Enterprise hits and misses - Hadoop and NoSQL disrupt, while social fails

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed June 15, 2015
A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. This week: the Hadoop and NoSQL disrupt, while social fails edition. Plus: is the future of knowledge workers at the company store? And: whiffs-a-plenty.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: The NoSQL and Hadoop disruptive open source dividend by Den Howlett

quotage: "I’ve observed a very clear set of value propositions that make the world of the relational database, and many of the follow on ERP, CRM and supply chain applications look archaic. I say that not with any intent of malice or out of a new found wonder for technology. I say that because customers are solving problems at scale that would previously have been unimaginable."

myPOV: In a significant piece I suspect we'll look back on as a turning point, Den lays out the case for the transformation NoSQL and Hadoop is fostering - not in terms of vendor propaganda, but in terms of verifiable customer use cases - at scale. Diginomica is not a deep-in-the-weeds of tech outlet, but collectively we are convinced that we need to cover this technology in terms of outcomes. And the outcomes are piling up.

Those who overlook this as mainly a database-as-commodity/drive for efficiency play are going to be left behind. Den also filed a use case from his meetup with True Car at the Hadoop Summit (Revving up TrueCar’s digital business with open source technology). And if you're up for more purposeful musings, also check Den's Death to databases come the blockchain revolution?

Happy children eating apple
diginomica five: my completely subjective "top five" stories on diginomica this week
  • HSBC looks to digital transformation to support 25,000 job cuts - 25,000 jobs? That's a lot of redundancy. But as Stuart reports, there is a story to watch beyond the job cutting headline fodder: this is more than your garden variety "resource allocation adjustment." To better compete with digital pure plays, HSBC is attempting an ambitious digital shift. I'll keep my own editorializing in check here, but as Stuart points out, "How this rolls out will set something of a benchmark in the industry – in terms of either success or failure!."
  • How business value drives IT at Williams-Sonoma - Back with fresh stories from the Coupa Inspire conference, Phil shares a Coupa/NetSuite use case. Wait - the business teams at Williams-Sonona own the IT projects? Yup - you got that right. Read on...
  • The need for innovation – Go Bananas - What does the (interesting) story of the breed of bananas we buy in supermarkets have to do with innovation, or lack thereof? Charlie Bess has your answers, along with innovation tips and traps (I'm still stuck on that depressing banana story though).
  • Cyber-security, a town called Wassenaar and the software ostriches - Wherein Martin gives Charlie a run for best digi blog post title of the week, and weaves an unsettling tale of software vulnerabilities, sensitive data sold on black markers. and software vendors that resemble ostriches when it comes to these vexing problems. I wish Martin wasn't right on this one but I fear he is.
  • Putting predictive analytics on the menu at EAT. - A yummy tasty insightful use case from Janine, Thought still in the pilot phase, EAT.'s predictive project looks set to cut 14% off EAT.’s food wastage, and help manage staffing requirements. One nifty aspect? Before embarking, EAT. put predictive vendor Blue Yonder to the test, comparing its six month projections against EAT.'s internal forecast.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - Hard to resist a headline like Pega CEO claims most CRM apps are nothing more than ‘conformist online rolodexes’. On the ground at the Pegasystems user conference in Orlando, Derek's piece shares how his view on the Pegasystems keynote changed as he talked with customers and dug in deeper. Meanwhile, Den weighs in on a story that got the backchannel buzzing for its SaaSy/API implications: Want to know how disruption in HR is working out? Check the ADP v Zenefits lawsuit.

Den filed a Couchbase use case on one of the most reviled (but, in their defense, disruptive) airline brands in Europe (Ryanair taps Couchbase as it seeks to shed poor customer service image). Stuart posted an upbeat(!) earnings report from Box (Boxing clever as Box picks up more paying customers), and Brian filed a compelling Workday use case (New York Public Library continues digital transformation with Workday. Bonus points for working in a slam on 'luddites'!).

