Enterprise hits and misses - SAP, NetSuite, and ServiceNow trade show blowout edition

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 23, 2016
In this edition: trade show blowout with SAP, NetSuite, ServiceNow, and Salesforce. Plus: when did employees become "costs," customer experience metrics, and the perils of advanced analytics. Your whiffs include: mocking "innovative holistic thinking," and a Chromebooks-are-dead 20/20 hindsight evisceration.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: SAP, NetSuite, ServiceNow and Salesforce have pivotal event weeks - by the entire team

myPOV: The diginomica team hit both U.S. coasts, as well as London, to track major event this week. These vendors probably don't like to be lumped into one roundup, but welcome to hits and misses friends:

ServiceNow - In the midst of ServiceNow's annual Knowlege Conference, Derek scored an Interview with ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman – The ‘everything-as-a-service’ revolution. Can this be a $4 billion company by 2020? So far, they're on pace. Oh, and did you know that ServiceNow was the second pure play cloud company to hit the $1 billion annual revenues mark (after Salesforce)? Of course, there is the challenge of imprinting ServiceNow's "everything-as-a-service" mission on business users. For now, green lights ahead, and a conference review from Martin, Knowledge 16 – ServiceNow spreads its net.

SAP - It was a pivotal show for SAP, and a surprising one. Den's got the review in SAPPHIRE Now 2016 – the verdict. One surprise - at least to some - was the ByDesign angle; Den wrote on that in SAP Business ByDesign – happy customers and significant progress. Another surprise was SAP’s digital consumer insight – a monster, Jonathan Becher's stealth/skunkworks project now live on the SAP store (a product which impressed a lot of cynical bloggers).

Rimini Street knows how to keep the burner hot, as in Den's RiminiStreet opens up a new line of attack – support for SAP HANA database. Another big Sapphire Now surprise was the focus on tech topics like APIs, integration, and migration, an angle I explored in this use case, Siam City Cement on digital change versus stagnation, and how S/4HANA fits in. Den and I shot a slew of videos, many of them use cases; check our Sapphire Now playlist.

NetSuite - We fanned out west for the SuiteWorld show:

Salesforce - with its signature show still far off, Salesforce managed to make some noise this week, most of it an improvement on the "data loss/outage" headlines of the week prior:

Happy children eating apple
diginomica three - my top three picks from diginomica this week:
  • The art of personalisation and optimisation at Tesco - Derek shares takeaways from Tesco's presentation at last week's Adobe Summit. Nice to hear from a company who's been at the "data science" thing longer than we had a cool term for it, with lessons on avoiding bias, data silos, and building a "test and learn" culture.
  • Micron Automata aims to find answers to big data questions - Collecting and parsing huge data volumes is creating an opening for hardware innovation. Phil's got the story of how chipmaker Micron Technologies is seizing the moment, providing the hardware for "pattern matching" via "a completely new processor design called Automata."
  • Hyperconverged infrastructure will evolve into cloud building blocks - Kurt makes an impassioned technical argument for hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) in the cloud, which he argues is too impactful solely for on-premise deployments. Or, as Kurt puts it: "The scale-out architecture and inherent technical and business benefits of HCI are too good to waste solely on legacy workloads."

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - a couple more selections from a busy conference week:

Jon's grab bag - In MuleSoft’s Ross Mason on the future of enterprise APIs, Phil continues his review of Enterprise APIs, via Mason's take on implementing reusable services and making API content easy to consume via "micro-applications." This isn't just an IT concern - integration and APIs were big topics at Sapphire Now as well, which you wouldn't have expected at a business-focused conference. Times/changin'.

We've heard about the so-called "customer journey," but what if you could map a "content journey" directly against it, deliverying the right content to customers each step of the way. That's the ambition Barb digs into in The content journey is the customer journey – assessing NewsCred’s vision. We're always noodling/obsessing on content personalization themes at diginomica, and we're taking a big (hopefully) step this week. Check Den's view in diginomica’s Next Big Thing – personalization. Give the comment thread a look-see and tell us what you think...

