Lead story - COVID-19 as a catalyst for change - a tale of two grocery chains
MyPOV: Stuart examined two grocery store chains - and how they are faring in the COVID-19 economy pressure cooker. Start with A tale of two grocery stores Part 1 - how Tesco rose to the challenge of COVID-19:
The overriding theme?
Toilet paper hoarding for the apocalypse How digital transformation was forced into overdrive. One enduring change: stores morph into localized fulfillment centers. Stuart quotes Tesco's CTO:
We are basically transferring now excess space we have in some of our largest stores into an automated solution called an Urban Fulfillment Center, which is substantially smaller than any traditional automated warehouse you might know.
But Tesco's omni-push was well underway by the time COVID-19 hit. As Stuart reports, the same wasn't true for Kroger in the U.S. (A tale of two grocery stores Part 2 - how COVID has accelerated Kroger's omni-channel retail reality). Stuart quotes Kroger's CEO Rodney McMullen:
Even before the pandemic our digital business had become a tailwind. The pandemic certainly has accelerated customer preference for seamless offerings.
How do you know if you've crossed into omni-fluency? McMullen again:
What we're expecting of ourselves is we will get to the point where we're indifferent if a customer connects with us digitally or a physical store.
As Stuart notes, Kroger's digital business has yet to be profitable. Will their recent tie-up with Ocado will help them achieve that? Time will tell. The grocery industry has been put to a massive stress test. Unlike some retail segments, at least there it the relative luxury of persistent demand. But: mediocre digital services are getting exposed.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- ERT administers a hefty dose of AI to its application development pipeline - Jess looks at an AI use worth pursuing: virtual clinical trials.
- Tata Steel casts new outsourcing contract remotely during the height of COVID-19 lockdown - Mark with a timely art-of-remote-projects story.
- Drone futures - thousands of exciting possibilities take to the air, but demand common sense - Chris isn't easily
suckeredlured into techno-optimism, but he sees the potential good in drone deployment - if we can imbue regulations with that elusive ingredient: common sense.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- IBM, Cisco and Box CEOs reflect on future of work at BoxWorks 2020 - Phil on a new-school-event that suddenly has an old school vibe: "Has Box gone establishment?"
- How Oracle's latest announcements change multi-tenant vs on-premises decisions - Brian Sommer's opus lays out the latest blurring of the cloud deployment lines - in ways that (hopefully) result in more customer choice.
- Why SAP developers can't have nice things.- Den
blows his proverbial fuse boxchallenges SAP to (finally) change their SAP cloud platform licensing for developers.
Inforum 2020 is in the (virtual) books, with notable trends on cloud adoption - even in industries and logistical areas of the business that were once reluctant:
- Infor doubles down on cloud acquisition, bucks trend on rushing out COVID-19 apps - Derek
- Cloud adoption is just the beginning. Tracking the burning questions with Infor's CTO - Jon
- Yorozu Automotive Tennessee upgrades to Infor CloudSuite in the midst of COVID-19 - Derek
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- From CRM to ERP to productivity vendor? How Zoho Workplace fits into their future of work - and their stance against work surveillance - Jon
- Software AG’s IoT chief on connecting across the fractured enterprise - Phil
- ServiceNow takes pragmatic view of COVID-19 economy in 2021 - launches new products to support customers - Derek
- NVIDIA buys Arm - a good fit, but with points of friction and potential consumer ramifications - Kurt
Jon's grab bag - Stuart looks at the intersection of clean energy and next-gen tech in Powering up the transition to a new energy world - E.ON, AI and digitalisation. Neil continues his critique of the AI ethics status quo in Unethical AI unfairly impacts protected classes - and everybody else as well.
Chris pushes a necessary conversation in Why the AI industry urgently needs more uncomfortable conversations about BAME representation - though the BAME acronym is potentially awkward also. What matters are the issues behind it.
Best of the rest
Snowflake's IPO is a bet on companies using AI for everything - If you're head-scratching how Snowflake achieved their
ridonkulous eye-watering valuation and $3.4 billion IPO, this explanation of their AI sex appeal offers clues (may require email sign up to read). Motley Fool was on board the IPO hype train; they didn't let product confusion slow them down:
I read through the S-1 and the business description top to bottom and I said, I still don't really know what they do.
Hey - no reason not to invest. Tell your friends. I'm sure Amazon, Google, and Microsoft won't bother to challenge Snowflake's competitive offerings that sit on their clouds going forward...
On cybersecurity, a deepfakes roundup:
- Is software now everybody's job? The implications of low-code and no-code for developers - Joe "low code" McKendrick goes down a familiar rabbit hole. From his recent panel: "The idea that software is everybody's job is really radical."
- Managing Multiple SI's? How to Avoid the Blame Game - Engaging more than one SI can give a customer more control, and more access to talent - but it comes at a management cost.
- Five COVID-19 aftershocks reshaping mobility’s future - I'm not going to say mobility experts need to go back to the drawing board, but it's not too far from that.
- Business problem solving - "Tolerate ambiguity, and stay humble." Not a bad start, especially in the tech industry.
And yeah, nothing on Oracle + TikTok this week, waiting on some decent analysis to dig into. You'll get your fill in next week's edition...
So a couple that loves Olive Garden is going to name their child Olivia Garton. Hey, at least they didn't have a boy... The town of Asbestos is also struggling with a name change - any chance enterprise marketers can pitch in and help?
I touched off some Twitter debates with my satirical takes on "travelers" who are lining up to take flights-to-nowhere...
Australian airline Qantas' 'flight to nowhere' sells out in 10 minutes, report says https://t.co/G7t3hksSBz
"Buyers quickly snatched up the 134 available seats, priced between $575 and $2,765 depending on the seating class."
-> consumer demand on road to nowhere :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 17, 2020
Call it sightseeing if you want. I believe it's about "normalcy nostalgia." Whatever the motivation, the (modest) consumer demand seems to be there. Whatever gets you through the night, is all right...
On the serious side of whiffing, my colleague Phil Wainewright pointed me towards a couple of problematic algorithms with apparent racial biases. Twitter is one:
Finally, I had some fun with my favorite buzzphrase-to-nowhere, AIOps:
5 Mistakes to Avoid with AIOps Projects https://t.co/AoZqajK5OM
-> mistake number 6: calling it an "AIOps" project, especially in front of people who are focused on doing the right thing rather than finishing up their lingo bingo scorecards
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 18, 2020
When the CEO of an AIOps company agrees with me, maybe I'm onto something after all:
Jon I run an AIOps company and there is no such thing as an AIOps project.
There’s only projects that look to improve stability, transparency, security, performance etc. which use AIOps tech.
— John Appleby (@applebyj) September 19, 2020
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.