Lead story - What does it take to turn sustainability hype into practical reality?
MyPOV: We've heard enough happy talk from vendors on sustainability lately to
load up a landfill fill up a (virtual) keynote, or two. But how does talk turn into substantive change? Brian takes on all comers in What does it take to turn sustainability hype into practical reality? Questions smart buyers need to ask their ERP vendors.
For those vendors who are jazzed up about new functionality like tracking carbon footprints and supplier sustainability ratings, well, they might not be as jazzed after reading some of Brian's questions for customers:
- Does your ERP system have specific sensors already integrated with its solution to record the CO2 being off-gassed?
- Does your ERP track by-products likes gases, water vapor, etc.?
- Are these sensors part of the base solution?
- Do these sensors require the use of a specialist firm to install and calibrate?
- Do the vertical extensions of the ERP software have specific carbon dashboards that align with your industry and its production methods?
To which I'd add: has your vendor made this functionality part of the base functionality, or do you have to pay extra and/or upgrade to get it?
Brian doesn't stop there: water is now a material concern, and ERP vendors aren't there yet:
Water recovery and treatment are material concerns today. The costs to treat water (either for reuse or before discharging) are rarely tied back to individual products or batches in many firms.
Ergo, more customer questions from Brian:
- How does your ERP system account for an ingredient like water that can be used, cleaned and reused countless times?
- Does your current ERP system record how much water is used in producing each product? Does it record how much water is lost via steam output or evaporation? How would this get measured and reported?
Awkward silence ensues. I guess that will keep ERP vendors' development teams busy for a while here, eh? But on the plus side, to me, this is an overdue shift in the conversation, from reporting, compliance, and "saving the world" to the welcome practicalities of productizing sustainability in the day-to-day. Let's get crackin'...
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Those pushing return of the five day office week will lose in the end - talent will dictate the terms - Derek took a BBC article trumpeting the return-to-office to task: "This thinking is lazy at best, embarrassing at worst."
- What is the office actually good for? Questioning workplace myths as the return-to-office debate heats up - I took a different angle, riffing on Derek's piece and the latest Big Tech return-to-office policies, which are supposedly flexible. I'm not so sure. Time to question the central office and the herd commute - and do we really need the office for culture-building and collaboration?
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Cisco targets hybrid working and events with Webex rebrand and new features - I've been disappointed by the lack of hybrid event technologies. Well, as Phil explains, Cisco aims to change that, aided by acquisitions: "Despite my skepticism, the focus on hybrid work does look like a smart move. It's clearly the issue its customers are raising most frequently and it's a field where there are no existing leaders."
- Google Cloud - COVID-19 has spurred manufacturers to escape AI pilot purgatory - Pilot purgatory is where next-gen enterprise tech sputters. But as Derek reports, via the Google Cloud Digital Manufacturing Summit, fresh data implies a (positive) change is afoot: "Google Cloud has found that almost two thirds of manufacturers (64%) now rely on AI to assist in day-to-day operations."
As the June virtual event binge carries on, we tracked the Salesforce Industries Summit:
- Salesforce launches AI-powered relationship research as part of its B2B industry pitch - Phil provides context (I saw one publication give the "Death of a salesperson"?
linkbait specialviral headline a go for this news... C'mon, this is clearly a case of "augmented intelligence" for the (human) B2B salesperson).
- Salesforce Industries Summit - how Penn State and NBCUniversal are tapping into industry-specific clouds - use case from Stuart
- Cloud's industrial revolution - Salesforce's Chief Product Officer explains why it's not "all CRM to me" anymore - The next stage of the CRM market is about industry, not one-size-fits-call. Stuart reveals how Salesforce is putting this into action (note: Stuart is quoting an event that occurred prior to the Salesforce Industries Summit, but sets up the themes well).
Speaking of carrying on, we continued our rolling coverage of SAP's three-week Sapphire Now 2021:
- Sapphire Now 21 - SAP touts the business networks revolution, but can it deliver? Including my (virtual) sit downs with SAP's John Wookey and Julia White.
- Sapphire Now 21 - how Carhartt has made SAP 'back to basics' a catalyst for transformation - fresh use case from Stuart...
