Enterprise hits and misses - finance vs. big data, and Dreamforce kicks off

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed September 14, 2015
A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. This week's edition: Finance versus big data, and kicking off a week of Dreamforce with a slew of articles. Plus: mocking Apple hype, social media marketing, and calling out pop-up offenders.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Accountants face off against big data by Brian Sommer and Den Howlett

quotage: "For last week’s American Accounting Association’s Accounting IS Big Data conference, I researched 12 use cases where Big Data was definitely impacting Accounting, the companies using the Big Data, and the competitors of firms using this information." - Brian

myPOV: Brian is as crusty discerning as they come, so I wasn't sure what he'd make of big data and accounting. But he's been swayed by the use cases, twelve of which he notes in When accounting meets Big Data. Two scenarios he's seen in action: better sales planning by manufacturers, and enhancing revenue by customizing offers to end consumers, utilizing techniques such as shopping cart analysis, segmentation, and beacons. But then Brian asks the kicker question: will the notoriously conservative accounting profession start to change? Can big data provide the impetus?

And who better to take a swing at that one than Den, big data/IoT grouch and former professional accountant? Den did just that in Big data challenges for the office of the CFO. Noting that accounting change has started from the bottom up (at the SMB level), Den runs us through a series of big data scenarios that would require accounting expertise at multiple levels. The catch? Cost accounting will need a rethink. As Den says, "spreadsheet wrangling will never be the same." Interesting times indeed.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica five: my completely subjective "top five" stories on diginomica this week
  • Using Hadoop inside Jaguar Land Rover, Zurich Insurance and the Home Office - Derek came back from Hortonworks' London event with a trifecta of Hadoopy use cases. Always wary of analytics use cases disguised as "big data," Derek found a few genuine big data scenarios here: analyzing car fleets (Jaguar), pushing beyond relational DBs (Zurich Insurance), and moving beyond legacy systems for border control.
  • Many ways to define PaaS – platform as a service - As the lines between IaaS and PaaS blur, Phil takes on thee challenge of defining what PaaS actually means. No simple answers, alas, but some useful distinctions. To keep up with Phil, you're gonna need to think about the "IaaS-plus" and "SaaS-minus" versions of PaaS. But it's a better way to understand PaaS than limiting it to a narrower definition that limited customer options.
  • Customer use cases, Twentyman-style - Jessica's got the use case two-fer this week, starting with a different kind of SAP HANA use case, Cattle management app moo-ves on with HANA (A mobile app called Brabov uses SAP HANA to predict the future weight to cattle up to 18 months in advance. Not your grandpappy's style of farming, but if tech can help keep the farm in the family, then why not? "My grandfather really likes the app"...  Then Jess dives into the art of analytical hiring in Saberr-rattling analytics provides people insight for Capco.
  • Is there a difference between enterprise and mid-size customer experience? Good question. Answer: it depends. Barb shares expert views and offers her take: "Many companies bought into the promise of CXM and the idea that technology is the answer. Now they are coming to the reality that customer experience is so much more."

Vendor analysis, diginomica style -

How do you follow up a spiffy earnings report? How about by reshaping enterprise security via new tech like anomaly detection and behavioral analytics?  That's Splunk's next mission. Stuart has the lowdown in Re-inventing Enterprise Security – Splunk’s latest objective. He also had the (kinda) good news Box earnings report in Box heads in right direction as IBM boosts enterprise cred.

Kicking off our wall-to-wall Dreamforce coverage this week, we've already got a slew of stories for ya. Stuart revs it up with The State of Salesforce – sales and service spend continue, less so on marketing, his review of Bluewolf's eve-of-Dreamforce report. Waist-deep in partner coverage, Phil's already got breaking news with Kurtzig hands over reins as Kenandy CEO (changes afoot for this Salesforce manufacturing ERP player).

Then we've got some pre-conference rebranding fun, with Salesforce unites and rebrands its platform as App Cloud. Phil closes out his pre-Salesforce binge with Rootstock aims to thrive in the manufacturing industry cloud and Where are all the Salesforce Wave analytics apps? (Short version: now one year into Wave, we should get a definitive gut check this week). Watch for our Dreamforce coverage blowout this week on diginomica.

Jon's grab bag -  The omnichannel is a rollercoaster. Stuart's got the upside (Digital transformation progress report – JC Penney chasing omni-channel); Derek's got the down. The vinegar of disappointment is from his own crummy omni-experience (Omni-channel omni-shambles – Argos and an online retail fail). Derek also broke on exclusive from the UK public sector, Government-as-a-Platform business case was supported by the Treasury. He filed a freedom of information act request and discovered that the national press story was incorrect. Well done man.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
The Internet Of Things Race -- Platforms Vs. Products - Adrian Bridgwater knows we like our smart gadgets. But is the real key to the Internet of Things the platform? (I say yes). Bridgwater notes the platform-building work of Samsung, IBM, bolstered by its ARM partnership. But I'd caution Bridgwater against floating acronyms like IoA-EASWT (Internet of Analytics-Enabled Secure Automated Wearable Things) - even in jest. Somewhere, someone is updating their slide deck because they saw it on Forbes. Careful man...

