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Enterprise hits and misses - Tableau takes a stock pounding, Gartner's BI MQ takes a critique

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed February 8, 2016
In this edition: Tableau and LinkedIn's Wall Street woes, and critiquing Gartner's BI Magic Quadrant overhaul. Plus: learning from predictive analytics use cases and the problems of outcome-based projects. Your whiffs include: IBM cloud-bashing, mandatory Fitbits and kale abuse.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Tableau and LinkedIn take a pounding, Gartner's BI MQ takes a critique - by Den and Stuart

quotage:"there is some good evidence to suggest that establishing which is the right data to analyze and visualize is problematic. I’ll expand on that in a companion piece but it could have an impact for Tableau, despite them having good ETL support from Alteryx for many data types." - Den

myPOV: It was a rough week for many cloudy/SaaSy enterprise stocks on Wall Street, which led to much consternation as to whether we were looking at a rough week or the beginning of the end of growth-based valuations. Stuart got the ball rolling with LinkedIn takes a beating from Wall Street (gist: "Not the first time that LinkedIn has been smacked down by Wall Street for weak forward guidance." Silver lining: 2015 was a pretty darn good year, and sponsored content has been a bright spot on the ad revenue side. Me - I've got issues with LinkedIn, but I don't take the current stock pounding seriously.

The Tableau situation is next on the "what the hell?" list, with Den trying to parse the numbers in What the heck happened at Tableau? It gruesome. (his punctuation, not mine). Den has written enthusiastically about Tableau in the past, but he's genuinely concerned on the financial side, as in, "I don't think we've got to the bottom of this." As for the analytics market, Den points to a number of changes (such as increased competition, and issues with the "expand" part of "land and expand" - uh-oh.). Qlik's numbers are coming in a few days, so stay tuned.

Den hit on analytics themes again in Critiquing the Gartner BI and analytics MQ. I was hoping Den was going to skewer the latest Gartner MQ, as I love a good roast and let's be honest, the "Magic Quadrant" needs some mockery from time to time. It's a useful market lens - not the stone tablets. Den opted for a more nuanced take (darn - no rants), in which he questions many of Gartner's criteria for this MQ, but also gives them credit for being transparent about the changes.

Short version: Gartner has shifted the criteria for the BI and analytics MQ considerably, to accommodate what they call "Mode 2" BI, which is sold and delivered differently, often including the lines of business. Gartner also moved away from including what they perceive as reporting solutions, as they recognize the shift from "IT-led enterprise reporting to business-led self-service analytics." To say that not all vendors are happy with this shift is a big ol' understatement, but as Den says, there are 500+ looking for position in this space. We'd need a magic planet, not a quadrant, to chart them all.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica three: my top three stories on diginomica this week:
  • Europe raises the Privacy Shield against the US, but the emperor has no clothes on - There were those who counted the 11th hour agreement between the European Commission and its partners as "good news," but count Stuart amongst the skeptics - as in, the emperor's got some new threads. The new deal, cursed blessed with the wacky monicker Privacy Shield, does not get through Stuart's transatlantic BS filter. Why? The reasons are many, including election year perils and eyebrow-raising assurances about "no more snooping" from U.S. intelligence agencies. I get the feeling we haven't heard the last from Stuart on this one - don't you?
  • Constructing your organization’s narrative - Frankly when I think about corporate narratives my eyes glaze over. But Barb won me over by analyzing Deb Lavoy's four step "narrative hierarchy," as in: aspiration, model, offer, and proof. Time hammering out such a narrative is time well spent.
  • Governance and death, the problems that will kill and cure digital transformation - Den nabs "think piece of the week honors with this entertaining treatise on the "conflicting issues that threaten to leave those who trumpet ‘digital transformation’ in every other sentence looking like a bunch of idiots come the middle of the year," Nice hook. Den pulls out a slew of digital woes and finds a theme undermining them all: the inertia and bureaucracy of entrenched governance. Is there a cure? HfS Research thinks robotics and automation can play a role. Teaser alert: check Den's piece for his answer.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - In a week hogged by Wall Street woes, the sneaky big vendor story was The importance of the IoT services model – Cisco to acquire Jasper for $1.4bn. Derek's been banging on for a year about why IoT is not about cost efficiency, but about "shifting your business model from static products to dynamic services." He's right, folks - he looks at Cisco's buy through that lens, and now considers them to have one of the most comprehensive IoT stacks.

SAP has been slow to adapt to digital pricing models despite some pitches by pesky bloggers (Den did it first, I was there). He's got an update in SAP slashes Lumira pricing, puts offer on TripItPro. In short SAP is upping the ante, and the market opportunity is still there. Phil's posted an intriguing Oracle story, Oracle cloud chief on why it’s time for customers to go cloud. Before it was widely-adopted, Phil argued that "cloud computing is fundamentally different from on-premise computing." Phil thinks Oracle is now in agreement, and senior vice president of Oracle Cloud Shawn Price brought some proof points to London for Phil to gnaw on.

Brian wanted to know if ServiceNow used their own HR services, so he asked them - and got more than he bargained for, in HR in the fast and slow growing firms – a study in eating dog food with ServiceNow. We wrap the vendor picks with Stuart's take on Salesforce's field service moves, Salesforce’s ‘half time show’ opens up field service push.

Jon's grab bag - Stuart's been off BT's holiday card list for a while - I don't think that will change this week with another double dose of dismantling, first on the corporate level (BT’s national broadband outage sits badly with its corporate arrogance), and then on a more personal customer service note (Alice’s adventures through the looking glass of BT CRM).

