Enterprise hits & misses - August 4

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed August 3, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending August 2, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Digital marketing truths – sector by sector by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'Media firms are the bane of my life. I’m signed up to Netflix. So why does Netflix keep sending me emails offering me a free trial? We can’t get Sky television in our neck of the woods, so why do you keep sending me special sign-up offers? Ditto, Virgin Media. And when I ask you all to remove me from your mailing lists, why won’t you do it?'

myPOV: My favorite editorial coverage on diginomica might be the dissection of digital marketing. Dennis Howlett has been on a tear lately, check out More ways marketing continues to fail for his latest missive. If there's a weakness in our coverage to date, it's the lack of industry-by-industry specifics. Stuart picks that up here with his review of digital marketing truths by sector.

Stuart's analysis of the report by EIU and Lyris supported my anecdotal findings that email continues to quietly whip social media when it comes to engagement (example: for travelers' purchasing decisions, email comes out on top with 37% citing email as the highest channel of influence.

We're seeing some danger signs for email pop on this survey also, such as the increasing pushback on faux personalization efforts, as in the 66% who found retail companies' efforts at personalization fail due to superficiality (see Den's rant for more email meltdowns).

This week in my gmail inbox, I received my first pleas from marketers describing methods to get their emails out of gmail's new 'promotions' folder. This goes to a point I made in my questioning B2B social media marketing post - the future of marketing is based on the kind of trust that requires person-to-person engagement. How many companies are prepared for that? Den plans to post more on the way forward this week.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Banking for the unbanked with Standard Bank South Africa by Den Howlett

quotage: 'One of the highlights of my trip to Johannesburg was meeting Audrey Moputhi, head of Inclusive Banking, Standard Bank South Africa. She says she has ‘the best job in the world,’ bringing banking services to the unbanked. 18 months into the program, the company has added more than three million new customers.'

myPOV: Den has posted some video and narrative from his recent trip to South Africa, which included a swing by Mastering SAP Technologies from the always-resourceful Eventful Group. This discussion with Moputhi brings out what I think of as 'innovation by necessity'. Without a wired infrastructure and without a viable way to build enough brick-and-mortar banks, African banking entrepreneurs have to re-invent the model.

I encountered similar stories when Den and I were at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last March. I don't want to minimize the obstacles mobile banking in Africa must overcome, but in some cases they are surging ahead of the U.S. in terms of micro-payments, micro-loans, and banking on human terms (e.g. when was the last time you signed up for a bank account in under ten minutes?).

Also check out Den's video and narratives for The future of cities: Cape Town’s CIO discusses and Understanding Africa, with Simon Griffiths, who has long been a mainstay on Twitter enterprise discussions.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
State dumping IBM after IT project runs 42 months late, $60 million over budget by Chris Kanaracus

quotage: 'The state of Pennsylvania will not renew its services contract with IBM regarding the development of a modernized unemployment compensation system, after the project reportedly has gone 42 months behind schedule and US$60 million over budget.'

myPOV: The pull quote says it all as Kanaracus documents IBM's turn on the headline-grabbing project failures carousel. At the risk of being ridiculously self-serving, I'll point you to my piece on The underrated need for independent consultants.

In that post, I touch on common points in tales of project woe. One of the biggest is overdependence on a single SI for talent and an undernourishment of internal competencies. This quote from the Kanaracus piece jumped out at me: 'After some design documents were finished in 2008, IBM took a large number of business analysts that had become the "memory" of the state's business requirements, off of the project: "This decision created a significant knowledge gap as the program entered the critical application design and development phases.' 

There is more to say on how customers can reduce the chances of worst case scenarios by asserting more control over SIs - and developing centers of excellence to prevent SIs from walking too much vital knowledge out the door.

The Social Impact of Big Data – Seven Amazing Takeaways from Skoll World Forum by Greg Chase

quotage: 'While researching for a forthcoming blog I’m writing about applications of “Big Data” for social entrepreneurs, I ran across this amazing blog series by the Skoll World Forum called “How Can Big Data Have a Social Impact.” The insights shared in this series are worth any business person’s time to read.

myPOV: I'm a fan of blog posts that boil down reams of content I don't have time to read. I also like big data use cases that mix societal contributions with genuine business impact. Chase, an SAP employee (and SAP Mentor) whose own blog is getting more and more interesting, has broken down the Skoll World blogs into some bullet points.

