Lead story - HR technology in the spotlight - it's a crazy, mixed up HR tech world
MyPOV: Since Brian's scathing disappointment last year over HR/AI
puppies and rainbows tech hype, I've been eager to see if 2019 would find redemption.
Well, we have our answer in Brian's HR Technology Conference 2019 - it’s a crazy, mixed up HR technology world out there. This year, Brian says it was all about the bots:
Bots were all some people could talk about at the show. Everyone, it seems, has one in development or available via slideware. And there were also plenty of vendors that had Bot + Workflow + Exception Handing capabilities, too. A couple of folks snuck in machine learning with their bots to make them “intelligent” bots.
But before HR buyers go bot shopping, Brian's got a reality biscuit for us to gnaw on:
- Nothing material is ready for prime time today.
- If a customer actually wants to use this technology, it might require some time-consuming and expensive custom configuration work.
- No vendor could produce process flows of their proposed ‘reimagined’ workflow.
- Only one vendor has realized that the conversational language a bot must use in dealing with your employees cannot be the same copy that exists in your lawyer approved employee manual.
- Most bots are a one-trick pony – Finding a vendor with more than one bot is like finding a cable company with great customer service. They may not exist.
It's not all vinegar for Brian at HR Tech though:
I wish more firms would send more people to this event if only to see what the new art of the possible can be for HR.
The art of the possible in Las Vegas? Hmm, I think I'm staying at the wrong hotels... As for not-ready-for-prime-time bots, read on, my discerning friends.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Fail early, fail often - a manufacturing mantra for an AI age - Martin reports back on manufacturing and I, where panelists forged realistic ground: "The `A’ of AI most definitely meant ‘Augmented’ and there is still a great need for the ‘nose’ of the engineer to be fully engaged in the process."
- World Mental Health Day - why business leaders are so vulnerable to mental illness in a fast-moving digital economy - Cath takes on one of the most taboo issues in the tech workplace, and it's one that needs airing: "How the issue affects company founders and leaders is rarely discussed, despite the fact that it is they who shape the organisational culture and their behaviour that sets an example for others to follow."
- Barb issued a terrific content marketing two-fer, starting with multi-media: Wistia and Casted are redefining how we manage video and podcast shows. And on to storytelling: Building content experiences with Fabl isn't a marketing fairy tale.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Leadership change at SAP -
So, SAP made a big move and
blew up everyone's weekend again the enterprise web, creating a backchannel scuttlebutt for the ages. Den issued his analysis in SAP - Klein and Morgan come in as co-CEOs as McDermott steps down:
If Klein can deliver on his early promises, it will set a good tone for improving the relationships with customers and users, which many consider at best, 'difficult.'
The co-CEO role has a proven history at SAP, which is noted in Den's update/reaction from the chairman of the UK&I SAP User group. That said, I think these two CEOs have the toughest challenge of any SAP pair to date. Den added some highlights from my interview with McDermott, Morgan, and Klein - I'll have more on that this week. For now, we should also take the SAP TechEd season into account. Den does that in SAP TechEd 2019 Barcelona - first impressions.
More event reports as the diginomica team fanned out:
- IFS World 2019 - Roos makes challenger pitch as Astea buy extends FSM reach - Phil made a Boston stop on his epic 10 day
U.S. endurance testevent bender, to get an up-close look at an ERP/EAM/Field Service player intent on changing the enterprise game. Also see: Phil's IFS World 2019 - ERP-controlled shop floor robots save $1.5m at packaging plant.
- It was customer keynotes for the win in at Controlling 2019. I issued a podcast and writeup with the keynoter:The Discovery Channel on IT-business alignment in a cloud world - live from SAP Controlling 2019.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- ServiceMax Maximize London - service management as a C-Suite business issue...and a matter of life and death - Stuart updates on ServiceMax, during a crucial juncture on the Force.com platform, with Salesforce pushing their own field service solution.
- How Dropbox is bringing the enterprise on board - Different coast, but same Phil. This time, he brings enterprise collaboration under scrutiny. Yes, Dropbox's viral adoption is there - but will their verticalized enterprise play pan out? Phil issues kudos and caveats.
