Enterprise hits & misses - August 11

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed August 10, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending August 9, 2013.

A cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: The cost of IT outages: from the sell side by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'If you don’t plan something properly you’re to end up missing something. Servers don’t sit there and say ‘I’m not having a particularly good day’. They do what you ask them to do.” – Simon Alcott, Exponential-E

myPOV: In part two of an important three part series on IT outages, Stuart reports from the sell side view. (Part one covers the buy side, part three the legal side. With all the hub-bub over cloud security and the PRISM aftermath, it’s easy to lose track of other pressing customer cloud and IT management issues. Outages clearly top the list, as cloud won’t make headway into mission-critical manufacturing systems without conquering FUD around downtime and also addressing legit concerns.

What struck me most about Stuart’s posts, including the pull quote I selected from Exponential-E, is that downtime problems are more human than technical at this point. Faulty governance, poor planning, and weighing the costs of total redundancy are all part of addressing uptime issues. Blame your systems or blame the cloud – on second though, blame neither. Blame imperfect processes and tough cost/benefit tradeoffs.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: SYSPRO’s cloud journey by Den Howlett

quotage: 'I was particularly interested to learn that SYSPRO is prepared to sacrifice recognized revenue in order to offer a compelling value proposition. That is something I believe all legacy vendors which are in transition will have to accept or be outsold by pure plays willing to take that on the chin from the get go.'

myPOV: Perhaps it just reflects my own bias, but it seems to be that the cloud conversation is shifting from that mind-numbing pure cloud versus false cloud wonkfest to a customer-focused discussion. Den’s recent video and commentary on his talk with SYSPRO’s Simon Griffiths offers another angle on how cloud business models are evolving.

Connecting a couple different points Den made here, I’m wondering if SYSPRO being a private company gives them more room to ‘take one on the chin’ from a revenue angle during their cloud moves. If so, that could prove a distinct advantage to offer customers new pricing and deployment options without regard to immediate investor reaction.

Contrast that with Den’s analysis of SAP’s cloud extension rules – an announcement that seemed a good step and was welcomed by at least one user group, but in my view still seems a bit rigid and conservative based on what we’ve seen of the contractual terms – check out the comment thread for more on the pros and cons.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Personal Log: The Sad State of The Industry Analyst Business And The Need For A Code Of Ethics by Ray Wang

quotage: 'I’m almost embarrassed to reveal the shady tactics on both the vendor and analyst side that perpetuate. But for the sake of airing it all out so that we may have a better industry, I’d like to start the conversation and then invite those analysts and vendors who agree to come up with a solid code.'

myPOV: In a provocative post that is more than just a cathartic venting of spleen, Ray Wang of Constellation Research goes off on the current state of the analyst profession and challenges the parties involved to take a pledge to a code of ethics. Wang's beef? The pay-for-play problems that obscure key issues from customers. When you earn your credibility the hard way, those who try to purchase it are more than an irritant.

There's already a lengthy comment thread including a detailed missive from yours truly, but while I don't necessarily think a pledge will change a whole lot, I do believe that the changes Ray is advocating for are well underway already.

As Vijay Vijayasankar points out in the comments, customers are a pretty savvy bunch these days and they make loud statements by voting with their wallets. I also strongly recommend Den's follow-on piece, Dealing with the analyst racket, which adds some vital points to the conversation. While we're on the transparency topic, here's diginomica's ethics statement if you haven't read it.

Big Data Hiring: Unorthodox Advice by Doug Henschen

quotage: 'Booz Allen's first step in building data science teams is to ensure a mix of math and statistics people, computer science people and domain experts from within the business. The domain experts are crucial because they ensure that the big data analytics have business value and will help drive decisions.'

myPOV: I think this is the second straight week I have featured a big data piece - I'll do my darndest not to make it a third. That said, whenever you lead a piece by arguing that music majors can have an impact on big data teams, you've tweaked my curiosity. Chewing on some insights from Booz Allen, Henschen digs into how diverse teams of eclectic scientists can add business value by shifting the big data focus from coding to solving business problems with out-of-the-box ideas.

To ensure the piece has a practical bent rather than a futuristic vibe, Henschen also draws on his own reporting from Dow Chemical's success teaming data scientists with subject matter experts. Results-oriented stories driven by the forgotten art of the customer case study is a topic I wrote on this week also.

Other recommendations: CRM dude/rock star Esteban Kolsky has been penning series of interesting posts on social knowledge, while Michael Krigsman digs into the latest project failure, the IBM/State of Pennsylvania debacle. I enjoy passionate user group blog posts and wish there were more of them. Debra Lilley always brings something interesting from inside the Oracle community, always in her own style.

Meantime, Den has produced seven fresh JD-OD videos from my jaunt to the SAP partner summit in Miami - plenty of cloudy views. It's good to get a personal look into a career path sometimes, such as Mike Bestiva's open reflections on how he evolved from SAP professional to Barcelona-based startup guy. His parting words on his midnight typing in his Barcelona office will stay with me for a while - live the dream Mike!


Overworked businessman

I've become a pretty cloudy guy these days. It's the combination of my own ventures (diginomica is pretty much a cloud-based entity) and customer field views that have won me over. But I'm always wary of the krishnas. Ducking cloud hyberbole is getting tougher each day, as in the post Software is evolving out of the tar pits of consolidation.

I guess it's fun to write the 'incumbents are going down' narrative, SaaS Game of Thrones type stuff, but the reality is that the incumbents are not waving the white flag and have considerable resources at their disposal. Enterprises can't junk legacy vendors like consumers junk cell phone providers.

Dropping phrases like 'nothing is smarter than the intelligence of the cloud' and 'startups have learned to fly high above the entrenched mammoths'  sounds cool but doesn't reflect the rough win-or-lose startup environment I see, nor does it explain the persistent enterprise power of entrenched brands.

As for 'Integration is no longer the hurdle that it once was' - well, I'll believe that when I see it. Look, I subscribe to much of what is said in this article, but I doubt it will play out like David felling Goliath. Some established players will evolve, some upstarts will join the pantheon. Others will become footnotes with venture capitalists wishing they had invested in something gamified or socialized. Or, maybe not.

Officially off-topic

For those who are sick of impotent Twitter-bashing of brands behaving badly, there's a new technique to consider: email-bombing executives. There's even a name for coordinating such efforts - the Executive Email Carpet Bomb, or EECB. And I'll bet you didn't know that hipsters are killing the razor blade business.

As for tech futures, we can go dystopian or utopian again this week. On the dark side, this GigaOM story of working in Amazon's high-tech distribution centers is the future workplace as creepy as you can get. I could have picked any number of 'assault on privacy' pieces, but London's wifi-stalking trashcans won the prize.

Looking up, a worker-friendly discount chain in the U.S. is scaring Walmart, or giving it their best shot. The world's first electric bus that charges as it drives is pretty nifty too. It's not all bad news for IBM this week, with new super computers mimicking the human brain unveiled in London. Not be outdone, SAP's Hasso Plattner is offering a totally free in-memory course online, open to all.

Meantime, this post on Woody Allen's workstyle that contrasts time productivity with value productivity is the most potent piece on time management I've seen in years. Time to get some value out of what's left of the weekend. See you next time.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most of these 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, Man © Dudarev Mikhail. Beach vacation © lily - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP is a diginomica premier partner as of this writing.