Themes that involve hitting on 'big truths' and confronting data quality problems get my attention. A related story came from Information Week's Doug Henschen, with a nice writeup on how Michael J. Fox Foundation Points Big Data At Parkinson's.

Other recommendations: This week wasn't overflowing with standout posts, though I was on the road for a good chunk and likely missed a few keepers. That said, I always enjoy the insights from the quarterly update from fellow Enterprise Irregular Evangelos Simoudis, 2Q13 Performance for Trident Capital’s SaaS Portfolio; Strong Quarter with Upside. Luke Marson continued his strong work of late with How significant is SAP’s on-premise and Cloud licensing swap announcement? - a short post that nevertheless gets to the meat of the issue from an HCM angle.

Meanwhile, Ray Wang managed to pull off a video appearance on CXO Talk while cruising in his car. If you're ever hitched a ride with Ray, you can only tip your cap to a guy who can speed through intersections while jacking up his Klout score. On Twitter this week, I said I'd rather pay G+ for premium services than LinkedIn, largely because of the Hangouts that CXO Talk uses. Here's more on using Hangouts on Air for business.


Overworked businessman
There were a few swings-and-misses to choose from this week. The Wall Street Journal did a crummy job reporting on Dell's own SAP HANA project in an article that was high on sensationalism and low on context - prompting a blog response from Dell's CIO to clarify Dell's HANA project and approach to scale-out.

Unfortunately the response itself was PR-heavy, and I suspect we haven't heard the end of this one yet. I predict Dell will be onstage at an SAP TechEd this fall with a feel-good HANA update to wipe this mess away with (Dell is a HANA hardware partner).  In the meantime bloggers like Dallas Marks are finding fodder to riff on. Marks said it best: 'The Wall Street Journal would be doing everyone a favor by avoiding a similar temptation- creating sensational headlines that take a single remark out of context.' 

Final swings

A much better HANA story for SAP comes via SAP Mentor Thorsten Franz, who has left a comfortable job to launch HANA startup operatics. As he puts it, he's banking his career on the OLAP-OLTP convergence.

And speaking of PR bungles, how about Twitter digging a hole and then stepping in it by faking real users’ tweets to promote their new ad platform?  Even Anthony Weiner knows more about Twitter etiquette. Proving that the apology can be worse than the misdeed, Twitter follows up with a weak-@ss 'so sorry about the confusion earlier today - we're fixing the problem now.' After news of potential legal action comes out, a respectably decent apology finally comes out. Why are social companies so bad at social?

Officially off-topic

Picking more nits, why do web sites think it's a good idea to force us to scroll through slide shows? What a pathetic way to force page views. At least give us the option of a full page view, as this 15 most valuable cloud computing companies page smartly does. And speaking of unwelcome developments, who's looking forward to 15 second auto-play video ads in their Facebook stream? 

In the good TV/bad TV faceoff, we have some nifty possibilities for easily broadcasting from mobile/tablet/PC to TV via Google Chromecast. On the flip side, we have the potential of creepy hackers (or NSA suits) literally watching us in our own homes via hacks on Samsungs and potentially other cam-equipped TVs.

Without going too existential on you, here's a fork in the road between tossing away your career as an executive by stealing LEGOs, versus taking your years living without a home to design and build portable shelters for other homeless people.

More life lessons come via Byron Wien’s 20 Rules of Investing & Life. I especially like #1, 'Concentrate on finding a big idea.' For now, my not-so-big idea will be to rewatch 'The Killing' episode 'Six Minutes', a gut-punch masterpiece that is evidently our reward for three seasons of substandard viewing. 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  - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP is a diginomica premier partner as of this writing. Jon has served as an SAP Mentor volunteer since 2008 (Greg Chase and Thorsten Franz are also SAP Mentors).

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