Enterprise hits and misses - voice forces transformation and blockchain gets practical

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed February 7, 2018
This week - Boiling down the blockchain debate into practicalities. Plus: brands are falling behind on voice and Alexa is listening. Your whiffs include a Twitter sale for journalists - and why Musk didn't whiff this week.

Cheerful Chubby Man

Lead story - Listen up! Why voice is calling loudest for digital transformation by Chris Middleton

Den is right. Chris dropped the diginomica line of the week with:

Amazon’s progress over the past few years can best be described as a lion slipping into the room disguised as a housecat.

But voice isn't Amazon's invention. Chris reviews many players in this international review, from Siri to Alibaba to Kakao. So what's the message? Brands that don't invest in voice are falling behind. Media is just the hors d'oeuvres:

The impact will be felt not just in media consumption, which Reuters says is booming as a result of devices such as Amazon’s Echo/Dot, but also in terms of retail, manufacturing, logistics, fulfilment, and communication services. For all of these reasons, AI-enabled smart speakers are best seen as an important new gateway into the home.

OK - $10.6 billion in hardware spending on voice tech in five years, but how do enterprises time the adoption wave? Obstacles loom: try asking Alexa or Google to "re-order the most popular item in our household last week," and receive the equivalent of a blank stare at the registry of motor vehicles in return.

Transparency and trust will slow transactional voice adoption. But Chris warns brands: Amazon's logistical prowess and home voice presence is going to kick their conflicted [email protected] pose a challenge:

That throws down the gauntlet to any organisation operating across any of those fields, either vertically or horizontally.

Who will the winners be? That's another question Alexa can't hope to answer - yet.


Happy children eating apple

Diginomica picks - my top three stories on diginomica this week:

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my top two choices from our vendor coverage:

  • New Relic CEO Lew Cirne - "Digital is the new front door" for business - Stuart's New Relic update includes counter-takes on AI: "Refreshingly absent from Cirne’s remarks is any AI hard-sell, seemingly de rigeur for any enterprise tech player these days. That’s not to say the topic isn’t ticking away in the background in the guise of the firm’s Project Seymour. But Cirne is pragmatic about the current potential for the technology."
  • Built.io and Contentstack bring on the headless CMS experience - Phil goes headless again: "A headless CMS lets the coding and presentation be handled separately. This means the same content can be reused in a mobile app as well as a web site, or presented in an interactive augmented reality context, without having to manually reshape it."

A few more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - Den weighs in from across the pond on the overrated absurdity ad festival known as Super Bowl Sunday (If we all hate adverts then why do we love Super Bowl adverts?). Den's answer: Americans are nutjobs (as an American, I say, true.). Granted, Super Bowl ads tend to be better than the norm due to their ginormous creative/production budgets. Still: ads smell and spraying the industry with "AI" won't help. Maybe "useful" ads can save us? I'll say no. Barb thinks a revamped sales and marketing might. Check her Sales and Marketing 2.0 - why marketing and sales have to adapt to today's buyer.

One more think piece from Den, Healthcare - how the Amazon and Co joint venture fits to the Age of Sustainability, as he riffs on Denis Pombriant's sustainability theme. (Don't bother asking Alexa to fix healthcare, she "doesn't know that one.") We wrap the picks with my latest Digital Media Disruptions, where you get my analysis and action items on Facebook, fake influencers, voice content and more: Digital media disruptions XX - Facebook elevates comments over shares + Alexa's content future.

Best of the rest


Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer


Lead story - Agile Elephant making sense of digital transformation – Blockchain Economics – the Reality. Can your application afford the transaction costs? by Alan Patrick


myPOV: Alan Patrick of Agile Elephant has something we don't get often: a concise/practical view of blockchains pros and cons. The pros? As per Patrick:

  • highly secure
  • highly resilient technology
  • no trusted 3rd party

I'd add "when there's a need for equal market transparency across all parties..." And how about the downsides? Patrick:

  • relatively low volume (c 6 a second)
  • not particularly time sensitive (hours, or even days to complete)
  • relatively high transaction value to mitigate the blockchain operating costs.

Some of those downsides will be improved over time, but that's a good warning list. Patrick cautions:

Worryingly, we see a lot of mooted applications in the press where it is clear there is not a hope in hell that Blockchains (in their current form), will be fast enough or cheap enough to work (see Dinis’s talk on IoT – linked to above – for a typical example). Somewhere between the hype, hope and heuristics is a major disconnect...

Then, a low key recommendation that will send a shiver through the spines of blockchain marketers:

One should always compare the blockchain options to the existing, cheaper “Good Enoughs” around today.

Let's continue this unsexy and useful angle, shall we?

Honorable mention



Overworked businessman

I'm not calling this one a whiff like these dorks di: Wrong turn, dummy: Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster heads off course towards asteroid belt. As Mark Finnern said, seeing a Telsa in space might have been the best PR move of the year. Whips the stuffing out of buying a Super Bowl ad. Here's a real whiff:

I wasn't the only one:

So these Yale students (and professor) are probably regretting taking selfies with two severed heads right about now. They aren't the only ones sweating the spank tunnel this week:

Keep in mind though - I am conflicted on this one:

These Klout-preening-blowhards hard-working reporters want to have it both ways. Check this world-class rationale:

Yay for social media consultants! "Most pointers was solid" - LOLZ! That's like saying:

I wanted to go on a great white shark tour, so a consultant told me what gear to get. One of the recommendations was to leave the cage and swim around. The one lament was that I swam around in front of a deadly predator and got eaten. Most of the other pointers were solid.

Enjoy the protracted trip inside the spank tunnel. I hope next time I screw up I can write a better mea culpa than that...

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. Updated 8am UK time with a few fresh quips.

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, Snowboarder Crashing © dismagwi - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, New Relic, ServiceNow, Acumatica and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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