Den's got a Kenandy use case for ya (Primus Power credits ease of use for success with Kenandy), and Phil wraps our vendor coverage with a digibyte on Unit4's public sector move (Unit4 buys Three Rivers to step up US education presence).

Jon's grab bag: Phil's time at the Coupa event provided fodder for this lashing of stale procurement processes in the wake of digital disruption (The digital rocket heading for enterprise procure-to-pay). Derek filed another kickass use case, Vodafone’s BPM project shows why automation is a problem when selling to enterprise, which doesn't try to minimize the challenge of process automation in "legacy" settings.

Stuart returns to his digital transformation stomping grounds with Digital dilemmas for JC Penney’s new CEO, and Derek emerges from a day with SAP with this mobility use case (Smiths News shifts from introverted development to focusing on customer need). And no - no mention of HANA, though if that evokes a strange and unexpected void, you can fill that by checking out the video playlist Den put together for our Sapphire + ASUG shoots.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
The future of work - upskill thyself, and live with your employer? by several scribes

quotage: "The idea of living not just near one’s employer but in a world of its creation will sound horrifying to many workers: company towns were supposed to have vanished as an industrial-age perversion. But there are socially responsible reasons for holding employees in lavish corporate dorms." - Nathan Heller

myPOV: Hits/misses isn't turning into a "future of work" symposium but hey, the interesting pieces keep coming. Heller's excerpt is pulled from Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work, where the problematic idea of the company town is given the post-modern workover.  I'm not a fan of bubble living but I can see some viable use cases in areas where real estate prices are out of reach of those who don't do evil (err, did I get that quote wrong?)

Also: two contrasting views of upskilling for the digital economy. Fast Company's What Work Will Look Like in 2025 has a plethora of related articles, and gives a take on the creative skills that will separate the employable from the not (though this doesn't do a thing for the widening wealth gap). Gil Press has a different take in How Knowledge Workers Can Save Their Jobs In The "Bring Your Own Robot" Age - basically, we should all learn robotics.

OK, that's simplistic. In his review of a recent Harvard Business Week event, Press riffs on the notion that we're in "The Second Machine Age", which, according to authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, is about automating cognitive tasks. Sounds about right. Pressman points out that we've been arguing/fretting about the impact of computing automation on knowledge workers since the '50s. Still - seems like the convo is taking on a new urgency.

Other standouts

  • Vendor news roundup - Natanix, Unit4 and Oracle make the cut  - One of the sneaky under-reported #ensw stories of the week was Oracle's third party maintenance lawsuit win. As Larry Dignan noted in Oracle wins damages vs. third-party maintenance firm Terix, the ruling itself is a minor one but the impact on the third party support market is worth watching. Meantime, Holger Mueller opens the kimino on Unit4's recent analyst day, and, in Nutanix: Why Cloud Was Never Really Flexible, Until Hyperconvergence, Adrian Bridgwater posts on Nutanix's first-ever user conference (a show I also attended).
  • Coding, Agile & Scrum Go Mainstream - Steve Denning makes the case. His evidence: Bloomberg Business just devoted an entire 38,000 word issue to coding and development. Denning's argument: if software is indeed eating the world, then "In the process, software is eating up organizations and executives who don’t understand it or know how to manage it." Sounds about right. Perhaps a bit heavy on the agile-and-scrum-are-wondermuss angle, but overall, a good primer on how the executive learns to either code, or at least work with developers in the corporate mosh pits.

Honorable mention

Why big consulting needs to buy into BPO to address the As-a-Service Economy - An entertaining series on the As-A-Service economy continues. Is the divide between consulting and outsourcing models converging? Cultural obstacles to new services models loom large - for vendors AND buyers.
The Problem with ERP Requirements Templates - There's a trechant (ding!) point in here: did you know that the use of requirements templates can lead to the wrong ERP system being selected? But there's a better way. Hint: it involves applied expertise and limiting generic templates.
5 Common UX Mistakes to Avoid on Your Mobile Site - #2 is a biggie: "Ignoring mobile user intent." Yup - it's not just a redesign, it's a user behavior rethink.
How Retailers Use Content to Tie Online And Offline Experiences - We need more of these industry-focused content pieces.
The art and science of the tech detox - A good theme to ponder with vacations pending. Checking email while on vacation is not a good look. Re: "These execs are seeing their devices as more of a ball and chain than a productivity enhancer" - are we finally waking up?
Apple and Google Race to See Who Can Kill the App First - "post-app world" is hyperbolic BS, but there's plenty to think on here in terms of embedded services trumping discrete applications.


