Lead story - the permanence of remote work changes the future of work itself
For a while now, we've been hearing a chorus of "flexible work is here to stay," with only a handful of "our workforce will be back at the office ASAP" contrarians.
But it seems like we've hit a different level of momentum. Consider Spotify's announcement that beyond the pandemic, employees can work from anywhere (yes, anywhere) - and still get paid New York or San Francisco wages.
Or take Stuart's Tech's towering challenge - if the future is Working From Home, what are we going to do with all those skyscrapers we bought?, wherein he outlines a permanent workforce plan from Salesforce - one that is notable for its specifics. Picking up from Stuart:
The company sees a tripartite post-COVID model for working:
- Flex – When it’s safe to return to the office, most of employees around the globe will work flex, meaning they will be in the office 1-3 days per week for team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations.
- Fully Remote – Employees who don’t live near an office or have roles that don’t require an office, will work remotely full-time.
- Office-based – The smallest population of the workforce will work from an office location 4-5 days per week, if their role requires it.
Stuart raises troubling questions, not least is the skyscrapers companies may abandon. Could those be converted into livable spaces, including low-income residencies? One can dream. Stuart concludes:
So who loses? Well, there is the ecosystem of people and businesses whose livings depend on the corporate skyscrapers, from building maintenance staff through cleaners to local cafes, bars and shops whose traffic relies on people piling out of an office at lunchtime or in the evenings. Then there are the building owners themselves... Bottom line - striking the hybrid work model balance is going to be a challenge for many.
Readers know I'm not the most optimistic fellow - it's just not in my nature. But I see a huge upside here if we do this right. It comes in two flavors. One is the rural revitalization movement, as articulated on these pages by the CEO of Zoho, which could allow tech workers to redistribute and rejuvinate struggling communities. The next is the potential to transform urban areas - a topic Stuart addresses. Rather than the failed
squander your life in traffic commuting model, those who want to work in cities actually live there. Could cities become livable again?
That leaves the unresolved problem of the young workforce - folks who need the professional contact and networking the most. No easy answers there, though I'd like to think localized co-working spaces could at least help.
Yes, we still have a pandemic slog ahead. But it doesn't hurt to take a breather from the COVID-19 endurance test, and consider a generational shift in workstyles ahead.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Filling the AI skills gap - ‘If we sit back and do nothing, we will fail’ - Mark Samuels takes on the AI crossroads ahead - and shares a recent debate on the extent of the AI skills gap.
- Data lakes, data lakehouses and cloud data warehouses - which is real? - Neil bravely wades into the BI buzzword swamp to take on one of the most
patently absurdexciting buzzwords of 2021: "data lakehouses."
- Delivering the future of retail - Ocado's game plan for 2021 assumes no going back for online grocery shopping. Speaking of no looking back, count Ocado in that mix. But as Stuart writes, grocers also have to ensure these new service lines are profitable: "Will the sector see increased automation of key processes, most notably at the back-end in areas such as product selection, to bring down overheads?" For more retail drill-downs, see Stuart's Bed, Bath & Beyond furnishes its $250 million omni-channel transformation with a Google and Oracle cloud mix.
- NHS COVID-19 app has “prevented 600,000 cases” - After so many disappointing COVID-19 app miscues, good to see one that has useful traction. Derek on the case.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Why Appirio's founding CEO is investing in a new wave of cloud SIs - Phil on an investor with his eye on next-gen services firms: "We concur with Tercera's thesis that this is a brand new wave that demands a new breed of SI. The rise of composable API-centric platforms and services represents a fundamental break with the current mainstream of enterprise cloud applications."
- Interview - the ex Google and SAP exec now leading Unit4's reinvention of ERP - Phil on Unit4's latest leadership move to bolster its new/"headless" approach to ERP, via its pending ERPx release.
- Yorkshire Building Society offers members improved digital experience using low code - Gary files our first use case on the OutSystems low code platform.
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Ennismore checks in with Workplace from Facebook to communicate with an email-less global workforce - Stuart
- Tech provides home and community at student accommodation firm Vita - Salesforce use case by Mark
Jon's grab bag - Derek pressed the question: With Biden as President, will the global digital tax impasse come to an end? Meanwhile, Kurt continued his analysis of Bitcoin's newfound enterprise legitimacy in Bitcoin goes mainstream - MicroStrategy event represents a seminal moment in cryptocurrency history.
Uncle Den's having second thoughts about his whole cloud thing. A couple weeks of
migraine-inducing team account purgatory wading into cloud services management will do that to anyone: Friday rant - cloud services account management is a joke. Finally, I picked up my virtual event bullhorn again for another round of pitfalls and tips: The problem isn't event technology - events were already broken. We need creative event design.
Best of the enterprise web
My top six:
- Salesforce shifts away from in-person work: 'The 9-to-5 workday is dead' - Another take on Salesforce's flexible work shift, this time from The Guardian.
- You've Got Cloud Security All Wrong: Managing Identity in a Cloud World - "Gartner predicts that through 2025, at least 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer's fault." I'm not letting cloud providers off that easy, but still, that's a whopper stat.
- Zero Trust in the Real World - How do you make zero trust a physical reality? Dark Reading's Jerry Chapman has a game plan.
- Managed Infrastructure Services: Two Companies on Vastly Different Trajectories - UpperEdge's Greg Hall explains why IBM’s NewCo split and Atos’s emerging presence in North America spell change for managed infrastructure services.
- The Hill Supply Chain Leaders Climb - Lora Cecere continues her mission to change supply chain thinking: "Today’s planning processes are stuck in most organizations in hard and fast black and white patterns. My goal is to define an outside-in process clearly and then challenge others to change their stripe." Note: my video show with Cecere on supply chains facing the pandemic test is now out.
- Countering otherness: Fostering team integration - McKinsey with one of the better pieces on overcoming barriers to diverse thinking on workplace teams: "When people attempt to hide their threatened identity or to make an increased effort to fit in, authenticity can be diminished." Indeed - and teams are the lesser for it.
So this article asks: "Are You Brave Enough to Eat 3D-Printed Steak?" - I'm not sure that's a pressing question at this juncture... I'm not going to repeat the infamous Zoom kitten incident here, but maybe you didn't spot this one:
NUS professor lectures for 2 hours before realising he was on mute https://t.co/4b4vjBrBFo
-> dude, don't sweat it - I've been on mute for days sometimes lolz pic.twitter.com/iOTvJ2fawU
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 12, 2021
I've been known to get a wee bit cranky when sorting my bloated email inbox:
Me to PR on "30 second videos"
"I'm not a fan of snackable content. I wish you luck but I'm dedicated to proving in-depth, immersive and interactive content is still indispensable. We aren't going to fix technology projects, or our vexing social problems, with 30 second snacks."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 11, 2021
I guess I'm not alone... Google's marketing team can have a cruddy day sometimes too:
Kubernetes Failure Stories https://t.co/irq6jVqr4e
-> something tells me Google's marketing team isn't involved in this one :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) February 14, 2021
Finally, Showtime has announced a 90 minute documentary... About "The Weeknd's Super Bowl LV halftime performance, which ran - 13 minutes." I hate locking myself into things, but if this documentary is successful, I may have to say farewell to Western Civilization. Fortunately, I think the odds are on my side this time. See you next week...
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.