Enterprise hits and misses - Workday and HR content binge edition

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed July 20, 2015
A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn't) - on diginomica and beyond. This week: Workday's data science and financial planning moves assessed, the lighter side of big data, some readable rants, and a Yahoo-sized whiff on the end of the power-user

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Workday and HR content binge - by Phil, Brian, and Janine

quotage: "We’ll hear competitive announcements from all kinds of ERP providers  in the coming months. Some of these will be “announce-ware”, some will be “stall-ware” and some will be the old standby: “PowerPoint-ware”. All come under the umbrella – “vapor-ware.” Serious vendors will see this as a time to finally add this capability to their cloud financial and HR solutions." - Brian

myPOV: This week brought some deeper analysis of Workday’s recent moves in data science, budgeting and financial planning. Fresh from a sit-down with  Chano Fernandez, VP EMEA, Phil bravely wades through a slew of Workday product announcements, most of them centered around data science and analytics. He sees Workday as a company serving “two masters,” e.g. next-gen cloud businesses along with customers new to cloud migrations. Thus, capacity for change is a framework for understanding these moves, and for handicapping their chances.

Brian Sommer takes a different tack in One announcement from Workday – four structural changes to the planning software market, building on Den/Phil’s prior analysis. Brian thinks the implications of this announcement go further, and he goes long-form to prove it. He asks: “What’s going to happen with the Corporate Performance Management aka CPM sector especially in light of Workday’s recent announcement?” He then answers his own question, in four bullets. Bonus points to Brian for using the word “bifurcates,” as in: “this announcement bifurcates the market.”

Read till the end and get a biscuit, as Brian closes with field examples of how big data is impacting financial planning - which ties nicely back to Phil’s piece. Finally, Janine posted another HR-related piece, Lack of confidence in skills and tools stall HR analytics uptake, which, if true, might put a damper on the ambitions Brian/Phil cited. Citing a study by cloud HRMS provider Fairsail, Janine notes that “Only 13% of the 150 business and HR leaders surveyed felt confident they understand analytics deeply enough for it to drive business performance.”

Happy children eating apple
diginomica three: my completely subjective top three stories on diginomica this week:
  • Basho CEO on the future of NoSQL and why he chose Bellevue over the Bay - As someone who has hit the NoSQL market from many directions, Derek finds the long game provocative: “Let’s face it, the NoSQL players aren’t going to stick to databases – we’ve seen that already with Basho and its data platform. There’s a bigger play here for all of them. And as that unfolds, what will that mean for the bigger incumbents? As this market and the products expand and continue to stabilise and gain traction, they pose more of a problem. And more of an opportunity.”  Indeed.
  • The BBC’s future – what’s the role of public service broadcasting in a digital age? - Stuart applies his digital transformation spectacles to the BBC, whose charter is up for renewal. The issues he raises will be uncomfortable ones for public service broadcasters everywhere. But there are opportunities as well, including a rich digital archive that has monetization potential. As my UK colleagues might say, “all change.”
  • Live from New York – it’s enterprise NoSQL for Saturday Night Live - Back to the NoSQL tip with a nifty use case from Jessica, re: a new Saturday Night Live app. Speaking of leveraging archival footage, this app supposedly “makes the user experience of browsing 40 years’ worth of comedy sketches both ‘enjoyable’ and ‘purposeful’”. I can’t speak to that, but you can bet I’ll be checking out Chris Farley (RIP) in a van down by the river soon enough.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style - In Oracle v Rimini Street: the damages game takes a turn in Rimini’s favor, Den updates on one of the most important he said/she saids in enterprise software. As Den points out, the implications of this resolution are big news for many key #ensw players, and the customers looking for different paths to value (or, as some might put it, some welcome downward pressure on the 22 percent maintenance racket price point.

In the happily-titled Microsoft moves its tanks closer to the front in the service management wars, Stuart doubles down on his own “service management wars" prognostication. So does this settle the prior debate Phil found himself in the thick of: will Microsoft sell off Dynamics or fortify it with acquisitions? Stuart thinks it might be the latter. We wrap the vendor coverage with Martin’s CSC turns to Pentaho for Big Data – and more, wherein he takes the position that  CSC’s deal with Pentaho “overcomes a problem for its Big Data platform, but the bigger prize may lie in the Internet of Things.”

Jon's grab bag - Friday roast: getting out of spreadsheet hell - Den and diginomica reader/blogger/IBMer Vijay Vijayasankar have had plenty o’ productive verbal jousting over the future of the spreadsheet. Is the corporate spreadsheet a cockroach, a mixed bag, or an endangered species? Den and Vijay are far apart on this one, but the debate is popcorn-worthy.

Stuart lays out Netflix’s dilemma in Netflix subscriber growth surges as profits collapse on content costs, which fascinates me as I view their original content as the future (if they can pull it off) and their mediocre streaming library as the problem.  Stuart sees them as ahead of the pack though. Finally, check out Den’s The positive impact of social sharing for more on the voodoo that we do here at diginomica. You may find something of use - or something we can do a lot better. 

