Lead story - Lands End and Hudson's Bay grapple with the omni-channel - retail analysis by Stuart Lauchlan
MyPOV: Stuart's got holiday stocking stuffers for retailers of note, starting with Lands End (Lands End on firmer ground, but omni-channel challenges remain tough as exit from Sears continues). The numbers look better, including strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday digital sales, but this Sears thing is getting awkward, as Sears stores close right and left. It's hard to serve customers across channels when one of your channels is going dodo bird.
But the Amazon partnership is a pragmatic step forward. And, Stuart didn't see the need for any "cliff's edge" snark, so that's a good sign. Meantime, Hudson's Bay has omni-channel quandries of its own (Hudson's Bay - claiming retail uniqueness, but still struggling with omni-channel 101).
Stuart isn't as impressed with BOPIS as Hudson's Bay leadership is ("Buy online, pickup in store"):
Seriously this is omni-channel retail 101 stuff.
Then there's this keeper:
The idea of gradations of uniqueness makes me cringe at the best of times.
This isn't one of those times:
While wishing Hudson’s Bay well as a retail institution, I’m troubled by the pace of change and the steep climb there is just to get to the omni-channel basics.
Not to pile on, but I could have lived without the "proud Canadian heritage" mic droppings. If there's one thing we know about modern retail, every day you have to earn it. Heritage and tradition count as much as jingle bells. And with that, we watch the holiday season to unfold.
My two two picks on diginomica this week -
- Local marketing tactics are necessary - but the data says they're not happening - We've all read the hilarious language gaffes companies make when they carpet blast local campaigns from
culturally myopic war roomsinsular playbooks. Barb assesses the latest data on what marketers are getting wrong on local - and the opportunities missed.
- Why Caterpillar wants to turn into a digital butterfly - Stuart's back for more, kicking tires on Caterpillar's intentions in the field services market.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Nutanix launches itself at the edge...if you are ready to go along for the ride - Martin on a vendor worth watching. "Achieving Invisible Together" is not your typical rallying cry.
- AWS fully embraces hybrid cloud, ARM and custom silicon at re:Invent 2018 - Kurt's got his personal hits/misses for one of the biggest shows of the year: "AWS is taking on a multi-front battle with the biggest names in the IT equipment industry."
- Workday CEO Bhusri is keeping calm and carrying on in the 'new normal' - buried in Stuart's upbeat Workday earnings review is a concerning tidbit from Bhusri, one that will loom over us enterprise types in 2019: "There’s this hangover of uncertainty coming from the political environment ."
A few more vendor picks, without the quips:
- Salesforce packages up IoT for a better field service experience - Phil
- Plex Systems appoints new CEO Bill Berutti - here's a first look at his plans - Jon
- How Zendesk pursues frictionless collaboration with Zoom video conferencing - Jon
Jon's grab bag - The molten core at the center of Facebook's
ongoing destruction of Western Civilization woes appears to have shifted to the UK for now. Stuart's on the case: "That may be good for the world, but it’s not good for us" - Zuckerberg, Facebook and your data.
Jerry chronicles the volatile frenemies-to-enemies US political tech pretzel in US military to tech protestors - 'We’re at war; pick a side'. Hey, when
your ethics are for sale global expansion is job one, China looks pretty tempting.
Finally, if you've had your fill of buzzword-dripping tech predictions from a pu pu platter of tech gurus, you may find reprieve in the satirical aburdity of my annual collaboration with Brian Sommer, The 2019 enterprise software un-predictions, wherein hot new buzzwords like "omni-crapper" and "fiscal experience" are revealed.
Best of the rest
Lead story - Marriott stinks, Quora sucks, and other notable lessons in cybersecurity
myPOV: I wanted to give readers sophisticated cybersecurity analysis, but I can't get past this simple thought: man, doesn't Marriott stink? And doesn't Quora suck the eggs of the hard-boiled variety? Aren't we all fed up with these wet noodle apologies?
Oh yeah, now that Congress is turning up the PR Bunsen burner, Marriott's going to spring for the costs of some new passports for a few impacted by their breach - after they file their forms in triplicate. And, who knows, maybe they'll find you a room closer to the elevator! Throw in some crackers and a cheese dip spread while you're at it. And wow, didn't we all pay for the poor judgment of logging into
the only business web site creepier than Klout Quora once a few years ago to give it a test drive, before realizing it was an influencer pajama party, then forgetting we ever signed up?