- The convergence of auditing and robotic process automation - highlights from Controlling 2019 - Auditors and RPA? Yeah, an unlikely mix - but on second thought, maybe not. Another podcast/story from my week in San Diego.
Jon's grab bag - Cath put the breaks on Ada Lovelace feel-good sentiment with a more realistic gut check in Women in IT - Ada Lovelace would be horrified by the lack of progress, argues Red Hat's Margaret Dawson. But the piece ends on an inspiring note, sharing the impact on leadership and mentoring: "Dawson says there is now a “hunger to change,” even if people do not necessarily know how to go about doing so."
Kurt took a needed breather from cloud security, steered around Apple fanboys and fangirls, and posted Why you should care about ultra-wideband - fine-grained location sensing isn’t just for lost luggage. Turns out UWB, in addition to enabling an intriguing range of consumer applications, checks off some of Kurt's security boxes as well.
Meanwhile, I try not to
get geeked up about a freaking app put one product above others; I wouldn't cut it on Instagram anyhow , but when one mobile event app is mopping the floor with the others, I have to ask: why? (Most event apps are stuck in legacy mode, but Whova isn't - a progress report from Controlling 2019).
Best of the rest
Limiting myself to five quick hits this week; blame it on the tarmac.
ERP Agility: You’re Not as Agile as You Think - UpperEdge's Shawn Stamp re-opens the ERP and Agile debate with this nuanceful post. (Yeah, nuanceful isn't a word, but maybe it should be?). Stamp:
Unlike most Agile efforts where a single product owner has complete ownership and visibility of the solution, ERP projects are so large that each process team/workstream typically has its own product owner (RTR, OTC, etc.). Whereas a typical Agile project has the ability to pivot quickly in response to changes in requirements (the destroyer), the integrated nature of ERP systems means that changes to one part of the system have the potential to break your business processes.
Yeah. ERP-at-scale is when "fail fast and break things" doesn't work out so well. On the flip side, Josh Greenbaum penned one of the most original posts of the year in The Myth of Account Control and The Challenge of Software Heterogeneity. Greenbaum:
Too many times the large on-prem apps vendors – Infor, Oracle and SAP, to pick on the largest amongst them – talk about innovation in terms that posit an all-or-nothing scenario, turning a blind eye to the fallaciousness of account control. Those messages, coming down on high from the marketing machines of each of these companies, become edicts that are then “enforced” by field sales force worst practices and compensation plans that favor selling “more” over selling what the customer really needs or wants.
Time to call some peeps out:
It’s time to stop pretending that the best scenario for your customers is to adopt one of everything you sell.
- How To Improve Your CPQ Pricing Strategies - Louis Columbus examines how manufacturers improve price management. That matters when you consider that manufacturers with more than $100M in sales generates typically generate 40 percent or more of their sales through indirect channels.
- Payments giants abandon Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency - I'd call this a bump in the road but it's more like Death Race 2000 - both for Facebook and crytocurrency in general. The casualties are as inevitable as the winners.
- The Passion Economy and the Future of Work - This Andreesen Horowitz piece is far too idealistic for my taste, but a "passion economy" where creators monetize is definitely preferable to the mediocre subservience of the gig economy.
Travel has its tarmac purgatory, but also its moments:
Southwest flight attendant to the passengers during boarding: "Let's give it up for the C group..." (applause). LMAO "Find the best middle seat you can find - there are some great ones still available...."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 11, 2019
Kurt pounced on one of the week's PR lowlights, and did the strikethrough honors:
— Kurt Marko🤔🇺🇸 (@krmarko) October 8, 2019
And speaking of the botification of everything, I got botified this week, and good:
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 13, 2019
A human from Drift offered an inadequate reply, but hey, credit for doing so and doing it promptly, on the weekend no less. As long as a few leads convert... If I keep this up, maybe I'll get a speaking gig at Hereticon:
Peter Thiel's venture fund just announced Hereticon, a conference for 'troublemakers' to discuss immortality, doomsday prepping, and UFOs https://t.co/OqlFXfuKYL
-> I look forward to the live stream :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 2, 2019
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.