Enterprise hits and misses - July 7

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed July 6, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending July 5, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Taming the nexus with Platform 3.0 by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'While it’s always difficult to get the timing of standards right when dealing with new technologies — bring them in too early and they won’t map to the reality of what’s needed — the risk is that if the work is left too late, enterprises will end up locked into proprietary stacks at the mercy of a handful of dominant vendors.'

myPOV: Phil touched a chord with his piece on standards for what diginomica calls the frictionless enterprise. Ben Kepes sounded off in the comment section, and ended up getting suckered into writing a solid guest piece on diginomica, On standards in the cloud. One problem with standards conversations is that they can quickly get to a, shall we say, wonky technical level that loses the very readers who should care about standards.

Phil is right though - without standards, there is an increased risk of vendor lock-in. Buyers might find the guts of technical specifications a little tedious, but the end result of such toil something everyone wants: more choice. That means more options out-of-the-box that work, even from vendors that don't have bromance partnerships going.

I'm not sure Ben and Phil have a point-counterpoint beef as much as they are fleshing out an issue that requires several angles to digest. Ben's argument that standards are wishful thinking that don't necessary apply on the ground to today's cloud projects is one I find compelling. As he noted in his original comment to Phil's post, 'If a standard flaps its wings in a forest somewhere, but no one in the world actually cares or adopts that standard, does it really exist?'

Fair enough, but I'd argue Ben ventures into some wishful thinking territory at the end of his own post, when he says, 'For the majority of organizations in the future, interoperability will take a back seat to highly specific niche offerings that meet a particular requirement.' That may be true in some distant future, but integration factors into plenty of buying decisions in the cloud today. At any rate I can't settle a worthy debate on cloud/mobile/big data standards, nor would I want to try. It was a good discussion and a good reminder that if you post a comment here, you might get tricked into being a guest blogger. You've been warned.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick:  Marketo makes finance and marketing new BFF by Dennis Howlett

quotage: 'As an ex-finance geek, the notion that finance and marketing could possibly be new Best Friends Forever – or BFF in Facebook parlance – is (cough) laughable. But that’s exactly what Marketo attempts with Marketo Financial Management. I like this approach and if I was back in corporate finance then I’d be more than happy to work with marketers using this approach.'

myPOV: In the post-bromance week, the content on diginomica hit a wide range of topics. I thought this piece by Dennis on Marketo's financial management product reflected the ideal we are pushing for here to cross silos, whether it's IT and business or marketing and finance. Dennis probably strikes fear in some marketers with his insistence on financial accountability.

But he returns the favor on finance types by attacking the credibility of their beloved spreadsheets. And yes - if Marketo can bridge that marketing-finance gap, it may make for some tough discussions on marketing ROI. But - if you can prove your marketing value, then you can genuinely protect and reward the creative talent that is behind it. Dennis also hits on the pretzel act for marketing departments right now - the need to combine brilliant creative work with sophisticated analysis and measurement. I've touched on that a few times - here's the latest.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Welcome to the Six Tenets of Sourcing 2.0 – where a “lights on” approach might just get you fired  by Phil Fersht

quotage: 'Forget all the “phases” of outsourcing that have been debated so vigorously over the last twenty years - the industry is only now evolving  to a new phase, where middle and upper managers are being challenged like never before to bring value to ambitious organizations, or face worrying consequences.'

myPOV: Phil's excellent piece on the future of sourcing came out right after my last week in review. I kept waiting for an article to top it, but it retained the leadoff spot. It's hard to argue with Phil's point that outsourcing has reached a crossroads where cost containment and the shrinking of IT is no longer going to justify use cases in forward thinking companies.

So where to go? Phil has six action points you can check out for yourself, but if I understand his argument, a big part of the shift to 'Sourcing 2.0' is taking a collaborative and business driven approach across the organization. It's not the end of sourcing. It's the end of a certain narrow conversation of low cost service for the lowest price. I'm seeing this dynamic more and more in the enterprise. It's hard to get a seat at the sales table just pushing product or economies of scale. Looking forward to seeing where Phil takes this post from here.

SAP's CMO: 10 Ways To Architect A Digital, Social Business by Vala Afshar

quotage: 'Becher tells us that he too used to be into publishing big numbers, but now he realizes that he would rather have 1,000 people making a big impact than have 65,000 people that are tweeting and just listening to each other. "That's not amplification, that is just talking to each other and that is what I don't want," he says.'

myPOV: I don't normally read Huffington Post nor can I be accused of being a social business fanboy. That said I try to cast a wide and open-minded net and in this post, Afshar boils down 10 key tactics SAP CMO Jonathan Becher hit on during their recent CXO Talk video discussion. I'll say off the top that I do take some issue with Afshar's claim in the article intro that the B2B and B2C distinction has given way to P2P.

While I agree with SAP's attempts to engage end consumers (B2B2C if you don't mind choking that down), I see the B2B buyer (and buying ccyle) as radically different from how consumers behave. Cloud and mobile are perhaps closing that gap. But that issue aside, Afshar has boiled down some useful takeways from the conversation. One of my favorites? 'Democratize Business Intelligence.' I'm for less fuss over anointing a handful of data scientists. Mark me down for getting dashboards to the people with the info they need and only the info they need.

Microsoft's developer crusade by Andrew Brust

quotage: 'It may not be popular to say so, but Microsoft is winning the battle for developers, especially in the enterprise, and increasingly in the cloud and consumer worlds.'

myPOV: There were plenty of contenders for my third pick, but I opted for this quality piece on Microsoft's development engagement by Brust. I've seen plenty of pieces throwing Microsoft under the bus, particularly for Windows 8, an operating system I admittedly hate. But Microsoft's enterprise plays tend to be misunderstood in the tech press.