Sorry, I'm a wee bit ruffled. Let's turn it over to peeps who have a handle on their indignation. Start with Ian Murphy of The Enterprise Times, who looks at why mergers are fraught with security risk:
Part of the IT integration project should have been the security and safety of data. It is clear that there was no security audit of the Starwood systems. This is something that regulators and shareholders will want to know about.
I'll say. Meantime, thinking big picture, Dark Reading's Gus Hunt urges us to move from cybersecurity to cyber resilience. Hunt is addressing U.S. federal agencies, but we can all gain from those tips. And, a few more from Tech Republic: 7 tips for CXOs to combat cybersecurity risks in 2019 and beyond. But here's the sobering part:
The year 2018 alone saw more than 600 cybersecurity data breaches that exposed more than 22 million records.
And yet, Deloitte found only 25 percent of organizations are scenario-planning to prevent such attacks. That means: more violations and ineffectual apologies on the way in 2019. Time for vigilance, folks. And for some zero trust security, as per Louis Columbus' October call to action.
- The CFO’s role: Prioritize, transform, repeat - McKinsey's got your CFO think piece of the week. Yes, there is opportunity here for finance types - but also pressure as roles expand and digital expectations grow.
- IBM selling Lotus Notes/Domino business to HCL for $1.8B - Remember when "groupware" mattered, and Lotus Notes was the hottest thing going? On second thought, maybe it's better if you don't. Ron Miller's on the case.
- Robots rising: 5 trends driving the robotics sector in 2019 - ZDNet claims this piece has "no hype," but I smell it pretty well from here. That said, robotics ain't just hype, I'll give you that.
Issued my first bonehead alert of December:
This piece is four years old now, but wow, these are bonkers fails:
"Panasonic launched a Web-ready PC with a Woody Woodpecker theme using the slogan "Touch Woody: The Internet Pecker."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 7, 2018
Then there's this:
PR email subject header of the day:
"Jon: How Blockchain Will Impact Art in 2019"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 5, 2018
Finally, I think we all appreciate realistic/skeptical takes on AI to counteract the marketing bombast. Instead, we get this faux realism from HBR:
Why Companies That Wait to Adopt AI May Never Catch Up https://t.co/yMJghr9gsB -> does not adequately explain why the "fast follower" approach of letting others do bruising early adoption is different in case of AI than so many other tech plays. Candy for vendor marketers though!
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 7, 2018
Twitter smartie @ggheorghiu points out that "Most content on 'adopt or die' topics is pure marketing...". True - but this one is particularly bile inducing. Why?
yeah, this one is special though as they acknowledge that, claim this is different, then don't support those claims. That's going to get them in the whiffs section this week
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) December 7, 2018
In the piece, the authors specifically say that AI is different than other "fast follower situations":
They are planning to be “fast followers” — a strategy that has worked with most information technologies. We think this is a bad idea.
Yet they never bother to explain the difference. What makes being a fast follower in AI so detrimental? Because it takes preparation and resources? Yeah, that really makes AI unique. If the authors had contrasted AI adoption to say, blockchain, or cloud, or serverless, or pick your buzzword, they could have perhaps made a case for why AI is different. Instead they hand out marketing candy in professorial guise.
Nor do they mention any business results these AI market leaders are achieving. "Alphabet" is cited as a company that's way ahead. Well, last time I checked, Google makes the vast majority of its money on tiny classified ads, same as always. If they are so far ahead on AI, shouldn't financial results be part of the picture? Yet on the enterprise cloud side, where AI will surely factor in, Google is getting tails kicked by Amazon and Microsoft. Oh, and the authors point out Watson as an incentive to start early - yeah, be like Watson, the epic AI financial sinkhole at IBM that has yet to lead the company forward revenue wise.
Nevermind that many companies lack data science experts and AI development skills. So, the article's message, as far as I can tell, is: get started now, this time it's different, and you'll have to look elsewhere for advice on how to do it. I'm confident the authors know a truckload about AI, that's not the issue.
Just call the piece "Why we heart AI" - and we're good.