Lead story - The future of the workplace - debating the role of the office
MyPOV: Return-to-office is high stakes. Companies enforcing office commutes may face a talent drain. Others will redefine the role of the office - for collaboration and social connections.
screw up the return insist on "normalcy," and lose the trust of their employees. In The future workplace - what we’ve learned so far and what challenges remain, Derek compiles diginomica's best on the topic.
I'm not sure I agree, however, that Goldman Sach's insistence on a full return-to-office is such an outlier. We've heard similar refrains from Netflix. Google is also expanding offices, albeit in new locations. It's my hope these contrasting approaches on return-to-office set up a proper face-off, with talent ultimately deciding. The concern: employees' safety could be compromised, or their health data privacy - or, perhaps just as bad, anxiety about enforced returns could become an issue unto itself.
Return-to-work also surfaces in Stuart's The “Great Human Reconnection” starts with a cup of coffee and a hefty dose of AI from Starbucks. As Stuart reports, Starbucks has undergone a major storefront rationalization, opening up more pickup spots and reducing (some) physical footprint. Yet Starbucks, for all its digital savvy, needs a major return to urban centers (and commutes) to fuel is business model. Stuart, a long time Starbucks watcher, doesn't come off as optimistic as Starbucks' leadership:
The Great Human Reconnection is a nice turn of phrase and suitably aspirational, but it’s going to be very much linked to the success of vaccine roll outs. You don’t have a Vaccine Economy if you don’t have vaccinated people.
Starbucks analytics investment seems to be serving it well in determining strategic response here.
As for urban center revivals, Derek looks at London's response to distributed work in City of London launches ‘action plan’ for post-pandemic future. I see too many unknowns to make assumptions about return-to-office. I'd bet on "hybrid" for some time to come, with advocates of transnational localism redefining what's possible - beyond the obligatory commute.
One thing I do know: if we squander this chance to redefine work/commutes/employee well-being, it's a missed opportunity we'll rue for a long time.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Sainsbury's challenge - build a lasting omni-channel retail model for the Vaccine Economy - Stuart's got your retail highs and lows. Stuart's jury is still out on Sainsbury's. Same goes for Albertsons: Digital transformation drives omni-channel growth and more lucrative customers at Albertsons.
- Armed and serious - telcos take note that Arm is serious about infrastructure and the cloud - Kurt bears down on Arm's latest moves with its CPUs, and data chip platforms - and why it matters.
- ON24 says the future of events isn't on the ground - it's digital-first. Here's its innovation strategy for virtual and hybrid events - the future of events is an unresolved debate. Barb finds out where ON24 stands.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Team 21 - Atlassian, Slack and Zoom CEOs reflect on a year of distributed teamwork - Phil on three CEOs whose software faced the pandemic test, in a big way. Phil also examines what won't be the same: the office. "If anything, we will do our best work outside of the office — and sometimes when we're remotely connected into it — while our time spent at the office will be focused on building relationships and sharing ideas, rather than simply putting in the hours." Also see: Phil's Team 21 - Atlassian expands Jira to manage work for business teams, not just IT.
- Panasonic buys Blue Yonder - the CEO’s inside story - Why did Panasonic buy Blue Yonder? Why not ask the CEO? Chris did, and raised more questions: "Will Panasonic sell Blue Yonder solutions into its supply chain and retail customers, on the back of its IoT/edge presence?"
- It's time to talk about the future of customer service in the Vaccine Economy and pick out the positives, says Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane - And what exactly are those positives? Stuart: "As vaccine programs have rolled out in many parts of the world, it’s becoming increasingly obvious which organizations have used the enforced ‘downtime’ of the COVID crisis to re-evaluate how they operate, take learnings away from that and adapt to what I suppose we will have to keep referring to as the New Normal (whatever that means)."