I don't know about you, but I'm fascinated by the art of persuasion. Brust does four things right in his argument: 1. He supports his points with well-researched specifics. 2. He anticipates counter-arguments, such as this point on the decreasing relevance of Windows: 'But here again, the dev stack can succeed even if Windows is threatened. With the Microsoft web stack, and its cloud platform (especially Windows Azure Mobile Services), Microsoft is wooing developers who have multiple platform targets on the client side.' 3. He acknowledges the holes/weaknesses in his own position (e.g. the dominance of iOS and Android) without pretending they don't exist. 4. He admits that there are more chapters ahead before the final verdict is in, rather than making a boastful claim that Microsoft will win just because it is Microsoft.


from JD-OD.com: We just posted the rest of our video coverage and show notes from Think G-Cloud 2013. There is now a JD-OD G-Cloud event page where you can see 'em all.
from the interweb: I'm gonna go HCM on you with The future of SAP ERP HCM - Predictions from the experts' session from HR 2013 in Amsterdam This podcast was moderated by highly respected SAP Mentor Martin Gillet and should be of interest to SAP and/or HCM watchers. This podcast is part of Steve Bogner's fine HCM Insights podcast series.If you like this type of content you will also want to be tracking the Bill Kutik Radio Show. If you're not HCM inclined, you may want to check out the Getting Results With Video: What Makes a Successful Web Campaign? Webinar Replay from Social Media Today.


Overworked businessman
There were some more tossers this week on the demise of Google Reader and why RSS doesn't matter anymore. I'm going to spare you another dissection of that here as I plan a full length rant on that topic at some point soon. But I do want to take a moment for this intriguing but failed post, Why the Google Reader Shutdown is a Huge Opportunity for Yahoo. Now, I have to set aside my anti-Yahoo bias here and assume that perhaps Yahoo can execute on author's Fei Deng's plan.

Deng's idea is plenty interesting: 'Suppose that when you stumble upon an interesting blog post, you could click a "Follow on Yahoo" button, much the way you'd tweet a link or "Like" the post on Facebook. Clicking this "Follow on Yahoo" button would then allow you to follow the blog (or the author) via a personalized feed in a mobile Yahoo app or on the Yahoo homepage.' Putting aside the obvious clutter (and ads) Yahoo is likely to cram into such a portal, what would be the value?

As Deng sees it, Yahoo's big data capabilities and personalization engine would allow it to sift through thousands of posts and, as he puts it: 'Your Yahoo feed would have the power to rank items from all of these sources and show them to you in the order of their likelihood of interest to you, with the top 10 updates being the most interesting ones.' If Yahoo can show me the ten things I need to know, adapting on the fly during the day, then Yahoo has solved a filtering and prioritization problem that no other company has solved. I'm not sure Yahoo is the one I'd pick to solve it - Yahoo just recently figured out email.

I have yet to hear from any savvy friends on Twitter who have solved the vexing issue of getting the most relevant content easily during chaotic workdays. That's because it's not a breaking news problem. Context, quality, and specialization matter to enterprise professionals far more than breaking news. I'll even argue the breaking news tracking problem is largely resolved. But the 'context/quality/specialization' problem is most certainly not.

I don't want the first article on Oracle's cloud announcement, I want the best one. I don't want the keynote replay, I want the best analysis of the keynote. I don't want the most popular tweets, I want the most thoughtful ones. Deng is really reaching if he thinks Yahoo can solve that problem. Even if Yahoo has the technology, they don't have a social graph. They would really need Twitter's, or Facebook's, or LinkedIn's, to have any shot at compiling a relevance algorithm. Last time I checked, those companies are walling up the garden, not sharing the social graph.

Today if you want what Deng is describing, you can have some resemblance to it - in a well constructed RSS reader, perhaps complemented by some select email alerts and a dash of social discovery. Or you can wait for Yahoo to give you a savvy portal - but you'll have to ignore their 'Kardashians feud' trending topics streaming down your page.

Final swings

This is the first edition of Hits and Misses done without Google Reader. Newsblur is my new feed portal and it's handling my 1,000 feeds pretty darn well, for a price I will happily pay. If you're not sick of reading about Reader, this post by Instapaper founder Marco Arment is a must read. He uses the F word (and uses it to great effect, I might add) so be forewarned. Arment's point about walled gardens versus the open internet gets at the meat of the issue. The encouraging thing for those who want to control how we consume and share is that we still can - we just have to work a bit harder to compile the tools to do so. Getting ahead in the filtering and prioritization game is just as powerful for individuals as companies. Don't stop.

Officially off-topic

Off-topic highlights from my feed ranged from the annoying (Vibrating Train Windows Transmit Ads Directly Into Your Head) to the wacky (Neuroscientist thinks human head transplant surgery is finally possible) to the unexpected (Hangovers cost the US Economy $1.90 per drink). We also have a bona-fide, Frank Scavo approved bonehead alert involving a passenger who stormed the cockpit because he was bent that his in-seat TV screen wasn't working.

Staying on the bonehead alert tip, this piece on how Samsung and Jay-Z gave the Internet a master’s class in how not to make an app is a definitive how-not-to. And if you're looking for a bit of music to browse along to as the weekend winds down, these YouTube clips of Jackson Browne performing "The Load Out" in 1977 and again 34 years later are keepers. If you want to go a bit further down the rabbit hole of my music recommendation engine, go with Blind Melon's underground rock masterpiece "Mouthful of Cavities" from 1995. And with that - I'm outta here.

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, Man © Dudarev Mikhail  - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP and Oracle are premier partners as of this writing; Jon has served as an SAP Mentor volunteer since 2008.

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