Lead story - Don't be a ERP re-platform sheep - or a pure SaaS sheep either.
MyPOV: Two diginomica stories challenged buyers not to accept the status quo.
Start with Kurt's When - and why - hybrid SaaS might be a better option. Kurt critiques SaaS multi-tentant purists. Architectural options have become more nuanced - opening up SaaS possibilities in regulated industries, for example.
I believe that's a win for customers, but it does require grasping what's under the hybrid SaaS hood. Kurt:
A better SaaS alternative is a hybrid model in which parts of an application, such as the Web UI, mobile interface and administrative console are delivered from shared infrastructure while the backend databases and business logic run on dedicated infrastructure. For example, Generis CARA, a content management SaaS that targets highly regulated industries like life sciences and financial services provides two classes of service that vary the mix between shared and single-tenant resources.
Kurt also critiques Brian Sommer's prior multi-tenant advocacy, though Sommer's views have evolved since that piece. Doesn't matter - the debate is healthy. My beef is software partners (and some vendors) that take advantage of "hybrid cloud is cool" to lift-and-shift legacy software, depriving customers of a more sophisticated approach to changing their business model - and modernizing their software (with a new level of discipline over custom code). That's not what Kurt is talking about - but not all buyers are reading this column (maybe by next week).
Which brings us to Brian Sommer's Don’t be a sheep – challenge the call to re-platform ERP. Brian uncorks so much
whoop-ass vinegar in this piece, he won't have any left to baste his Thanksgiving turkey. Brian urges buyers: think twice before you re-platform your ERP software again. He calls out ERP vendors:
What's even more amazing is the sheer gall of software vendors to charge your firm for, in effect, an all-new license/subscription fee for essentially the same solution. Yes, it has a new 'platform' under it but isn't that what the decades-long maintenance payments were supposed to pay for?
Ouch! Another huge point: don't let anyone conflate platform change with business transformation:
Vendors and vendor marketers often lack real business transformation stories. They might have some re-platform stories to share but real earth-shattering transformation pieces are as rare as hen’s teeth.
Brian and I debated this piece before publication - that would make a fun podcast. Bottom line: customers need to take a position on business transformation. Then choose the right tools, and correct ERP strategy for that plan - with no obligation to upgrade.
Diginomica picks - my top stories this week.
- Suppression vs surveillance - is it healthy if COVID-19 leads the public to compromise on privacy for a greater good? Stuart
- DevOps World - death to the three year upgrade cycle! - Martin
- How Holland & Barrett redeployed in-store staff to maintain a healthy contact center during lockdown - Jess
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Frontiers 2020 - Slack low-code workflow plugs in enterprise apps - Phil assesses Slacks's latest digital teamwork moves. Interesting contrast between Slack's event-driven emphasis versus the data repository approach.
- The most wonderful time of the year? Retail’s biggest stress test unwrapped as Salesforce data indicates big changes for the Holiday season - Stuart crunches data as we head into a high stakes holiday season.
- SAP doubles down on CX - why SAP acquired Emarsys, and the issues to track at SAP CX Live - with SAP Customer Experience live on deck this week, I bear down.
- How BP is using ServiceNow to transform into an ‘integrated energy company’ - A choice pick from Derek's rapidly expanding ServiceNow Now at Work coverage.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Prudential Financial's push beyond productivity to outcome-based work - a Workfront use case - Jon
- NetSuite Now 2020 - doubling down on the suite differentiation, benefitting from Oracle technology - Den
- Inside Surrey County Council's switch from SAP to Unit4 - Den
Jon's grab bag - Chris picks up the AI ethics debate in Transparent truths about AI ethics - assessing a seven point set of principles from Capgemini. How does he explain the rising trust in AI documented in the report? Humans are scarier than machines:
Policymakers may blame ‘rogue algorithms’, but the root cause is dumb or dishonest decisions at the management table.
