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Enterprise hits and misses - ERP buyers grapple with the AI platform blitz, cloud vendors take their AI dividend, and spring events roll on

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 6, 2024
Summary:
This week - ERP is changing - and buyers must now grapple with AI and platform superlatives. Cloud vendors have found their AI rejuvenation, but will the ROI-on-AI be contagious? Qualtrics, Atlassian and Appian user events are in the books, with more on deck this week. As always, your whiffs.

Many arrows missed hitting target mark. Shot miss. Multiple failed inaccurate attempts to hit archery target © Iconic Bestiary - Shutterstock
(© Iconic Bestiary - Shutterstock)

Lead story - ERP has changed, and so have ERP buyers

Change was long overdue, but clearly it has arrived. Brian Sommer explains why in his new missive, ERP - and the buying of it - has fundamentally changed. Here's how and why that matters to enterprises. But we should note: Sommer's views have changed as well. As he writes:

Starting in the summer of 2023, I was getting frustrated with vendor/analyst briefings as all anyone wanted to discuss was their platform or how excited they were about generative AI. At first, I thought this was some sort of new-tech fueled mass hysteria that would hopefully subside soon. But, it turns out, platforms and AI are here to stay.

Indeed, on both counts. But that leads to new problems for buyers: this is a different type of software evaluation. Brian:

Right now, every vendor seems to sound the same. They all claim to have things like platforms and AI. The reality is that there can be big differences between vendors in just these two new areas. Buyers have to be more savvy to discern what the real differentiation is in today’s application software offerings. This is because the software that companies can buy today does NOT resemble what was being sold at the start of 2023. As a result, the methods to acquire it have to change.

But if we are counting on vendors to explain these changes in a clear cut way, we may be drinking the good stuff. Brian recounts a software CEO pitch-gone-wrong at HR Tech: 

I had to repeatedly stop and ask her to explain just what exactly is the problem she is solving for customers and what experience or experiential aspects of her solution are resonating with these buyers to solve those problems. A platform that doesn’t connect up to a business problem is an interesting technology going nowhere.

Buyers are in a similar situation: these enhanced vendor capabilities open new possibilities, but evaluation needs a rethink. What to do? The rest of Brian's piece answers that question. I recommend the full read, but for now, let's go with:

A great software selection team will want to identify, vet and test each and every instance where an advanced technology embedded in a software solution. Buyers need to make sure that each advanced tool ensures their data remains protected, secure, and does not become part of a vendor’s AI training data. This will not be a trivial effort.

New solutions should be creating not only better, ‘deskless’ and more positive user experiences, they also should be using AI to predict what users like/want/need, the data they’ll input, etc.

As Brian and I mused at their end of our Enterprise Month in Review show last Friday (which focused on enterprise data pitfalls), this is going to keep all of us busy for a long time.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

  • The new frontier of DEI - socio-economic backgrounds, ageism and skills-based hiring -  Madeline filed a notable post on the future of DEI: "Ashleigh Ainsley, co-founder at Colorintech: "We were hearing about the skills challenge, but we're actually producing lots of people who seemingly would have some of these skills who still weren't finding their way into the workplace. Why?" To me, that's the crux of it: the so-called "skills shortage" is not as severe across the board as hyped. Terrific candidates are lurking beneath clunky, pseudo-automated screening tools, to the detriment of the candidate and the potential employer. If AI can help here, it can justify its impact on HR - and then some. If AI can't help, then it's just a shiny new part of the problem.
  • AI and copyright - legislators slam UK Government’s vendor love-in - Chris raises the AI copyright caution flag, and, I fear, not for the last time: "In April, the UK Government responded to the Committee’s findings. Alas, for copyright holders, its comments suggested that it intends to sit on its hands for the foreseeable future."

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

Qualtrics X4 Summit - diginomica coverage. Derek was on the ground in Salt Lake City to capture an important shift: "Once a vendor that focused on surveys to understand employee or customer sentiment, Qualtrics is now pushing heavily to become a system of action, one that can change how an organization interacts with people in real time, based on how they’re feeling." If Qualtrics can shift from surveys to real-time sentiment with AI, that would address a fundamental problem I've had with the survey-dependent model of the "experience vendors."

Atlassian Team '24 coverage. Phil bolstered his frequent flyer status via a jaunt to Vegas for Team '24: "Absorbing the goals functionality from Atlas into the product reinforces Jira's role as Atlassian's primary enterprise platform for work management."

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

Something tells me this won't be the last 'data cowboys' punishment we see this year:

Seems like just yesterday I got a cornball message from Facebook about "a place for friends..."

Gratuitous shots are just too tempting sometimes:

Brian has a knack for wacky air travel stories, so I had to ask:

No confirmation as of yet...

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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