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Enterprise hits and misses - hybrid event tech heats up, ERP vendors get called out on sustainability hype, and offices get debated

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 14, 2021
This week - vendors get called out for sustainability hype, while hybrid event tech gains steam. The return-to-office debate heats up again, thanks to call outs on culture and collaboration. Your whiffs include AI idealism, Amazon's privacy opt-out, and so-called "seamless integration."


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

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:

Speaking of carrying on, we continued our rolling coverage of SAP's three-week Sapphire Now 2021:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

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

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


NFTs seem to keep coming up in my timeline:

Amazon stubbed its toe on the privacy sidewalk, as did some of the media coverage:

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:

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:

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.

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