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Enterprise hits and misses - Remote work gets a productivity challenge, WEF platitudes get scrutiny, and agile goes too far

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed April 12, 2021
This week - fresh data fuels the remote work productivity debate. Plus: Google's API win, supply chain woes, and agile's deficiencies. Another year of WEF's highs and lows. Your whiffs include the exit of one of the web's worst destinations, Yahoo Answers.

King Checkmate

Lead story - Is digital teamwork working? Debating the cultural and productivity impact of remote work

MyPOV: If digital teamwork tools once had a redemptive shine to them, a year into the pandemic, that shine isn't so shiny. It's given way to tougher questions.

Phil broaches the productivity debate in What's the productivity impact of digital teamwork? The statistics can't tell us.

Those looking for definitive answers won't get them. Working two more hours a day doesn't necessarily translate to corporate results. Phil quotes Economist Vicky Pryce, former Joint Head of the UK Government Economics Service:

Right now, unfortunately, measuring productivity is very difficult. People doing an extra two hours a day ... are they actually achieving something in terms of the output at the end of the day?

As for the contentious issue of whether digital tools help us get more done or spew us with interruptive junk raise the distraction level, Phil stakes his position:

My stance on digital teamwork is that there are huge efficiencies possible once the tools are properly deployed and used.

Derek finds a similarly inseparable mix of pros and cons in COVID-19 and distributed work - leaders out of touch, workforce exhausted and Gen-Z at risk. Parsing Microsoft Work Index data, Derek writes:

Microsoft notes that most business leaders are faring better with the current working conditions than their employees. Some 61% of leaders say they're "thriving" right now, which is a whopping 23% higher than those without decision making authority. Leaders also reported stronger relationships with colleagues (+11%) and a higher likelihood of taking all or more than their allotted vacation days (+12%).

One uncomfortable conclusion: those who need remote work the most are being done a collective disservice.

Those struggling over the past year were typically Gen-Z, women, frontline workers and those new to their careers.

As we push into the Vaccine Economy, it would be nice to think we could pick the most useful remote/digital adaptations, and avoid the rest. I suspect the reckoning will be much more complicated.

diginomica's WEF coverage - from Stakeholder Capitalism to content regulation controversies. Each year, the World Economic Forum(WEF)event vacillates between the most essential show of the year and a pretentious photo opp for gurus with trickle-down ideas celebration of verbal posturing - often during the exact same session! No one better to sort that than Stuart:

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 - Mark Chillingworth brings IoT to a faucet near you (if you live in the UK), with Thames Water gets smart. Neil continues his crash course in the virtues of Bayes Nets in How can Bayesien Inference support complex decisions? A practical guide to an overlooked approach. Finally, I get to air out a bone of contention (flaws in liberal arts), via a college that made my head turn: Colby College blazes an AI trail in liberal arts education, with the launch of the Davis Institute.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


In case anyone's feeling snarky about "what about Nuance,", this is a nuance-free edition of hits/misses. We'll get to Microsoft-Nuance as soon as it goes official. Meanwhile, the site that brought us "How is babby formed?" is finally shutting down:

But as I alluded to, the tech press whiffed on the bigger story: why did Google give Yahoo Answers so much search oxygen for so long? Clogging up search with that crud helped to turn the movie Idiocracy into a documentary Yahoo Answers into the oxymoron it is today. More fun with PR:

Finally, a whiff in the not-so-funny sense:

You can find out if you are amongst the lucky 500 million via this article. Isn't "free" grand? 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.

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