Enterprise hits and misses - Infor Birsts, Jive surprises, and SuiteWorld does HR

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 1, 2017
In this edition: vendor news makes waves with Infor acquiring Birst, invoking a debate on the merits of cloud BI. Plus: a last minute (big) surprise from Jive - acquired. Diginomica interviews NetSuite customers galore, while NetSuite makes a big SuiteWorld HR play. Plus: how to avoid digital dystopia. Whiffs-a-plenty, including AI obviousness and yeah, I call another self-whiff.

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Digital dystopia - but the future is human for responsible business by Cath Everett

quotage: "The issue is that society is approaching a crossroads, where one digital route could take us in the direction of a utopian future and the other towards a dystopian one. On the plus side, digital technologies could help provide better access to education for an estimated 450 million people around the world."

myPOV: Debating digital dystopia versus utopia is dramatic but not that useful. Cath's piece, drawn from a "Future of Digital is Human" event in London, hits the mark by being relentlessly practical. I didn't realize business agility had ethical implications till I read Cath's quote about how corporate mission statements/annual reports look increasingly sterile compared to getting things done in the real world.

Some useful tips on how to do that here. The four points of action for businesses:

  1. Protect, support and empower customers
  2. Embrace the changing nature of work
  3. Deliver innovative products and services that serve society
  4. Drive a transparent, inclusive and productive value chain

I recommend checking Cath's piece for the detail on each, including data sharing and privacy, inclusive digital access, etc. Citing some unhappy labor unions and global arbitrage, Cath reminds us "easier said than done." I guess we're back to that dystopian debate after all.

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

diginomica on SuiteWorld 2017 - "leave no customer without an interview"

OK, so we missed a few customers, but Derek, Phil, and Madeline got the job done at NetSuite's SuiteWorld show. Not counting stragglers, I think we've got twelve stories so far including eight customer use cases. Den's got the roundup with all the links in SuiteWorld 17 - an emphasis on customers.

Seems that Oracle did an unexpectedly good job of reinforcing NetSuite's autonomy, including the spotlight on NetSuite's own cloud HR, SuitePeople - no mention of Oracle HCM. If you dig into the use cases, you'll see why most of us at diginomica are cloud ERP fanboys/girlz advocates. Not because cloud is cool but because the use cases are persuasive.

More vendor analysis, diginomica style. Beyond SuiteWorld, Jive wasn't jivin' and Infor was Birst-in:

  • digibyte - Jive to be acquired by private equity firm ESW Capital for $462m - That's one way to kick off your user conference. Our own Derek du Preez is on the ground. Here's his initial post, with plenty more analysis to come: "Jive will become part of the Aurea family of companies, which claim to provide the technology platform that “enables companies to build, execute, monitor and optimize the end-to-end customer journey Whilst the deal represents a premium on Jive’s average stock price over the past three months, and will likely be perceived to be a good deal for shareholders, it’s worth noting that Jive’s share price stood at $27 in 2012."
  • Infor buys Birst, beefs up cloud BI to complement ERP - Stuart on one of the more interesting enterprise software acquisitions. Bonus: crash the SuiteWorld party with legit news. "A good strategic move by Infor – and nicely-timed for Day One of the SuiteWorld conference where Oracle’s been talking up its ERP stack’s capabilities."

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag -  Re: Jess' The IoT-enabled cat flap means security gives 'paws' for thought. If you're gonna use a cat picture for your feature photo, you're getting in hits/misses - period. Stuart reports on McDonald's digital forays in McDonald's new secret sauce - you want digital with that? Only problem: I'd wait in a line full of hipsters at Shake Shack versus the convenience of McMediocrity.

Kurt asks, Facebook Messenger as your next commerce platform? Answer: yes, if not for you, then definitely for your messaging youngters. Finally, From the stars to the cloud—NASA image and video library comes home - I'm gonna push back the desk and gawk at those amazing pics of Jupiter, via NASA's Image and Video Library.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Why has Standalone Cloud BI been such a Tough Slog? by Dave Kellogg

quotage: "I think that cloud BI proved to be such a slog because the cloud BI vendors solved the wrong problem. They fixed a business model that wasn’t fundamentally broken, all while missing the ease of use, data discovery, and visualization power that both required the horsepower of on-premises software and solved the real problems the users faced."

myPOV: Dave Kellogg, CEO Host Analytics, takes the occasion of Birst's acquisition by Infor to ask why cloud BI has been, well, a slog. There's no simple answer. Example: as more enterprise-grade apps move to the cloud, cloud BI will have an edge (a change in data gravity, if you want to get fancy).

