Enterprise hits and misses - year end awards and spankings

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed December 28, 2015
Yup, it's here - Jon hands out his year-end enterprise bouquets and atomic wedgies.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica 2015 - the besties - Each diginomica core contributor has already done their own pick 'em list for the year, you can see them on our home page (mine is here). That makes my job a tall order indeed - I'm gonna limit the gold prizes to just four picks. Alas, that means leaving a lot of fine diginomica writers and pieces out. Ouch!

Happy children eating apple
More diginomica tasties

Jessica makes the use case sparkle - customer stories are foundational content at diginomica; no one does 'em with more authority and aplomb than Jessica. Her full archive is here - and if you force me to pick one, I'm going with her year-end compilation.
Janine saves performance management from itself - after we kicked tires on diginomica year one, we concluded - with a big nudge from vocal readers - that our HCM coverage needed something more. Enter Janine Milne, whose weekly HCM pieces are a treat (Janine was the bronze winner in the HRMS HR tech writer awards in 2015).  My fave Janine theme was her performance management critiques, which avoided the easy route of trashing performance management completely (something I did a while back - whoops). Check Performance management – time to rip it up and start again? and Performance management – the ”soul-sucking monster” of HR.
Brian rakes ERP over the coals, the crowd cheers - Brian Sommer's edgy stylings have added another twist. One of his best was Old ERP is way past its “Best When Used By” date, which won best article in the ERP Focus 2015 Writer's Awards, nudging past another diginomica piece by Den. Not too shabby...
Martin blows the whistle on wearables security - Martin brought a lively mix of event coverage and provocative issues to the diginomica mix in 2015. I'll pick the cold water he tossed on wearables in Wearables, security and why you’re suddenly the one to blame for bringing down the company.

Jon's grab bag -  Other stellar diginomica contributors included Charlie Bess, Gail Moody-Byrd, Chris Middleton, Barb Mosher Zinck, Dick Hirsch and Cath Everett. I didn't run out of awards, but I did run out of space. 

Year end trophies for hype-busting ninjas

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
It's hard enough to write one good enterprise blog post that doesn't reek of digital perfume - doing it throughout the year is worthy of a trophy, or at least a cheap bottle of wine. Here's some standouts, and some quirky bits that earned the rarest thing in the enterprise: a good laugh (or cry).
  • The "smell of burning rubber on tarmac" award - Holger Mueller. With his prolific event reports and uncanny ability to write something useful at altitude, Mueller made globetrotting Constellation colleague Ray Wang look like a couch potato. Mueller has also perfected the art of the blow-by-blow review of the press release, the hardest document to breath life into.
  • The "But Paul, what was the food like?" award - goes to... Paul Greenberg, who has revived his epic event review format, including fussy foodie reviews of the event menu, both for attendees and analysts. Check: Oracle OpenWorld 2015: An enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a...Wait! I get it!
  • The "Yeah, they're a client, so what?" award - For the second straight year, Esteban Kolsky set the standard for proper client disclosures, turning them from obligatory to entertaining. Why do we assume you can't write about a client with a critical edge? Example: at the bottom of Think Cloud? Think About These Roadblocks lies a masterpiece of grouchiness transparency.
  • The "Be careful what buzzwords you mock" award - Vijay Vijayasankar has a knack for taking the air out of an overhyped buzzword in his blog, only to find himself in the middle of said work on his job. A vocal critic of digital hype, Vijayasankar recently posted the following: Guess What, I am VP of Digital Transformation Now! But the fascinating thing? Vijayasankar told me his critical blogs have actually helped him with customers, who like knowing he shares their concerns about deriving value amidst the tech noise.
  • The "Living out loud in the enterprise" award - Naomi Bloom could blog only on HCM expertise. But instead she mixes in personal reflections and if you don't care for that, well, she's not gonna change on our account. If we have a shot at getting young people excited about enterprise careers, they need examples of achieving mastery without succumbing to the bland get-a-long. That's not a danger for Bloom - see Reprise: A Great Miracle Happened Here! and Reflections For Thanksgiving 2015.
  • The "You'll like me when I'm angry" award - Phil Fersht of HfS Research is an even-keeled fellow - usually. But a couple things get in his craw - idiotic analyst behavior and services firms with a legacy mentality. We didn't like David Banner when he was angry, but we like Phil when he's angry, so his crummy week is our blogging bonanza. For some enterprise sriracha, check out How the gig economy has turned bad analysts into vendor advocates, or Outsourcing is on life support, with many providers failing to invest in As-a-Service.
  • The "No boneheads allowed - except on Twitter" award - Frank Scavo has a zero tolerance policy for boneheads, except on Twitter, where he's turned bonehead alerts into something of a meme. It's a different story on his Strativa blog, where Scavo posts some of our industry's best-researched pieces. A Scavo 2015 highlight: his review of all the cloud ERP players running on the Salesforce.com platform. Scavo is always looking at the enterprise buyer angle, so he's watching the third party maintenance legal rulings closely.