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn - more organizations now realize the need to control business spend as the Vaccine Economy returns to normalcy - Stuart
- Asana partners with Vimeo to bring async video messaging to digital teamwork - Phil
Jon's grab bag - Thought robots were about the hardware? Think again, writes Chris in Robots - it’s about the service, not the hardware: "Once again, it's about providing a service that understands both human and industrial needs. It's rarely about saying, "Here's an expensive robot. Set it to work and fire all your staff."
Finally, Barb's useful piece on episodic content, The rise of podcasts and episodic content - if you're thinking of building a content series, here's some advice, sparked a flurry of reader comments - some from yours truly - on the problem of discoverability, and the algorithmic power of live streaming feeds. It's not a case of "if you build a great podcast, they will come" anymore (ugh) - so we need marketing chops.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Age of the cyber-attack: US struggles to curb rise of digital destabilization - The Guardian quotes a cybersecurity lawyer: “If this is the new normal, they are winning,” he said. “These criminal actors are well-funded and smart whether they are state-funded or not. We need to be as smart as they are.” (article via Clive Boulton)
- Study Shows AI-Generated Fake Reports Fool Experts - While we're on the subject of cybersecurity, this one gets in the ol' craw. As I tweeted: "I clipped this one for all the exuberant PR folks who ping me telling me how "AI" is going to be cybsercurity's best friend. AI plays for both teams, wake up please."
- Customer experience now the top technology priority, but organizations aren't quite ready - Over on ZDNet, Joe McKendrick punctures a few CX hype balloons: "As is common with adopting new technology, legacy IT (26%), budget (24%), skills gaps (22%) and expertise (18%) rank as top barriers. Cultural issues also weigh heavily in the list..."
- Beyond the 3 Pillars of Observability – One thing that's not hard to observe is the observability hype balloons,
breathing life into tired DevOps slide decksfloating all around us. This New Stack piece takes a practical bent instead.
- Planful Gets Predictive, Heating Up Augmented Planning Era - Doug Henschen on why predictive planning is getting traction.
- Blendoor data lets you know if companies are living up to diversity pledges - Ron Miller on a startup that promises to keep companies on their toes = and measure the bottom line benefits of better workplace diversity.
- Culture in the hybrid workplace - Yes, we've arrived at a "terrific opportunity" to reshape the workforce. But this McKinsey piece brings out a critical point few employers have reckoned with: our culture won't be the same, because we aren't the same: "You can’t assume you’ll return to the same culture that existed prepandemic. There’s been too much change, both at the individual level and at the business level."
NFTs seem to keep coming up in my timeline:
Man Who Ate $120,000 Art Banana Said He Would’ve Done It Sooner, But Wasn’t Hungry Yet https://t.co/XXjaqlpQaO
"Datuna insisted this wasn’t a PR stunt, but a serious piece of art when he peeled and consumed the banana on Saturday afternoon."
-> NFT this :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 10, 2021
Amazon stubbed its toe on the privacy sidewalk, as did some of the media coverage:
Amazon Sidewalk Will Share Your Internet With Strangers. It’s Not As Scary As It Sounds. https://t.co/eqRXnwuhuN
-> no offense NYT but you have this headline wrong, it's not about what's scary, it's about being opted in with a TOS forklift, even though your ISP may ding you.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 9, 2021
Sidenote: the setting to tun this sharing-is-caring feature off hasn't shown up on my phone yet... Meanwhile I caused a small ruckus with my "seamless integration" buzzword takedown:
I am hearing a lot of talk about "seamless integration" again lately. Please, stop it.
Integration isn't seamless - integration is a ruthless discipline.
Make your APIs as fancy and ubiquitous as you want, that helps. The seams are still there :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 9, 2021
On the plus side, it was cool to see so many informed responses on how integration has changed for the better - or not. Gold star to Joe McKendrick:
I love "shameless integration" to replace "seamless integration" in all marketing literature and keynotes. Shameless = "we do whatever it takes to integrate for our customers, even with our closest competitors' products, etc". Well done Joe... https://t.co/klKgnK9eb1
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 9, 2021
A few days later, I officially banned the use of seamless integration on my video show. I think we'll all manage. 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.