Enterprise hits and misses - October 20, 2014

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed October 19, 2014
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond - for the week ending October 19, 2014.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Dreamforce 2014 coverage by Den, Phil, and Stuart

quotage: 'When you cut past the razzamatazz and theatricality of it all, at the heart of this year’s keynote sit three global brands – GE Capital, Coca Cola and Honeywell  – and their use of Salesforce.com’s offerings. This isn’t just smoke and mirrors or bread and circuses. These are ‘grown-up’ companies and this is where it gets serious.' - Stuart

myPOV: An enterprise carnival at scale - albeit with a healthy dash of philanthropia - Dreamforce is not everyone's cup of tea, but it stands as the signature enterprise show of the year. As Stuart notes above (taken from his rollicking keynote review), Dreamforce is not just a cultural event - there are serious cloud ambitions in play - and plenty at stake.

Three diginomicans were on site to do the needful, which Den did in Dreamforce 2014 – the Salesforce Wave that whispered rather than crashed in. Den sees analytics as a "minefield for any vendor" - more on that below. In, Wave's case he has more burning questions than clear answers.  He raises issues of pricing, technology, and ISV partners that remain open with the close of Dreamforce '14.

Meantime, Stuart examines the impact of President and Vice Chairman Keith Block at Salesforce in The building Block of a new dynamic at Salesforce.com? Stuart asks: "Is Block Marc Benioff’s Ray Lane?" Time will tell. Closing out our Dreamforce coverage, Phil took the forward view in Benioff on giving back, women and the next 5 years of Salesforce, which includes coverage from Salesforce's closing Q/A with customer and partners. No surprise that platform verbiage ruled the day, with Benioff extolling the advantage of the "customer success platform" that encompasses the product line.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Operational excellence and the human dimension by Den Howlett

myPOV: Den takes up the predictive analytics debate, sparked by a recent Holger Mueller post arguing for the automation of predictive scenarios. Den thinks removing the human dimension is a boneheaded mistake. I'll see these guys in person soon - with any luck, we'll pick it up with a video camera rolling.

Vendor coverage: Derek dug into an unusual go-to-market partnership in Coupa and NetSuite form ‘unique’ selling partnership, which includes highlights from a recent chat with NetSuite COO Jim McGeever. Stuart takes on the lovely buzzword of 'servitization' and how ServiceMax is reframing service as a revenue generator in Field service morphs from necessary evil to revenue generator.

VMware held its EMEA version of VMworld in Barcelona - our Martin Banks assesses VMware's hybrid cloud solutions and messaging in VMware CEO says it’s time to get professional about the cloud. Last but not least, a couple of SAP pieces:  guest contributor Dick Hirsch busts misconceptions in Understanding the ‘new’ IBM/SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud agreement.

Den added some needed context to DSAG's (the German-speaking SAP User Group) HANA and cloud survey in Analyzing the DSAG survey on SAP Business Suite on HANA, which incidentally sets up an important week for SAP this week in Las Vegas at TechEd - watch this space.

Don’t miss

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
“True analytics” versus the “decision gap” - dueling blog posts from Vijay Vijayasankar and Holger Mueller

myPOV: Almost as if they coordinated it, Constellation’s Holger Mueller and MongoDB’s Vijay Vijayasankar both posted analytics rants on October 13. Vijayasankar titled his
It’s about time we set a higher bar for analytics; Mueller went with Musings - What are ‘true’ analytics - a manifesto. They dive in from different angles, but both are wary of the lazy assumption that analytics, by definition, generate value. Oh, and both of them are data visualization curmudgeons, though for different reasons (read their posts for the nuances).

From the shared premise of extracting real value from analytics, their blogging paths diverge. Mueller is arguing for the value of smart predictive solutions, “true analytics” as he puts it, which would automate predictive scenarios - removing humans from the loop entirely in some cases once the predictive scenario is implemented (e.g. fraud prevention).

Vijayasankar’s analytics scenario doesn’t remove humans from the equation, but he IS challenging analytics solutions to prompt users with the right questions - thereby providing better results for companies seeking to “democratize” BI, putting BI in the hands of users who may not be savvy in constructing their own queries.

For my part, I’d like to see Mueller, Vijayasankar and Howlett hit this debate in real time, particularly the role of human BI intervention versus model-driven predictive actions. Maybe we can pull it off.

Other standouts


Overworked businessman
Whiffs galore baby - starting with Sears and the good ‘ol desperate-misadventures-in-retail PR funfest, Sears Apologizes For Selling Swastika Rings In Online Marketplace. My occasional “massive tool” award goes to these two dudes from Nevada who are squatting on ebola.com for a ransom of $150,000. If they weren’t hampered by a debilitating case of dotcom soul rot, they could have easily made money on this while turning it into a win/win.

Not a whiff: the article itself, which closes with: “It could not be confirmed at press time whether Schultz and Hood's respective mothers were embarrassed that their sons were opportunistic pieces of human garbage who profit from the fears of others and contribute nothing of value to society.”

U2 gets a belated nod in the whiff column for spamming iTunes users with its (mediocre) new release, and, after the promotion ran its course, offering up an irrelevant, navel-gazing apology. Caveat: the band’s revealing comments about their own lust for attention does illuminate the digital media struggle. If U2 is stressed out about their ability to capture attention - to the point of forcing us to choke down their indulgences - where does that leave the bunny-slippered blogger? Or, for that matter, the mobile startup buried in the bowels of the app store? Fortunately for us enterprisey types, we don’t have to suck the exhaust fumes of the Kardashians to make a dent. Attention is different in B2B, but that’s a topic to be stir-fried later.

Officially off-topic

For pure comic relief, it's gonna be hard to beat 15 Times Grocery Stores Failed So Hard They Won, which came my way via the backchannel stylings of Den Howlett.

I tend to be a bit of a robotics laggard, but I can't argue with the scientists wanting to use robots to treat Ebola, given that the disease poses so much hazard to caregivers. (Speaking of which, the guts of Ebola caregivers and doctors is phenomenal).

Another story I respected this week was this piece on an autistic boy becoming best pals with Apple's Siri. On a lighter now, how about this English speaking parrot (with a British twang) that went missing for four years and came back speaking only Spanish?

TV riffs - checked out some new fall shows. Your capsule reviews:

  • “Gotham” - best of the three, only annoying thing is that only one detective (our hero) actually investigates. The rest of the detectives leap to emotional (and invariably wrong) conclusions to advance the plot at the expense of any semblance of credibility.
  • “How to Get Away with A Convoluted Plot”, whoops - I mean “How To Get Away with Murder” - only watch if you enjoy the “millennials got problems” genre.
  • "Sleepy Hollow" (now in its second season) - about as suspenseful as an Adam Sandler film festival. OK, Vegas beckons - see you next time.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. “myPOV” is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: Salesforce, NetSuite and SAP are diginomica premier partners as of this writing. Coupa is a partner.