Derek filed a nifty use case, A look at why social media is a core customer support channel at Royal Bank of Scotland, which shows how initial setbacks can be instruments of change. Finally, Martin has an Enterprise DB update in EnterpriseDB – on the road to federated, collaborating databases - yet another example of how the traditional database market is pushed to re-invention.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Learning from Chief Analytics Officers, and predictive analytics ain't easy - by Doug Henschen and Drew Robb

quotage: "It’s always better to have more data and more data sources. DeCosmo of Enova said his firm added opt-in use of customer bank records to refine offers and give customers better terms. Samih Fadli, chief intelligence officer at digital agency Razorfish, encouraged attendees to enrich their first-party data to resolve to unique IDs, using third-party data and tracking of device IDs and Web cookies." - Doug Henschen

myPOV: Constellation's Doug Henschen spent a day at the Chief Analytics Forum in New York City and came back with 10 Tips From The Chief Analytics Officer Forum, a concise review of customer field stories. "Develop and test and learn culture" stood out; the value of testing was noted by Amazon, CapitolOne and State Fram Insurance: "willingness to test has a direct correlation with innovation." But not just A/B testing, or one-factor testing, but more sophisticated testing tactics.

"It’s not man versus machine; think man plus machine" is another keeper with Henschen reporting several customers citing anecdotes of human analyst intervention rescuing algorithms from a bad business decision. Meanwhile, Drew Robb of Enterprise Apps Today filed a predictive analytics gut check, Predictive Analytics Now Easier but Still No Cake Walk. Robb hits on trends such as predictive tools making statistical analysis more accessible, and machine learning eliminating bottlenecks caused by business analysts poring over stats.

But Robb warns that predictive analytics projects are not a slam dunk from an ROI standpoint. Robb quotes one expert: "While there's a great interest and excitement in predictive analytics today, it seems like success stories are the exception rather than the rule." Why? The short version: predictive projects are complex, and predictive market leaders like Amazon and Netflix are not easy to imitate, as they've created a "culture of analytics" around their brand. Robb shares ideas for achieving that, but to his credit does not lay out a cookie cutter template - there is no such thing.

Other standouts

  • 4 Risky Personalization Tactics That Can Make or Break Your CX - I still see an overdose of fluffy "personalization is awesome" drivel. But this piece by Hannah Alvarez was useful, as it hits on tedious fails (like the faux personalization of using the customer's name: "Does this sound like a greeting, or does it sound like manipulation?" Also: it's rare to see the perils of over-personalization mentioned, e.g. targeting based on too much information, e.g. the creepy factor.
  • Outcome based projects – a reality check - IBM's Vijay Vijayasankar tosses some overdue cold water on outcome-based projects. He's not saying they won't work, but he includes hypotheticals that are sure to make a vendor uncomfortable, such as when the customer says, "We lost money on this project. I look forward to your check for $2,000,000 as agreed." Good to keep in mind: some outcomes are bad. Or, as Vijayasankar points out, just complex, as in: is 20 percent the gain attributable to the vendor, or the new store manager?

Honorable mention

No, the cloud model is not dead - Another take on what has been a wacky period for tech stocks - though a commenter points out that Tableau is not technically a cloud stock and is potentially facing pressure form the public cloud. Key point about cloud companies having real customers, unlike the dotcom bust.
The Impact of a Failure to Differentiate - A short, hard-hitting post on how tech companies continue to fall down when it comes to a compelling value prop.
The Augmented-Reality Enterprise Opportunity - My newsfeed readers liked this concise overview of the impact of Augmented Reality by industry.
A Life Aquatic for Microsoft’s Experimental Underwater Data Centers - A nifty pursuit by Microsoft.
Preview of HR 2016 and Update on SuccessFactors Certification - A podcast from the SAP ecosystem that's always worth a listen.
7 Tips for Customer Experience Differentiation - useful listicle - a phrase I don't often use.


Overworked businessman
Ever wanted to eat kale without outing yourself as a health food nut? Problem solved: The new McDonald's kale salad is worse for you than a double Big Mac. I just learned that George Orwell Oral Roberts University in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma will be requiring its freshman class to wear Fitbits. Not sure if that's a whiff or not, maybe it's good training to submit to the surveillance state early in life before you start getting any ideas about privacy and autonomy...

I didn't track Super Bowl ads this year, but here's your best and worst ads roundup (and yeah, that little intestinal dude was kind of gross). And no - I'm not going to waste space here grilling Twitter for its coming algorithmic feed makeover; anyone could see the move from town square to Kloutified echo chamber coming. That may deserve a full Friday roast.

And now, IBM. IBM's cloud moves have been a mixed bag to date - Den parsed issues on diginomica in January in IBM beats on Q4 FY2015, can’t catch a break with analysts. I don't have a problem with pieces on how old schoolers like IBM can learn from cloud upstarts. But how many articles do we need from the consumer tech press about how [insert your "legacy" vendor punching bag here] can't keep up with tech darlings Amazon, Google, and Facebook?

Exhibit 93 from Wired: IBM Is Finally Embracing the Cloud—It Has No Other Choice. The article is a balance between a reasonably well-informed analysis of IBM's cloud plays, including SoftLayer and Bluemix, combined with pimpage profiling of cloud startups. One provides this self-serving quote: "IBM’s nonexistent in the cloud space." The article doesn't bother to note that IBM reported $4.5 billion in revenue from cloud delivered as a service – which is separate from private cloud infrastructure revenues (That's up 45 percent from past year's earnings). Tell me something - would you describe $4.5 billion as "non-existent"?

Look, IBM has its hands full, and unverified layoff rumors have been swirling. There is a lot of legacy fat still on the bone. These kinds of startups are always good for hot quotes - but that doesn't stop them from taking a big fat check when the likes of IBM and their deep pockets come-a-callin'.

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, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - - all from

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

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