Enterprise hits and misses - digital acceleration earns its hype, cybersecurity gets real, and the market puts the brakes on autonomous cars

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 17, 2021
This week - digital acceleration gets industry credibility, while cybersecurity earns the US President's attention. ServiceNow makes waves with Knowledge 2021, and supply chains get scrutinized. Your whiffs include a trip to the trough (of disillusionment) for blockchain - and autonomous vehicles.


Lead story - Transformation acceleration is the game, from well being to chemicals

MyPOV: If there's one theme that's become a pandemic marketing unicycle a bit over-used this year, it's the theme of digital acceleration.

But here's what does work for me: industry specifics. Start with Stuart's Hitting the target omni-channel weight - fresh challenges ahead for the health and wellbeing sector in the Vaccine Economy As Stuart notes, it's been a rough year for those who struggle with weight and anxiety.

Digital subscribers now comprise 85% of WW (Weight Watchers) customers. What's next? Make that personalized digital experience stickier. Stuart cites their new mid-tier offering, Digital 360, "Which combines the platform of myWW+ with a one-to-many coaching and content experience, targeted to attract first time millennial customers." And, in the case of Planet Fitness, be more omni-fluid. Stuart again:

That all-important omni-balance is going to matter and Planet Fitness will continue to adapt its offerings accordingly. In its case, the firm's customer demographics make a digital offering all the more essential, even without the pressures of the pandemic. Rondeau says this is an opportunity as well as a challenge.

From wellbeing to... Chemicals? Yes, because disruptions don't care about industries. And doing "digital" right always comes back to data, and using it to serve your stakeholders better. That certainly applies to Gary's use case, How Wacker Chemie is using data to transform a traditional chemical company into a digital one. The CIO's money quote?

When I came in, IT here was perceived as a utility. It was recognised as a reliable, cost effective provider of commodity services like heating, water, energy, but we are now being recognized as a much more of a business enabler.

One example? AI-powered digital commerce technology. And why would Wacker Chemie need to replace an e-commerce system they've relied on for fifteen years? Gary:

For one thing, e-commerce at Wacker had gotten tired; the existing package had been in place for 15 years, and so the company wanted a digital reset on this central part of its business. But the volatility of the cost of the input versus the output the customer sees meant that the solution would have to be a lot smarter, too.

Yep, there's that digital acceleration thing again. We can't get away from the buzzwords that easily this time...

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

ServiceNow Knowledge 2021 makes waves - Name something thing rarer than a Tasmanian Tiger. How about a virtual event that comes close to the vibe of the real thing? ServiceNow's Knowledge 2021 gave it a real go, jammed up with news, acquisitions and customer use cases. You can check the growing diginomica Knowledge 2021 content hub, but here's a few picks and use cases to get you rolling:

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Jess shares one of the most compelling live chat use cases I've seen in Women’s Aid enlists live chat service in battle against domestic abuse. Neil challenges AI conventions with his critique of "trust" as an AI goal in Trustworthy AI versus ethical AI - what's the difference, and why does it matter?

Chris unleashes the line of the week in Elon Musk slams Bitcoin – finally – but he still ain’t selling: "So, Bitcoin, once proposed as the basis of a new financial system, is little more than a coal-fired monster controlled by Beijing, accountants, computer hardware obsessives, and global currency speculators. Nice." But what of the future, Chris asks? And therein lies the open question. Digital markets aren't going away; other crypocurrencies will are also vying for the elusive brass ring of ubiquity. To be continued...

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • Colonial Pipeline attack: Everything you need to know - No, it wasn't the biggest breach, but it might have been the most alarming in its implications. Panic-buying of gasoline is a lot more panic-inducing than empty shelves of toilet paper rolls. And: infrastructure attacks are a wake-up call we can choose to ignore, at our collective peril. Charlie Osborne: "If the prospect of fuel shortages, the invoking of emergency powers, and the briefing of a president is anything to go by, we may see a more urgent review of cybersecurity procedures and practices in the US soon -- and perhaps the implementation of severe punitive actions to companies that do not maintain a strong security posture."
  • Biden signs executive order to strengthen US cybersecurity - Cue the executive order.
  • 85% of Data Breaches Involve Human Interaction - Meanwhile, as Dark Reading reports, the weak link is usually us. This means the attackers are simplifying their attacks, with a focus on phishing and email tricker: "Breaches are moving away from complexity, toward simplicity."
  • Busy day at VMware ended yesterday with Ragurham as CEO and COO Poonen exiting - Ron Miller on the whys behind a leadership shakeup.
  • Roar Baby Roar - Lora Cecere's supply chain stylings are back, as always with some fresh data, and a dash of vinegar: "Supply chain leaders love to chase shiny objects. Most are slaves to linear thinking–functional optimization or single signal processing (telematics, unstructured data, or consumption information)."
  • Overcoming Supply Chain Blockage - Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting adds his tips on sorting the pandemic supply disruption: "Could these shortages have been avoided? Is this a technology-based problem? What can be done to fix an already backed up system, and can we mitigate the unexpected strains on supply chains in the future?"
  • The autonomous vehicle world is shrinking - it’s overdue - More on this in the whiffs section...

Overworked businessman


It was a dismantling enterprise hype kind of week:

And yet, despite my many cheap and gratuitous shots satirical jabs at blockchain, I've never had an objection to a sober review:

Speaking of cheap shots, I returned serve - another fragrant hype-whiff for Kurt Marko's consideration:

Devastating line from this piece: "I think the CEOs of those companies knew that they were going to be playing golf by 2020."

And once again, creative PR folks kept my email inbox from becoming a boring grind:

But Generation N may not last for long:

Don't know about you, but I'm gonna stick with my peeps in Generation WTFIGO (IGO stands for "is going on," I'll leave you to consider the rest. 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.

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