Enterprise hits and misses - earnings blowout + HR analytics fails edition

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed July 27, 2015
A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. This week: When HR analytics fails its own users, and the man/machine divide. Plus: #ensw earnings blowout, and whiffs-a-plenty, from Google to Gawker.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Why analytics and HR fail many good people, and the man/machine gap - by Brian and Den

quotage:"We’re entering some especially dangerous space right now as it pertains to HR decisions and the use of analytic, machine learning and algorithmic technology. Sadly, a lot of firms and people about to use these new HR Power Tools may be well-meaning but they’re wielding very powerful tools while having little or no training in them or knowing what these things can do." - Brian

myPOV: In a good ol' fashioned diginomica pile-on, Brian started things off with a caution on how big data power tools can result in bruised careers. Brian's concern? Correlation is NOT causation. Drawing on the example of retention prediction, Brian notes that large data sets create a field day for correlation nuts fans, but might end up excluding the exceptional hires that don't fit the corporate mold: "For companies seriously wanting to expand the diversity of their workforce, these algorithms could trigger hiring managers to do just the opposite: hire more of the same kind of people that they’re already chock full of today. " Self-serving analytics = yuck.

Two days later in his Friday Roast, Den took Brian's piece and riffed it in Man, machines and the gaping void. Working in threads from conversations with Vishal Sikka of Infosys (who has a PhD in AI) as well as his brother, who handcrafts guitars, Den questions if predictive hype can ever get anywhere near the incomparable human ability to problem solve. Between the two pieces, there aren't many analytics buzzwords that survive. Marketers may have to dust off those boxes of Enterprise 2.0 mugs until we come up with some new ones...

Happy children eating apple
diginomica five: my completely subjective top five stories on diginomica this week:

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - We put a motherload of earnings news through the diginomica
grinder this week - here's the rundown:

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
My quippy takes on the top five (or so) enterprise software pieces I clipped this week.
  • Accenture cans stack reviews, HR steps into the light - Evidence that HR can (sometimes) push away from the tech buffet emerged as Accenture cans stack rankings and annual performance reviews (while employees rejoice). The new approach? A "more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments." That sounds shockingly sane and practical. In a better, wider-ranging piece, The New Yorker looks at The Push Against Performance Reviews, raising questions about biases and appraisal effectiveness.
  • Forget the sharing economy, we're in the uncaring economy - Phil Fersht of HfS punctures a few more sharing economy hype balloons in this articulation of what's really driving spending priorities. Shocker: it's not about the people, it's about the services. Offer good value, you get your service - e.g. Fersht's airport limo driver, who gets the business and the referral via the superior experience. Nice to see some sanity on the overhyped issue of "talent." Who needs talent when you can get what you need as a service? Jeff Nolan had an interesting take on Uber's political organizing savvy which fits in here also (Corporate Activism: the Uber Edition).
  • The Implications of Cloud Native - it's about the apps - RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady defines the meaning of "cloud native" - think "Hadoop for apps." O'Grady is looking at "Cloud Native" as a way of thinking about a certain kind of portable apps development - and what it will mean if it "goes mainsteam." Enterprise Apps Today hits on a similar theme in Cloud Is All about Apps, Says Amazon's CTO. TBR adds to the Amazon AWS analysis with a dry-but-informative AWS is good at what it does, but it doesn’t do it all.

Honorable mention

The Why (and Why Not) of Customer Journey Mapping - provocative/fashion-bucking/worthwhile.
Is Gamification the Fast Food of Community Engagement? - best post title of the week, and a field-tested view of gamification. I'm still not a fan of points and badges, but yeah, there's more to it.
Visualizing Vishal’s first year at Infy - A revealing view one year in. I wasn't sure this whole Vishal/Infy thing would work. Right now, looks like that win-win I was pining for earlier in this column.
SuccessFactors Training and Certification FAQ: 2015 Edition - Enough info here to quit your day job.
MOOCs Teach IT Lessons Before Summer Ends  - Trying to make us feel guilty for summer binge-watching, this nifty collection of MOOCs includes some interesting free courses for those who want to turn their couch into an actual learning zone.


Overworked businessman
Uncle Den has already put LinkedIn across his lap(top) for "la discipline" regarding their ill-considered data "protection" moves, so I won't go there. I did find Google's self-congratulatory post about upcoming Google + changes equally comical, including a long-overdue ability to post on Google without setting up a Google + profile, which now evidently qualifies as innovation.

Let's not leave out Twitter, which ticked off its users by kiboshing custom backgrounds in favor of Facebook-style enforced generica. Oh, and remember last week when I went off on Windows 10's automatic updates? Well, the failed downloads PR problems have already begun. Congrats folks!

Not sure if you've noticed, but things are going so good over at Gawker. It's hard to take a position on Gawker when the alternatives are: publish incredibly unethical stories (and then unpublish them, causing your editorial leadership to quit in a pompous defense of their right to publish muck), then resolve to somehow become 20 percent nicer, whatever that means, and then revising it down to "10 to 15 percent nicer," while more staff hand out their resignations. There must be a whiff in there somewhere...

Finally, sensationalist linkbait-that-mofo title of the week goes to a Forbes piece called, Frustration And Anger As Apple's Reputation Tumbles, which seems to escalate some testing issues around new products into a corporate crisis. Commenters ripped it so I don't have to, as in: "A good day with Microsoft is still worse than a bad day with Apple."

Granted, calling someone a small-minded drama queen is taking things too far, but as for this: "You should be embarrassed that you needed to use shock in your title to make me read it, and Forbes should be embarrassed that their name is on it." All I will say to the commenter is: welcome to Forbes.com., your page will load in three seconds, in the meantime, enjoy this advertorial thought of the day.

Officially off-topic

On the darker tip, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and other AI researchers joined forces to warn of the killer robot war - or, more, specifically, the danger that autonomous weapons pose to humanity. (Hawking also thinks that within 30 years, we might able to upload our brains to computers, thereby preserving immortality, of a sort).

Elsewhere in human ingenuity, the supersonic successor to The Concorde is now in the works. Honestly, I'm more excited about the Occupy Flash movement, determined to rid the world of this crudtastically buggy plug-in.

A phone conversation lead me to reading more about Jugaad as a management technique. Here's to creativity in the fray - which is one theme of a quirky new USA show I've been watching, Mr. Robot. Can't give it my highest recommendation, but for summer viewing, if The Matrix meets Veronica Mars sounds appealing to you, give it a go. :)

See you next time, just remember - your butt dials aren't private...

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, Workday, Infor, Infosys and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.