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Enterprise hits and misses - July 14

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed July 13, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending June 12, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: HfS SAP services rankings shows some surprises by Dennis Howlett

quotage: 'Some independent contractors I’ve spoken with think Accenture is overkilling process in an effort to keep hundreds of consultants busy at a time when budgets are under pressure. The consolidation point should be a warning to all the big ticket shops. Customers generally are looking for lower cost.'

myPOV: Dennis' analysis of the first (annual?) HfS SAP services rankings pointed to a changing customer agenda between costly instance consolidation on the one hand, with cloud and HANA projects pointing to new kinds of services demand on the other - or in some cases. the disappearance of said demand from on-premise services revenues. I didn't find the rankings surprising, though the HfS weighting of 35 percent for innovation is certainly welcome.

I'm a bit surprised that the pressure towards downsizing consulting costs hasn't hit these survey results harder yet. As Dennis alluded to, Accenture's recent disappointing quarterly earnings could be a factor to watch for next year's report. HfS itself noted, 'Accenture is not a low price vendor. As topics like ERP consolidation mature, competition on price will become more prevalent over the next 18-24 months.'

I'd say that's an understatement, and I find myself wondering like Vinnie Mirchandani so often has if we are ever going to see the kinds of innovations coming from the services side of the enterprise that we have seen via the vendors themselves. Where are the cloud consultancies, offering virtual and on-demand service options via personalized knowledge centers? What happens when the last waterfall project has gone dodo bird, and the big services firms are still structured around long term billable engagements?

Bonus: I went on a bit of a rant in the comments section about the need for independent auditors and consultants to keep prime services partners in check - no matter how highly HfS or anyone else might rate them. If you want a different angle on SAP and hybrid clouds, check out Stuart's analysis of SAP's recent 'hybrid cloud' research.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Eliminating the office, virtually by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'Many startups and microbusinesses run virtually from the founders’ homes until they grow big enough to move into an office of their own. It’s much less common to find a company that’s actually given up office space in order to continue on its growth trajectory.'

myPOV: A very interesting test case from Phil about webexpenses, a 20 person British expense management cloud software maker that made the decision in 2007 to run entirely virtually, with no central office. I'm always surprised more companies don't experiment with the 100 percent virtual setup. The tools are 90 percent of the way there now, and many of them are free or very low cost.

Culture is the only issue, and that is not a small one for a company with growth plans. Diginomica is 'all virtual' by necessity, but I'm struck by how important the rare times we are face-to-face still are. How webexpenses handles that and the tools they use to stay networked are well worth a read. In the comments I posted a childish rant about Skype, mostly because I'm bitter about how little Microsoft has done to fulfill Skype's potential, to the point that Google Hangouts are kicking Skype's butt for many use cases.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
In the wake of Microsoft's reorganization, more questions than answers by Andrew Nusca

quotage: 'What I want to know is why the company felt it needed to make such a large change; why it felt the need to do it now, and in this fashion; why it felt the need to tell the world about it; and why Ballmer felt the need to address it in a 2,649-word missive sent from the corner office to the company's 100,000 employees. The theme was "One Microsoft," yet there was only one voice in the memo.'

myPOV:  By far the biggest story in the consumer tech press this week was the Microsoft reorg announcements (see full transcript). I didn't find one piece that nailed down the answers; I chose Nusca's because he admits that he doesn't follow the company closely so he's taking potshots from outside the fishbowl. I suppose his questions resonated with me, and perhaps there aren't easy answers yet. Whether the reorg will prove crucial to Microsoft's much-needed re-invention remains to be seen.

Microsoft is a complex beast; it's tempting to knock them for the struggle of Office, Surface and Windows 8 while overlooking that there is still a huge enterprise market for a tablet-as-desktop replacement Microsoft is uniquely positioned to capture, if they can get out of their own way. There's also a gap in the mobile enterprise market for a third competitor to Android and iOS - a gap RIM looks increasingly incapable of filling.

Frank Scavo noted a key point that was largely overlooked - Microsoft Dynamics leadership was largely untouched by these moves, which can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence. And for good reason: as Scavo puts it, 'The Dynamics group is the one part of Microsoft that gets into conversations with other members of the C-suite and with lines of business leaders. As the consumerization of IT continues, it is essential that Microsoft break out of the IT organization.'

Cloud is Talent Management, ERP is Core HR by Luke Marson

quotage: 'In this post, I wanted to continue the discussion in a different perspective: how Cloud is good, how customers without the need for a Cloud-based core HR system can benefit from the Cloud for Talent Management, and why it also makes sense to continue to use and consider classical ERP.'

myPOV: It's always good to see a blogger taking it to another level. I'm pleased to see SAP Mentor and HCM expert Luke Marson taking on the example of Jarret Pazahanick, another SAP HCM expert who has truly raised his blogging game in recent years. Luke's latest piece is more nuanced than the title might suggest. He draws on his field experience to make the case for cloud's scaleability and ease of deployment as integral to 'strategic HR'. If you're in an HR kinda mood - and aren't we all - Wes Wu's Rethinking HR Analytics was another strong HR piece that came out this week. The social sharing sidebar that stalks you up and down the page as you read is pretty creepy though.

