Enterprise hits and misses - Salesforce up, HP down, and the future of work/life balance

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed August 24, 2015
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. In this week's edition: Salesforce up, HP down as Benioff tweaks rivals. Also: Amazon workplace blowout and debating work/life balance - is it achievable? Plus: your weekly whiffs.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Enterprise earnings blowout - Benioff pummels rivals, the old guard struggles by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: "Of course, many will recall Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison’s recent confident prediction that Oracle will turn in more cloud subscription revenue than Salesforce in the next fiscal year. Naturally enough Benioff is having none of this:."

myPOV: It was earnings blowout week, with Salesforce beating investor expectations and unloading quotables on his competitors. Stuart was on the case, filing the Salesforce report, as well as some crummy HP earnings (Hewlett Packard – going out with a whimper?). With a nod to IBM's declining earnings news from July, Benioff piled on: "I think we all know IBM still sells a lot of mainframes. That doesn’t mean that IBM is innovating."

Benioff laid down the show-us-your-revenue smack on other CRM heavyweights: "Microsoft, Oracle, SAP – they’re selling millions of dollars of CRM – that’s with an M. We are selling billions of dollars of CRM – that’s with a B ." Readers know I don't put much stock in vendor fisticuffs; it's stale popcorn to me. But the juxtaposition between Salesforce and the earnings struggles of behemoths IBM and HP is hard to ignore. That's momentum for an off-the-hook Dreamforce starting in less than a month, and yeah, the diginomica team will be on the ground per usual.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica seven: my completely subjective top seven stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - Oracle made a sneaky/clever little marketing cloud purchase this week - Stuart's on the case again in digibyte – Oracle tucks Maxymiser into marketing cloud stack. Accenture's been on a digital transformation shopping spree of late. Derek unpacks the shopping cart in Accenture hits acquisition trail again, focuses in on retail and customer experience. Martin wraps the roundup with a look at an interesting new partnership, Citrix and Nutanix – good for now, maybe better for the future.

Jon's grab bag - With Den out on vaca, we needed someone to step into the lead curmudgeon chair. No problem, says Chris Middleton (Gartner sets up not-so-smart house in the IoT trends business). Readers liked Phil's authoritative foray into the state of spend management (What’s a fair network ‘take’ on B2B transactions?).

And in What Ashley Madison tells us about corporate security, Phil bravely wades into adult web site territory and somehow brings it back to enterprisey lessons. Charlie Bess punctures a few more hype balloons in Can there really be Chaotic Architecture, and we're outta here.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Does the future of work include work/life balance? by many thoughtful and/or overworked peeps

quotage: "I have a job that needs me to travel most weeks . If I don’t draw a line – I could easily be traveling every day of the week , all year , for my employer’s business . So I do draw reasonable lines and try to be home as much as I can . In the process of drawing these lines, I might lose out on some opportunities and the price to pay for that might be high. What often makes it hard is that we have to draw these lines without perfect data. But if I don’t draw that line – I won’t have a life outside work at all." - Vijay Vijayasankar

myPOV: Lots of peeps had a lot to say about the New York Times' thorough dismantling of Amazon's workplace culture (I was one of them). One fruitful outcome: we got plenty of ruminations on life/work balance and how you get there, including Vijay Vijayasankar's “You have to draw the lines” and some other thoughts. As per the quotage, Vijayasankar ultimately puts the quality of life on the individual, which is where I come down also.

On Twitter, Chris Paine said "smart companies will educate employees and potential employees - talent beats longs hours for productivity." That point was brought out by an ex-Facebook employee in Work Hard, Live Well. Having tasted the burned rubber of diminishing returns all too often, I am firmly in the camp that employers should cultivate talent and quality where they can, rather than squeezing as much juice as the glass will hold.

But my future of work glass is half-empty. Competitive pressures will keep us pushing the career envelope one way or the other. Ergo, Everything You Think You Know About the History and Future of Jobs Is Likely Wrong, the latest warning that "technological unemployment" via automation will eradicated 47 percent of existing jobs withing two decades. When we're scrambling for higher career ground, is life/work balance a luxury we can afford? It's a reckoning we all face.

In our industry, some of the best researched/most practical views on how this plays out comes via HfS Research. Phil Fersht's latest missive: Hello As-a-Service Economy, goodbye Outsourcing, Part 2. HfS takes the future of work into the corporate view, where the outcome for companies is similar to workers: re-invent/modernize, or look forward to obscurity: "We know most viable enterprises, today, cannot afford to drag around these archaic, obsolete infrastructures and operations – and remain competitive in the long-term."

