Enterprise hits & misses - June 23

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed June 22, 2014
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending June 22, 2014.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Think the Internet’s disruptive? Hold tight for blockchain by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'Wonder what all the fuss is about Bitcoin? A growing number of technology watchers are becoming increasingly excited about the peer-to-peer system on which the digital currency is built... That foundation is called the blockchain.'

myPOV: My inoculation against Bitcoin stories has deprived me of technical innovations I should have been paying attention to. Phil has now corrected my stance with an incisive piece on the blockchain, and why this tech has implications far beyond Bitcoin.

I do take issue with the reader who commented on how blockchain-powered-currency could lead to 'true democracy' (funny how the new boss always seems to resemble the old one - righto Pete Townshend?) Phil rightly advises caution when thinking timeframes for enterprise use cases, but I'll bet my Bitcoin holdings that we'll be hearing more about the blockchain. As for disruption, well, read on...

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica pick: Computer Economics spend survey suggests optimism by Den Howlett

quotage: 'Perhaps the most interesting finding centers around where spend is being prioritized. According to this survey, companies are concentrating efforts on developing or building new systems.  Again, this should not surprise. In the applications arena we have seen solid growth by vendors serving the analytics space in particular.'

myPOV: Our affiliate research partner Computer Economics gave us a look at their latest IT spending report, which yields some surprisingly optimistic conclusions, in particular to adding head count. As Den points out, the detailed findings add nuance. Check it out.

Customer use cases: Another strong week for customer use cases, with Derek on a roll from his London Technology Week events: 

Vendor coverage: Busy summer week for vendor news: Stuart was on the biggest #ensw story of the week in Oracle's earnings news in Wall Street unimpressed as Ellison argues Oracle’s profit miss is due to cloud success.Then he parsed his way through BlackBerry's surprisingly upbeat earnings news in A good day for BlackBerry – miracles do happen! Meantime Phil updated on Unit4's executive team shakeup and Den checked in with analysis from the Alteryx Inspire 2014 user conference.

For pure reading pleasure, it doesn't get any better than Stuart's poetic snark in Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s message tumbles before digital creatives in Cannes. What would The Hoff do? (Please tell me this isn't the last time we will sneak David Haselhoff into diginomica coverage!)

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
The Disruptive Innovation Debate, by Notables who have issues with each other

quotage: 'When the New Yorker this week published Harvard historian Jill Lepore’s sharply written dismissal of “disruptive innovation,” it was an attack on one of the most widely cited and celebrated ideas in modern business.'

myPOV: It all started with Jill Lepore's stinging takedown of Clayton Christensen's disruption theories in The New Yorker. Then Christensen responded in a very frank interview in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. I'm not going to waste time scoring each intellectual point, though I thought Christensen took a strong position - emphasizing how his views have evolved since The Innovator's Dilemma, and explaining why he was so wrong about the iPhone.

I've never been a fan of the use of 'disruption' in an enterprise context (though I've used it enough to be accused of pot/kettle). Disruption is now an empty kettle indeed, able to hold any amount of keynote hyperbole. As a predictive cure-all for which companies will rise, disruption theory hasn't held up. Maybe that's because disruption requires a heck of a lot of execution and a bit of luck besides. Maybe sometimes monopolies are a big, relentless advantage. But: I find an argument about ideas refreshing, even though things do seem to have gotten a bit personal between our two protagonists.

For enterprises, real study of disruption theory can be a welcome kick in the posterior, a constant (healthy) reminder that today's business model - no matter how successful - contains hidden vulnerabilities upstarts are poised to expose. This hold up whether you are an enterprise software stalwart, or a SaaS market darling.  A balanced take on this joust comes by way of Steve Denning.

Other standouts

(Note: I wanted to include another article making sense of Oracle's earnings/cloud braggadocio, but I couldn't find a standout - please paste a link into the comments if you've got a good one).

Honorable mention: other pieces of merit included Adrian Bridgwater on Tibco Transform 2014 and Ann All with some interesting data points on PaaS adoption in Taking a PaaS on Mobile App Development. Joel York of Cloud Ave has issued an ebook on the Metrics-Driven SaaS Business (free download with sign up). I love Slate's notion that Patent Trolls are Mortally Wounded, though I fear it's wishful thinking. Oh, and the consumer tech press was on Amazon's Fire phone like flies on page view honey this week - my fave was Amazon’s Fire Phone: It's Good for Bezos, Not So Much for Us.


Overworked businessman
Marc Andreessen must have envied Christensen's intellectual sparring partner, so he created his own (half the Internet it seems) with a lengthy series of tweets that bothered people about the virtues of tech innovation to solve every problem known to humankind, except perhaps hair loss.

Along the way, Andreessen stoked debates about the causes and cures of poverty. I'm not going to call what Andreessen did a whiff because it beats whatever is trending on Yahoo (don't believe me? Check it). But: it's a whiff on him (and the rest of us) if we assume we've done our part after some Twitter broadsides. Implying our own success magically elevates other people's lives is far too convenient. Note: I couldn't find a full defense of Andreesen, but here's an argument for his willingness to push backchannel topics out in the social open.

I was going to call a Best Western franchise (illegally) cancelling the reservation of a boy and his service dog the customer service whiff of the week, but Best Western corporate is handling this so decisively I'm gonna back down. But we can certainly hand out a tentative whiff to YouTube for its apparent 'company store' crackdown on independent labels. It's a wonder YouTube hasn't made this section more often... where is disruption when you need it?

Officially off-topic

Stranger than fiction: searching for a story about a principal plagiarizing a graduation speech, I found two separate (recent) stories, one who quit in Colorado and one who apologized in Long Island. Nice work guys!

More fiction: I used to feel awkward deriving my views on the dangers of AI from the Terminator movies - less so now that Elon Musk (and maybe Stephen Hawkings) have fessed up to the same.

Andreesen might like this ambitious goal to provide those without clean drinking water a source via repurposed refrigerators and solar power. Speaking of solar power, Germany evidently produced half of its energy through solar in June.

Which brings us to the World Cup. I will spare you my ugly Americanisms regarding the US giving up the tying goal to Portugal in the final play of stoppage time. But: here's some odds on the chances of team in all groups to advance beyond the group stage (another take on U.S. odds here).

That fabulous futball has made me forget about the absence of my go-to shows on the telly. I'm in the dry season now and waiting on your media consumption recommendations. I guess 'Rectify' is back on, if I can handle the molasses-like pacing...

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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, Oracle, and Workday are all diginomica partners as of this writing.