Enterprise hits and misses - diginomica does Dreamforce, manufacturers get smart (kind of), and turkeys abound

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed November 25, 2019
This week - Dreamforce '19 is in the books, with content (still) to be devoured. Smart manufacturing gets a buzzword reality check, and multi-cloud myths give way to reality. Your whiffs include breakable unbreakable Teslas, and AI definitions gone wrong.


Lead story - Smart factories - why manufacturing big change is difficult - by Chris Middleton

MyPOV: Chris put a fresh manufacturing report from Capgemini into the patented Middleton-enterprise-report-tenderizer, where the cuts always come out lean. 

And few enterprise concepts are in more need of a lean cut than "smart manufacturing in the Industry 4.0 era."

As Chris points out, "smart manufacturing" is a generous umbrella that goes beyond automation and industrial robots to include sensors, big data analytics, enterprise asset management, and "the broad range of connected devices that make up the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)." Sounds spiffy, Chris. So what's the problem here? Well, as per Capgemini:

Just 14% of the consultancy giant’s research sample of 1,000 companies worldwide describe their forays into smart manufacturing as successful, with nearly two-thirds of organisations saying that they are struggling to scale their smart factory programmes. The findings have been published in a new report, entitled ‘Smart Factories at Scale’.

The jugular:

In other words, that potential $2.2 trillion global uplift – which could be achieved via increased productivity, improved product quality, and bigger market shares from optimising operations – is merely an aspiration for most companies.

And the obstacles ahead?

Complexity, legacy technology, security fears, lack of skills, and intransigence all conspire to make transforming a traditional sector a more frustrating experience than the marketers would have us believe.

But all hope is not lost. The report also contains important clues from a smaller ten percent of frontrunners whose investments in smart manufacturing are starting to pay off. The nitty-gritty of governance and culture change comes to the forefront here. Chris points out that when we step back from the giddy/elusive dream of "gaining insights from data," productivity gains may be the real driver here.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - diginomica does Dreamforce. Yep, our four-person team put out a stupefying smorgasbord of Dreamforce content, from analysis to breaking news to 1:1s to use cases galore. I can't sum it all up here, but our Dreamforce 2019 archive surely has something to wet your whistle.

For now, I'll pick one piece for each contrib, and then force myself to pick a show highlight:

If it comes down to one, I'll make a nod to the Salesforce-Microsoft frenemies revisited news, then go with Stuart's conference wrapper, Obama, Cook and 'woke' reflections on another Dreamforce.

Tableau Conference, aka the Dreamforce data launch: Vegas provided a heady dose of analytics fodder for us to gnaw on prior to Dreamforce:

Elsewhere in vendorland:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - As ERP vendors summon their sales teams for one more Wall Street peacock feather routine push, Brian has a special holiday boinker for overzealous sales teams, and a warning for customers: understand the (cloudy) fine print (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, you're an ERP vendor at year-end). Chris brings his UK/GDPR expertise to bear on the U.S. in State of interdependence - why the CCPA isn’t just ‘GDPR-US’.

Speaking of Chris, he's got an edgy rant for us on the declining state of our BS detectors, as critical thinking gives way to compulsive liking: Friday rant - get back in your silos folks, before it’s too late! Finally, Den opens up the digi-kimono again with a reveal on our email experiments/evolution in Keeping it clean - lessons from six months of arduous email newsletter delivery with PostUp.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

The top six - a quick hit rundown of the best/most important enterprise stories:

Senators Press Amazon on Ring’s Sloppy Security Practices - Facebook isn't the only "FANG"er that's been getting a federal grilling lately. To say Ring's Ukraine office was a bit loosey-goosey would be a massive understatement. The Intercept quotes a source who:

also recalled Ring engineers casually spying on and “teasing each other about who they brought home” after dates. “If hackers or foreign agents were to gain access to this data,” the letter states, “it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten U.S. national security.”

Yikes. Closer to the enterprise, UpperEdge's John Belden dips into the advisory well with Feeling Handcuffed by Your Current IT Vendor? Here is How to Increase Your Renegotiation Leverage. Belden is right: incumbent vendors have special advantages. As always, prepare thyself.

In one of the most intriguing titles of the week, we've got Dining Preferences of the Cloud and Open Source: Who Eats Who?, from Platformonomics. Hitting on the themes Kurt and Martin also explored, Charles Fitzgerald writes:

Open source is here to stay as a development model. It is hard to imagine any kind of infrastructure or developer software that isn’t open source. But there is work to do on the accompanying business strategy. The next great open source endeavor may be to make multi-cloud a reality, at least for key workloads. But the new associated business models will have to embrace services as the primary delivery model and make a serious commitment to a level of integration that is the hallmark of cloud services.

It's a meaty piece, worthy of closer review. Fitzgerald reminds open source zealots that disruption cuts both ways:

The fact open source was a tenuous business strategy (relying on a loose affinity between projects and software companies) and not a business model is now being laid bare by the cloud.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman


So Facebook built a facial recognition app that identified employees. Maybe this is news, but surely no one is surprised, right? (The app has apparently been discontinued).

I'm amazed that articles like this are still a thing: I Deleted All My Social Accounts: Three Weeks Without Social Media. Seriously - good for you, and so what? We don't need any more social-media-fasting pieces. We need more "how I learned to live effectively in the noise vortex" posts. 

Reader Josh Greenbaum brings the levity this week:

Trucks also encountered problems this week:

If you look beyond the attention-grabbing title, this piece on AI/ML was pretty good (Is Machine Learning Really AI?). But readers riffed. Vijay Vijayasankar, who knows a thing or two about settling these matters (or not), tweeted:


May you all get a break from AI Powerpoints this week, whether you take days off for turkey or not.

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.

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