Enterprise hits and misses - retailers prepare for the Vaccine Economy, 30,000 organizations deal with Exchange breach, and Google gets ethical AI scrutiny
- This week - Retailers get another omni-channel gut check in the Vaccine Economy, and Microsoft Exchange suffers a concerning breach. Google's AI firings raise ethical AI scrutiny, and diginomica kicks off our International Women's Day coverage. As always, your whiffs.
Lead story - Retailers vs the omni-channel - with the pandemic lessons hold up in the Vaccine Economy?
MyPOV: Stuart returned to two retailers punching above their weight. Start with pandemic standouts Target (How Target's omni-channel leap of faith 5 years ago set it up for retail's COVID crisis and beyond). Target's digital head-of-steam heading into the pandemic paid off, and then some:
Core to the Target omni-gambit was the re-definition of the role of its store network. At a time when other brands were paralysed by Amazon-ian fear and envy and rushing to offload their offline assets in a race to morph into an online avatar of retail's 'Great Satan', Target took a pragmatic - and as it turns out, highly prescient - alternative approach.
How? Yes, it's revenge of the store, or as I sometimes say, the revenge of the right kind of store. Stuart quotes Target's CEO:
We placed the physical store more firmly at the center of our omni-channel platform and we created a durable, sustainable and scalable business model that put Target on a road of our own. Our goal was to use our proximity - nearly 1,900 stores within 10 miles of the vast majority of the US consumers - to offer the fastest and easiest digital fulfillment in retail. The capabilities we've built to become 'America's easiest place to shop' also cracked the essential question of how to grow our digital sales exponentially, while maintaining the overall profitability of our business.
Nobody really wins a pandemic, but as for Target's growth:
Our team’s ability to act and react in 2020 was years in the making.
Shopping behavior in the Vaccine Economy won't be easy to nail down, but you have to figure a fluid digital-and-store approach like Target's will be best positioned to make quick adjustments.
Another Vaccine Economy question mark Stuart delved into this week: the future of digital delivery ( Deliveroo's planned £7.5bn IPO provides food for thought about the future of digital delivery disruptors). Here's what Deliveroo faces: even if the segment (digital delivery) thrives post-pandemic, that doesn't hand the revenue to third-party platforms. If anything, restaurants of all sizes are looking to cut out the middleperson where they can (Why third party digital delivery isn't on everyone's menu in the restaurant business). Stuart:
Consumer loyalty is fickle and will trend towards platforms with the lowest price-point in terms of delivery charge, making margin pressure an ongoing challenge for many providers.
Fickle consumers? Now there's a pandemic-reinforced behavior I expect to stick.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- If the future of privacy is cookieless, what happens to the ad tech industry when third-party cookies go away? - Jerry analyzes Google's Chrome announcements, which have
online data vulturesadvertisers in a tizzy.
- For John Snow Labs, doing good with NLP is in their DNA (and yours) - Neil on an AI startup that thrives on transparency and community, not
stealing our images like modern day robber barons and selling them to state-sponsored snoopsscraping-for-training-data.
- UK’s response to COVID-19 mostly reliant on traditional data analysis, not AI - AI has matured considerably in the last two years, but as Derek reports, it hasn't exactly solved the pandemic. But could the shift to sharing data for the public good (e.g. vaccination and testing) ultimately fuel fruitful/ethical AI projects?
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Enterprise vendors were in news-making mode, keeping us on our deadline toes.
- Talking up the Slack - Salesforce COO Bret Taylor on the role the firm’s $27.7 billion acquisition will play in shaping the ‘new normal’ - The two big objections to the Salesforce - Slack acquisition? Price and fit. Stuart's latest brings clarity to the latter. Also see: Madeline's Click-and-collect car sales - Jardine Motors Group drives single customer view with Informatica and Salesforce.
- Blockchain without tears - Oracle takes best of distributed ledger tech to improve database security - Contrary to the blockchain
drunk on KoolAidguru contingent, I've always felt that blockchain's true enterprise impact would be lasting - but understated. Kurt's Oracle piece is what I'm talking about.
- 'I need to be more agile, more flexible. I need to get to the cloud’ - Workday co-CEO Aneel Bhusri on the post-pandemic CFO imperative - Workday changed how HR leaders thought about HR software. Is the same possible in Finance? Stuart's on the case.