Other standouts

  • Big data loses hype cycle status, but self-driving cars are hackable- This week in tech-we-thought-could-save-us, we learn that big data is now yesterday's hashtag, supplanted by the Internet of Things and self-driving cars. Gil Press' review of Gartner's latest hype cycle brings up an issue Middleton raised on diginomica: where is the cybersecurity aspect? I don't want a smart stove until I know hackers can't fry me remotely. And I'm not feelin' groovy about smart cars hackers can drive off the road from afar - are you?
  • Omni-channel gets a reality check - Meantime, Esteban Kolsky takes a hard look at the omni-channel, surely one of the most overhyped phrases in the history of mumbo-jumbo. Kolsky gets practical: omni-channel, if done right, can make our lives as customers better. There's a catch: the need for a "single, combined, all-encompassing data model." Yup - but Kolsky has a stern warning for those companies who are busily integrating their data across channels. It's a pesky problem he calls "intent": "If you think that omni-channel is as simple as delivering across channels, go back and read the paragraph above: it needs to be based on intent (thus, changing at each experience), based on previous and future predicted interactions." No wonder the omni-channel is so far away.

Honorable mention

Nine Myths of S&OP Technology Selection - Supply chain goodness.
Booz Allen: The Right Questions and the Right Skills - Practical data science team-building - no unicorns needed.
Get To Know The Four Types Of Data In The Internet Of Things - OK, a bit hypey, but I like the attempt to drill into data types and scenarios.
The No-Bullies Guide To Creating A Healthy Startup Culture - A refreshing take on the work culture issue. Thumbs up for "Mentor, don't needlessly prune."
Will technologists digitize themselves out of jobs someday? - Further rehash of recent future of work studies, if you're not sick of the topic. This one has a glass-half-full vibe.


Overworked businessman
Via Tammy Powlas, we have a relatively low-tech whiff, the good 'ol send-everyone-in-the-company-the-new-persons-salary gaffe. As a big defender of copyright, I gotta say that stories like this aren't helping (Germany Says Taking Photos Of Food Infringes The Chef's Copyright). C'mon - that's bonkers. It's bad enough that there are chefs out there who think they own what they serve you, for it to be codified into law is truly smelly cheese.

Time to do my fussbudget thing over blog titles. When I saw Nine Arguments Against Business Storytelling, I thought, "Finally, a grouchy blogger is fed up with bullshit business narratives." So I clicked on the piece, only to learn it was written by a business storytelling advocate.

I pinged the author to ask him why he didn't title his piece more accurately, as in the opposite of what he chose, e.g. "Debunking Nine Arguments Against Business Storytelling". No reply yet. He probably thinks I'm nuts, which is not inaccurate, but hey, I want my click back.

As long as I'm playing the nutter card, I may as well deconstruct Dissenting views on Windows 10 privacy (Disclosure: I wrote a piece on Windows 10 security that was not included in this roundup, but it didn't bother me, I swear it!). Let me ask you: based on that title, what would you expect to read? Perhaps a summary of critical views on Windows 10 privacy?

Well, actually, the author begins by sharing the views of those who dissent with those who criticized Windows 10 for its privacy gaffes. Then the author continues by sharing the views of those who dissent with those who dissent about those who dissent with Microsoft - cool? Yeah, I want that click back also.

Officially off-topic

It's too bad fifteen year old 'Deez Nuts' pulled out of the Republican primary; he was polling pretty well in North Carolina. On the plus side, now he has time to make it to Burning Man, though he'd best watch out for the infestation of smelly, biting bugs.

Speaking of teens, did you you know that a 16 year old won the Microsoft PowerPoint World Championship? And I thought Generation Next didn't do Windows... So Twinkies have been annointed as the first artificially-manufactured food on a so-called nutritionalist's superfood list.

Granted, the story appeared on Weekly World News, not the most credible publication. But the doctor has a bio on Oprah's site, so he must be legit. Anyone want to eat a boatload of Twinkies and get back to me?

On the human interest side, I really enjoyed this Rare Look at the Russian Side of the Space Station. I've also been enjoying the USA network surprise Mr. Robot, with a goodly share of plot twists and some Matrix-like themes. 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 is choosing success or failure road - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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