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
The fascinating world of advanced analytics - by Vijay Vijayasankar

quotage: "If you need to put a lot of data into your system at a high speed like say in some IOT scenarios – there are databases that are optimized for it. But those databases need extra fittings to make that data available to be analyzed in real time. There are others that can do sophisticated analysis, but they don’t always allow data to be put into it at the speed it arrives. Essentially a lot of compromises and data duplication are still daily struggles for many of us . Granted it is getting better – but it’s not there yet."

myPOV: Vijayasankar comes back from his travels and throws up a provocative post on advanced, or not-so-advanced analytics. His central thesis is simple: this stuff is cool, but the tools aren't quite there yet. And yeah, there are many factors to the problem - ten according to Vijayasankar's list. Mark me down for "every prediction comes with caveats – some trivial and some complex." The complex caveats are the real culprit, as they require statistical savvy on the part of the user to parse. Vijayasankar doesn't offer solutions in this laundry list, but the problems are enough to make analytics marketers clock out early and head to "happy hour." In fact, I predict they will do so...

Other standouts

  • Customer experience metrics: a brief guide on how to measure CX - Demerit for the "automated survey" tip, but I've eviscerated that concept elsewhere. Otherwise, a solid rundown of practical CX metrics - sure to bring a pained-half-crack-of-a-butthurt-smile to bean counters everywhere.
  • Automakers Must Partner Around Big Data - Fellow Enterprise Irregular Evangelos Simoudis unfurls another meaty missive on the state of the auto industry. The context is a debate on auto futures from a car ownership mentality versus an "access centric" view on cars "where car ownership is replaced outright by mobility services that provide on-demand access/use of vehicles and multimodal transportation solutions." Give me this post over a dozen fawning "Tesla is changing the game" posts from the technorotti.
  • When did employees become “costs”? - It's as reliable as a trip to Home Depot: just about every weekend, Phil Fersht of HfS Research blows an enterprise gasket and serves up a punchy rant. This time, he's bothered by the treatment of employees as costs, not assets. He sees a host of workplace problems stemming from that fundamental misstep. Fersht details a few zingers, including "Academic institutions are not aligned with economic reality" and "The Millennial generation mentality is a poor fit for many legacy businesses." I'd add: talent suits are overhyped while companies pay lip service to "talent" and lose skilled people they could have nurtured and upskilled.

Honorable mention

SAP Feels Your Pain, ‘Storms Ahead’ on New Apps, Consumer Insights - A sharp review of some key Sapphire Now issues, including analytics news and "renaming" (Get your BusinessObjects mugs thermos back out).
Oracle CX and SAS GBF: Product-focused companies in the throes of change - Honing in on two companies with similar challenges.
Good Practices for SuccessFactors HCM Projects - Another thoughtful podcast from one of the best (and longest running) enterprise podcast series. (If you're in the mood for SAPpy podcasts, you may want to check out my ditty with diginomica contributor Dick Hirsch, Sapphire Now in Review - Breaking it Down with Dirk Hirsch).
6 reasons to love blockchain technology - Short, sweet, and a tad on the fuzzy-happy side. But - still a good primer.
Positioning Platform Businesses - Design your platform with the end customer, and work your way back - I'll buy that.
Why Solving Big Food & Healthcare Problems Will Yield Spectacular Companies - Short? Yes, but has that feel-good vibe we need on a back-to-work/weather-too-freaking-nice-outside Monday.


Overworked businessman
OK, so there's this:

I just hope someone told the paid "actors" in this ad there is no walking back from this. What is the Emoji for "lost cause"?

I enjoy the Ad Contrarian but his hostility to content for brand building, while using content to build his own contrarian brand, is over the top. Yes, you can't become a household name without some advertising. Is that the only worthwhile outcome a brand can pursue? I can think of brands that have done pretty darn good with all content and no advertising, and you don't have to look/read very far... However, the Ad Contrarian can bash Innovative Holistic Thinking all day long baby...

With the news that Chromebooks have surpassed Mac sales in the U.S. for the first time, I flashed back to all the dopey pieces I saw, like this 2011 piece, burying the Chromebook on arrival (Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet). Look, I'm no Nostradamus - I tried to keep my high school networking group on Yahoo when an annoying little site called Facebook came along - but what bugs me about the 2011 piece is that it's all about "me," - as in "I already have an Android tablet."

Fine, you're all set. Turns out schools needed affordable laptops WITH A KEYBOARD. Not a shocking development given the historical push for cheap laptops in developing countries etc. There's way more students typing essays than gadgeted-up tech bloggers speaking in Emoji.

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 credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

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

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