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
No special pick this week - let's put down the beach towels and get busy bloggin folks. That said, here were some standouts:
  • HR content binge continues: HfS on KPMG's new Workday practice acquisition, Constellation on the Ceridian Insights event -  Let's pile on the HR, shall we, starting with Phil Fersht of HfS and why he sees KPMG's Towers Watson Workday practice purchase as a sign of things to come as BPO shifts into the 'As a Service" economy. Meantime, Constellation's Holger Mueller files an event report on Ceridian. Mueller has plenty of nice things to say about how Ceridian is expanding into talent while staying true to its "compliance core" HR functions. He also has some cautions, including managing growth.
  • Event report: Greenberg hands out Salesforce Connection grades - A couple event veterans did the needful... Greenberg puts Salesforce Connection through the grinder of his revised event report grades, and uh oh, the food didn't fare so well (got a C, as in "average-to-meh." In fairness to Greenberg, he doesn't see the food as a factor in his overall score, which was largely positive, including his bullish take on a new product, Salesforce Engage.
  • Vijayasankar takes a dip in a data lake, and defines Hadoop with a straight face - Leave it to Vijaysankar to bring levity to the dry and overflogged big data space. Starting with Before you take a dip in a data lake, Vijayasankar offers some useful warnings on the limitations of data lakes, before quipping, "I was joking with someone that all the fans of data lakes should be made to work in a data curation project for some time on a mandatory basis." Then in Defining Hadoop with a straight face, Vijayasankar makes a valiant foray into defining Hadoop, which he sees as the real thing, compared to data lakes hype: "Unlike datalake, I don’t think of Hadoop as a buzzword at all. It is a real thing – a real project you can touch and feel." To prove it, he includes a pic of an elephant. Well played.
  • Rants are good for the enterprise soul - Two readable rants this week. Gartner's Hank Barnes returns to his email fails stomping grounds (For Prospecting, Put in the Effort or Don't Bother), cautioning against what I call faux personalization: "Don’t put words in that imply a level of personalization or preparation that does not exist.  Don’t say, “I looked at your Website and can see you need localization services” (I don’t have a Web site)." And today, Esteban Kolsky is in vintage form in Duck Intelligence, Think Wisdom, which includes my Monday quote of the day,
    "You cannot turn a 20-year old solution into a 'knowledge management platform' just by hiring a new VP of Marketing), not everything in this world is becoming a 'system of' something."

Honorable mention

Nadella's Tough Decision - incisive musings on Microsoft's Nokia-related mobile dilemmas in the wake of major layoffs.
Death of a Software Salesman - why change in software sales is inevitable.
Seven Mistakes to Avoid in Sales and Operations Planning - definitive.
Why Web Pages Suck - sharp analysis of the online media monetization crisis.
The Death of Reddit - more tough questions on the dilemmas of free speech versus open communities - via Mark Finnern.


Overworked businessman
So Tiger Woods took a shot (kind of) at some older folks, the AARP specifically. But the AARP wasn't having it, turning the tables by saying, "It's better to be over 50 than over par."

Closer to the enterprise , Microsoft is raising geek eyebrows with its Microsoft confirms Windows 10 updates can't be stopped reveal. Amidst the snarky - and deserved - comment thread pasting, one issue has been overlooked: the reason this is an issue is because Microsoft hasn't figured out how to install its updates without totally disrupting the bandwidth and performance of someone trying to get some freaking work done. One more reason why I may never buy a wintel laptop again.

Then we have Yahoo, which quietly announced it is killing Yahoo Pipes. Pipes doesn't mean much to most, and this news won't get nearly the pub that the death of Google Reader did. But it points to a bigger/sadder thing: the end of the "mashable" web era, where free tools allowed those with a hacker's mindset to craft their own clever widgets.

Like any "end of" assertion, you can poke holes: IFTTT is still up and running, and apparently thriving, and more paid services like dlvr.it do some of the things Pipes can do (I used Pipes to create an elaborate RSS of all my content across the web).

Yahoo's pathetic announcement post didn't really surprise me - they have their hands full creating the illusion of mass commercial relevance through last-port-of-call advertising, but it's clear from the comments I'm not the only one with an end-of-an-era vibe. One commenter (rightly) says "the tech industry's war on power-users continues." Another says, "Bye-Bye Web 2.0. Good Night and Good Luck, Yahoo."

The big error here is companies under-estimating the influence (or negative fallout) when they shut the door on much-loved "power user" services. It's a shame more companies haven't grokked that you can have the best of both: super users are willing to pay for terrific products, just as I gladly pay for the exceptional Newsblur reader. Companies like Yahoo need to figure out how to monetize their subcultures. Turning would-be paying customers away because you can't sell them at scale is nuts. Build a payment platform that supports the monetization of micro-communities. Or just be stupid and act based on the wrong adoption metrics, and sell tiny classified ads until the world ends.

Officially off-topic

One more HR piece for our binge, this one via Martin English, George Orwell, human resources and the English language, which ponders the diabolical obfuscation of HR managerial mantras like "rightsizings," "offboardings," and "streamlined."

Those looking for a productivity edge may enjoy the honesty of Mark Suster's How the Hell do I Prioritize Work, Blog & Find Balance? Or, take a cubicle moment and Fly over Pluto's giant icy mountains and frozen plains in this awesome new footage from NASA.

Recently I got distracted by a few videos of comedians jousting with hecklers. These are NSFW, such as the comedian who answered a heckler's phone onstage, or Jim Jeffries dismanlting a heckler in Edinburgh.  That's a wrap, see you next time...

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, Beach vacation © lily - all from Fotolia.com

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