MyPOV: Debating the robot apocalypse is fun, but you can line gerbil cages with polemics. We honed in on field examples instead this week, with Ben Eubanks raising questions on contingent labor (Does Intuit's contingent labor claim stand up?). Meanwhile, Phil Wainewright looked at why Ocado's supermarket re-invention includes a robotics warehouse (Ocado put robots in its warehouse. Here's what happened next).
Intuit made headlines with its estimate that 40 percent of the workforce would be contingent labor. Other researchers disagree. Eubanks argues that many of these 40 percent are working "platform" jobs to supplement a long term gig. Eubanks may underestimate the instability and pressure these folks contend with. I see a skills mismatch between many of the rideshare drivers I talk to and the better jobs out there.
Meanwhile, Phil looks at how Ocado's warehouse robots. You should have a look at the pic - robots access all materials from the top, bringing goods to the humans on the edges. Phil didn't dwell on the labor implications in this piece, but it's clear that the humans amongst these machines must be adept at either managing them, or handling whatever exceptions and higher-level service needs are left.
In First the robots will take our jobs, then they'll kill us. Really? Phil takes on Elon Musk's doomsday scenarios, arguing that "AI is just another tool for good or evil - and we have to take responsibility for its impact." Phil's rebuttal doesn't leave him without concerns:
But the elimination of some jobs and the creation of others is uneven, leaving many without the right skills to find new work.
Enterprises have plenty to gain by decreasing that job creation/skills gap. The rest is a sociopolitical debate I won't foist on you here.
Diginomica picks - my top two stories on diginomica this week:
- Using machine intelligence to protect sensitive data - Kurt continues his low-hype machine learning exploits. In seriousness, security is one of the best "AI" use cases.
- DSW puts best foot forward with digital in turbulent retail sector - I could have picked several of Stuart's retail missives but I thought this one was a spunky and useful merging of storefronts and omni-channel ambitions.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my two top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Salesforce and the Third Chapter - on towards $20 billion, says Benioff - Stuart on Benioff's headline grabbing 2-0 prediction. I've doubted his revenue moon shots in the past, but it's hard to doubt him now.
- Berkshire Hathaway Home Services franchise gets out of spreadsheet hell with Vena - Den with a story of spreadsheet liberation. "We can now run budgets at the cost center level" might not sound sexy to Tinder users, but it sure is in our world.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Exclusive - Sikka breaks silence as he exits a bruised Infosys - Den
- Splunk sees growth opps in security replacement and GDPR - Stuart
- Deliveroo takes away hot business insights with Snowflake - Jessica
Jon's grab bag - Got a kick out of Derek's headline, Brexit – UK says it’s great at data protection, hopes that’s enough for EU. Granted, I'm an
ugly snarky American potshotter, but it strikes me the EU might not happily go along with the UK's data self-confidence.
Jerry's a tad more rosy on Facebook's enterprise prospects than I am (Workplace by Facebook - the Rx for healthcare providers?), but I concede they have some traction. I have a little treat for "Workplace by Facebook" in the whiffs section. Finally, aren't you sick of retailers cowering to Amazon while serving up weak omni-channel sauce? Then get a load of Amazon can't decorate your living room! Williams-Sonoma CEO styles a digital future, by Stuart. Their CEO Laura Alber, stands up to Amazon like the playground bully that it is:
While Amazon does really so many things really well, have you ever tried calling them and asking them if they could please come refurnish your living room?
Ms. Alber, you had me at "Have you ever tried calling them?"
Best of the rest
I'm not picking one winner this week, but here's a few keepers and big stories from the enterprise interwebs:
- Summer 2017 News Analysis - Workday announces its PaaS - Holger Mueller tries to shake his summer doldrums (he misses being on the road with his red shoes I guess). Timely analysis given there's a big cloud HCM show or two coming up.
- Uber Taps Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi As New Chief Executive - Looks like someone was willing to grab the hot potato after all. "Uber declined to comment" on its own executive appointment? Buckle up folks. I'll review the reactions further next week - Vijay Vijayasankar thinks a bigger problem looms beyond the bro culture detox: a viable business model.
- Hyping the hyperledger with blockchain boffin Brian Behlendorf - Phil Fersht flexes his headline chops, easily scoring the title-of-the-week award. For a look at the upheaval beyond the enterprise, check Bitcoin and estcoin cryptocurrency craziness.
- The Potential Impact of GlassDoor on Sales and Marketing Efforts - A short sobriety check post from Gartner's Hank Barnes. He's right: when GlassDoor results come up higher in search than your own, you've got a marketing problem.
- This is how Netflix's top-secret recommendation system works - One of the better views inside one of the most vaunted Machine Learning sausage factories out there. Example: one in eight people who watch one of Netflix's Marvel shows are totally new to the comic book genre.
- Sorry enterprise social networks, email still dominant form of work, personal communication - Larry Dignan's dices Adobe's latest survey which shows we are still bogged in email, though we're at least spending less time in there, "replying to all" and burying our friends in cc's. The time s
quanderedspent in email versus enterprise social networks tells you something about why Enterprise 2.0 has limped. The biggest problem with studies like this? Now we're guaranteed even more personalized offerings throw shit against the wallspam from email marketers who think they are sending us something remotely useful.
Shall we start with a cheap shot from Vegas?
"Richard Marx in Vegas - only the hits" -> wow, that's got to be the shortest show in history....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 30, 2017
I'm not sure I'd call this a whiff, more like a learning experience: Man from Katy, TX who ordered prostitute discovers that she is his own wife (via Den Howlett)
Fox Sports got its share of grief for portraying the University of Nebraska football program in Children of the Corn horror-style - but it worked for me!
And now, for Facebook... Facebook is feeling very fussy about the branding around their "Workplace by Facebook" product. Thus I had some fun interactions with Facebook PR this week, leading to this tweet:
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 24, 2017
I will never call it Workplace, no one owns that term. Workplace by Facebook is the best you'll get from me, however awkward that is.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 24, 2017
I *think* Facebook wants to lose the Facebook name for its enterprise solution, so that managers don't assume that they are buying a tool for their co-workers to like each others baby pictures. But as I said to Facebook PR:
If Facebook wanted people to drop Facebook from the name, they shouldn't have called it Workplace.
Does Facebook seriously think it's going to own, or even someday trademark, the word workplace? Which got me thinking: what would have been a better name? I talked with my pal Jen Eckard about this, and she suggested:
Got a nice ring to it, eh?
Over to you, Clive.
This is a truncated "Jon feels the road burn" version of hits and misses, which by definition excludes some worthy content - from diginomica and beyond. If you read an #ensw piece that qualifies, let me know in the comments as Clive always does.