Kellogg is right. Cloud BI vendors underestimated the appetite for ease of use/visualizations, and empowering users via dashboards. Thus the rise of the Qliks, Tableaus, Domos - having just returned from a Domo user conference, I found the business user views persuasive. But Kellogg is right to raise the issue of too much data democratization, and the dangers of "data anarchy." That's another way of saying the cloud BI market battles are far from over.

Other standouts

  • Avoid the Spreadsheet Swamp with a Low-Code approach - I'm gonna keep getting dragged into this low-code thing, eh? Despite my skepticism in the face of low-code hypologists, there is a nugget or two here. David Terrar of The Agile Elephant gets at that, making a good case for how low-code can make the lives of business users better with less IT bottlenecks, and less visits to the dreaded "Spreadsheet Swamp." Also: nice job of articulating the two classes of low-code apps (Business Process Management apps and Data Driven apps). Bonus points for handling the client disclosure properly, alas, still a rarity in this industry.
  • A new value chain for next-generation mobility - Evangelos Simoudis with a meaty piece inspired by his new book, The Big Data Opportunity in Our Driverless Future. As he puts it, "[Autonomous] vehicles and on-demand mobility will cause three major shifts that can lead to the disruption of the automotive and transportation industries: a consumer shift, an automotive industry shift, and a mobility services shift."
  • DockerCon: The Enterprise Cometh - No sooner did the enterprise/open source freaks and geeks I know blow a hype gasket over Docker, Google's Kubernetes stepped in and stole some tech stylin'. To figure out which of these containerization-and-more technologies will impact the enterprise the most, who better than RedMonk's Fintan Ryan, live from DockerCon.
  • Event Report - NetSuite SuiteWorld 2017 - The Suite gets complete and an Oracle boost - If you fancy some more SuiteWorld analysis, check Holger Mueller's patented slide/video/POV event review. Oracle was the elephant but I'm with Mueller, the rounding out with HR was a big story.

Honorable mention



Overworked businessman
The whiffs keep a comin' folks. Via Den Howlett I've got this link to a photo of $425 "dirty jeans" from Nordstrom. I think these were the same jeans Bill Maher described as a "close encounter with a Chipotle Burrito." Speaking of which, the next generation of Amazon Alexa is supposed to watch you get dressed, and offer you fashion tips/wearables from the mothership. I haven't had the heart to tell Alexa I'm out. A few more doozies:

  • Hits/misses reader Clive Boulton sends along this brutal update, Lawsuit: Mylan’s epic EpiPen price hike wasn’t about greed—it’s worse. This guy Mylan keeps lowering the bar, even the pondscum get vertigo trying to follow him down.
  • Delta Airlines temporarily wrests the "worst airline of all time" mantle from American and United with Delta Airlines kicks man off plane for urgent need to use the restroom before takeoff. If you want to boycott the scummy U.S. airlines, you're gonna have to Uber or hitchhike.
  • Oops, forgot that Uber is on peeps' naughty-company list also. But at least in NYC the pondscum are more familiar with Juno these days, who shafted their equity share drivers with an all-time money grub.
  • But my fave of the week might be this company Tate, who evidently had the gall to include temp contractors in a pass-the-hat to buy their retiring CEO a sailboat. No, not a blooming orchid, a freakin' sailboat. And here I thought when executives retired you didn't have to grovel anymore. Maybe if there's money leftover the Tate can treat everyone to a self-esteem workshop. Shouldn't the CEO be thanking them?
  • This one's not really a whiff, but Paul Carr's deconstruction of Silicon Valley and walk away from tech blogging (though not Pando) made an impression on readers:

While I"m on the Twitter trail, this Buzzfeed piece was whiffery:

And no, we're not going into an "AI winter" due to the backlash. This is not the 1990s, no matter what your interview source told you.

Finally, gotta call a whiff on myself again. Remember how I mocked a TechCrunch article about the meaningless Microsoft Dynamics 365 to LinkedIn integration? Well, my colleague Stuart found some meaning in it: Microsoft takes aim at Salesforce as LinkedIn members top half a billion. OK, that's a pretty good reason to follow this story. The TechCrunch piece remains a wallow in incrementalism, but I did the baby/bathwater thing.

Over to you, Clive. 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 credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and winner - Loser and Winner © ispstock - Fotolia, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from Fotolia.com.

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

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