Adobe Summit 2021 - diginomica analysis, context, and customer use cases
Can you crash a virtual event? The diginomica team did our darndest. We issued more content than I can feature here - see diginomica's Adobe Summit content archive to date. As you know, I compulsively push back against digital hyperbole, but when Pfizer's CEO told the Adobe Summit audience, "Without digital, we wouldn't even be here today," it set the tone.
Here's a few picks to get you started:
- Adobe Summit 2021 - new tools for customer experience in a digital-first world - Phil
- Adobe Summit 2021 - the marketing system of record takes center stage, but what do customers think? - Jon
- Adobe Summit 2021 - supporting AstraZeneca’s global COVID-19 vaccine distribution with Adobe - Derek
- Adobe Summit 2021 - how Marketo Engage connects into the Experience Cloud and what's next - Barb
- Adobe Summit 2021 - Turning a face-to-face organization into a digital-only business at RICS
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Turning the lights back on in the Vaccine Economy - the biggest workflow challenge of our time and one that ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott aims to meet - Stuart
- ERP do or ERP die? CFOs weigh IT investment choices in Rimini Street survey - Phil
- Mapping out Halfords digital transformation road trip - a lengthy journey through e-commerce, data integration, cloud telephony and ERP - Madeline and Jess (Salesforce, SAP and Microsoft use case)
Jon's grab bag - Neil takes a discerning/skepitcal look at the FTC's regulatory ambitions in The FTC takes steps to regulate AI abuses - but will it be effective? Finally, if you've missed Stuarts Monday Morning Moan series lately, you should rectify that, starting with this keeper: Monday Morning Moan - Branded! You don’t become digitally-enabled through ritual disemvowelment. "Tch frms glty"!
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Experian API Exposed Credit Scores of Most Americans – Yes, it's a disgrace when the credit rating
legacy cartelindustry botches privacy again, but the bigger story here is leaky APIs, and how common API exploitation has become. Krebs on the case.
- Survey Finds Broad Concern Over Third-Party App Providers - The weakest-security-link is going to haunt us. How many wake-up calls do we need?
- Cloud infrastructure market keeps rolling in Q1 with almost $40B in revenue - Ron Miller on the least surprising pandemic economy news: IaaS is a growth business. Still, it's not just Amazon and Microsoft: "Even though AWS and Microsoft have firm control of the market, that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made by the companies playing behind them."
- Why outsourcing has become hot again... and it's all about automating to get to the cloud - I'll bet you didn't predict that headline. Phil Fersht of HfS unfurls recent data, and explains why.
- Digital Judgment - The Skill Set To Fight B2B Frustrations - Gartner's Hank Barnes shares data on the rise in cross-functional B2B teams, and the caveat: digital literacy (judgment) not as high as expected.
- Most Important Skills for Rising IT Leaders: Part Two - "If everyone on your team thinks just like you, your team will never grow."
- Basecamp sees mass employee exodus after CEO bans political discussions - Yes, culture matters, but so does leadership. There wasn't a better way to handle this?
On the topic of remote work, this is how it's done:
Call centre worker completes shift while dangling off side of 50ft cliff face https://t.co/9cxAwO6aWN
"My bosses and colleagues had no idea. They thought my screen showing the Irish Sea was just a generic background I’d found on Zoom"
-> brilliantly done :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 1, 2021
Sometimes PR copy writers get a tad carried away:
The "please pass what you are smoking/inhaling/enjoying" PR award goes to this history buff today:
"Data center growth in 5G, IoT and data collection is expanding like the Roman Empire many years ago."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 27, 2021
Got some clever reader responses to that one:
I am sort of into this trend because I want to see how many other industries can be paired with fantastically shrunken or collapsed empires. https://t.co/afvrCqB0kw
— Lisa Schmeiser (@lschmeiser) April 27, 2021
Let's close on a higher note for Western Civilization this week:
Prince's epic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" guitar solo has a new director's cut https://t.co/RRlAkbopvl
-> One of the great moments in rock history has resurfaced with a fresh/awesome edit
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) May 2, 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.