Speaking of administrative incompetence, I knew Den would blow a major gasket over this glaring case of UK
spreadsheet abuse project failure: Excel and COVID-19, a marriage made in hell:
Is this the spark that will finally get people off their addiction to the spreadsheet - or at least consign its creation to those who actually know WTAF they're doing?
I wouldn't count on it...
Best of the rest
Lead story - IBM spins out its infrastructure management biz, and the pundits react
MyPOV: IBM stole a few moments from the
post-democratic circus political media junk machine this week. As Ron Miller reported in As IBM spins out legacy infrastructure management biz, CEO goes all in on the cloud:
While IBM's cloud revenue is growing, its market share needle is stuck and Krishna understands the need to focus. So, rather than continue to pour resources into the legacy side of IBM's business, he has decided to spin out that part of the company, allowing more attention for the favored child, the hybrid cloud business.
Initial reaction to this spinoff was (mostly) favorable, including Wall Street. Over at the often-wary UpperEdge, Greg Hall liked what he saw also (IBM Divestiture: Who Does it Really Impact?). But IBM still has a lot to prove. Hall:
The challenge for IBM will be increasing its market share in cloud spending... But resources aside, will IBM be able to sell companies on the value of its hybrid cloud software and solutions offerings?
Not everyone is gushing at IBM's decision to focus on cloud infrastructure growth. For a skeptical take, look no further than long-time IBM critic Charles Fitzgerald ( IBM's "Cloud" Business (or Lack Thereof)). Fitzgerald's title says it all - he sees "cloudwashing" in play, and breaks out his reasons.
Hard to argue with IBM's decision to focus - feels less like breaking news than the inevitable. Whether it's true public cloud services or a proprietary mishmash, well, customers will help to settle that one - with their wallets.
- Twilio is buying customer data startup Segment for between $3B and $4B - you lost me at "Twilio is worth $45 billion."
- Microsoft is letting more employees work from home permanently - no looking back now...
- House Antitrust Report Is a Bold Prescription for Curing Big Tech’s Ills - we're a long, long way from actual law yet, but the issues are worth a hard look.
- Numeric Scoring Metrics: Find the Right Metric for a Prediction Model – geek out over some predictive models.
- The Disruption of Management Consulting - a deep dive from CB Insights: "Every day, consulting firms need to prove that they can be relevant in this new world."
Who says the karmic system is broken? Tourist returns stolen artefacts from Pompeii 'after suffering curse'. Yeah, there's been a lot of strange sports-related stories this year, but this one has to be up there: Ian Rapoport was indeed suspended for an Manscaped Lawn Mower sponsored Instagram post.
Meanwhile, this is what passes for innovation on Twitter during election season:
Twitter is bringing its ‘read before you retweet’ prompt to all users https://t.co/k7qHSUpJlK
-> cool - too bad the "think before you tweet" prompt is not in development
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 25, 2020
The techdrunk competition has a clear winner this week:
The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here’s What It Will Look Like https://t.co/t89cbExNJA
"unhackable networks and information that travels faster than the speed of light."
-> gee willikers our quality of life is going to be so incredible!!!!
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 7, 2020
And yeah, the CPT-3 ML text generator is a bit craftier than I thought. I still don't think it can write a convincing essay, but short-form? It can wreak some disconcerting havoc, including a bunch of Reddit upvotes on a thread about suicide:
A GPT-3 bot posted comments on Reddit for a week and no one noticed https://t.co/B1TaXHCqdq
-> smart enough to fit in on Reddit. A low bar but still a scary one. Raising questions again on who should have access to this code, etc.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 11, 2020
Finally, this one stung:
Van Halen brought some swagger and artistry into my youth at a time when all I could see sometimes was adversity. Eddie Van Halen rest in peace brotha
"I've been to the edge.... and there I stood and looked down. You know I've lost a lot of friends there baby..."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) October 6, 2020
Subversion is a posture; the finest rebellion is the pursuit of mastery. As for the rest? Hard to be bothered. Or, in more timeless VH fashion:
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.