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Enterprise hits and misses - July 1

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 30, 2013
Summary:
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending June 28, 2013.

A cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Perspectives on a cloud bromance by "The Team"

quotage: Dennis - 'Salesforce.com was always the beacon for disruptive technology players. It was the alternative many customers wanted to their monolithic suppliers like SAP and Oracle. How does this change the landscape? Can Salesforce.com remain that bolthole or will we see it slowly sucked into the Oracle orbit? Today, both companies are trying their best to pitch this as good for customers while maintaining a healthy distance. I’m not so sure that customers will see it that way.'

myPOV: In a furious flurry of announcements, Oracle changed the enterprise conversation. Diginomica covered the week's news, which directly involved not only Oracle, but Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and Microsoft, from a variety of angles. I especially liked Phil Wainewright's Salesforce + Oracle: Good Grief! because of a wistful quality he captured in the midst of a sharp analysis. There's no room for nostalgia in enterprise software, but it was hard for those who root for the startups that shake up the status quo to fight off a moment of reflection.

Then it's back to the hard work of understanding what this means for customers, a process we started in the 'Perspectives on a Bromance' piece. To be bluntly honest I have concerns about falling into reactionary mode at every announcement vendors crank out. I like to think we do things differently here, which means finding the unsung stories as well.

That's one reason why four of the five co-founders (Den, Stuart, Phil, and yours truly) combined forces on one wrap piece. But instead of taking one group position, it makes more sense for you to see the separate voices we bring - albeit honed by backchannel debate. It seems readers enjoyed that collective piece and it seems a certainty we'll be doing that again. It's just a matter of when the next ruckus occurs.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
A week of Oracle announcements (so far) and what it means to software buyers by Brian Sommer

quotage: 'Software buyers want functionally rich products. Cloud or not, if the solution doesn't solve their business problem, it doesn't get chosen. But in recent calls I've done with CFOs, solid CRM, Office Automation, storage, HR, HCM, and financial software solutions are being happily bought in cloud deployment models. And some great manufacturing solutions are popping up in a number of verticals, too. The cloud apps space is maturing fast, and vendors must deliver new products in new deployment models or get left behind.'

myPOV: Figuring we were on overload with the 'bromance' story, I was going with another pick but the fbest content I read all week was on this issue. Larry Dignan was on top of his game, perhaps the first to riff on the 'bromance' term. Esteban Kolsky also let it rip, ending his piece with one of the best dislosures you will ever read. ('They will remain my opinions even when I am broke and bankrupt' - rock on dude!)

As for Brian Sommer's piece, he published it prior to the Oracle press conference last Thursday, but nailed key points regardless. Brian is correct that enterprise buyers are a savvy lot. They are not going to get seduced by brassy new partnerships unless it makes a genuine impact on their business. Only then will they sign on the line that is dotted (Not safe for work audio).

CMOs outspending CIOs on technology: “so what?” Here’s what. by Peter Kretzman

quotage: 'Should there be technology involvement on the part of the CMO? By all means. I think it’s fine (but also can be at times a fine foreshadowing) when other execs “know enough to be dangerous” about technology, as long as they recognize that such dangers actually do exist and do matter. Far too many of this new breed of CMO, excited by the possibilities and what they can accomplish, gloss over those dangers, to everyone’s detriment. As on a baseball team, different positions exist for different reasons and focus.'

myPOV: Like many enterprisey bloggers, Kretzman got worked up by a simplistic not-so-enterprisey post from ReadWrite.com on the role of CMO and he vented some spleen. Somehow, he managed to vent that spleen in a very deliberate and organized way.

We're going to hear a lot more debate on the tech-savvy CMO versus the business-savvy CIO. Which one is more prevalent today? Which role has more organizational power? Which is more relevant to innovation? I refuse to concede one right answer because of variations in industry and corporate culture. When compliance and security is at a premium, the CIO has more power - period. But in the meantime, it was fun to read this deconstruction of a blog post Kretzman found 'enormously flawed in its assumptions, logic, and conclusions.' Is that all, Peter?

Are You A Hacker, Developer or Engineer? (And Why it Matters) by Hartley Brody

quotage: 'What does it mean for someone to be a “developer” versus an “engineer”? Does it matter? If you’re trying to “level up” or make a career out of writing code, I’d say it matters a lot.'

myPOV: When terms are tossed around loosely, key distinctions get muddied. Inspired by a presentation and video by David Mosher on becoming a front-end engineer, Brody's post walks the reader through the hacker-to-developer-to-engineer transition and why it matters. We'll never agree on a definition of hacker, but the piece still casts a useful light onto why you have to evolve to be professionally effective.

For example, Brody argues that part of evolving into a developer from a hacker is breaking the habit of being a heads-down coder: 'As a developer, you need to start paying more attention to the community. Subscribe to blogs or Twitter accounts that talk about technologies you’re interested in so that you learn best practices and see how others are approaching similar problems.' Bingo. Developers need to embrace social learning and, for that matter, more companies should support it.