Starting points for the quantitative CIO: downloadable basic tools by Peter Kretzman
quotage: 'Much as in any field, IT executives constantly have to seek a balance between idealism and pragmatism. Given a particular problem and the range of possible solutions, do we insist on “doing it right”, or do we buckle down and “just get it done”, even with gaps?'

myPOV: The third pick is always the toughest - vigorous competition as usual. I almost went with Tom Foremski but I'm saving him (you'll see why in a moment). Instead I chose this Kretzman piece because it is rare to see a CIO-level piece that offers practical downloadable tools for learning and upskilling.

In the post, Kretzman offers corresponding blog post links and Excel sheets for four CIO mainstays: project mortfolio management. return-on-investment analyses. resource allocation, and budget planning. Kretzman correctly notes the perils of spreadsheet over-use (including manual entry errors), but as a learning tool for those on the CIO track (or who aspire to be), these downloadable examples are nifty.


I'm not usually a fan of TED Talk replays due to their topical randomness, but Hubspot's collection of 15 TED talks you need to see have some coherent themes on marketing, video messaging, analytics, creativity and consumerization. If you want an hour of unscripted Microsoft re-org punditry-gone-amuck, the latest Gilmore Gang has your fix.

It was a good week of multi-media if you're on the SAPpier side, including Martin Gillet on (what else?) HCM from SAP Insider Amsterdam, Mico Yuk trying (and mostly succeeding) in her determined attempt to get some coherent answers from SAP on Lumira. Oh, and don't miss out on Hugh MacLeod's new (free) ebook Authenticity is the New Bullshit.


Overworked businessman
I wanted to do a thorough deconstruction of Lindsay Lohan More Talented Than Marilyn Monroe, Says Canyons Director but out of respect for the commenter on our site who doesn't appreciate profanity (whoops) I will leave that one be. I also considered going off on David Linthicum's Why You Should Care About Multicloud, but Linthicum distances himself from the phrase. He's right about integrated cloud environments moving to the forefront, but as I said on Twitter, if I start using the 'multicloud' buzzword, I'm counting on my diginomica cohorts to take away my Wordpress log in.

That leaves me with LinkedIn Endorsements: Lots Of Noise, No Signal by readwrite blogger Matt Asay. I probably can't improve upon Asay's deconstruction: 'As a hiring manager, I'm going to give exactly ZERO weight to this stockpile of "endorsements," because they effectively amount to a Facebook "Like."' I went a bit further on Twitter, calling LinkedIn Endorsements 'the new poke.' Asay says he goes on LinkedIn once a week, and that's precisely the problem.

Unless you are a member of one of those rare active, well-curated groups or you're on the job market or hitting on those who are, there isn't a daily reason to be on Linkedin. Where are the real time equivalents to Google Hangouts? Where are the opportunities to interact with your colleagues and their trusted connections in real time to discuss topical interests and impactful news? LinkedIn has a unique chance to facilitate indispensable conversations. Instead we are sucking wind in the endorsements noise machine, which evidently suffices for innovation.

Final swings

Speaking of the pressing need for innovation, I like that T-Mobile is asserting itself as a disruptive cell phone dark horse, but it's a pretty sorry state of affairs when the option to pay ten bucks a month not to get stuck on an obsolete phone is hailed as a bold move. Early in the week, I awarded the 'blog post title of the week' award to Google Glass + The Bee Gees might one day save lives, but that was before Tom Foremksi took it in a walk-off with Hardware Is King, Software Is A Spoilt Brat Grown Fat Suckling On The Teats Of Chip Industry Innovation.

Officially off-topic

It's bad enough that most of us are scary behind on deadlines, now we have to contend with the uber-industrious example of 16 year old Tesca Fitzgerald, who has put a wrap on college and is off to get her PhD in artificial intelligence. Fortunately there is always an opportunity to seize today's moment, as the gutsy farmer who plowed alongside a raging fire to save his crop proved (with video).

In this week's end times alert, Standard and Poor's has launched a mind-boggling defense in their $5 billion lawsuit: that no reasonable investor should have taken their advice seriously in the first place. It's enough to make you write a bizarre blog post on success that begins with the line 'I hate working.'

Got a couple YouTube 'whistle while you work' picks for you: first, vintage AC/DC with the perfect marriage of sorta-unintentional comedy and rock and roll perfection with this 1976 Bandstand Australia rendition of It's a long way to the top. Aussie's own Graham Robinson was good enough to send me the original promo vid of the song which is a link you will never regret clicking on. And for the best rock song you have never heard, I'm going to make a case for amping up the volume and treating your friends and neighbors to a rousing version of The Wildheart's Mazel Tov Cocktail (audio only). I'm gonna do the same - 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 © Bloomuamm  Beach vacation © lily - all from

Disclosure: SAP is a diginomica premier partner as of this writing. Jon has served as an SAP Mentor volunteer since 2008. 

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