Enterprise hits and misses - digital nomads polarize the future of work, Web3 gets a new critique, and AI gets an open source boost.

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed July 11, 2022
This week - the future of work debate polarizes around digital nomads, and return-to-office die hards. The tech and practice of customer success comes into focus. Web 3.0 is deconstructed, and tech marketing speak gets mocked. As always, your whiffs.

King Checkmate

Lead story -Digital nomads or back to the office? The future of work polarizes

Silly me, I thought the debate over hybrid work models might land us somewhere in the middle. And yes, some companies are seeking this middle ground now (e.g. three days in the office per week). But is the debate polarizing? Example #1: Cath's latest, The day of the digital nomad - why organizational implications accompany the 'anywhere worker'.  

If organizations are grappling with the three-day-a-week worker, what will they make of the "anywhere worker"? Who are these folks? Not necessarily who you'd expect. Lonely Planet identified a new type of digital nomad, different than younger workers with laptops and smart phones. Cath writes:

This group is less about young, solo freelancers with a laptop and a WiFi connection continually moving around from place to place. Instead the term tends to describe older employees and people with families who choose to take advantage of long-term and digital nomad visas.

Based on the numbers Cath cites, this trend is growing. Total digital nomad stats cited by Cath:

  • 15.5 million worldwide. About 19% work in IT, 10% in creative services and 9% in education and training, with just over a third employed by a particular organisation, 28% being freelancers and 18% business owners.
  • Over the next two to three years, around 24 million Americans alone are expected to embrace this lifestyle.

And what will HR departments make of all this? Cath:

But going down this route also presents a number of risks and challenges too. The biggest relates to the fact that employment and tax law is very different throughout the world.

For instance, says Owen, depending on how many days per year an individual resides outside of their own country, they could become subject to tax and social security payments not just at home but abroad too. As there is no international standard here, the number of days varies from country to country.

Net-net: even employers who support ultra-flexible work better get their regulatory ducks in a row. I suspect many employers, even those open to remote work, will draw lines to protect against liability - and to avoid wearing out already-stressed HR departments. Still, as Cath points out, some employers will seize upon the support of digital nomads as a competitive edge. If they pull it off, they have access to new talent pools, and a differentiating option for their employees. Example? Cath quotes Anna Richardson, Vice President of HR at cloud-based data management platform provider Aiven:

To be competitive in a global war for talent, we have to set ourselves apart. We’re competing against the big players, so we have to have a differentiator and we see that as being our ‘work from anywhere’ approach. It’s a key part of our talent, employee experience and retention strategy as the whole premise is to treat staff as adults so they have the freedom and autonomy to chose a setting that works best for them.

On the other hand, you have an opposite trend in The Atlantic, as in Hybrid Workers are Doomed: "Office workers work in offices, for better and for worse." Looks like the battle lines are drawn...

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

  • The next fundamental shift in business tech arrives at MACH One - Phil issues his report from the first MACH One show. What is MACH? Your new favorite acronym: Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless. As for the early adopter use cases, Phil notes: "It's not surprising to see consumer brands and retailers being among the earliest adopters, given the pace of change their industries are currently dealing with."
  • ServiceNow’s Gina Mastantuono on why CFOs are uniquely positioned to drive the ESG agenda - Derek quotes Mastantuono: "No longer is it okay to just be a subject matter expert in finance. We have really got to be able to be an enterprise leader that can help drive the strategy for the company, lead with empathy and compassion, and make sure that employee engagement and employee centricity is at the centre of what we do."
  • The growth of customer success - an interview with Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight - Phil adds more context to what a true customer success practice looks like: "The next step is to add the pre-sales element, with direct links into Salesforce and specialist ROI calculation tools, from which Gainsight automatically creates a success plan based on the goals entered by sales people or value engineering specialists."

Google Cloud customer use cases:

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Web 3.0 and the creator economy - a seismic shift, or a hype festival for enterprises to ignore? The so-called creator economy has reached a fever pitch, so I had to air it out. Finally, Brian had us all in stitches with this satirical rout of marketing terminology in real world situations: What if people talked the way tech marketeers write? A tongue-in-cheek vision of what might be...

Let’s raise our glasses and celebrate the merger of Pat and Jean. Both of these wonderful people expect to generate tremendous operating synergies once this deal clears regulatory approval. I heard Jean at the bar say that this deal should create huge free cash flow once her old apartment is sublet.

By the way, Pat has decided to use Jean’s last name, Kubernetes, over the objection of her parents.

Bonus: "reverend Jon Reed" gets a shoutout for conducting this stellar microservice...

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top six

  • Open-source language AI challenges big tech’s models - This new open source approach is being hailed as a (get ready for it) "game changer." Not sure about that, but I welcome it: "Jernite acknowledges that BLOOM will not be free of biases. But by providing it with multicultural and high-quality sources, the team hopes to improve on existing models. Crucially, because the code and data set behind the model are open, researchers can try to understand the roots of harmful behaviours, which could improve future iterations."
  • NIST Announces First Four Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms - With all the bluster about how quantum computers are going to bring today's cryptographic security to its knees, this one is a welcome sign also.
  • To RISE or not to RISE: Ten Questions you should ask SAP about RISE - Josh Greenbaum is in top form with his piercing/practical look into RISE with SAP. A must-read for customers but also a keeper for partners looking to make sense of how they fit in. I would add that to help customers understand the full scope of what RISE is (and isn't), you also need to take on  "transformation as a service," and the role of BPI (and SAP Signavio), but that's another post.
  • DevOps nirvana is still a distant goal for many: Survey - Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (via Joe McKendrick) but DevOps nirvana ain't here yet: "The survey shows that developer teams have little insight into how customers use the software they create. The majority of respondents (70%) turn to support tickets as their chief metric."
  • Pushing the Supply Chain Reset Button - Lora Cecere with another SCM wake-up-call: "The global supply chain that we know today is built on three assumptions: rational government policy, low variability, and availability of logistics. These core assumptions are no longer true."
  • How Vendor Relationships Can Help Your IT Deal - Bearson Smith of UpperEdge brings a dose of project advice for the savvy customer: "The key is to get the vendors to stop talking about sales dollars and start talking about value that they are creating for you." (No small task).

Overworked businessman


Remember last week when I grudgingly tipped my hat to Cruise for achieving an autonomous car (taxi) milestone in California? Well:

To be fair, it's still a milestone, but techno-optimism has its perils:

I know I've had some bad-news-stories this week, so I apologize for piling on... This time travel thing isn't working out so swell:

I guess we aren't going back to the future just yet... 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.



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