Enterprise hits & misses - January 13

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed January 12, 2014
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond - for week ending January 12, 2014

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

This is a quick hit 'Jon on the road' edition, London bound.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: From client-server to cloud: SaaS evolution by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'Enterprises should not be lulled into a falsely complacent sense that in ‘forklifting’ those existing apps to the cloud they are gaining all the benefits of cloud computing. Moving computing to the cloud is so much more than a relocation exercise.'

myPOV: In the third part of his cloud architectures series - an installment that I, for one, was eagerly anticipating - Phil punctures 'SoSaaS' hype balloons still being floated by marketing departments everywhere via his deliberate and ultimately devastating argument.

Why do these architectural distinctions matter? Because they impact the customer's level of lock-in to older models, and limit the ability to innovate on modern ones. Phil's list of the virtues of 'cloud-native SaaS' are worth a look. The nutshell?  'Once applications are in the cloud, they are able to connect more easily and that opens up opportunities and capabilities that were never possible when confined within the enterprise.'

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: All change at SAP/Ariba: does it matter? by Den Howlett

quotage: 'Calderoni had done the job for which he was hired at Ariba and it was always going to be hard to see how he would fit into a company like SAP. The DNA mix just wasn’t there. However, I do hope SAP learned enough from him about business model transformation that they can carry through their own necessary transformation in the coming years.'

myPOV: The latest round of cloud leadership changes at SAP spurred a predictable batch of frothy page-view-seeking nonsense, but not many good pieces. (To be fair, Spend Matters, which broke the news, provided valuable context).

I thought Den framed the leadership changes well. Calderoni never gelled with SAP as the 'leader-in-cloud-transformation', as some had hoped. That doesn't change SAP's cloud opportunities - nor, as Den points out, its challenges.

I like Executive Board Member Vishal Sikka's view of cloud as well as anyone's inside of SAP, and Sikka is in a very strong position to influence SAP's cloud strategy. The 'we are a cloud company' rhetoric could prove dangerous, however, if it obscures a unsparing internal view of the serious work ahead (ergo, Phil's cloud piece). Note: Den also assessed SAP's Q4 earnings preview.

Also recommended: Stuart's 'UK to trump the US as the G8?s most digital government?' was one of his finest pieces on digital governance, and Jessica Twentyman got off to a sterling start with her diginomica debut, Jessica Twentyman meets: Ocado’s guerrilla recruiter.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Confused by big data hype? The buzzwords don't help by Ethan Jewett

quotage: 'The persistent and most common problem in the data management business isn't handling size, providing speed or automatically predicting the future. The problem is getting quality data in front of experts in an honest, transparent format that provides good interactions with the data and helps them draw their own conclusions with confidence.'

myPOV: Not much more I can add to that. Jewett, always one of the smartest dudes in the room, dismantles big data buzzwords with laudable efficiency. After this quote, Jewett goes on to explain why terms like predictive, real-time, and big data provide little value on their own. Oh, and he's calling for some new data buzzwords: honesty, integrity, and transparency. Easier said than done - I'll grant you that - but raising the bar is far better than the status quo.

Other standouts

Earned a mention: Where Do We Go From Here? 8 Hypotheses About Tech in 2014 is another good read from Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic (I like that he keeps tech infatuation in check while thinking in broader cultural terms). Vendors Must Cater To Developers Or Die might be a wee overstatement, but it's a fun APIs-for-all rant. Sand Hill compiled 50 companies in the big data space worth tracking, and What I learned in my first year as an angel investor in China has some insightful bits.


Overworked businessman
Lemme start with the easier one. While Microsoft fusses over its consumer tech plays (enough to get it a surprising survey win over Apple in terms of brand perception), its neglect of enterprise shows up in its indifference to the expiring term of XP support.

Three months from now, Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP - despite many organizations still running on it, and - according to Information Week - three out of four IT professionals must still support these systems. This is shaping up as a big whiff on Microsoft's part (an extension of XP patches is needed, along with a better migration option than the loathed Windows 8). It's also a whiff on the part of the tech press that could be lighting a bigger fire under Microsoft to do something about XP - instead of piling on with (even) more Windows 8 potshots.

As for the aforementioned page view frenzy regarding SAP's cloud leadership changes, except for Spend Matters, the first analysis out of the gate ranged from so-so to simplistic to investor press whatever (update: the original link I used for the investor piece was incorrect (sorry!), and now that article appears to have been pulled from several outlets, perhaps for its complete mediocrity).

The lines of quality reporting (journalism versus blogging of many flavors) have completely blurred. My rules for enterprise headline news: read multiple sources, the first piece may not be the best piece, put trust in authors over media brands (whatever previous reputation that brand might have), and even with trusted sites and authors, expect the writer to prove it again each time. Oh, and what you choose to Tweet or share, and how you phrase what you share, reflects on you. Curating is also a trust earned or diminished daily.

All bloggers whiff either from deadline wear or, preferably, from ambitious overreaching. Just don't let our whiffs affect your enterprise decisions, and bloggers will sleep better.

Officially off-topic

Micro-windmills that will recharge your cell phone are still a ways off, as are bikes that clean the air as you ride, but if you have travel on the mind as I do, this list of handy travel apps via Vinnie Mirchandani might be of use. (I appeared as a guest post on Mirchandani's blog this weekend re: the entrepreneurial life and the future of work.)

On the misleading headlines front, TEDx Speaker Gives Priceless Talk About How TED Talks Are Worthless was an oversell, but the (intentionally?) low key video did raise some key points about the real price of change - which is less self-congratulatory than TED tends to be. Those of you heading onto the presentation circuit yourself might enjoy this detailed video on the art of the conference submission and presentation.

I was amused by the argumentation of The Web Page is Dying (which was published on a standalone web page without irony). Meantime a deeply nostalgic, old school blogger concludes the opposite - that blogging is alive and well. Ah well - if blogging fails us, there is always Cannibus University, where we can 'turn over a new leaf in 2014.' 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. King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com

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