Overworked businessman
Jeepers it was a social media circus this week! First, we can learn from Shaq who outsourced his social media postings to a third party, and then got wrongly outed as a 9/11 truther. ("I'm not an 9/11 truther, but I pay a firm to pretend to be me online, and... AWKWARD).  The Olive Garden is pushing a food truck through Boston's legendary North End, and it's not going so swell ("Italians don’t put three different types of pasta together, or pile protein on top of pasta with s--- sauce.")

United set another proud milestone in customer service by putting its passengers up in an Goose Island army barracks (evidently short on bathrooms and heat) - while their own flight crew rested in hotel comfort. The kicker? I can't find the tweet (it was likely deleted), but evidently a United rep responded to a passenger complaint by saying, "The crew must rest in order to continue the flight. You can rest on board the aircraft knowing that they are in charge." Couldn't have said it any better.

Closer to the enterprise, I'm not calling straight whiff on this one, but given I've belly ached a lot about disclosure, it's time to remind that disclosure applies to commenting too. Example: this piece, Businesses Say Big Data Is Changing Markets, But What’s Holding Back Adoption?, provoked a strongly-worded comment critiquing SAP and Oracle's approach to big data as heavy-handed and extolling the virtues of open sourcy approaches. Turns out, this commenter works for a company that has a (smaller, for now) dog in this fight.

The comment makes good points, but when you have a stake in the outcome, that warrants disclosure. Often this problem is solved with comments that link directly back to your profile. To this commenter's credit, they are open about their employer on their Twitter bio, which some shamefully aren't. Yep, I almost called someone out, but have decided to handle it through backchannel for now - stay tuned Anyhow - just freaking say who you work for, and let us judge the merits of your comment in that context.

Officially off-topic

Do me a favor readers - next "empowered customer" blog that comes out, send my way for a skewering. You see, i was all geeked up for the Women's World Cup, but FOX has put many of the games on the elusive Fox Sports 2 channel. I took to social media with my beef and ended up with jerky. Empowered customer? Nah...l more like a human energy cell in the Matrix.

Oh, and this week in "edging closer to the end times," Justin Bieber's manager compared him to Bob Dylan, an analogy that works, I guess - if you don't take the actual music into account. I did get a chuckle out of this Buzzfeed/viral satires site again, this time with  7 Weightlifting Poems That Will Get You Pumped (I'm partial to "I see the beefers lifting").

On the self-education front, this Khan Academy class on Bitcoin and blockchains looks like a good 'un. 10,000 folks have now taken Seth Godin's three hour freelancer course... at about $59 a pop that seems a working business model for the guru set (note: I got a pop-up offering 50 percent off). BTW - 87 lectures in three hours? I guess one person's lecture is another person's brain fart these days...

I promised you some "best cover songs of all time" a while ago. How about covers that render the original obsolete? That's a much shorter list. Off the top, a few:

  • "All Along the Watchtower," (Hendrix),
  • "Blinded by the Light" (Mannfred Mann's magnificent Springsteen interpretation),
  • "Hallelujah" (Jeff Buckley),
  • "Twist and Shout" (Beatles), and
  • "Tainted Love" (Soft Cell).
  • Oh, and this one is gonna tick off Nine Inch Nails fans, but, I'm giving "Hurt" to Johnny Cash.

Must have missed a couple, but that's a start. 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. ìmyPOVî 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, Man © Dudarev Mikhail - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, Workday, Oracle, NetSuite, Unit4 and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing. Coupa is a diginomica partner.