And the stories rolled on:
- Terminus picks up $90m funding as it pursues full-funnel, multi-channel ABM - Barb peels back the secrets to successful IBM, with Terminus news to chew on.
- With ERPx on deck, new Unit4 North America President John Gregitis talks modern ERP, the power of verticals, and customer focus in pandemic times - Unit4 has big plans this year - I get an inside look from a new hire.
- Learnings from Deloitte and Software AG on the journey to XaaS - Phil, our resident master of everything-as-a-service (XaaS), extracts lessons learned: "Excellent advice from Deloitte, but it could have gone much further had it not confined the definition of XaaS to the technology industry."
- Cloud ERP value extraction doesn't land in your lap at go-live. Acumatica's CEO on ensuring customer success, in the pandemic and beyond - Acumatica stepped up and shared their cloud ERP customer maturity model with diginomica. Any other vendors up for that?
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Box delivers solid Q4 as it focuses on content pain in the enterprise - Stuart
- ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott - ‘We have to be the C-Suite favorite’ - Derek
- Rimini Street exits 2020 with solid growth as clients look for support and savings in a COVID-hit world - Stuart
Note: our International Women's Day workplace coverage is launching at presstime. You can see all the stories in our diversity and inclusion section. For now, I liked this Cath Everett quote:
Even one person, whether they are a woman or a male ally, can make all the difference by introducing new perspectives and opening the discussion up.
Let's get that done - today.
Best of the enterprise web
My top six picks
- At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software - This is a nasty one, with immediate patches for affected organizations to get on top of. Krebs is on the case. See more from Dark Reading: Microsoft Exchange Server Exploits Hit Retail, Government, Education.
- With Google's firing of AI bias expert, tech research becomes hazardous ground - I'm not a fan of the moves Google has made lately with its AI researchers, but Ina Freid of Axios does nail it, quoting ex-Googler Cynthia Yeung: "You get paid academic salaries in exchange for intellectual freedom, and you get paid Silicon Valley salaries in exchange for allowing your name/likeness to be used for brand/PR purposes and your research to be censored arbitrarily." Also see: Mary Branscomb's Google Grapples with Ethical AI.
- Why machine learning strategies fail - Anyone looking for a bullet point answer from VentureBeat's latest won't get one. It's flawed/bad data, it's inadequate/expensive skills, business case challenges and a continual search for ROI. Translation: throwing money at AI won't be enough.
- Outlaw Spirit - Lessons from The Zoho Analyst Day 2021 - Thomas Wieberneit offers his spare-no-opinions take on one of the most interactive analyst days of the (virtual) year.
- Low-code and no-code is shifting the balance between business and technology professionals - my newsfeed readers liked this missive from Joe McKendrick.
- All Apple stores in U.S. open for first time since last March - I haven't always had the warmest/fuzziest news for you this year, but this may be one of those cracks of light... You may also enjoy the audio version of my 2020 retail outlook show with Jake Knowles of BJSS.
Don't mind me, I'm just jealous:
Over 70,000 people have applied to work at my bridesmaid-for-hire business — here's how I decide who to hire https://t.co/offyFBopjo
-> there are lots of business opportunities in faux lifestyle marketing. As I always say, the bigger the wedding the shorter the marriage...
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 6, 2021
Yep, jealous again:
Jack Dorsey: Bids reach $2.5m for Twitter co-founder's first post https://t.co/o1cXoeAU9Q
-> I bailed out at $2 million - I thought that was a fair price but now it's priced out.... #smartinvesting
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 6, 2021
Meanwhile, Tesla showed how not-to-do enterprise community: instead of embracing the moderation challenge, why not just throw in the towel?
Tesla has closed its forums to launch a social platform and fans are not happy – https://t.co/7OQoRhm26A
"Rather than create posts and threads, the new site invites owners and fans to engage by commenting on Tesla’s public-policy-related posts"
-> real classy lol. cc @finnern
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 7, 2021
Someone said on Twitter, "They'll just go somewhere else." Yeah, and that's good for Tesla how? Having a visitor on your own site is gold right now. Chasing them around the Internet is what everybody else does... but I guess you're about to find that out.
Finally, diginomica has a knack for turning a whiff around. All's fair in love and PR.
Well, we drive people crazy sometimes, does that count? https://t.co/xYz8jjVczd
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 3, 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.