls B.S. and finds quotage to prove it (from another Microsoft exec). Not sure why Nadella would deny - this seems a perfectly sensible response to serve customers and hedge contingencies.

Meantime at SuccessConnect Rome, Phil hits this issue from another angle, evaluating Mike Ettling's ongoing concerns about data sovereignty (SAP’s Ettling warns of new data law trouble for cloud). Ettling believes a Russian law on localized data - enacted on September 1 - could have a more adverse impact on the cloud industry than the death of Safe Harbor.

Phil notes that SAP's self-interest comes into play pushing this message (SuccessFactors is re-architecting to process employee data in runtime in a different country than where the data is persistently stored). Either way it's a conversation customers will expect all vendors - SAP or not - to have coherent answers for.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica six: my completely subjective top six stories on diginomica this week
  • Case study three pack: Jess on continuous delivery, Janine on cloud HR - Three nifty use cases for your perusal. In Orbitz takes flight on continuous delivery journey with Cloudbees, Jess looks at how Orbitz shaved their development time on functionality requests from 18 days down to 4. Sometimes a headline says it all, as in Janine's Alcatel-Lucent goes cloud, cuts HR costs 30% in 2 years (interesting stuff on decentralizing HR management). Janine strikes again with Centrica turns up the heat on HR, this time a Workday example (Alcatel-Lucent was SuccessFactors). A key criteria in the upcoming go-live: mobile functionality.
  • Bosch and the clash of two worlds – IoT and product manufacturing - At a recent MongoDB happenin', Derek sat down with Dirk Slama of Bosch Software Innovation to learn about their IoT manufacturing play. There's plenty of cautionary advice/field tips for manufacturers wrapping their heads around IoT business models.
  • The robot banking machine doesn’t add up - Our Chris Middleton takes a skeptical look at a new robotics report from Bank of America/Merril Lynch - a company that itself is pursuing robotics, even while it raises cautions for others (yup, I'll get to them in a jiffy). Middleton nails it down: "Until the birth of true AI, robots are merely low-cost human proxies, a means to take cost out of large organizations and maximize economic benefits internally to fewer and fewer people."
  • HR Tech lessons #4: The contingent labor exposure - Onward into the future of work we go, this time with Brian Sommer's latest installment on his endless continuing HR tech lessons series. Gist: Brian doesn't think companies have any idea how to incorporate contingency labor shifts into their workforce planning. Worse: most HCM vendors are lacking leadership/functionality in contingent labor also.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - Den finds the best cure for Vegas burnout is: yep, another trip to Vegas, but this time for a customer-centric, low-on-marketing fluff event (An epic Episerver Ascend 2015 customer conference). Speaking of contingent labor, one vendor did announce some news - Phil's got the story in SAP Fieldglass integration tackles contingent labor exposure. (SuccessFactors integration - a story for our contingent labor curmodgeon Brian Sommer to dig into methinks).

Salesforce forges ahead with free, self-directed online education. Martin ruminates in Trailhead from Salesforce: free learning but no cheating please. (Sidenote: there's a big 'ol market share prize waiting for the vendor that gives away all of its training as marketing expense first!).

Wrapping this week's vendor coverage is, once again Martin, who has some proving thoughts after attending Microsoft's Future Decoded event in London (Microsoft Future Decoded – building a cure for productivity). Martin's take: Nadella/Microsoft have made concrete strides since last year. He awards bonus points for managing to avoid the use of the word "disrupt", which is one of the toughest words to purge from slide decks.

Jon's grab bag - Our "digital or bust" retail blog maestro Stuart penned three for your review: Speed might not be everything, says Sainsbury’s CEO of Amazon Prime threat (JR snark: especially good argument if you can't keep up!), Burberry CEO – digital future as important as high-end stores, and Can Macy’s MOM deliver an omni-channel future for the ‘world’s largest store’? (p.s. in my experience "Mom's" aren't that good an omni-channel, though mine has taken to texting...)

I quite liked Derek's interview with Govt CTO Liam Maxwell, who talks relationship with Microsoft, Government-as-a-Platform and GDS - check it out if you track digital governance. Derek also issued the closest thing we had to a Friday Roast this week, airing it out in Note to HMRC – web chats and Twitter are not going to solve your problems. Derek is a splendid fellow but you'd best not trifle...

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Thinking cloud? Think about these roadblocks by Esteban Kolsky

quotage: "Organizations are migrating to the cloud in droves these days. The leaders of the pack are investing in an open and public cloud model. Others are slowly moving towards that by first testing the waters in a private cloud. This is fine as long as the vision remains clear and the private cloud model is viewed as a way to get to the open and public model." - Esteban Kolsky

myPOV: From the sausage factory: Kolsky is a loyal hits/misses reader (yes, I have a few of those waifs procrastinators suckers). He is expert at giving me shit feedback when I intentionally exclude miss one of his perhaps good posts. Well, I didn't miss this one dude. And yeah, Esteban, whose disclosures are the stuff of #ensw legend, has disclosed this post comes from a client project. Doesn't matter - appreciate the transparency but a good post is a good post. And this one is a useful rundown of the resistance a cloud initiative is sure to run into.

Now, Kolsky is a big cloud advocate - at least for his kind of cloud - so if he is throwing up caution flags it's best to slow down for a look-see. Of the seven he listed, business transformation jumps out. His point? If you're thinking digital transformation, you better have a cloud architecture in place first. Otherwise the data, knowledge, and content needed for digital are likely to be buried in some legacy silo. Translation: no omni-channel for you - or whatever lies beyond.

