MyPOV: Nothing surprises me in retail, but this one kinda did. It was widely assumed that Walmart, though hardly an Amazon, was over the e-commerce hump. Not so fast, pundits. Stuart carves into some big earnings news:
It's being reported - first by Vox - that Walmart's looking at a $1 billion loss on its e-commerce business and the pressure is on Marc Lore, former CEO of Jet and now Walmart's e-commerce head, to take some drastic action to get the online house in order.
That appears to include selling off three of the digital fashion brands that Walmart has acquired in recent years under Lore's leadership - Bonobos (bought for $310 million), Eloquii ($100 million) and Modcloth (around $50 million).
Sounds worthy of a digital soap opera, swirling around Jet leadership as well as how the acquired Jet fits into Walmart's e-commerce play as a whole. Now, if Walmart CEO Doug McMillion was reading this, he'd point me over to Walmart's US e-commerce year-on-year growth of 37 percent. But as Stuart points out:
Where that growth is coming from is what’s critical - and it’s not coming from digital fashion brands.
Walmart has considerable in-store, warehouse, and online assets - but that doesn't mean you can snap your fingers and win. Following Stuart's analysis, it looks like this is more of a repositioning of assets than an outright fail.
That said, Stuart's says we can expect "money going into expanding the logistics capabilities of the firm rather than buying more digital retail brands, particularly ones that are still unprofitable." Ouch. Sounds like we may want to have the popcorn ready for Walmart's next quarterlies on August 15.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- The junior consultant debate - my two cents/penn'orth - Uncle Den is feeling a wee bit cranky, folks. He doesn't want junior consultants
on his lawnon your project. He's got a point: "To the question of 'starting somewhere' - true but then in any profession, there is always a period of learning required before you become productive. Why should the client pay for that?" This debate will press on, given the topbiggest consultancies think they are doing clients a favor by sending wet behind the ears juniorsdigital natives onto your project for your "digital transformation."
- Piedmont Healthcare fights off infection with data warehousing project - Jess digs into why healthcare analytics is turning a corner, with the proliferation of data presenting that challenges/opportunities combo.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- The future of customer service in the spotlight with Guru CEO Rick Nucci - Phil dishes on his most recent podcast: "All of this requires some sophisticated gathering of previously siloed information and the intelligent application of AI resources."
- Can Infor solve the autonomous supply chain problem for the enterprise? Derek: "So, you’ve got a single view of your supply chain network. You’ve got contextually aware enterprise applications. Now what?"
- Welcome to IFS - I welcome another partner to the diginomica fold: "The modernization of ERP is about better outcomes - not go-lives."
A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- OSV - when bots meet Workday - Brian
- Why would Coupa take on the corporate payments market? A look inside Coupa Pay's big push - Jon
- Dubai Airports breaks up silos with Okta for a better passenger experience - Sooraj
- In focus with Jason Maynard, NetSuite - Den
Jon's grab bag - Madeline delves into Tesco's blueprint for women in tech to land that next great job - interesting take on "authentic leadership," and how you get there. Meanwhile, Neil advises us to put some Bayesian Nets in our BI tool bag.
So the Boston Red Sox played their arch-rival New York Yankees to an
indifferent baffled amused enraptured UK audience last week, though the ridiculous scores resembled whiffle ball, not professional baseball. I read Mark's behind the scenes tech view with interest: Boston Red Sox steal first base with unified communications system. I'd trade all those "unified communications" for a halfway-decent closer! Finally, no one better than Chris to assess the state of UK robotics hubs. Check the piece and you'll see what I mean...
Best of the rest
Lead story - The Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords and the Future of Work - by Jerry Useem
MyPOV: It's rare to write a "future of work" piece that surprises me - but this one did. Consider this zinger:
Stop hiring people based on their work experience.
