Enterprise hits and misses - the economic impact of COVID-19 comes into focus, while remote workers get their game on

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed March 23, 2020
This week - lessons on the business impact of coronavirus roll in. We get a crash course on remote work at scale, and virtual events need serious help. Leadership and AI remain hot topics, and I get myself into the whiffs section again.

Lead story - Enterprises reveal their coronavirus lessons - and struggles

MyPOV: It's way too early to define the economic scope of what awaits us, but this week brought us forward - into more specific reactions. Start with Stuart's Accenture CEO Julie Sweet - how we're dealing with Coronavirus and how it's impacting our clients needs. Accenture's Q2 numbers were strong; but guidance is lowered. That's a story we'll hear a lot.

Sweet's got five reasons why Accenture is built to weather this pandemic. But what about their clients? Sweet says some are ramping up - one customer plans to go from zero Microsoft Teams users to 61,000 in a week. Each industry sector has its own corona-riddle to solve, and the takes can't be higher. Stuart cites one key factor: help your clients keep mission-critical services up and running.

Tech spending is an area we're keenly watching; changes are (obviously) expected. Derek weighs in on one: Williams Sonoma defers non-critical tech spend in the short term due to Coronavirus uncertainty. He quotes Williams Sonoma CFO Julie Whalen:

We are preparing all aspects of our business for a number of macro scenarios. We are cutting all nonessential operating expenses for example, in advertising. We are focusing only on high ROI initiatives that drive e-commerce traffic and conversion. In technology, we are prioritizing business-critical projects and deferring all other spend in the short term.

Den has seen his share of enterprise false promises and tech infatuation bubbles boom-and-bust. He's got advice for us now in Your business is about to be stress-tested like never before - here's what you need to consider. Our professional/industry situations are all different, but we have this in common:

Getting reliable and actionable information has to be the first priority. We are doing our bit and we know from talking with partners that all of them are working hard to provide customers with the best set of answers they have to hand.

Yes, that fuels our mission here at diginomica; we will bear down on context and try to keep the viral preening out. Den warns that our inboxes might not be so lucky:

Some 'advice' is barking mad. It isn't hard to spot the difference. Pick what works best for you and keep safe.

Indeed. A bit more coronacontext:

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style.

Cloudy team tools are in the stress test cooker right now. Our collaboration maven, aka Phil Wainewright, broke down two of them:

Here's three more vendor coverage picks:

Jon's grab bag - Chris delves into the (optimistic) views of an AI practitioner in ThoughtSpot Co-Founder Ajeet Singh - we need trust in AI, but what kind of trust is just as important. Meanwhile, Neil took a quirky but well-researched dive into quantum (Quantum computing is right around the corner, but cooling is a problem. What are the options?).

Oh, and I vented spleen again: Your virtual events are legacy - and so are your webinars. Let's get crackin'. There's still time to save your next webinar from slide festival mediocrity itself... Derek tackled the crux of the remote work issue in Coronavirus, working from home and mental health - some advice:

I don't want to churn out the same old 'be kind' mantra as everyone else, but please try to be patient with each other, listen to what each of your friends and colleagues needs, and support them where possible with a degree of flexibility.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top three non-corona stories:  

Top picks for thriving/surviving in coronaville, where we all currently live:


Overworked businessman


This isn't really a whiff, but I got a kick out of NASA fixes Mars lander by hitting it with a shovel - that's the kind of old school innovation I can get behind. And Conan O'Brien announced he'll be hosting his show at home via iPhone - what could go wrong? "'The quality of my work will not go down because technically that's not possible,' said O'Brien."

Marketwatch screwed their headline up with Pentagon to block YouTube, curb other streaming services as at-home workers stress network (This only applies to the Pentagon's own employees); Marketwatch ignored my question re: "why not clarify your headline." Their sleazy-easy page views must have trumped my advice.

Alas, I played my own part in propagating fake news/faux outrage this week. A few days ago on Twitter, I mocked a medical company based on this headline from the Verge: "Medical company threatens to sue volunteers that 3D-printed valves for life-saving coronavirus treatments." The Verge has since updated the story, with a totally different headline: Volunteers produce 3D-printed valves for life-saving coronavirus treatments

egg on face
(funny face serving breakfast, fried egg and toast, by @dream79, from Shutterstock.com)

How did I get into my own doo-doo? Well, it seems the original story was sourced from Business Insider, which is not exactly the gold standard of journalistic excellence.

The Verge also cited Techdirt, but again, much of the erroneous reporting traced back to one Business Insider article. Credit to The Verge for the detailed follow up - and leaving the original up for comparison.

As for me, well, it's egg-on-face time. Techdirt wrote off their misreporting with "Whatever the details..." That's the wrong attitude entirely. The details are everything, and when we get it wrong, we have to correct, accept our suckiness, and apply more rigor. I'm sure I'll find something legit to put through the spank tunnel soon...

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.