Lead story - how do we get to the composable enterprise?
I won't lie: the 'composable enterprise' is one of the catchphrases most likely to stick in my craw. Still, I can see why 'monolothic applications' are not a desired end state. In a series of think pieces from his time at MACH TWO and the AWS Summit, Phil brought these issues to a head.
Start with this: not all APIs are created equal. Phil provides an insightful framework in APIs alone are not enough for a truly composable architecture - you need the right kind of API. He covers crucial changes, such as why REST has fallen out of favor, with GraphQL now the standard of choice. Phil also hits on an AWS Summit session on refactoring to serverless, and he explores just how granular microservices should be.
As Phil notes:
The characteristics of a truly composable architecture are starting to emerge, but more clarity is needed from vendors in the space and organizations such as the MACH Alliance to help early adopters figure out whether they're on the right path.
For those who think this talk of 'headless' and 'composable' is a digital commerce subtopic, Phil warns otherwise:
As I'll explore in the next and final article in this series, it's only a matter of time before the architecture moves out of its current stronghold in the field of digital commerce and experience into other enterprise application categories, including ERP.
Composable ERP? Farfetched, or inevitable? It's also worth checking Phil's prior piece, Orchestration vs choreography - which is better in composable and API-first architecture? Earlier this summer, I issued a podcast with Phil on the debates behind "MACHwashing" - On MACHwashing and the microservices enterprise.
Perhaps the best thing from this article series? The realization that we don't have to be religious about composability to recognize its value. Stepping away from enterprise utopia, we have common sense recommendations instead. As Phil concludes:
But for many organizations, they already have a patchwork quilt of existing applications, and they have to make choices as to which to modernize first. A composable architecture therefore has to be able to co-exist and interoperate with more monolithic applications and services.
Diginomica picks -
- Retail and generative AI - Salesforce, Honeywell research suggests lots of experimentation, but unclear on extent of implementation - Stuart intrigued me with this summary barb: "Retailers have big hopes for generative AI and are experimenting accordingly. Shoppers seem less fired up." The generative AI retail use cases have potential, but as Stuart notes, we're going to need a much more precise definition of personalization before throwing that term into the mix of things generative AI can supposedly do well. Help a support or sales agent by flagging a customer's preferences? Sounds good. Attempt to email a customer directly with a 1:1 special offer? Not so fast...
- Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri - AI bubble is partly hot air, and that is bad news for enterprise security - Chris' latest resonated with readers on social channels: "Take large-language chatbot ChatGPT, for example. Netskope’s research finds that users post source code to it more than any other type of sensitive data: 158 incidents for every 10,000 users a month."
- Software buyers, terrible sales results & the vision thing (plus a bit of Seinfeld wisdom...) - Brian raised the caution flag on enterprise sales fiascos: "Customers that don’t address their inability to generate a consensus around a vision will get a reputation for crying wolf." And yes, bonus points for the Seinfeld tie in!
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Workday delivers strong Q2 as co-CEO Aneel Bhusri teases AI innovation looming - Stuart reports on Workday's crackling quarter, with AI pursuits in high gear.
- On generative AI disruptions, RISE and GROW - Thomas Saueressig reveals the next steps in SAP's AI strategy - During my virtual briefing with Thomas Saueressig, he articulated the next phase in SAP's AI vision, and how SAP intends to differentiate, including real-time data to hone LLM accuracy. A final section of my commentary reacts to what I heard, as well as reactions from user groups DSAG and ASUG.
- What's behind NVIDIA's record-busting results? Surprise - generative AI! - Chris examines NVIDIA's stellar quarter, which many were watching to assess the generative AI hype factor. But as I said to Brent Leary on LinkedIn, "re: 'the hype is more than hype' - yes to a point, but when you supply the equipment/infrastructure you win - even if the ROI for companies hasn't been proven out yet."
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Getting aggressive about AI - Zoom's enterprise push continues beyond the 'working from home' phenomenon - Stuart
- Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo - it's not just bigger enterprises that can get underway with monetization tech - Stuart
- Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson seeks signal among the AI noise – with Sam Altman’s help - Chris
Jon's grab bag - Neil delved into the impact of algorithmic models on insurance and finance in How does AI and model bias impact DEI in financial services and insurance? Answering the top questions. Stephanie filed a fresh Okta-related use case, A Texas credit union taps BeyondID’s Okta skills to meet the Apple Card standard in CX. Madeline looked at how old laptops get new life in Turning old laptops into gold - how Panasonic’s Revive program cuts out e-waste. Finally, Chris examined potential robotics breakthroughs in Apollo lands today. A viable humanoid robot that ticks, and carries, the right boxes:
It has taken 100 years to reach this point, but the collision of several technologies may finally make those visions a reality. But which visions exactly? If science fiction teaches anything, it is ‘choose your future wisely’. And if business teaches anything, it is that a good product alone is never enough; it also needs to do something useful, affordably. As another robotics CEO once told me, 'Nobody makes money from selling robots. You make money by selling useful services.'
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Low-code and no-code: Meant for citizen developers, but embraced by IT - Joe McKendrick returns to his low-code wheelhouse: "Organizations 'are realizing that these tools are not just for early-stage or beginner citizen developers but also for sophisticated, senior developers to save them valuable time and effort.'"
- New study shows large language models have high toxic probabilities and leak private information - No surprises here, but a good overview of the red flags, though it obviously depends on which LLM you are using, in this case, GPT-3.5 and GPT4. Tech Xplore quotes the researchers: "From this research, we learned that the models are not trustworthy enough for critical jobs yet."
- The Associated Press sets AI guidelines for journalists - I chose this one because enterprises should probably examine these guidelines. "Any result from a generative AI platform 'should be treated as unvetted source material'" - words any content publisher should live by, including vendor marketers.
- A Teams Model for Effective Innovation - Another substantial project/career reflection from Avasant's Frank Scavo.
- Face it, self-driving cars still haven’t earned their stripes - Gary Marcus skewers self-driving car (over)promises. The reasoning is instructive: outliers and edge cases. The more dangerous the outliers, the higher the hill "autonomous AI" has to climb.
- Please Do Not AI This - Lora Cecere warns supply chain planners: don't try to slather AI on "conventional supply chain planning" and call it good.
- Generative AI Investment Theses - Evangelos Simoudis published a very interesting take on when/how his firm is investing in AI. Will this be another historical AI bubble? "The next twelve months will be critical for generative AI."
Have I mentioned that re-skilling is on my "bad buzzwords" list? What does it actually mean?
40% of workers will have to reskill in the next three years due to AI, says IBM study https://t.co/BHBLeM8VKT
-> two points:
1. reskilling MUST be defined. Learning to use Grammarly IMO isn't reskilling.
2. execs surveyed have little or no GenAI enterprise experience yet.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 20, 2023
Not havin' fun at work? ChatGPT can help - kind of:
ChatGPT fever spreads to US workplace, sounding alarm for some https://t.co/01MbPnaDm9
-> sure, why not, play around and have fun at work. The worst that can happen is that your companies' confidential data becomes part of the training data but that's no biggie lolz.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 20, 2023
Just a heads up: implanting unregulated AI chips in your brain could threaten your mental privacy. Oh, and remember the AP's advice on vetting AI content? I'm not sure Microsoft got that memo: Microsoft says listing the Ottawa Food Bank as a tourist destination wasn’t the result of ‘unsupervised AI’. Silver lining: hopefully donating to the Ottawa food bank got a nice bump here. 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.