Honorable mention

The New Stack  - is doing solid work on how open source, cloud architectures and devops are changing the enterprise. Stephen O' Grady of RedMonk hits on similar themes, and might have the highest quality-to-junk ratio of any enterprise blogger, and yes, I include myself. For future of work themes, the Agile Elephant blog on digital transformation has been rolling of late...

Consumer tech blogging that doesn't suck - Ben Thompson of Stratechery is the best consumer tech blogger, and it's not close. His "beat" is mostly Apple, and he's got 'ol big man crush on Facebook, which I (mostly) forgive him for. But at least his crush is based on business model execution. Thompson's posts are more than just consumer tech missives, they get at deeper business model issues that matter.

Plenty of folks who make the hits/misses weekly cut weren't included here for reasons of time/space. Can't list 'em all, but Cindy Jutras, Evangelos Simoudis, Larry Dignan, Doug Henschen, Ray Wang and Lora Cecere, Dave Kellogg, Hank Barnes and Vinnie Mirchandani are amongst those who regularly post important work. Check 'em out.

Year-end whiffs

Oh boy, there were some colossal whiffs in 2015; I already picked my top five social media failures. Before I hand out some year-enders, nice work by Nissan firing 40 employees by email three days before the Christmas holidays (some of the employees were already on holiday - they found out they were fired through a press release announcement on the web site). Oh, and on the subject of the enterprise software lifstyle, I realize that airlines will remain sardine can dystopias, but shouldn't 2016 be the year we conquer conference freaking wifi?????

For the tech media as a whole, the whiffs add up to a pretty stinky pile of page-view-preening whatever:

  • pop-ups that exasperate (including evil exit pop-ups that blast you when they think you're leaving).
  • lazy "reporting" with sensationalized takes that result in a self-created controversy, kindling for paper-thin follow ups. I knew we'd wind up on the train to nowhere - what I didn't know is that we'd be counted, analyzed as served up as eyeballs on the way to the dog and pony show.
  • phony use of blogging as a PR platform to apply a bogus spin that fools no one.
  • dividing articles into multiple pages that take forever to load, putting a mind-numbing quote of the day next to a full page ad, and basically giving readers every incentive to go somewhere besides Forbes.com elsewhere.
  • making web pages that suck due to the amount of marketing tech (e.g. cookie-creepy-crap) that must load on each page.

Lest I wind up with the hypocrisy award, yeah, diginomica messed up plenty in 2015. Some stuff we've already corrected, other things are feedback you've given us we've taken to heart. Pending web projects will hopefully address key concerns, I'll share more on those another time, or see Den's blog in the meantime.

And with that, I'm gonna wish you a happy new year to you and yours and hit the big green send button in the sky. See you next year...

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, Award. © BillionPhotos.com - all from Fotolia.com

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