Lead story - The global supply chain is still struggling - where do we go from here?
The logistics interdependencies that have inconvenienced consumers - and put a drag on economic growth - don't appear to be going anywhere.
This has been an undercard theme in Hits and Misses all summer. Kurt brings it front-and-center with his must-read, The global supply chain is still struggling - with profound implications for enterprise production plans:
Given the centrality of shipping to every link in the supply chain, the consequences of such bottlenecks for retail sales, inflation and corporate planning are dire.
Some hoped the supply chain/pricing volatility of the spring would have stabilized by now, but there's no end in sight. Enterprises aren't going to let supply chain disruptions clobber their holiday revenue goals if they can help it. As Kurt explains, enterprise supply chains now need another level of redundancy. He details steps major retailers are taking. This quote from Walmart's President and CEO gives a flavor for the new retail resolve:
We are learning very quickly how to use our supply chain assets, including local assets, upstream assets, distribution assets, very dynamically to be able to move product and assemble orders in a way that is most efficient to meet the customer promise.
However, as Kurt points out, supply is a moving target:
Over-stuffing retail distribution centers only works if there is supply to be had, however. Asian manufacturers have become much less reliable as COVID outbreaks have spread unpredictably across the region.
Indeed, supply chain management is the most critical factor to success in retailing.
This holiday season will certainly put retailers to that test.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Companies need to shift focus from ‘hybrid work’ to ‘radical flexibility’ - Calling for radical work flexibility is nothing new on diginomica - I've described hybrid work policies as
tepid incrementalismbaby steps more than once myself. Cath assesses fresh Gartner data on the future of work. I was expecting the "flexible work" mantra, but Cath is right: issues of employee well-being are now vitally important: "Encouraging empathetic management by providing managers with 'clear guide rails' and coaching on what to say and do or not in order to support their team's mental and physical health.'"
- Meet the post-AI consumer, says Salesforce's Mathew Sweezey - No, not a Dreamforce piece, but perhaps a Dreamforce appetizer from Barb - via a keynote review from the MAICON marketing AI show.
- AI ethics is growing up - towards an AI maturity model organizations can use - AI ethics pundits might be pontificating, but AI practioners have a more practical goal in sight: getting better (and more ethical) AI projects across the finish line. Neil gives his views on emerging AI maturity models. He also shares some of his own AI project methodology.
- Extracting value from cloud ERP in a customer-first world - what should we be pushing for? - In a customer-first era, is ERP even relevant? That's a good place to start this espresso-fueled epic - which includes my updated ERP benefits stages.
diginomica's Dreamforce coverage - highlights and use cases
Miss any Dreamforce sessions of note last week? We didn't. Well, maybe we missed a few, but not many. You can check our entire monster Dreamforce coverage archive here, from use cases to keynotes, from product news analysis to exec exclusives. Meanwhile, here's a few of my best-of-Dreamforce-coverage picks, including a notable update on Slack integration:
- Dreamforce 2021 - the Salesforce Economy thrived during the pandemic, but what lies ahead in the Vaccine Economy? - Stuart
- Dreamforce 2021 – how to get ahead as a Black woman leader - Madeline
- Dreamforce 2021 - TAG Heuer goes all in on Salesforce to deliver D2C e-commerce - Derek
- Dreamforce 2021 Exclusive - how Chief Revenue Officer Gavin Patterson played the Salesforce hand he was dealt during the pandemic (1/2) - Stuart
- Dreamforce 2021 - Clip and Connect as Slack integration spreads across the Salesforce portfolio - Stuart
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from the rest of our vendor coverage:
- Freshworks valued at over $12bn on IPO - opportunity lies in its expanding platform - Derek on a momentous day for Freshworks, with big plans ahead: "Freshworks clearly believes that it has an opportunity to offer mid-market companies an alternative platform that touches all areas of the business."
- Bringing digital tools to field service technicians? For ServiceMax CEO Neil Barua, it's personal - Phil shares his latest with Barua, during an announcement-laden Dreamforce week: "There are an estimated eight million technicians worldwide, around two-thirds of whom don't currently have access to digital tools to help organize their work."