That's preaching to my choir. But Useem goes further: has expertise itself has fallen out of favor? That's outside my intellectual comfort zone. I get this aspect though:
The more we invest in building and embellishing a system of knowledge... the more averse we become to unbuilding it.
Useem's piece hones in on a Navy vessel that employs a skills tactic called "minimal manning." It's not just less bodies, it's the type of skills. It's about prioritizing adaptable, versatile workers. Useem shares an anecdote where Navy seamen, relatively inexperienced with docking, came up with a new method:
It's an indication, however small, of what a group of open-minded generalists can achieve: namely, inventing new patterns of working that turn a lack of expertise into an asset.
Though Useem's post is about a ship, it's not hard to extrapolate, which he does:
While no one would suggest that effort itself is being devalued today—hard work is just as important in the workplace that's emerging as in the one that's receding—a world in which mental agility and raw cognitive speed eclipse hard-won expertise is a world of greater exclusion: of older workers, slower learners, and the less socially adept.
I can't dissect all of this here, but this isn't the end of expertise. If anything, it's a misunderstanding of generalists. Not all generalists are created equal. Experts, too, can adapt. I've said for years that experts must wrap their mastery in general skills we might call soft skills - emotional intelligence, leadership, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, empathy. Those skills might be general, but they also require mastery. One thing is for sure: resistance to skills change is a ticket to career risk. Phil Fersht just wrote a piece on that tonight.
- It was a really bad month for the internet - Facebook goes down, Apple goes down, Google goes down. Oh, and Cloudflare went down also, pointing fingers at parent company Verizon, as if that was supposed to make those impacted feel any better. TechCrunch's Zach Whittaker rounds up the carnage.
- Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2019—Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Update - PJ Jakovljevic has everything you wanted to know about Microsoft's business applications plans, including screen shots and answers for legacy customers.
- Amazon and Google antitrust concerns raised in RILA letter to FTC - Retailers look to take advantage of an increasingly hostile attitude towards big tech in D.C., with Walmart, Target and Best Buy amongst the retailers pressing the anti-trust issue.
- Integrating Different Perspectives - Hank Barnes on the problem of applying more consensus to a buying decision. We got into those problems and more in my podcast also: The dilemmas of the modern enterprise buyer, part one - with Hank Barnes of Gartner.
- 5 Skills You Need to Master to Start a Successful Career in IoT - Over on The New Stack, we've got some IoT career advice. Not easy to dish out when you consider: "IoT is multilingual — it speaks many programming languages and requires experience with a range of frameworks. "
- Robots may care for you in old age – and your children will teach them - For all my robotic snark, I'm actually bullish on robots as old age companions - though the emotional part will prove easier than the nuances of physical caretaking.
So this four floor slide in a Singapore airport gets you to your gate faster. Of course, you're still hanging out at the gate waiting for flight delay updates, but - sure, slide away. Meanwhile, I had some fun at Domino's expense:
@dominos you used to have the best online ordering in the biz, but it's gone way downhill. I'm going to share *some* screenshots from only some of the problems in one recent order. Start with this: pic.twitter.com/Os9GFw55X6
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 7, 2019
I also had a different take on the Facebook outage:
Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are 'being buggy,' users report outages around the world https://t.co/r61nRE2mBD
-> might provide a brief window to get something actually useful done
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 3, 2019
Man, we could use these goggles right about now, eh?
I could use them when reading the latest blockchain proof of concept or AI
hyperblow hyperbole, in this case, about the music business:
The Amazing Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming The Music Industry https://t.co/pa1Duh6KPH
-> Yeah well the only problem is writing unforgettable, epic music.
but hey, that's what classics on vinyl are for.
"We come from the land of ice and snow!"
Vinyl > "AI"
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) July 6, 2019
Yeah, Jack White could have used some "AI" to play the keyboard for him during an epic performance of "Icky Thump." Yeah sure...
No "see you next time" this week. I've got next week's edition off - and a stellar surprise hits and misses writer will step in.
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.