Enterprise hits & misses - July 28

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed July 27, 2014
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond - for week ending July 27, 2014.

Enterprise hits & misses - a cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Customer data needn’t go to waste with effective use of BI by Jessica Twentyman

quotage: 'So how does a company like Biffa differentiate itself on service, while keeping a keen eye on the profit margin to be had from each customer it serves? And how, in such a price-sensitive market, does it continue to attract high-profile contracts like the one with Sainsbury’s, or the ten-year, £50 million deal it won with Epping Forest district council this week? The answer lies in good business intelligence tools.'

myPOV: Another spiffy case study from Jessica, this time on how Biffa uses BI to stay competitive in the ultra-price-conscious British waste disposal industry. This story was sparked by Biffa customer Sainbury's, the country's first major retail company to go off the National Grid, supplying all its power from its own food waste via Biffa.

That's where Biffa's BI tools come in, with intensive data collection a core part of their business model. If you have more BI appetite, check out my report from TDWI Boston, where big data gotchas and surprising agile BI lessons were at the fore.

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica pick: IT Stockholm Syndrome series, part 1 and part 2, by Stuart Lauchlan

myPOV: Stuart is in his critical wheelhouse in this two-parter on UK public sector IT supplier reform (or at least concerted efforts in that direction) that should spark interest with anyone with a stake in public sector or avoiding the IT failure junket. One critical line that jumps out from the National Audit Office: 'We see it as essential in any contract that the client retains the independent expertise to challenge the supplier.' That's a bingo and perhaps a reason why change in IT service contracts is such a tough - but necessary - slog.

Vendor coverage: plenty o' vendor news analysis this week, including:

Don’t miss

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Digital transformation, change management or bust, by some smart peeps

quotage: 'I – and customers – have asked the transformation experts on what is the difference between transformation and change management . The usual answer was along the lines of “it’s more strategic and modern” , or a smirk with “you don’t get it”.' - Vijay Vijayasankar

myPOV: It started with instigator Phil Fersht of HfS, who posted a solid piece on digital transformation services as a 'unifying theme for IT and business services.' I selected the piece for my newsfeed and pushed it on Twitter, where the digital transformation theme got in Vijay Vijayasankar's craw as he stewed on a tarmac somewhere.

Vijayasankar, famous for his iPhone-crafted missives, went for the jugular in Why am I not holding my breath on digital transformation? likening digital transformation with previous (tired) change management efforts and likely costing digital transformation consultants at least $25 an hour in the process, though Naomi Bloom pegged the cost at closer to $100. Vijayasankar had his post up before the takeoff, which provoked an enlightening comment frenzy from digital transformation advocate/critic Esteban Kolsky.

Our own Den Howlett then leaned in with the aforementioned Friday Roast, taking a ruthlessly practical view on why change management has fallen short and how mapping people, processes, and things might lead to increased self-sufficiency and less dependence on change management consultants of any flavor or variety. Whatever your take is on this topic (I'll go with Vijay plus a dash of Esteban and a double down on customer self-sufficiency), blog chains like these are immensely valuable to sorting volatile issues.

Other standouts

Honorable mention: Two notable pieces on startup culture this week, Can Startups Create Blue-Collar Jobs in America? and This 23-Year-Old Built and Sold His Startup While in School - Here’s How He Did It. SLAs have their nuances, 8 Ways to Make Software Licensing Agreements Work for You gives a practical take. We're starting to see some interesting IBM Watson industry sightings - Doug Henschen covered one in Watson Tapped By IBM, USAA To Advise Veterans.


Overworked businessman
Mind-boggling to me that 100,000 listings have already been removed from Google pertaining to the European 'right to be forgotten' mess. But then Stuart has already shish kabobed that. Speaking of shish kabobs, two journalists grilled their own careers this week, including a respected tennis writer with an affinity for plagiearism, and a BuzzFeed Editor who actually lifted copy from Yahoo Answers. Both will have more time to work on their own Yahoo Answers now.

Not quite a whiff, but tweeting grievances about a airline representative when you are still on one of their planes might not be a good idea. Finally, I'm not tempted by a Soylent liquid diet, but I thought this mockery of Silicon Valley's tech utopians lost the plot. Funny thing about rants - when they are too one-sided, they tend to cave in on themselves.

As in this line: 'A divide is growing between the people who wholeheartedly embrace a radically new, radically self-centred vision of human life, and the people who do not. ' Huh? Granted, Silicon Valley has a predictable tendency to fall into tech as a naive cure-all, but I'm not sure demonizing geeks is the way forward. 'Geeks are pulling us into a utopia nobody wants'? Well, I've never been punched in the face by a geek, or thrown in the swimming pool by a geek, so maybe geeks have something going for them over the roidheads I grew up with? Playing the Facebook faux outrage card is getting tedious also - opt out and get on with living.

Officially off-topic

Granted, geeks do make robots and the impact of robots on employment is a debate point of note - a Brussels think tank concluded that 55 percent of jobs in Spain could be taken over by robots in the next 20 years - and it's not like Spain is bursting with exciting job opportunities right now.

How long before robots can take over corporate social media jobs? The Ad Contrarian seems to think that time is coming fast, which he expresses in charming fashion in Why Your Social Media Strategy Sucks.

As long as you're not in harm's way presently, these astonishing photos by storm chaser Mike Hollinghead are worth their weight in Facebook likes. As for blog post headline of the week, there's no real way to compete with There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control.

And, in the midst of so much unsettling geopolitical news, I hope you also find this Viral 'Jews and Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies' campaign inspires hope among violence as exceptional as I did. Here's to living loud. I think we can end there. 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, at the seaside © olly - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: Oracle, SAP and, as of today, NetSuite are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.