Sidenote: Bridgwater also caught my eye with The Seven Laws Of Open Source Leadership. A tad too idealistic for me - I'm more of a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" dude. But managers who want to be leaders and not just tech-enabled taskmasters should ponder.

Other standouts:

  • How Procurement Organizations Should Look at Supplier Fees: Be True to Thyself - I'm not a big fan of transaction or access fees. Strikes me companies can charge for such to the degree they have a monopolistic hold. But Jason Busch of Spend Matters is the expert on procurement, so I'll defer to his nuances. Busch says that supplier fees are on the rise again in a variety of procurement areas. And while he believes such fees are not "inherently good or bad," he does say: "Engaging in a procurement-wide debate on supplier fees is far more constructive than simply bemoaning them."
  • Embeddable functions are (finally) coming to customer service - or so says Esteban Kolsky, and he would know. Kolsky is excited, and you can't blame him. He's been railing about cloud as business services not as whizz-bang tech, and maybe we're getting closer: "This is what is making apps and applications far more flexible (and way smaller) than ever.  If i can just bring the small functionality I need to complete my job into my screen easy and effortless then I (the individual user) can build apps that fit my need..." Bonus: Kolsky remains the only #ensw blogger whose disclosures are as good as his articles.
  • Why Amazon wins - Innovate the core, innovate to transform -  Newsfeed readers liked Hutch Carpenter's use of Amazon to illustrate the simultaneous pursuit of little and bigtime innovations. Carpenter reviews Amazon's innovation by category, from drone delivery to Kindle Fire to Amazon Web Services. This piece would be stronger if it looked harder at what Amazon learned from the now-shuttered Fire phone. And a position on the workplace culture issues would have been welcome. But, I picked it, so...

Honorable mention

Racing to the Top: As PaaS and IaaS Commoditize, The Quest to Provide Business Value-add in the Cloud Intensifies - Newsfeed readers liked this one
To be precise, Social Media Marketing is just mostly dead - Wow, someone who is more cynical about social media marketing than I am. Though the long list of exceptions undermines the article title.
10 Ways Big Data Is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management - Fresh data in keeping with our big data them.
WALL STREET OFFICIALLY OPENS ITS ARMS TO BITCOIN INVADERS - Ugh for Wired's all-caps headlines. But the blockchain is for real.
Avoiding the Consensus Buy (A Market Traction Approach) - The consensus enterprise buyer has big sales/marketing implications.
From products to platforms - critical context on Apple's recent announces, including the iPad's struggles/future.


Overworked businessman
I've written on the Internet scourge that is Bounce Exchange before (interruption pop-ups that actually insult the user). Toolbox.com is the latest tech site grasping for relevance:


"No thanks, I don't like winning free things." ??? How about, "No thanks, I don't like insults as collateral damage for your cheeseball opt-in lottery."

Elsewhere in interruption whiffery, Siri interrupted a White House presser to answer a question on Iran. Kinda funny yes, but the answer, "Sorry, I'm not sure what you want me to change," illustrates just how situation-dumb "intelligent" virtual assistants are. On second thought - maybe that's the best possible answer to Iran policy?

Speaking of mocking Apple, Gawker did a bang-up job of that in Fuck Your Apple Announcement Hype. Only a former tech blogger could lay down this kind of smack: "No one wants to pay $100 for a pencil. No one wants to rent a hotel on their TV. No one wants to buy clothing on their TV. And no one wants to use Siri—ever. In any capacity. And yet! Applause. Constant, incessant applause. And posts and tweets and think pieces and all of it meaningless because all of it has already been written year, after year, after year. Real, actual insight is, for the most part, dead."  Can I get a "blammo!"?

Officially off-topic

Speaking of f#ck, did you know that the use of the term goes back to 1310? (Historian understood to have found first use of word f*** in 1310 English court case). So when we swear, we honor history - good by me. Though I'm not sure I'd honor history by not showering for 12 years like this man (he's a startup guy with a bacterial spray called "Mother Dirt" available for purchase. Remote work has never sounded better!).

If you're going to skip out on work this month, don't blame it on the apocalypse. Not only did NASA refute Christian claims that the blood moon on September 28 will cause the end of the world, NASA  noted they don't see any large objects on course to crash into Earth the next few hundred years. Science is such a buzzkill!

For aspiring writers out there, you could do worse than this handy 10 writing tips on how to not be boring. Tips like "cut the crap" and "use humor and sarcasm" seem like they were written with dull enterprise prose in mind, eh?

I read with sadness the passing of Gary Richrath, former lead guitarist of overly-disparaged REO Speedwagon. Before their schlocky 80s money-grab, REO were hard-touring 70s American sloggers. I'll remember Richrath and the guys in their 1978 vintage with the epic live staple Roll With the Changes, which got me through many a road trip. That's Gary at the 4:00 mark, kicking out a classic rock break. Windows down Gary, and RIP. See you next time.

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, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com

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