- Oracle Live brings the future of CRM to a head - can AI bridge the sales and marketing gap? - During a CX-heavy week, Oracle provoked my AI skepticism with a case for automated lead scoring. It was a discussion worth having.
With Software AG's virtual conXion show on deck, Phil and I filed advance stories:
- Software AG CPO Stefan Sigg on the role of webMethods in an API-first, microservices world - Phil
- Inside Software AG's OEE app release - how a hackathon inspired a new direction for industrial IOT - Jon
Best of the enterprise web
My top six
- Google lowers its cloud marketplace revenue share to 3% from 20% - This might not appear to be a big news story, but the trend is notable: "Big Tech companies in recent months have been decreasing the amount of money they retain on their platforms, whether it’s for consumer apps or business products. Some of the pressure is related to competition, while regulatory and legal concerns are also mounting."
- Adobe's Q3 earnings: Four takeaways on SMBs, Creative Cloud, customer experiences - Yes, it was a big CX week.
- With Oracle Fusion Marketing into the Future of CRM? - I owe Thomas Wieberneit a snarky/sharp comment on this well-informed post, as our backchannel AI-for-lead-scoring debate deserves an airing.
- Turns out low-code and no-code is valuable to professional developers, too - No surprises here, but Joe McKendrick lays out findings that may be a wake-up call to some: "Developers are in high demand and have built such a large community over the past few decades that such a cultural shift may be difficult to adapt. Developers must embrace these platforms, get certified, learn their scripting languages and complement their current skills."
- Anti-productivity quota law passes as Amazon still surveils workers - The sooner we realize that modern workplace tools cut both ways, the better. And this law effects more retailers than just Amazon: "Traditional quotas let workers know what’s expected of them. But workers and government regulators can’t see what goes into the algorithms used by Amazon and other companies to judge productivity. So an employee could be penalized for taking too many bathroom breaks and never know that’s why their hours were cut or they were fired."
- Abductive inference: The blind spot of artificial intelligence – Care for an AI think piece? "In open-ended scenarios requiring knowledge about the world like language understanding, abduction is central and irreplaceable. Because of this, attempts at combining deductive and inductive strategies are always doomed to fail… The field needs a fundamental theory of abduction. In the meantime, we are stuck in traps."
The good times roll on LinkedIn:
These "personalized" LinkedIn ads never get old.... pic.twitter.com/TqUqTGKZb8
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 24, 2021
Not so much on the freeway though:
Tesla drivers become 'inattentive' when using Autopilot, study finds https://t.co/LhsJAVGEQT
"Drivers glanced less at the road and more on "non-driving related areas."
-> just what the world needs.....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 21, 2021
Some news headlines write themselves: Party bus with stripper pole, neon lights saves day for school field trip. Peeps were not amused by Apple's latest push for the "privacy hypocrisy" award:
Former Apple engineer says the button on iPhones asking apps not to track you is a 'dud' that gives users a 'false sense of privacy' https://t.co/6J7sJ9ogp4
"We further confirmed that detailed personal or device data was being sent to trackers in almost all cases"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 26, 2021
Finally, in a pigs-fly moment, I actually gave "AI" credit for artistic creativity, for its use alongside humans in composing Beethoven's never-completed tenth symphony:
How a team of musicologists and computer scientists completed Beethoven's unfinished 10th Symphony https://t.co/Gv2iRavPJW
"We challenged the audience to determine where Beethoven’s phrases ended and where the AI extrapolation began. They couldn’t."
-> yes, but....... 1/x
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 25, 2021
But no, I was not giving AI credit for composing a symphony, that's a different matter entirely:
The reason this worked well is because the AI was filling in based on an established pattern. For the record I think this is a pretty cool project and combined use of artists and AI. "AI" couldn't have done this on its own. https://t.co/dX0xyVXIDm
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 25, 2021
If you have time to listen to AI-composed music - and there's a lot of it out there - please tell me you've at least listened to every Miles Davis record first. 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.