Other standouts

  • Slack and the New Model for Business Process Software - Liked this piece by Mark Boyd over at New Stack. I'm not a big Slack user myself, but turning a viral messaging app into a business process platform is a pretty neat trick. Isn't this the enterprise chance Twitter left on the table? Seems there is a huge upside to freeing your APIs, rather than locking them down.
  • Rethinking enterprise development - Two notable developer-themed pieces, Programmers, Let's Earn the Right to Be Called Engineers, which is a response/rebuttal of sorts from the engineer who scolded developers in The Atlantic for calling themselves engineers. I find that scolding cheesy and pretentious but there is a point there, and a big part of it is a code of ethics/accountability. From another angle, Dion Hinchcliffe writes on The advent of the citizen developer. Hinchcliffe thinks that after decades, the tools are finally good enough for a new generation of business coders. I'm not sure about that; I'm more of a fan of "sprints" that incorporate business users during process/model design, but his point is worth discussion - and "low coding" might indeed be a solution worth considering - especially to expand an existing platform or app.
  • The H Factor - Vintage stuff from Phil Fersht at HfS, what I call a "furrowed rant" (a rant written after much time furrowing the brow). Fersht runs through the dilemmas of three generations of workers before laying down an epic paragraph on the future of work. I won't reprint it here as you should read it in the flow, but he basically guts every profession and issues a digital throwndown to each. Two of my faves: "I don’t need an accountant who can tell me my revenues this month, as I have software that can do this for me easily… I need an accountant who can talk me through the nuances of sunsetting a legacy product and its impact on my profit line... I don’t need content people who just check the boxes to fill content space – you can get content produced anywhere these days (and even automated)… I need content people who want to exchange ideas on creating content that gets noticed and read by our clients." Yup - bullseye.

Honorable mention

SAP's 'Massive Wave of Innovation' for S/4HANA: What It Means - If you track SAP, this was some pretty big news announced at SAP TechEd Barcelona - not sure why SAP didn't push it more.
Cisco Falls on Mixed Q1 Results, Weak Outlook - A look behind the numbers of a tech bellweather, or at least, a former tech bellweather?
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work - Robotics seems to generate the most interesting articles each week. And yes, a human is typing this sentence. :)
How to lead strategic change without inciting a mutiny - Rate to see a piece focus on the emotional factors over the technology issues. Your teaser: "Collective morale fell rapidly, and with it, top management’s perceived effectiveness as change leaders."
Indispensable Growth Frameworks from My Years at Facebook, Twitter and Wealthfront - More good long-form stuff from Firstround - shame about the annoying exit popup from BounceExchange though.
Ellen Pao on Gender Bias in Tech: It’s Improving … Slowly - I'm not what you'd call an Ellen Pao fanboy but this is one issue where I will listen hard to what she is saying.


Overworked businessman
This "Programmers: Stop Calling Yourself Engineers" thing reminds me of many years ago, receiving an irate letter from an "architect" demanding we take down from our web site all software jobs that had the word "architect" in them. I wonder how that particular Captain Ahab is faring psychologically, after all these years of software architect jobs gushing down on him... In fairness, the rant about software engineers is much more thoughtful. The "take down those architect jobs" dude wound up in my book Resumes from Hell - a backhanded compliment indeed.

Tell me something - if you read this headline, Severe SAP HANA vulnerabilities allow hackers to take full control, what would you think? That SAP HANA customers were in a security crisis? That HANA is especially weak on security? As you know, lazy reporting and sloppy preening linkbait get you into the Whiffs section, so I did some digging. Ended up meeting in person with Onapsis, the security firm that discovered these issues, and also interviewing SAP directly.

Turns out there isn't much of a story here - the patches for these security issues are already available to customers, and in fact, that part was orchestrated between Onapsis and SAP prior to this info being released. A more responsible headline would have been: "SAP customers should get new patches for SAP HANA vulnerabilities," but hey, that wouldn't have gotten nearly as many hits than serving up online hotcakes of fear and uncertainty.

Actually the real story is how vendors like SAP are smartly partnering with "white hats" outside their own walls to make customers' systems safer. But who wants to hear something that feel-good? Yawn. Onapsis isn't without some culpability here for how their own blog promotes their findings, something I discussed with them prior to taping an on-site podcast on white hat hacking and ERP/SAP security. Oh, and I asked Onapsis point blank if HANA systems were less secure than other databases. Turns out no - similar issues to any other SAP ERP database. Another yawn. Look out for my boring blogs that include interviews on practical approaches to security in the next week or two.

Officially off-topic

So Den passed along this legal ruling from my home state of Massachusetts - a woman prevailed against the legal machine for the God-given right to wear a spaghetti strainer on her head in her driver's license photo. Den seems surprised but this is Massachusetts; we don't really bat an eyebrow about things like this.

I blew up Twitter a little bit by saying I was thinking of signing this petition to keep Phil Collins out of the music biz. Tammy Powlas semi-humorously objected, citing in Phil's defense (admittedly good) songs - songs that are older than most high school students, before he started cranking out adult contemporary crud at an alarming rate. Tammy, all I've got to say is You have no right to ask me how I'm feeling...

Yeah, I picked a bad time for the triumphant return of the Off Topic section, what with the horrendous developments in Paris. But I do like this interview with the artist responsible for the "Paris peace" symbol. And with that, we carry on. See you next time...

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 credits: 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, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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