Enterprise hits & misses - March 17

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 16, 2014
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond - for week ending March 16, 2014.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit:
Digital transformation and the pace of change - articles by Den Howlett, Phil Wainewright, and Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'Today, the boot is on the other foot and the on-premise vendors’ customers are comparing the three-year-old product they’ve currently got to the fresh cloud-native offering that could be up and running in just a few months. If the incumbent vendor can’t offer a competitive cloud offering then suddenly the prospect is comparing what they can have within months from the cloud-native vendor against a feature set that may be attractive but will require an implementation project stretching out over a year or more.' - Phil

myPOV: This week the diginomica team once again grappled with the issues of digital and cloud transformation. Phil brought matters to a head on Thursday with the above Vendors rush to update their installed base – or die piece, which clearly explains why enterprise customers are not nearly as 'locked in' to on-premise solutions as they have been in the past.

Earlier, Den dug into his accounting wheelhouse for Digitizing the past or transforming for the future?, which was a riff/analysis of the implications of a CeBIT Social Business keynote presentation by SAP's Sameer Patel (Bonus: Patel differed with some of Den's conclusions and took it up with him in the comment thread). Later, Den brought another fresh angle to the flogged topic of enterprise disruption by looking at lessons from Telsa's New Jersey skirmishes. Stuart also built on this topic with Forrester argues piecemeal digital transformation won’t work.

If there's one lesson I can pull from all this, it's that now is not the time to 'tinker' with change. Patel's presentation notes the amount of turnover at the top of the Fortune 500. Yet he points out that 'buying' growth through acquisition has not been hugely effective. Only a modest - perhaps even miniscule - amount of companies (9 percent) have achieved sustained and profitable growth through the last decade. Is it any wonder that the pure SaaS players who are 'all-in' in the new enterprise are the ones citing double digit growth rates?

Doesn't alter the fact that change is hard and what works in one industry falters in another. One thing I do know: lazy blogging provides unsatisfactory, hype-filled answers. Here we have to do better. And challenge our own thinking through proven use cases, like Kenny's piece on Belfair and the secret sauce of the hybrid cloud. Thanks to our readers for commenting and arguing in that good way, and keeping us all on our collective toes. Lots of use cases still to uncover - stay tuned.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Infor updates and exclusives, by Stuart Lauchlan and Derek du Preez

quotage: 'Upgrade X is in many ways emblematic of the changes that have been wrought at Infor over the past three years. It’s the offer from the firm to its customers to upgrade them all for a fixed fee to the cloud.' - Stuart

myPOV: Stuart and Derek were able to catch up with Infor this week, end result: Derek filed an update on Infor's strategy and go to market agenda, meantime Stuart reported on an exclusive interview with Infor CEO Charles Phillips. While Phil is correct to cite Infor as one of the mega-vendors facing the challenge of upgrading its customers (and moving them to the cloud as per the Upgrade X offer), I am struck by how much Infor is still a bit under the radar when it comes to enterprise coverage.

I expect that to change in the next year, for several reasons. Exhibit A: when I wrote my enterprise UX series, Infor was by far the most frequently cited example of an enterprise vendor getting it right. And if an enterprise vendor can conquer the 'crummy UI' bugaboo, it's hard to think of what could stop them.

Also recommended: Jessica Twentyman contributed a use case on a Dutch greeting card firm (the appropriately-named Greetz), and its journey to an open source database. Jessica also completed her half-marathon Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser, but I believe there is still time to contribute. Well done Jess.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
I'm not singling out one piece for special commentary this week, but standouts included:

Honorable mention: Unusually heavy competition for title of the week, with First, we kill all the futurists, Analytics suck sometimes, and The Creep Factor: How to Think about Big Data and Privacy all warranting close consideration. All three are decent reads too, as is Network Engineers: Don't be the Dinosaur. I don't count TechCrunch fanboy amongst my faults, but Predicting the Next IPO Wave: The Era of the Enterprise is a good rundown of enterprise upstarts I knew about (and some I didn't). Finally, after taking a potshot at Larry Dignan's NetSuite/Workday collision course piece last week, I completely overlooked a superior Dignan effort assessing IBM's cloud strategy. Culpa - or, Meh Culpa, which Urban Dictionary defines as a 'half-assed apology.'


Overworked businessman
OK, so...Mark Zuckerberg - freedom fighter? Can't deny Zuckerberg earned respect from yours truly taking that open stance on Internet freedom, though as Greg Chase quickly noted on LinkedIn, 'pot meet kettle.'  Meet 'Facebook - your privacy advocates' was one ironic curve ball I didn't see coming. And yeah, i could have lived without the references to the Internet as a 'shared space' from someone who made billions from other people's propensity to overshare. But hey, go get 'em Mark.

And Mark -when you're done with that, could you address Facebook's labyrinthian privacy settings, its shockingly primitive group moderator controls, its unwanted autoplay videos, its bizarro 'personalized' ad selections (today it's the freemasons for me), its crummy profile template stripped bare of any personalization features, its flawed algorithmic assumptions about which friends' updates to show us (and which to hide), oh - and an apology to businesses who sunk small fortunes into acquiring near-useless likes might be in order also. Meantime keep up the fight dude.

On the enterprise front, it's probably overkill to poke fun at a blog called Tech Trader Daily, after all this is only for readers who might spend real money on the companies in question, but it is a Barron's blog so if there is any credibility pumping through there, I'm going to raise the flag now. So the author reports that SAP and Oracle are threatened by big data startups like Lotame and Datastax.

It's not an original idea on his part, but a copy/paster from a report issued by Cowen and Co's Peter Goldmacher. Now I have never met Goldmacher, but from bits here and there he doesn't appear to be a dummy. The quote that grabbed me was: 'Goldmacher doesn’t go into detail about how Oracle and SAP are threatened, except to offer some detail here and there of legacy data that is a target for the startups.' So - did you think of emailing him for a clarification? Nope. On to the next trade, I guess.  I do, however, give the author credit for some napkin scribbles after the disclaimer I didn't notice the first time through. Social media gurus rejoice: this ditty got tweeted 30 times and was 'liked' 24 times. Thankfully Facebook probably blocked it from newsfeeds to pressure Barron's to advertise.

Officially off-topic

It was a good week for long-form content. Via Jarret Pazahanick, Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014 is in-depth and meaty on talent topics. Via Mark Yolton, Pew Research's Digital Life in 2025 is extensive, and my atonement for the 'kill the futurists' link above.

I'm not interested in SXSW enough to make fun of it, but Bruce Sterling's closing remarks managed to do just that in a clever way that taught me a few things. My biggest laugh of the week, though, came from this ill-fated 'live' sports report from Providence TV: 'I gave you a thumb's up!' The anchor's reaction? Priceless.

For bad actors, can we do much worse than Target's privacy breach which evidently goes back to gross negligence? After such collective mediocrity, we need a hero, and we have one via my new hero Daniel Tomlinson, and his beautiful - but not sugarcoated -post, 'I was bullied and beaten every day. Programming saved my life'. Code on, brotha!

If you want a few more moments of leisure before Monday productivity beckons, check the drone that took on a volcano, browse these gorgeous pics from Iceland's crystal ice caves, or get a real-time view of life from the International Space Station via NASA. Oh, and thanks to the BBC you can play Infocom's legendary Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy for free. Just read the instructions first because the game kills you a lot. And just like that, a fresh episode of The Walking Dead is waiting in my queue. 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, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure: SAP and Oracle are both diginomica partners as of this writing.

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