Enterprise hits and misses - normal eludes the workplace (and the retailer), chip shortages concern, and edge computing rises
- This week - return to work? Maybe. Return to normal? No. Retailers are coming to the same realization. Also: edge computing makes hybrid sexy - and changes the data center. Add chip shortages to the list of recovery challenges. As always, your weekly whiffs.
Lead story - Normal isn't coming back - the latest on return to work (and stores)
MyPOV: No crystal balls allowed, but: what's next in the Vaccine Economy? Stuart kicks things off with No going back to the 'Old Normal' after COVID? How the 'New Normal' experience shapes up is going to be complicated, according to Qualtrics.
Citing a Qualtrics study on consumer attitudes, Stuart raises the kicker question:
So what will stick online and what won’t?
We have clues:
Going back to the grocery sector, another exemplar of ‘a good war had by most’ in the main - a few supply chain sticky moments aside - it’s clear that it’s a not a zero sum game going forward. The online shift happened and while many people will want to return to in-store, equally many will have been awakened to the convenience of online ordering and delivery.
Similar themes from my piece, Store re-openings are not a return to normal - six retail project lessons for the Vaccine Economy, from Wipro's Srini Rajamani. Bottom line: the new retail normal won't be the old one. Some changed behaviors have become habits, aided and abetted by tech surges (e.g. contactless shopping, improved mobile apps, buy online/pickup at store). As Rajamani put it:
These are some of the things we see as tectonic changes - people won't go back to where they were pre-pandemic.
And yet: there remains a return-to-work problem. You can call it employee morale, or you can
get a wonky start on buzzword bingo and call it "employee experience." As I wrote:
The big challenge remains the retail employee experience. Digitize all you want; employees still dictate customer experiences, especially when you get near a store. Brands that don't invest (smartly) in employees will find their dazzling AI tech falls short.
Smart employers will invest/ensure employees have both the technology and human support to excel. Cath extends that employee well-being conversation in The Future of Work - how to execute a mindful return to the workplace. But can mindfulness, a concept that periodically trends, really help here? If mindfulness in the workplace roughly equates to more thoughtful and conscious communication, I'd give a cautious yes. Cath makes clear this won't be enough. I found this stat refreshing in its bluntness:
Between 45-50% would benefit from some training to enhance their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, while between 10-15% “shouldn’t be let near other people and can’t be trained”. Instead they should be transferred to a role that plays to the technical strengths that led to them being promoted in the first place.
Meet the new boss indeed. Though putting them in a proper role is an improvement...
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Monmouthshire County Council improves employee experience with HCM in the cloud - Speaking of employee experience... Gary's on the case.
- The US National Security Commission issues its "Final Report on AI in Defense and Intelligence" - here are the takeaways - Neil reflects on his briefing, and this 700 page, ominously-titled "Final Report."
- How the edge will absorb the middle – welcome to the meta-connected hyper-hybrid cloud - Martin files an opus from the edge: "The developments just now starting to appear as the bleeding edge of the current specialised outlier of edge computing will, over the next few years - 10 at the outside is my guess - eat the data center as we know it today."
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Dropbox delivers strong Q1 results as it targets upsell in mid-market - Derek on why Dropbox's pandemic surge should continue, in the next phase of distributed and hybrid work.
- Pfizer modernises drug development project management with Pega - "Pfizer set out to simplify and digitize its drug development project management process with Pega." Derek quantifies the results.
- Sustainability & ERP – more than reporting? A conversation with IFS CEO Darren Roos - We've lost track of the sustainability conversation during our pandemic adaptations. But as Brian notes, smart executives are pushing ahead: "Simply reporting on sustainability matters isn’t driving change and isn’t enough.”
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Fresh thinking - how Freshworks plans to tell its ‘CRM++’ story to everyone, not just those with $300 million to spend - Stuart
- Can the upstarts at Electric Last Mile win the urban delivery vehicle market? An SAP RISE use case - Jon
- Heading down quality street with Plex's latest QMS enhancements - Brian
Enterprise vendors kept us hustling this week - here's a few more notables.
- Demandbase continues to acquire to build a new B2B Marketing Cloud - Barb: "It's essentially a Customer Data Platform (CDP) without the CDP name (and some CDP capabilities)."
- A tip of the hat to IBM's Red Hat strategy - building a worthy competitor to VMware and Microsoft - "Positioning the edge as part of the cloud makes Red Hat well positioned to be a preferred provider of distributed, multi-cloud platforms and capture a growing share of the cloud market."
- Adobe Summit 2021 - Lincoln Financial on the role of data in a marketing system of record - Phil continues our Adobe Summit content binge: "A system of record is nothing without data." Phil addresses that angle via a use case on Lincoln Financial, an Adobe Workfront customer.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Chip Shortage 2021: Semiconductors Are Hard to Make and That’s Part of the Problem - "Why can't we just build more chips"? Therein lies the rub...
- Ransomware attack forces shutdown of largest fuel pipeline in the US - An ugly incident, which would have received more press in the winter months.
- Emerging open cloud security framework has backing of Microsoft, Google and IBM - Yeah, there's a pretty big cloud computing name not listed here. But - still a worthwhile alliance. Ron Miller reports.
- Essential Features in Retail ERP - This industry-specific ERP series from CIO Insight is far more useful than the typical generic ERP fare: "Consideration 1: The platform places equal focus on real-time inventory management and predictive analytics."
- The varieties of consumer revival - McKinsey on the new consumer reality, where generalizations don't hold: "The recovery in consumer spending is likely to be more uneven between income and age cohorts in the United States than in Europe."
- Will Women CIOs Finally Break IT’s Glass Ceiling? An uncomfortable but necessary question.
- 3 Stages of Business Transformation - Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting on the three stages of transformation. Ah, I see what Mr. Kimberling did there. The concerning part: only 10% make it to that third stage.
If earth is getting you down, physicists just gave the chances of faster-than-light space travel a boost (to be fair, it's a pretty tiny boost, more of a hypothetical...) Here's one for the had-a-worse-week-than-you-file: Bride Leaves Groom at Altar for Failure to Recite Multiplication Tables.
I like this kid:
4-year-old hacks mom's Amazon Prime account and orders 51 boxes of SpongeBob SquarePants Popsicles https://t.co/JeIcSSChHh
-> 918 popsicles total, requiring immediate freezing of course :)
a digital generation indeed
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 9, 2021
Not a fan of this dude though:
I'm done with Zoom, says one of America's top business figures https://t.co/UGszOZlFuy
-> video fatigue is real, but just as real is the failed creativity of someone who has nothing to offer other than 'you'll get used to (crummy) commutes again soon enough.'
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 9, 2021
Finally, it wouldn't be a week of enterprise fun without a tasty PR treat from my email inbox:
PR email: "Subscriptions may work for Netflix but not for SaaS applications"
-> thanks for the heads up. Will you let Workday, Salesforce, Adobe, ServiceNow et al know, or do you want me to take care of that?
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 6, 2021
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. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.