Enterprise hits and misses - messaging tools get slapped with the Band-Aid moniker, VMware picks up a Pivotal acquisition

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed August 26, 2019
This week - is enterprise messaging just a Band-Aid of busywork? Also: The IaaS market heats up in time for for VMWorld, with a Pivotal acquisition in play. Infor changes CFOs, Oracle gets legal drama, and I call a self-whiff.


Lead story - Have we learned from Enterprise 2.0, or are collaboration tools just digital busywork?

MyPOV: Questions on the collaboration software market - and how far it's really come - echoed across diginomica this week. Barb framed the issues in From Enterprise 2.0 to the digital workplace - how far have we come?

Yes, the tools have come a long way from the Enterprise 2.0 Bacchanalia hype heyday, but as Barb argues, without structure, shiny new objects smack into the wall. As messaging tools proliferate, the governance plot thickens:

We lack the proper governance of those tools. The biggest failing is thinking that technology is the answer... You have to provide guardrails to your employees on how to use different systems  - and how not to.

The tools aren't perfect either. If you're not on your game, Slack or Teams just moves your email problem into a messaging chaos problem. The flaws in our so-called "sticky" messaging tools are where Phil picks up. Phil crunches a slew of sobering studies in Are digital collaboration apps the best answer to busywork?

Pushing back from the messaging infatuation, Phil asks:

Are Slack, G Suite, Teams and the rest the last word in digital enterprise collaboration or are they just emergency first-aid for the busywork in our lives?

Two problems: one is how you manage these apps to avoid info meltdowns. The second: these messaging tools are often not embedded in the enterprise software we are using. So what's the way forward? Phil takes a page from the gaming world (e.g. Discord) for his answer:

You need something like Discord that can operate both within each of those apps as well as around them — something that I would call a collaborative canvas. That ultimate framework for enterprise teamwork is still at a very early stage of maturity.

Makes sense - but Phil's onto the obvious problem here: 

No single vendor is ever going to fulfill every collaborative requirement across many different types of work.

That obstacle should keep us all flailing at our laudable attempts at productivitybusy for a while.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

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

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - It was a vintage week of gasket-blowing rants edgy think pieces on diginomica this week, starting with Phil's Are you just going to robotically automate all your old processes? Phil warns that a robotic approach to RPA can become "a new but equally dead-end take on offshoring." Ouch. Neil nudged sacred big data cows closer to pasture - and ruffled some guru feathers in the process - in Big data didn't fall with MapR - Hadoop is fading, but data lakes are not.

I gave myself a marketing buzzword palate cleanser in What the heck are content experiences, and why are we overhyping them? A skeptical riff. Meanwhile, Den parsed an unexpected reframing of shareholder worship corporate mission from America's top CEOs: In search of America's new corporate purpose  - a "remarkable" document that deserves some cynicism, as Den says, until we see the fortitude of follow-through.

Jerry warned of a fresh batch of security headaches in Cloud-based app backends - a rat's nest of mobile phone security vulnerabilities, while Jess got us on the sunny side of tech's possibilities again in Mencap turns to hackathon for help with new 'positive behavior' app.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top enterprise picks and from the interwebs

I blew out my word count again, but here's my quick hit review of this week's notable news and analysis:

Honorable mention

  • The risks of amoral A.I. - okay, so this topic is pretty well flogged covered by now, but this line is the crux of why we should care: "The negative externalities from the use of AI are not borne by the companies developing it."
  • Oracle directors give blessing to shareholder lawsuit against Larry Ellison and Safra Catz - Oracle is no stranger to legal drama - and hardly intimidated by such headlines - but this twist should be interesting nonetheless.
  • Goals and metrics - One of the sharpest analysts you'll find, Sandy Kelmsley, lays out some metrics that actually matter: "We need to change worker metrics in more collaborative work environments so that they’re rewarded for more than just personal performance."

Overworked businessman


The "science can be so inconvenient" award goes to the flat-earth contingent (Flat earthers disprove themselves with own experiments in Netflix documentary).

The "swigging the Google Koolaid, with an AI chaser" award goes to Forbes: The Amazing Ways YouTube Uses Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning.

The enterprise headline of the year "so far" award goes to this mockery of the WeWork IPO, simply entitled: WeWTF. "In frothy markets, it's easy to enter into a consensual hallucination."   A hallucinated state is the only possible explanation for why WeWork paid its own CEO, Adam Neumann, $5.9 million for the "We" trademark. Hubris as a Service indeed....

I had some fun with the (supposed) fridge-tweeting teen:

But Louis Columbus spoiled that party with actual facts:

I wasn't the only one who got duped - but fools shouldn't derive false comfort from each other. Yep, we've got ourselves a self-whiff folks. Eventually, we all step in it - my turn this time. See you next week...

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.