Enterprise hits and misses - IT leaders face the recession question, digital consumers change things up, and composable apps make their case

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed July 18, 2022
This week - the recession may not be a done deal, but it's time for IT leaders to respond. Composable apps have fallen short before - but is this their time? Security flaws at Experian (again), and AI Copilot gets an open source debate. In the whiffs, I put the North Star buzzword out of commission.


Lead story - Composable applications - analyst creation, or the future of enterprise IT?

I've always found "composable applications" to be equally appealing and off-putting. I love the idea of building blocks that allow customers to build their own processes, without having to buy a cumbersome (and pricey) software suite.

On the other hand, analysts were hand-waving about composable applications long before they were technically feasible. That created a frustration-gap between analyst techno-fantasies prognostication and customer realities.

But in a cloud-first, APIs-everywhere world, is it worth revisiting this concepts? Phil does just that in his feature story, Massimo Pezzini on the composable future of enterprise IT.  Is the tech ready to support the vision? Perhaps, but it's going to require a deeper pursuit of integration and automation. Phil quotes (retired Gartner analyst) Pezzini:

Integration/automation infrastructure will be considered an essential business tool without which you cannot be in business ... because the ability to quickly compose and recompose your business processes — to deliver a new product to customers, to introduce a new service, to comply to a new regulation — is going to be vital. And without a sound integration/automation strategy, it's simply impossible to do this kind of thing.

If you ask the pioneers of forward-thinking IT about "integration," they will give you a weary, battle-tested stare. But, as Phil points out, we are a long way from the client-server area of patchwork application quilts:

The ease of use is dramatically simpler than for traditional BPM and integration tools, which shortens the learning curve for these newer platforms.

Therefore, as Pezzini says:

You don't need to hire an army of PhDs in computer science to use these tools, which means that the barrier to entry dropped down dramatically ...

The traditional integration software, you had an integration competency centre of 10 people, and they were the only people in the company that could use this technology. If you throw in Workato or Jitterbit or one of these tools, a lot of people can use this technology.

I don't believe the technology is holding us back any longer. However, we're not at that composable applications future yet either. What are the remaining stumbling blocks? That's another debate, and a longer story. Phil has promised a Frictionless Enterprise update to tie these themes together; we can look forward to that one.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

As has been noted several times on diginomica, it was always going to be the case that those COVID-powered year-on-year growth numbers for online retail were never going to be sustainable in the Vaccine Economy.  While short-termists on Wall Street have adopted the all-too-familiar Chicken Little role and started squawking about the digital sky falling in, the new reality is that the search for the ideal omni-channel mix has never been more important and finding that balance is now - or should now be - the top corporate priority.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

  • Oracle announces sovereign cloud regions for the EU - When it comes to regulations, data is (increasingly) local. Derek: "Oracle said that these sovereign cloud regions are designed to enable customers to “demonstrate alignment with relevant EU regulations and guidance."
  • Coupa helps customers advance ESG goals with a digital twin of the supply chain - Phil shares fresh data and use cases from Coupa: "It's good to see evidence of companies starting to take action on sustainability and other ESG issues. I do feel though that we're only at the beginning of collecting the relevant data and analyzing it."
  • Capital One cashes in on its own cloud journey experiences to pitch tools to other B2B users - A Snowflake use case from Mark Samuels: "According to Salim Syed, Vice President of Slingshot Engineering at Capital One Software, Capital One’s commitment to technology is best exemplified by its cloud-first strategy, which has resulted in the bank closing its internal data centers. As part of that digital transformation process, the bank built its own tools to help it manage the shift to the cloud."

The heat is on in the UK, and I don't mean the weather. Derek's on the case:

Jon's grab bag - Madeline continues her female leadership series with What I’d say to me back then – Brightcove CMO Jennifer Smith on never being afraid to put your ideas forward. Chris makes the case for the relevance of space tech innovation in Why is space the final frontier for accepting technology’s benefits? Finally, I crafted another love letter to event planners blew another gasket in Tech events at a crossroads - go hybrid and include people, or go on-the-ground and exclude them. I also pulled the top hybrid tips from the event (mis)adventures of the diginomica team:

I didn't want to write this post. I've already made an impassioned case for why the future of events is imaginative, and hybrid. But riding the event circuit this spring, it dawned on me. Event planners were doing something they never intended: they weren't just excluding people who couldn't make it. They were creating tiers of experience quality.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • Is a Recession Coming? Here’s How to Cut IT Costs Wisely - I tend to be wary of recessionary cost-cutting; often, there is a better argument for (smartly) doubling down while others are hunkering and bunkering. But this New Stack piece has some useful pointers, including a concept called Zero Copy Integration Framework: "CTOs and other technology leaders that want to ensure their companies are in a good position for a recovery can save money long-term by taking a look at how they manage their data."
  • Zoom video after COVID-19 and the failed Five9 acquisition - Zoom is determined to move beyond video meeting traction. Can they make a true enterprise play?
  • Sure, GitHub's AI-assisted Copilot writes code for you, but is it legal or ethical? - There is no consensus on this open source debate: "We can't expect organizations to use AI in the future with "goodwill" and "good faith," so it's time for a broader conversation about AI's impact on society and on open source."
  • Welcome to new normalization… not necessarily ropy recession - Phil Fersht of HfS is here to help us navigate the headwinds: "While stock prices have suffered in recent times, those businesses that address a clear market need and have a path to profitability and growth are surviving and will eventually become safe bets for investors eager to escape the madness."
  • Experian, You Have Some Explaining to Do - A disconcerting vulnerability, from an repeat-offender organization that needs to be above this particular fray.
  • Have a Plan to Fire Your SI - UpperEdge's Ted Rogers nabs the enterprise headline-of-the-week in a landslide.
  • Adapting in the Face of Change - Lora Cecere presses on, with more tough love for supply chain leaders: "The companies that are driving business continuity actively design their supply chains, manage complexity, and align cross-functional teams. There is less focus on cost, IT standardization, and outsourcing."

Overworked businessman


I came darn close to getting a whiff called on myself this week; this story of air travel dysfunction did not seem like satire, until the end :

Up until now, I was opposed to the AI deep fake industry. But if AI is going to displace Instagram "influencers," I might have to reconsider:

Finally, unless you are a sailor trying to navigate the high seas, can we give "North Star" a breather. I know, your customers are your North Star, and you'd have to find a more authentic way of describing why you care be lost without them, but let's give it a try anyhow:

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.

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