Lead story - Emerging from lockdown - are companies ready? Is HR?
MyPOV: As companies push to re-open in some capacity across regions, the issues are plentiful. Brian has some
fresh fillets to fry pointed questions: is HR ready? As he writes in Coping with the crushing workload hitting HR post-COVID-19:
Today's workers expect a different level of workplace safety. They want frequent physical plant cleaning, shields wherever person-to-person interactions will occur, touch-free access to facilities and time clocks, etc. HR has to figure out these requirements, acquire supplies/contractors and ensure compliance.
That's a lot for understaffed/remote HR teams to take on. Brian to the (acerbic) rescue. He details HR's action plan into short term, intermediate, and longer-term (growth) moves. He even translates Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs into an HR context to remind us: when you aren't confident is health, safety, and wages, you're not going to be open to branded messaging on "business resilience."
As we contend with re-opening, have we learned new teamwork tricks along the way? Phil addresses that in Lockdown has brought in new ways of working. They are here to stay. Phil thinks we're still in the shallow waters of what's possible:
The point here is that, while cloud computing has evolved and become mainstream, business cultures, organization and working practices have barely begun to adapt to what the technology now allows. The COVID-19 lockdown has given us all a jolt in the right direction, but we are still at the very beginning of this new wave of change.
For every company that permanently embraces remote work, there's another goofy study that blames remote work (not the pandemic) for decreased productivity. Phil again:
Now it falls to a new generation of stubborn innovators to trust their instincts and stand their ground against a conventional wisdom that believes the rise of distributed teamwork is just a Coronavirus-induced blip.
Yep. As for those who claim the revenge-of-the-office, or the triumph of remote, I push back on both. The future of work is fluid, less tied to fixed locations and 9-5 schedules. And, yes, COVID-19 has given that trend a big shove. It's a tough way to adapt, but it's the chance we have.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Gap’s new CEO needs more than “digital sunshine” after COVID-19 fuels the worst results in half-a-century, despite the retailer’s omni-channel capabilities - As Stuart reports, even Gap's omni-channel flex wasn't enough for pandemic times. Vintage Stuart: " Spreading digital sunshine soundbites will have to suffice for now, but not for much longer."
- Macy's CEO - coming out of COVID-19 emphasizes "the beauty of omni-channel"...and where the gaps are - Stuart evaluates their glass half-full view, backed up by 400+ stores re-opening for pickup, along with Macy's proclamation: "We have weathered the pandemic." Bold stuff when you've taken a $1 billion quarterly hit, and a 45 percent sales dip year on year.
- Digital events - it’s about the right experience, and getting the right data - Barb's virtual sit down with ON24 brings out an angle on virtual events worth pondering - the data opportunity.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style.
- SAPPHIRENow 2020 Reimagined - issues we believe need addressing - A week of SapphireNow virtual kicks off Monday... For the SAPfans, SAPwatchers, and those who aspire to speak SAPanese, Den's got your edgy conference preview. He also profiled a board member to keep your eyes on: Meet Thomas Saueressig, your go to SAP board member for all things product.
- HSBC moves from 65 relational databases into one global MongoDB database - Derek posted an ambitious database use case... Single global data model for the win.
- Keeping essential workers safe and productive - how Power Storage Solutions and Acumatica rolled out an integrated workforce survey app in three weeks - "I can imagine other vendors doing all the right things, listening to customers, and not rolling out an app for months." By yours truly.
- Personalization, Pega and Pink Rabbits - Rabobank’s journey to deliver customer lifetime value - Leave it to Stuart to crush it with the best use case title of the week.
A few more vendor picks, without the snarky bits:
- Coupa turns in strong Q1 numbers as product offerings align with COVID-19 procurement and spend needs - Stuart
- Checking in with Celonis on how it's accelerating time to value in ERP and supply chains - Den
- That’s a wrap! ServiceNow confident on its ‘workflow revolution’ pitch as Knowledge 2020 concludes - Derek
Jon's grab bag - Call it a cynical PR exercise, sour grapes, or just the right thing to do. Either way, I'm giving IBM credit for dropping out of the facial recognition software market; cites mass surveillance, human rights and racial justice concerns. Jerry's got the writeup. Whenever you put Den and Brian on the same digital transformation panel, you can expect some
finely-tuned BS detectors going off right and left a lively discussion. Den wraps it up in Tackling digital transformation in the eye of the storm - A MindFuel live session.
