Enterprise hits and misses - storefronts face off with e-commerce, hybrid work policies emerge, and workplace neurodiversity gets a call to action
- This week - the retail plot thickens as retailers choose divergent strategies. Collaborative work technology is surging, but are new "hybrid" policies already stale? Your whiffs include my worst workplace nightmare coming true.
Lead story - Vaccine Economy retail face-off - storefront investments, or e-commerce push?
MyPOV: Common thinking is that retailers are hedging their bets with omni-plays, across stores and online. But Stuart sharpens that discussion with Gap goes online-only in the UK, Primark doubles down on stores - two extremes of omni-channel retail in the Vaccine Economy, but who's right?
Contrary to the advisory you saw everywhere, Primark stubbornly resisted the e-commerce pandemic imperative, and took big hits (though they have invested in social media and are working online stock availability checks, etc.). But now, as Stuart points out, Primark is roaring back. As per the CFO of Primark's parent company:
Some of the fashion is flying off the shelves. That is a return to people really wanting to buy things because they’re starting to go out again.
Meanwhile, The Gap
can't sell to a walk-in if their corporate future depended on it has given storefronts the white flag in the UK. Stuart concludes:
So who wins here? Primark with its focus on the store or Gap cutting its costs by heading to an online-only model? In reality, it may be too early to say definitively. There’s still a sense of re-awakening when it comes to non-essential retail with shoppers enjoying getting back into stores to wander the aisles. In my city, the lines outside Primark went right around the block on the first day of re-opening as shoppers poured into the store to satisfy pent-up demand.
As Stuart notes, that re-opening surge will level off. We'll see if a store like Primark can capitalize on the absence of some big competitors. Stuart sees one thing missing from retail analyst views:
People actually want to buy what Primark has to sell. And the blunt reality for Gap is that people don’t want to buy what it has to sell and haven’t for a long time.
No amount of omni-maneuvering can fix that. For an unexpected omni-channel success story, how about Stuart on his old nemesis, Bed, Bath & Beyond? Bed, Bath & Beyond's omni-transformation turnaround continues. It can be done!
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- It's time to concentrate on neurodiversity - Ever had a "wish I'd written that post" moment? I had one this week over Mark Chillingworth's terrific job here: "With many organizations concerned about skills shortages, the neurodiversity community has many of the talents business technology leaders require. As with digital transformation, the challenge is changing the culture of the organization to accept 'divergence'."
- Personalize the experience, not the content - says Randy Frisch, Uberflip CMO - "Brands are all-in on personalization, but are they doing it properly? When it comes to personalizing content, the data says they are not." Barb's on the case.
- Bringing a 17th century business into the digital era - how Lloyd's of London executed its transformation - Madeline files an unexpected transformation story, and it wasn't an easy transformation (are they ever?). As Madeline was told: "I didn't realize it was going to be such a wall of resistance."
- New routes to the edge - different approaches emerge for the packaged functionality market - Martin continues with his pesky questions around the edge: "The flow of data will change. Much of what heads to the center will be metadata describing the data and pointing to its location at the edge."
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- XaaS and the art of connected manufacturing - Phil rounds up the lessons from our Google Cloud Digital Manufacturer Summit coverage: "At a time when digital transformation can lead to new patterns of usage, manufacturers need to look at the whole customer experience, not just the narrow experience when using the product."
- Sapphire Now 2021 in review - DSAG leaders air out their views on RISE with SAP, integration progress, and the transformation imperative - The SAP German user group always keeps things spicy. I got their views on Sapphire Now via this diginomica exclusive.
- ServiceNow - ‘The customer services market focuses too much on the engagement layer’ - Derek has a wake-up call on modern customer service, via Service Now.
