Enterprise hits & misses - September 29

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed September 29, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending September 27, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Oracle OpenWorld Coverage by 'the team'

quotage: 'At the first full day of Oracle OpenWorld, Hurd railed against the suggestion that the Oracle Database In-Memory Option, unveiled on Sunday, was a 'late-to-the-party' response to the phenomenal success of SAP’s Hana.' - Kenny MacIver

myPOV: After the last 'hits and misses,' Oracle OpenWorld moved into high gear, and as Kenny reported, the in-memory database wars flared. Stuart also chatted with Marc Benioff and the resulting piece, Benioff on OpenWorld: been there, done that, not for us, added some needed nuance to Benioff's views on Oracle following the Salesforce and Workday tie ups. Stuart also weighed in on Ellison skipping his last keynote for the America's Cup finish, sharing takeaways from the last day, including a cloud announcement roundup.

As for my views on Oracle's in-memory announcements, I took them as both welcome and inevitable. Inevitable because in-memory is the future. Welcome because as everyone from Microsoft to IBM to SAP pushes in-memory solutions (not to mention Workday), that competitive environment can only help customers in terms of options and pricing.

As I reported in my review of customer views on HANA at Controlling 2013, ERP customers don't care much about the blow-by-blow of the vendor barbs and posturing, but if the final result is better choices at a cheaper price, that's a good outcome. Oracle took some criticism for being vague on the specifics, and the capabilities will require a move to 12c, so there is more to learn about the performance gains and what financial investments will be needed to achieve them.

I've long been a critic of any vendor, Oracle, SAP, or you name it, touting speed and performance for its own sake. That's an IT-based conversation that often leaves business executives with only the skeleton of a bonafide use case. Vendors get confused about this because there are some huge companies in major performance pain. But once those companies buy in, speed loses its potency as the sales centerpiece for the rest of the marketplace. The window is finite: today's speed is tomorrow's table stakes.

The real potential of in-memory is connected to re-imagining business processes, pulling in external data sources to power new applications. That's what I believe customers want to hear more about. The in-memory/big data conversation that makes sense to business is barely started. That said, Oracle OpenWorld brought the message that the game is indeed 'on'.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Customer experience trumps technical excellence – Gartner BI reports by Den Howlett

quotage: 'The ‘consumerization of IT’ is a hot topic in 2013. Many of the incumbent vendors seem beleaguered as upstarts come in and nibble away at markets that have been immune from attack over many years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the burgeoning world of business intelligence (BI.)'

myPOV: Using Gartner BI data as a talking point, Den makes the case that the pendulum has swung to user experience over technical excellence. I might frame that debate a bit differently, as in user experience trumps depth of functionality, but sticking with Den's argument, he goes on to say: 'IT buyers who favor the incumbents will find it increasingly difficult to justify investments in solutions that are not delivering the end user experience needed to extract the kind of value business now demands'. 

That's pretty spot-on. SAP employee and blogger-par-excellence Vijay Vijayasankar issued a reasoned response, Customer Experience versus Technical Excellence in BI. Vijayasankar's point is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Vijayasankar thinks the incumbents have advantages of their own in terms of depths of customer base and the resources to face these challenges. As an aside, I really enjoy blog responses to other blogs - it tends to advance the conversation far beyond a couple of Twitter barbs.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Doug Henschen had a strong week with a nuanced report on Oracle's cloud announcements, and then in Cloud Partnerships - It's Complicated, Henschen assesses why strange 'coopetition' arrangements are emerging.

More standouts:

A few more for the road: Bob Ferrari with part four of his Oracle OpenWorld roundup from a supply chain angle. Lora Cecere strikes again with a challenge to so-called innovators: How is Your Supply Chain Chutzpa?. And, Bob Warfield with another vintage rant, Will Context Eat the Software Industry, which contains the keeper line: 'When Content Marketing, you must give away something of great value to build trust.  In doing so, you cannot overtly sell anything.'


Overworked businessman
Nothing gets in my craw like tech skills hype, so you can imagine I wasn't thrilled with this Forbes piece, Benefits Of Adapting To The Newest Enterprise Technology. There are definitely benefits of being an early adopter, but there is also an undertow this piece should have acknowledged.

Adopting new tech on mission critical projects can lead to difficult skills gaps -and bidding wars for pricey consultants - if you're not careful. The author mentions hiring remote workers as a trend, but enterprise projects continue to struggle with managing telecommuters. I'm a fan of virtual work models but it's an oversight not to mention the cultural and logistical challenges they present to enterprises.

Meanwhile, cloud blogger David Linthicum recommends getting out in front of the issue by hiring cloud talent 3 to 6 months ahead of time. There is some merit to this strategy, but it's a shame Linthicum didn't address the need to create upskilling plans for existing employees and retention/advancement programs for new and existing. Otherwise that talent won't hang around for long. Not to mention companies located in geographies where recruiting emerging skills is near-impossible. Concise blog writing has its place, but when key issues are not cited, there is such a thing as too concise.

Officially off-topic

With Dick Hirsch in the running for best blog title of the week, the worst title is probably Wired's BlackBerry Never Had a Chance: Mobile Innovation Is Over. They should have stopped at the colon. Arguing that mobile innovation is over is page-view-seeking absurdity.

If Hirsch wins best blog title of the week, he's going to have to beat out Death to the Facebook AI nanny-state! The Facebook piece was prompted by Facebook's attempt to understand our sarcastic timeline updates via artificial intelligence - good luck with that!

Lest I fall into debilitating tech cynicism, there are always reminders of the upside, such as how smartphone touchscreens are making a difference for the blind. Then there is Steve Ballmer's emotional goodbye to Microsoft, now on video, going out as only Ballmer can. Speaking of tech innovation, this new ad blocking device is sure to provoke intense debate on the free (ad-driven) Internet economy.

Heading further off topic, this intense podcast debate on sports journalism has implications for anyone interested in the ethics of blogging, the pursuit of page views, and the future of quality reporting. And with that, I'm off to catch the Pats-Falcons game on the telly. 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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com

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