Enterprise hits and misses - June 10

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 9, 2013
Summary:
Jon picks the highs and the lows from a hectic summer week of enterprisey events.

A cheeky review on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: hybris hubris and the war in heaven by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'The wider implications on the competitive landscape will of course take time to level out, but some commentators now argue that the current enterprise commerce landscape boils down to four leaders in the form of SAP, Oracle, IBM and eBay with the likes of NetSuite and DemandWare gearing up to challenge the status quo.'

myPOV: In a week where the Salesforce ExactTarget acquisition and SAP's hybris announcement led into vendor jabs, Stuart finds the bigger enterprise commerce story. The players may be changing, but Stuart's argument that ecommerce now becomes 'on a par with ERP and CRM' as an application category - not to mention a key cloud battleground - is the bigger story to follow. Also check out this interview with Stuart that gives more context on the founding of diginomica, his views on PR, Twitter, and yes, Dr. Who.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Content eats marketing by Dennis Howlett

quotage: 'What’s needed is a mind shift, a recognition that unvarnished yet well articulated story telling is far more powerful than legally neutered press release material. As I say that, I can almost see the PR nerds nodding vigorously yet panicking about how they get those ideas across to clients who are used to seeing PR as the gatekeeper of corporate thought. My sense is that information demands will trump control.'

myPOV: Dennis wrote a number of pieces worth checking out this week (I recommend his on-the-ground views of AribaLIVE). This pick goes to 'Content eats marketing,' a riff on a topic we'll dissect often at diginomica: what happens when you can't buy your way onto the radar of decision makers? The answer may be great content but it's never that simple. Will information trump control? I'd like to think so.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Are you a data scientist? by Stephen Few
quotage: 'When all is said and done, deriving value from data comes down to effective data sensemaking, resulting in greater understanding and better decisions. Regarding those who do the work, it only matters that they’re qualified to do it well. If you’re a hiring manager looking for someone to glean meaningful insights from your data, keep in mind that the title “data scientist” on a resume means nothing. IT titles are notoriously inflated.'

myPOV: Never short on opinions, Few pushes through his self-described nausea at data scientist hype and responds to a reader email about how data scientists should be defined. Mocking IBM's definition of data scientists as far too broad, Few argues that good data analysts have always had these overhyped skills. My view goes in two directions: I think data scientist is a term worth protecting for those with deep statistical analysis backgrounds. But I'd also like to see a recognition that smart business analysts who know their industry can make sense of data if they are given the right tools - even if they lack statistical backgrounds. Few's piece is a good read though.

IT jobs: A specialist economy or reign of the polymath? by Larry Dignan
quotage: 'Robert Half's argument is that workers can reposition and market themselves based on various specialties and buzzwords — think cloud, big data, social, etc. Indeed, network and database admins are in demand today. Does anyone really think the software-defined data center will spare these roles a decade from now? I didn't think so.'

myPOV: Dignan is the master of the short piece that pulls no punches. In this one, he makes quick work of a recent white paper by technology staffing firm Robert Half. While conceding that technical specialization does matter in today's job market, Dignan argues that to avoid skills obsolescence, you need to be a polymath, which Dignan defines as 'someone who knows business as well as technology, can tell a story, and has a dose of emotional intelligence to manage people.' I'm with Dignan.

A sensor-based solution by Pirelli and GE’s recent investment in Pivotal: An Internet of Things analysis by Dick Hirsch
quotage: 'GE might provide the sensors themselves and also might create associated IoT applications.  SAP, however, with its ERP roots could provide the critical business context that provides real value to such IoT-related analysis. Your vending machines might provide information about their status (how many candy bars do I have left, etc) but this information becomes much more valuable when associated with other enterprise data (global inventory, marketing, etc) where SAP excels.'

myPOV: Rarely short on blog titles and legendary for his word counts, Hirsch is one of the most original bloggers in the SAP space. In this piece, he contrasts two Internet of Things (IoT) examples: a HANA Proof of Concept discussion with Pirelli at Sapphire Now, and an analysis of GE's investment in pivotal. Dick's argument that ERP vendors like SAP are in an ideal position to combine IoT data with ERP data such as inventory is on track. But who will be the first to get there? Isolated use cases are far less interesting than a platform play.

Multi-media

from JD-OD.com: On our sister site, we've now posted a two-for-one interview with developer John Moy on the state of enterprise mobile apps and his assessment of SAP mobility. There's also a customer interview with Danone Group on working with the HANA cloud platform to build cloud/mobile apps.
from the interweb: I recommend checking out the Informatica World keynote replays for some refreshingly agnostic views on data integration and new data use cases. I also wrote an analysis of the keynote themes.

Whiffs

Overworked businessman
Hardly a week goes by without another asinine article on why the fall of Google Reader was inevitable and why RSS no longer matters. This week's myopia comes from Wired Magazine, which reports that Google Reader was axed because how we consume news has changed. That might be true - if breaking news was the reason why outliers use RSS in the first place. Social networks are undeniably better at surfacing breaking news stories throughout the day. I don't need a data scientist or a know-it-all from Google to tell me that.

But hardcore RSS addicts like myself don't rely on RSS for news. We rely on RSS to subscribe to the very best content. Because as much as we like our friends, we don't count on them to provide deeper context. Sometimes they are pissed about lost luggage or stoked to upload fresh baby pics - and that's ok. But we don't trust the overrated wisdom of crowds when it comes to the specialized content needed for enterprise work.

Google killed Reader for one bloody obvious reason: Google Plus. Google is all in on Google Plus, determined to get the average user times above a pathetic 7 minutes a month. Social networks know best? Not when it comes to the enterprise. Right now top three trending topics on Twitter are: #SongsThatNeverGetOld, #YouDontKnowTheStruggleIf and #MyTop10Bands. On Google Plus? You can choose between ten that include #PRISM, #Punday, #Turkey and #WAZE.

I'm not clear on why so many mainstream tech bloggers feel a need to mock RSS curators, especially given data showing that Reader provided consumer tech sites with far more traffic than Google Plus. Out of the ashes of Google Reader a sustainable RSS business model will come. And nothing cleans up an email inbox jammed with newsletters better than a well-constructed reader, which is also worlds better for tagging content than email. As for me, I'm likely moving to Feedly - I've been impressed by their Reader integration and backchannel engagement. But that's a piece for another time. Meanwhile here's a semi-annotated chart of Google Reader alternatives.

Officially off-topic

I enjoyed this mean-spirited Millenials in the workplace video, but a bigger laugh came from cat-versus-printer. Oh, and with some of the dire privacy news around PRISM, it's nice to see some glass-half-full tech news like the FAA-approved flying car and the audacious prospect of high-speed tube travel from New York to Los Angeles in 45 minutes.

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: Man in Chair © Dudarev Mikhail, Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP paid for most of Jon's travel and expense to Sapphire Now Orlando, where the JD-OD Sapphire video footage was filmed.

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