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Enterprise hits & misses - October 14

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed October 13, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending October 11, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: GE’s mind melding to machines by Den Howlett

quotage: 'Fewer still know GE is a substantial software business that has released 24 products designed to convert machine data into advanced, industry specific analytical applications. In that sense, they are at the forefront of outcome driven productivity solutions for large vertical markets.'

myPOV: Those in the know have been tracking GE's stealth play in the so-called Internet of Things for a while. Den's review of GE's Mind and Machines keynote is another reminder that GE is less of a stealth player now, and more of a rug-pulling innovator. Big data is impactful only when it leads to enterprise results. Ergo, this kind of quote from GE's Jeff Emmelt is a welcome take:  'Big data doesn’t mean much to our customers but preventing unplanned downtime is something they understand.'

The keynote is also exhibit A for 'letting customers tell your story.' Those recovering from the under-achieving 'big bangs' of the past will notice a decidedly different viewpoint here, with customers advocating for the value of making small adjustments that add up to big productivity gains. Den cites Peg Van Bree, CEO St Lukes Medical Center, who says: 'Small changes like getting patients to a hospital bed by 3pm is a big deal. We get big productivity gains from these small changes.' Those who are pimping big data for no discernible reason other than flavor-du-jour may want to step back and give GE's customer proof points a look. If you're still in a Den kind of mood, I also recommend his Klout-free take on Understanding influence models.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Just how do you say no to government IT suppliers? by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'That’s why we need to get to get more qualified and skilled and IT savvy people back into the civil service and back from the outsourcing companies that we’ve spent decades farming them off to.'

myPOV: Stuart had an outstanding week on diginomica, combining his digital transformation pieces (burgers anyone?) with a couple of standouts on avoiding public sector IT failure. You may want to check out the precursor to this piece, Governments set to pull IT snouts out of the trough, where Stuart analyzes the very real possibility that pending UK rules will allow officials to rule out inefficient suppliers from future project bidding. The article I selected builds on that one by examining precedent for governments and government agencies getting tough on IT suppliers. Seeing any customer (public or private sector) lay down tougher provisions on their prime vendors is a key step in better IT project results.

While the nuances of these most recent pieces are UK-specific, anyone who has a stake in reducing IT overspend and incompetence in the public sector will want to track Stuart's work. As for those with a UK public sector bent, there's plenty of content from Stuart to dig into, from the UK’s Government Digital Service to initiatives like G-Cloud and Digital by Default.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
The HR Technology Conference was arguably the biggest enterprise event of the week. Constellation Group was out front with the coverage: Ray Wang posted a conference review about 30 seconds after the conference wrapped; Holger Mueller blogged his take later in the week.

Mueller summed it up nicely: 'What we see in the HCM market right now is two major races - the race for completion of the talent suites and the race for integrated talent and core HR systems.' I would simply add: remember when HR was a back office afterthought spiced up with the occasional cliché about why the talent war would make or break companies, while those same companies indulged in frequent rounds of layoffs and outsourcing? Well I guess we have advanced on the former point at any rate.

Other standouts

  • Some of those who attended HR Tech proceeded on to SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect. SAP Mentor Jarret Pazahanick was amongst them; he returns from a brief blogging sabbatical with a strong piece on Employee Central, SuccessFactors' core HRMS offering.
  • It's always fun to discover a writer you haven't been tracking; that was the case for me this week with Information Week's Michael Fitgerald, who caught my eye with the blog title Why I Don't Want to Live in Dataland. Fitzgerald's piece lived up to the title, and I also enjoyed his 3 Perils of Analytics, a skeptical piece on real-time analytics informed by field views.
  • NetSuite sometimes falls off the radar in between shows and vendor skirmishes; Larry Dignan's Two Tier ERP Destined to Become One Tier in Time reminds us why we should keep paying attention.
  • Speaking of vendors to watch, Adrian Bridgwater weighs in on Progress Exchange and Progress' aggressive PaaS moves with Progress wagers on new disruptive cloud application construct. (I also attended Progress Exchange and posted a detailed Progress Exchange analysis to diginomica)
  • Now that he has moved on from, fellow Enterprise Irregular Anshu Sharma has a good opportunity to reflect on the CRM market and the future of CRM. Hopefully that's the first in a series because topics like 'CRM is inherently vertical' are underserved.


Overworked businessman
Absent a particularly glaring article whiff, I'm going to pick on the Twitter IPO, which has brought into focus the constant push to monetization from Twitter, Google, and Facebook. The casualties to that push? The privacy of users, and often the passion of third party developers and power users instrumental in growing these services who are now closed out of APIs or otherwise sent to pasture.

Twitter, which has the least appealing financials of the three companies, will be pulling out all the stops, including attempts to distract - err, I mean, engage - you during live events and send unsolicited direct messages to your devices. Not to be outdone, Facebook is pulling the plug on search privacy settings, a special concern for those who have obsessive fans or stalkers. There may be a way of tweaking this if you are willing to pore over the minutia of Facebook's privacy settings.

Meantime Google is doing their best Facebook impression by altering their terms of service so as to give them more license to include your likeness in whatever product pimping they see fit. If the ad-supported 'free Internet' isn't a diabolical arrangement, it certainly comes with a yucky undertow. For my part, rather than belly ache I am increasingly ponying up for services that provide real value to me rather than skate by on free and risk either privacy invasions or business model collapses (e.g. I happily pay Newsblur for the spiffy RSS reader that makes this weekly review possible, and would pay them more if they would let me).

I'd much rather pay for services rendered than have privacy-indifferent creeps program their bots to scour my mundanities in search of nuggets.

Officially off-topic

It's not an enterprise whiff, but as I said on Twitter, when you misquote your own father-in-law, it might be time to let the pen dry and walk away. For those who can't walk away, the world of work is fodder for provocative pieces like this Wired article, The Way We Work Is Soul-Sucking, But Social Networks Are Not the Fix. Gartner has taken it one step further with its dark vision for tech, jobs. Maybe there's a catch but my first reaction is to tip my cap to Gartner raising this issue aggressively.

On the sunnier side, Den covered how T-Mobile just blew up the U.S. carrier model with a broadside on international data roaming charges. I also like the idea of a $49 online doctor visit, and while I don't think I could live in an eight foot 'hobbit hole,' paying $75 for a residence on a property that costs $100 a year clearly has an upside. To get us there, Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret is a keeper, as is this neato Interactive Map of the Galaxy.

I haven't given any TV recommendations in a while - if you can stream HBO, Boardwalk Empire continues its understated excellence while Showtime's Homeland is struggling to get on track in season 3. I rarely watch network television but I caught a couple episodes of NBC's Blacklist with James 'Pretty in Pink' Spader and it was decent enough for couch time. See you next week.

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, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa - all from

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