Multi-media

from JD-OD.com: Some cool new writeups and videos up on our JD-OD sister site this week. Depending on your interest, check out Tibco on Big Data - with CTO Matt Quinn, JP Rangaswami on Filters, Metadata, and Information Overload or Talking Digital Marketing with Justin Bowser of HTK. All are worth a look.

from the interweb: If you need one more fix on the Oracle story, check out the Oracle Cloud Disruption webinar recording from Constellation Research Group. On the audio-only replay, Ray Wang moderates a (very) fast-paced, free wheeling discussion with Holger Mu and Esteban Kolksy. Other multi-media highlights include: webinar replay of Outsourcing is Dead: Long Live Outsourcing from Horses for Sources.

There's also an interesting replay of The “Town Square” in the Social Media Era: A Conversation with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo from Brookings, during which Costolo talks about Twitter's plans to improve live event filtering for bloated hashtags. More on Twitter for business from an ROI direction in this webinar replay from Social Media Today with Maggie Fox (and friends).

Whiffs

Overworked businessman
I didn't see an incompetent blog post this week (aside from the usual clueless investor 'blog community' attempts to grasp the Oracle news), but there was plenty of news I didn't think much of. One such piece of news was Yammer teaming with Klout to integrate employee Klout scores into a company's Yammer network. Normally, I criticize companies that restrict employee access to social networks.

But if a company seriously wants to elevate the status of who got the most tweets done, then all I can say is, be very careful what foolishness you wish for. I know this sounds wacky, but maybe, just maybe, companies would rather reward the MVPs on their latest projects versus those who piled up the most Facebook likes during business hours?

The best part of this will be when an alternative social hierarchy is created within the company. Think things won't get a little tense in a performance review where the employee's Klout score is ten times that of the manager doing the review? Or five times that of a team maker that makes more in salary based on seniority? Go ahead, install Klout on your Yammer. But don't ping me the first time you hear "where is my Klout bonus?" I'm not the only one pulling a Peter Kretzman on this BS. A worked-up blogger without Kretzman's nuance belted out:

What was once just a daft badge is now something to be bought up at your annual performance review. Want that promotion? You'd better hope that spending all day getting retweeted by celebrities helps your "influencer" score.  No.

Final swings

This is the last 'hits and misses' I will compile with use of Google Reader, which shuts down July 1. The jonerpnewsfeed won't miss a beat. I should probably be having a moment of gratitude for Google changing my professional life and infecting me with an RSS hacker's mentality and a passion for curation. If only it were that simple. I did appreciate the thoughtful note from Google Reader founding team member Kevin Fox.

Fox makes a good point - since Reader shut down, there has been a literal exposion of news consumption alternatives. They will be more than sufficient - for most users (here's one more last-gasp Reader roundup with updates on Digg, AOL, etc). In my case, Reader had features I can't replace without using a chain of products for tagging and filtering. So be it. A bit sad and odd that Fox comments on the phenomenon of shutting down a service with so many active/passionate users - without apparently grasping that irony. Or at least not to my satisfaction.

Right now I have a slight preference for Newsblur (paid version) over Feedly for incoming feeds. Try 'em both. If you're not sure if RSS is even relevant for you, I wrote a piece on RSS versus email versus social discovery that weighs the pros and cons of each. One area where RSS whips email is monitoring keyword alerts, which is why it's so stupid Yahoo shut down RSS alerts along with about ten other services. Yahoo keyword alerts are useful; I'll be hacking through that one by converting from Yahoo email alerts to RSS and then into my reader. Thanks for all the fish Yahoo.

Officially off-topic

Speaking of fish, meet the slimy, gelatinous sea creature that could someday produce biofuel. It was a nifty week for animals in my feed, with more heroic service dogs and a bear than can recognize 200 commands (with video), play the trumpet and so forth. Not so much for humans, with the appearance of scummy ambulance chasing lawyers on Twitter. I'm generally in favor of mocking Twitter (I tweet far less than I used to), but Tumblr founder David Karp probably shouldn't throw those stones.  I have two rarely-used personal blogs on Tumblr; my blogging neighborhood on Tumblr feels less like an Internet cafe and more like the Las Vegas strip.

The Snowden story got me thinking about living in airports. I'm late to this one, but I had no idea that a man lived in Terminal One of the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from 1988 to 2006. I guess he made a good chunk of change selling his story to Hollywood for "The Terminal, " but it's too bad they turned it into a romcom (romantic comedy) puff piece. Turns out he wrote a book about the experience - maybe I'll check that out. I liked this reader comment: 'For anyone who has spent any time in an airport, this book will make you appreciate your departures.'

As far as fascinating places go, I was also taken by this photo essay of an abandoned island in the middle of New York City. Which makes me want to unplug. I think I'll do that now. See you next time.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most of these articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. “myPOV” is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: Oracle and Salesforce are both diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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