Enterprise hits and misses - diversity and inclusion gets a COVID-era gut check, while tech-for-good and cybersecurity compete for headlines

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed November 2, 2020
Summary:
This week - is the humanity/transparency of the COVID era sparking workplace diversity efforts? Tech-for-good keeps the glass half full; cybersecurity and ransomware concerns threaten to empty it. AI gets a project gut check, and we all buckle up for election week. Plus: whiffs.

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Lead story - The future of work in a COVID era - will diversity and inclusion be an unintentional winner?

MyPOV: We put the future of work in the spotlight again, anchored by Madeline's Diversity and inclusion will be an unintentional winner from Covid-19.

Good pandemic outcomes are few and far between. But when you add activist organizing to the mix, maybe you have something? Madeline quotes Christina Shareef, Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Reddit, speaking at Black Tech Fest:

We're actually having vulnerable, open conversations, and without the language that perhaps we were using before to sugar-coat what folks were going through in the workplace. To be really frank, white people are listening now, white CEOs are listening now, white folks in the C-suite are listening now in a way that wasn't happening before.

Real listening, not the corporate lip service too often passed off as empathy - that's a good place to start. But as Madeline quotes Shareef, there is more:

There's no way to really affect systemic change until we understand that fixing the fruit on the tree will never sustainably yield results if you don't fix the root of the tree, the systemic things that have gotten us here. Now folks are starting to pay attention to what has gone wrong systemically to get us here. That's a fantastic opportunity.

Madeline acknowledges: we're not there yet. If anything, we're still in the pressure cooker. But - we'll take the positives where we find them, especially this week:

It's difficult to focus on silver linings from the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice while we're still very much in the middle of the fight. But hearing these three D&I leaders share their positive experiences of the changes they're witnessing indicates something important is happening.

Stuart picks up on more critical workplace themes in How will the world of work post-COVID? Three expert perspectives. Can we seize a better work future from this adversity? I agree with Stuart - casting a wider virtual net for talent could be one win here: Apprenticeships, reskilling, distributing opportunities - that's the happier side of the digital divide concern.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

SAP's earnings report caused a sell side conniption fit stock price drop, raising questions that may implicate other vendors. Den broke it all out in Four problems SAP has to address as it navigates headwinds. The four issues? Cloud, talent, pricing, and geographies.

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - Jerry issued a pair of good 'uns in Microsoft/MITRE group declares war on machine learning vulnerabilities with Adversarial ML Threat Matrix, and How the U.S. leading suicide and crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth is surviving the pandemic with a little help from its Big Tech friends

In her diginomica debut, Toni Sekinah posted a dandy, How Wefarm is using NLP and SMS powered by the cloud to help farmers share knowledge. More tech-for-good via Gary: How PagerDuty’s incident response helps global food aid charity Mary’s Meals feed hungry kids. And, if you want to go a tad further down my curation rabbit hole, this one may whet your whistle: The enterprise professional's guide to Alexa Flash Briefings - why personalizing your news content pays off.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top six

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

A couple keeper headlines this week:

This one speaks for itself:

Who says social tech support can't be fun?

Folks, as you know, I'm not in the predictions business - or the optimism business for that matter. But if we can get through this week with our sanity intact, I like our chances from there. 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.