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Slack adds audio chat and video clips to take the pain out of hybrid working - Phil
- The art of BI business user adoption - an illustrated Domo use case from Mayer Electric - Jon
- Nashville Zoo unleashes menagerie of benefits with finance systems upgrade - Jess (Sage Intacct use case)
- TrailheaDX 2021 - Salesforce CTO Parker Harris pitches 'power to the people' for low-code app development - Stuart
Jon's grab bag - Cath raises a critical issue in COVID-19 has widened the digital divide - how can we bridge the gap? The power of customer reviews (and the potential of sentiment analysis to act on them) is a a key theme in Gary's latest use case, Kia UK motors ahead via AI-powered customer experience.
Chris reports back on another drones conference, with decidely mixed reviews on our robotic futures in Drones - are we opening our skies to nuisance and chaos? Madeline issues a bro culture warning in AI, bro? No! How do we stop AI being the next tech 'bro' domain?
Finally, Phil issued a tour de force on new hybrid work policies - and collaboration vendor news, The hybrid workplace - we're all feeling our way, who grasps the whole picture? As Phil points out, only the outliers are really challenging workplace convention. Most of these new hybrid work "policies' are clumsy at best. And yet, these vendors' own tools let us do more than their supposedly flexible employee policies would allow. Paradox indeed. As Phil wrote:
This is really about the shift from the old analog world to a new, digitally augmented future of work that's far more sustainable, inclusive and productive than what went before. And as I warned last year, many will resist its inevitable rise.
Best of the enterprise web
My top eight
- Ransomware attack on software manager hits 200 companies - "Kaseya, an international company that remotely controls programs for companies, said it was attacked by hackers and warned all customers to immediately stop using its service." Yikes.
- Jim Whitehurst steps down as president at IBM just 14 months after taking role - No, it's not unusual for high profile execs to step down after acquisitions get breathing room, but my first response was: this isn't especially good news for IBM. Ron Miller provides context.
- How Do CIOs Plan to Manage Teams Post-COVID? - Something's got to give. As CIO Insight reports, Korn Ferry's survey determined only ten percent of employees want to return to the office full time. And yet, executives like this quoted CIO sing a different (mandatory) tune: "As the CIO, I, too, want my workforce and staff to get back to the office."
- How to build AI that society wants and needs - Okay, so this article title from the WEF is a tad cornball, but there is a nifty chart that lists the forecasted popularity of real world AI use cases. Top of the list? The sexy scenario of static image recognition, classification and tagging.
- 4 Major Effects SAP RISE is Having on the Service Providers - Upper Edge with another insightful RISE with SAP post, this one focused on systems integrators.
- Asking the Right Questions Is The First Step To Drive Supply Chain Excellence - Lora Cecere parses her latest supply chain data: "There is no correlation between types of technology—company or brand—and supply chain performance."
- Time to define the role of citizen developers in low-code and no-code settings - Joe McKendrick on the low-code beat: "Are we at the point in which business users can actually build and deploy relatively sophisticated applications without the help of IT?"
- A Quick Critique of Clubhouse - The
pretentious insularity ofSilicon Valley infatuation with Clubhouse is normally beyond my purview, but Dave Kellogg has been forcing the issue with enterprise discussions on Clubhouse since the beginning, so his lessons are instructive.
I don't know how bad this IBM internal email outage actually was, but whenever you can make gratuitous mentions of Lotus Notes, it's a whiffy win:
I love the "have they tried Lotus Notes?" snark in this thread..... https://t.co/yjOBXNU3GP
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 1, 2021
Should I throw LinkedIn under the bus again, or is this really about "modern" APIs, or is this really about those of us who opt into these free systems with casual understanding of how we can be compromised? I don't know, but let's call it a whiff regardless:
LinkedIn breach reportedly exposes data of 92% of users https://t.co/BwgxIYqWew
"RestorePrivacy reports that the hacker appears to have misused the official LinkedIn API to download the data, the same method used in a similar breach back in April."
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 29, 2021
Finally, this should have made the column last week, but hat tip to Jonathan Becher for accelerating my personal dystopia:
getting closer to the end times.... :) https://t.co/shyyx2AbT0
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) June 17, 2021
As I responded to Becher: "That would be the end of my career, yikes." Hopefully that will take a few more years to make its way to the diginomica team... 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.