Enterprise hits and misses - WEF takes on the world, Apple takes on the enterprise

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed January 24, 2018
This week: WEF debates bring a tech reckoning to the enterprise. Plus: Apple's enterprise pursuits get an inspection, and "serverless" gets demystified. Your whiffs include usual suspects - and vanity bloggers.

Cheerful Chubby Man

Lead story - World Economic Forum 2018 - why trust has to be valued higher than growth in the 4IR - by Stuart Lauchlan

A guiding theme for diginomica in 2018 is shaping up as the macro trends that impact our enterprise plans, for better, for worse, or usually, some tricky combination thereof. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a revealing yearly launch point, and Stuart's on the case.

Citing tech perils like Russian meddling in U.S. elections, Stuart argues this is hardly an isolated issue, but a high profile case of the dark side impact from 4IR technologies (4IR is the handy abbreviation for the fourth industrial revolution). Digitally-enlightened government is part of the problem. Stuart:

I am concerned that we don’t, as yet, have enough tech-savvy policymakers and regulators to make the best decisions. I still cringe every time a government minister steps up to the microphone to demonstrate their tech ignorance by demanding pointlessly that ‘something must be done’ about social media platforms or end-to-end encryption.

Yes, regulations can play a role, but that's a thorny debate unto itself. I'd argue for less regulations until regulators understand that which they intend to regulate (see: ill-conceived net neutrality policy change in the U.S). Stuart makes one point clear. None of us can sit on the sidelines for this one:

The 4IR is a revolution in which everyone must participate in order for us all to benefit.

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica picks - my top three stories on diginomica this week

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

  • Understanding ADP's WorkMarket acquisition - Den on an intriguing move by an HR powerhouse: "WorkMarket brings ADP a halo glow of adding cool services that are in demand but which also have enough development runway to be attractive as a market opportunity, but without being so large as to have anything more than a rounding error effect on the next few forthcoming financial results." We can add another acronym to our tech saddlebag while we're at it: Contingent Workforce Management (CWM).
  • Oracle is betting on conversational overtaking mobile - Speaking of pretentious goofy precise new tech phrases, shall we add "conversational computing" as an early entry to our 2018 finalists? Phil examines why Oracle is doubling down: "Ramanathan immediately saw the writing on the wall for the cumbersome compartmentalization of separate mobile apps, when consumers can instead use a single messaging client to interact with all their favorite brands."
  • 10 steps to APIfy enterprise IT for a serverless, conversational future - If you're playing buzzword bingo, you may have just won your card, as we're going "serverless" as well as conversational. Phil strikes again with an insightful tip sheet on IT modernization, via a chat with Mulesoft CEO Ross Mason.

A couple more vendor picks, without the quips:

Jon's grab bag - "Big iron" still has a role to play in fintech, as Angelica explains in Mainframe or cloud in fintech? It's a surprising no-brainer. On the edgier side of tech, Chris moves us into aerial robotics with The flying robots are coming! And they’re made of paper. Meanwhile, I added a ream of comments about podcasting (and getting into Alexa) via Barb's Is it time to add podcasting to your marketing mix?

Brian vents some PR spleen in The resurgence of 8-track tapes and other PR tales of woe. If you're connected to PR/vendor comms, you can avoid a lot of potholes and pitfalls if you scour this one. Finally, I've been posting a slew of retail coverage from NRF 2018. If that's your thing, this one is a good starting point: Retail review - employees are the missing link, and conversational commerce is the wild card at NRF 2018. Yep, you're not getting away from conversational commerce in 2018.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Lead story - Apple’s enterprise evolution - by Ron Miller

myPOV: I remain skeptical that Apple is equipped to make a big enterprise play - beyond the obvious/profound impact of its devices on a mobile workforce, and the headaches ioS devices have caused IT, though we can put Android on that list also.

CEO Tim Cook said in 2017 that the "enterprise is the mother of all opportunities" - so how will Apple play this one? Miller says it's about partnerships. When you consider Apple has forged partnerships with the likes of IBM, SAP and Cisco, Accenture and Deloitte and now GE, you get a sense of Apple's enterprise tentacles. Rabid device adoption remains the driver:

That latter gives the company a foothold in the industrial Internet of Things market. Meanwhile, GE has committed to standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its 300,000+ employees, while also making the Mac an official computer offering.

The problem is that enterprise adoption is less about sex appeal and more about relationships and accessibility. Miller quotes Constellation's Ray Wang who cuts to the chase:

Being told to go to a Genius Bar isn’t the right answer for most IT shops.

That's not all Apple has to offer in terms of enterprise support, but it sums the challenge/mindset problem well. Addiction to iOS devices gets Apple's foot in the enterprise door, but that's not the end of it. Also see: Miller's Apple pledges $350 billion investment in US economy over next five years.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman
OK let's do this. This skirmish between a hotel that hates "social media bloggers", and a social media blogger not prepared for the real world got pretty real. Whiffs all around.

Bad news: now that these 13 startups and products that didn't make it through 2017 are gone, we can no longer say, "I'll call you back after I check my Jawbone and squeeze my Juicero." We'll have to find other ways to sound like massive tools like we live in Silicon Valley....

I neglected this whiff in December, but is there any worse health advice than Don’t keep cell phones next to your body, California Health Department warns. What exactly are we supposed to do here, walk around with selfie sticks? Could I suggest that "Don't sleep with your phone next to your noggin" would have been a more realistic start?

Speaking of vexing technical problems. looks like progress on self-driving cars is halted until they figure out how to recognize taco trucks. "Predictive advertising" hit a PR pothole also, as the NFL had to mea culpa for promoting a Vikings/Patriots Super Bowl on Facebook. Not so nice for Vikings fans...

And yeah, I had more love for Facebook this week:

With all this arrogant myopia flotsam and toejam going around, it kind of makes you want to bail on Twitter entirely:

On second thought, maybe we should keep our log-in lying around somewhere... 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.

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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

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

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