Finally, I continue my mission to deprive vendors of any excuses for the
timesucking legacy vibe of the mostly lifeless virtual events we've enjoyed, err, endured this spring in - -Can virtual events deliver the same results as on the ground? Yes, says Ben Chodor - if you avoid these mistakes. This time up? A focus on delivering interactive content at large event scale.
Best of the rest
MyPOV: What's my least favorite PR pitch? "We wanted to let you know that our game changing ___ solution has been named a _____ leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant." Look, I hated geometry in high school - no need to stop now. To be fair, Gartner is far from the only analyst firm that issues
highly subjective vendor rankings posing as objective, chock full of disclosure issues in some form. Gartner just happens to be the industry standard.
Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting isn't a fan either. To be fair, he has a dog in this fight but - it's still a fight worth having. Kimberling:
ERP and HCM teams understandably refer to things like Gartner's Magic Quadrant and other industry analyst reports as part of their evaluation processes. The problem with this approach is that most industry analyst reports and magic quadrants are commissioned by ERP and HCM vendors.
Yes - it's that simple. Using tools like Quadrants as another subjective reference point? By all means. But they aren't the enterprise stone tablets. Nor do they answer why a product might be a fit for one project over another. Elevate these resource guides to above-the-sales-fray objectivity, and you're going to get blowback from folks like us. As it should be. We all need diverse sources of smart info. We also need hypescreen (that's sunscreen for vendor hype, coming soon to a virtual trade show floor near you)
- Inventory Management: We Can Do Better – Lora Cecere has some tough love for the supply chain industry - and a call to action.
- Microsoft Won’t Sell Face Recognition Software to Police - more vendors attempt to draw ethical lines on facial recognition software. So did Amazon - kind of: AWS bans police from using its facial recognition technology for a year. But let's not hand out halos just yet. The problem with big tech companies pulling out for now? It leaves a bigger opening for potentially unscrupulous new players to fill the void. That's why we actually need digitally-literate lawmakers.
- ICS Threat Snake Ransomware Suspected in Honda Attack - Is cybersecurity the biggest quiet tech story of Corona-life?
- Zoom won't let Chinese government requests affect users outside China - Zoom continues to struggle to find the right corporate mojo. You'd think they'd be getting tired of the apology circuit...
- Google DeepMind buzz dissipates after AlphaGo highs - and yet, as the buzz fades, the work may be getting more important. Funny how that works.
- New global data reveal education technology’s impact on learning - McKinsey nabs top think piece of the week honors...
It was a "fun with AI" kind of week. Facebook has some clever ideas for employers:
New Facebook Tool Allows Employers to Suppress "Unionize" in Workplace Chat https://t.co/HljeIEgQfW
"The presentation discussed “benefits” of “content control.” It offered one example of a topic employers might find it useful to blacklist: the word “unionize.”
-> so thoughtful
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 13, 2020
Where are the bots when you need them? Even Driftbot had no answer for me:
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 11, 2020
I was going to comment on that piece on Microsoft replacing "journalists" with AI. Well, as my colleague Phil Wainewright pointed out, that's already backfired:
— Phil Wainewright (@philww) June 9, 2020
As per The Guardian:
Asked why Microsoft was deploying software that cannot tell mixed-race individuals apart, whether apparent racist bias could seep into deployments of the company's artificial intelligence software by leading corporations, and whether the company would reconsider plans to replace the human editors with robots, a spokesman for the tech company said: "As soon as we became aware of this issue, we immediately took action to resolve it and have replaced the incorrect image."
And it gets worse:
The bit I like is when @MSN keeps on deleting the story from its feed and their AI keeps putting it back! Sisyphus would approve :-)
— Phil Wainewright (@philww) June 10, 2020
This is really the perfect whiff for our age. One of the few companies that absolutely can afford not to shaft people shafts a bunch of journalists - to be replaced by pseudo-AI that isn't ready for the job at hand - a job that is hardly real journalism. But "AI" can't even pick stories and match pictures properly. Then the media (except The Guardian) mistakenly calls these lost jobs "journalism," thereby implying AI is surging in its sophistication. They may well be journalists in aspiration, but the jobs they didn't deserve to lose weren't. The jobs were editors, curating the hottest "stories" for a web site nobody reads. Well, except for bots - both human and otherwise. Looks like my job might be safe for a few more months...
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.