Enterprise hits and misses - UK digital governance at the crossroads edition

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed August 17, 2015
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. In this edition: UK digital governance gets a diginomica gut check, Google makes Alphabet soup, and BI navel gazing. Whiffery includes: the romance of the gig economy.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: J’accuse John Manzoni – a vote of no confidence in digital transformation - by Derek du Preez

quotage: "The UK government needs to be open to institutional reform if it wants to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital and platform technologies."

myPOV: I'm not what you'd call a UK digital government expert - I'm a Yank (definition #1) who has his hands full trying to make sense of Donald Trump. But this week, Derek built on our extensive coverage of the UK's GDS (Government Digital Service) by taking a serious position - a vote of no confidence is not to be taken lightly. Derek, Stuart and Phil have been tracking this story for a while, including the recent departure of GDS Director Mike Bracken.

I'll leave it to my UK colleagues to interpret the inner workings of this story, but beyond the UK, here's why it matters: the UK government's lead in digital transformation has impacted countries globally. As Derek explains in his more optimistic follow-on pieces, New leaders at GDS need to do what GDS has always done best – prove people wrong and GDS’ government-as-a-platform ambitions are misunderstood – it’s not about control. the most compelling part of this digital journey lies ahead.

Derek argues that the UK still has a chance to seize a new GaaP approach (Government as a Platform), which would further disrupt old guard players, and open up a new level of service transparency, cutting costs via re-usable services. The GaaP vision is about three key features: data transparency and security (likely via a blockchain type architecture), a marketplace that relies on open source code, and open competition for services. You can bet we'll have more updates, and, likely, more Twitter brouhahas, on this unfolding story.

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

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - Wanna know why Infor bought GT Nexus in bid to own the ‘Commerce Cloud’? We did too, so Phil got on the horn with Infor CEO Charles Phillips and filed his exclusive analysis (gist: Phil sees this as a "canny pre-emptive move," pushing into the direct spend part of the procurement market, ahead of "commerce cloud" rivals. In Rackspace – titan or tweenie of tomorrow? probes deeper into Rackspace's market predicaments. Oh, and Den wades into the Alphabet soup in Google restructures and yes, it matters.

Den took a measured look at one of the most sensationalized stories of the week in Oracle’s CSO lights a fire among security interests: do not reverse engineer our code. I wasn't crazy about the tone of the post, but like Den I agree that the social tarring/feathering routine is childish and detracts from a more pressing conversation (enterprise security). I tied that position into a different angle, career misadventures: Facebook rescinds internship to aspiring security hacker – enterprises take note. Stuart wraps our vendor takes with CSC – the next generation. Make it so! which explores CSC's chances at a digital re-invention.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
My quippy take on the best pieces I tagged this week. The standouts:

Honorable mention

The clarity of definition: CRM, CE and CX. Should we care? - You know, I really don't care. But if we are talking about moving beyond crappy call center experiences to being treated like human beings, I'm all ears. Let's revisit this one next week, I have a plan...
9 Truths IT Pros Must Live By  - In the mood for a listicle? I thought so! I especially like "Find and fix problems before users are impacted. IT teams shouldn’t discover problems through an open ticket," though alas, it does qualify for my "wishful thinking" award.
Catalina Sea Ranch Dives Into Aquaculture – and IoT  - Does the Internet of Things bore you as much as it does me? So glad I'm not alone. But we can still admit, this is a really interesting IoT use case, right?
Supply Chain: The True Game of Risk - Regarding the problem of the globalized supply chain: "The value network of suppliers and logistics providers is largely managed by spreadsheets and email with no system of record for interactions" - yikes!
The Free Coding Academy Model -- How To Teach Our Next Generation Of Programmers -  Lots o' content coming out about how our educational system is failing an entire generation in coding literacy. But: some creative approaches are brewing.


Overworked businessman
Elbowing its way through the PR gaffes comes Tinder, who chose to fight Vanity Fair on Twitter after Vanity Fair had the audacity to link Tinder to hookup culture (granted, Vanity Fair gets a linkbait mention for including "dating apocalypse" in the article headline). But maybe not a good idea to fire off 30 tweets on the corporate Twitter ID. This piece from VOX seems to balance the scales on both sides (a flawed, anecdotal article meets a hyperactive response).

A bunch of fun-with-surveillance news this week, with several companies vying for the honor of the your-privacy-is-less-important-than-our-agenda prize. I'll give it to AT&T for going far beyond Verizon in helping the NSA track Internet traffic (sidenote: in 1992(!) I interviewed an AT&T researcher who strongly implied to me that when various databases were combined, it would be terrifying what certain companies/agencies would know about us).

Been a while since I picked on Buzzfeed, and truth is, We Can’t Seem To Figure How Much Of A Thing The Gig Economy Really Is isn't a bad piece (the author is trying to get a statistical handle on how much impact the on-demand economy of Uber, Airbnb etc is actually having). But there is a mixed agenda here, because while the "on-demand economy" driven by Uberized platforms may be hard to quantify, there's no doubt that we are becoming a freelance economy.

So, when the article notes, "Chriss thinks the survey will find that these people are happier with their current work lives than the public might expect. And right now, the public likely expects very little: Lawsuit after lawsuit — and news story after news story — have created the impression that on-demand workers are exploited and miserable, and that the model itself is precarious." Well, we know that freelancing isn't precarious, it's pretty much the future of work.

And as far as job satisfaction goes, that's not the issue whatsoever. Yep, certain freelancers are happy - that's not a relevant issue. The point is that we're heading towards freelancers-by-necessity, not by choice. I'm more interested in helping folks with such transitions - and arming them with the resources and support they need - then pondering the happiness of early adopters.

Officially off-topic

So I tested out Twitter's new expanded direct message format with the still-ubiquitous Ray Wang. Works great - Hootsuite already trackes the 10,000 character limit for you. Long time ago, 2008 I think - Twitter secretly allowed longer direct messages, and it worked great. Then it was kiboshed. Now it's back and expanded - about five years too late to help Twitter win the messaging wars. Nice job playing from behind.

Ever wonder what happens when an eagle meets a drone? Yup - eagle wins. A drone pilot's advice: "Treat eagles like you are supposed to treat aircraft. If you see them, LAND.” Fly baby fly!

So I found this blog, "Without Bullshit," that dissects PR releases and posts. The title sucked me in; the content is usually good, as in this positive dissection, You should write like Larry Page in his Google-Alphabet announcement. For nifty uses of tech, I also liked Young Muslim Entrepreneurs Try Countering ISIS Propaganda.

And, finally catching up on some (but not all) summer TV finales. Here's a few no-spoiler reviews for ya:

  • True Detective season 2 finale (HBO)  - a bloated, flatulent mess that I nevertheless enjoyed, having long ago put aside any expectations based on a brilliant season one.
  • Power season 3 finale (Starz) - a well-constructed season of drama, ultimately marred by some gutless decisions that seem ratings-driven to my jaded eyes.
  • Rectify season 3 finale (Sundance) - sticking with this sometimes ponderous and always-subtle Sundance show rewarded long-time viewers with some truly sublime episodes that managed to advance the plot while showing the evolution of characters and friendships. Hard at times, kinda like life.

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, at the seaside © olly - Fotolia.com - all from Fotolia.com

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

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