Enterprise hits & misses - September 8

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed September 8, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending September 6, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Weekend rant: big data is a bad joke, gimme context  by Den Howlett

quotage: 'The thought that there is an explosion of data holds no interest to me whatsoever. Especially as social media has been named as one of the really big contributors. Well…if you can find value in the inane ramblings on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook – go knock yourself out.'

myPOV: Den takes a whack at 'big data' though the piece is more than a rant. It's also an investigation of what value might be derived from algorithms that provide context. My beef with big data is that we tend to accept its merits on face value without an unflinching look at how data-swamped enterprises can actually make any use whatsoever of proliferating data.

If a rant can provoke the kind of nuance we see in the comment thread on Den's post, so much the better. Den rant was also a riff on Vijay Vijayasankar's What on earth do you mean by CONTEXT? which is well worth reading. I left a detailed comment there - after I posted I wished I had put even mustard on the difficulty of using this kind of data for top-line growth.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: How Workday does cloud by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'Workday made a big break with the past in its application architecture. Traditional client-server architectures are based around complex relational database models that interact with even more complex programming codelines. The drawback with that approach is that introducing any changes or enhancements to the application means changing both of those complex layers and then making sure they still work together.'

myPOV: With Workday Rising kicking off next Tuesday, Phil provides the warmup with an inside look at Workday's approach to cloud, culled from a prior briefing with Workday CTO Stan Swete.  My view is that the so-called convergence of business and tech means that each side needs to become much more conversant in the language of the other.

Security features prominently in Phil's piece and is sure to be a topic at Workday Rising as well, with special consideration to NSA/PRISM impact. We'll have two diginomica team members on site, Den and Phil, so keep an eye on their tweet streams for updates and on our site for news analysis.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
What on earth do you mean by CONTEXT? by Vijay Vijayasankar

quotage: 'Information systems in majority of companies do not have the ability to collect context of a question . And hence they may or may not give useful answers without a human user doing most of the thinking and combining various “precise” answers to find out a “useful” answer .'

myPOV: Vijayasankar's threatening to break Luke Marson's 'most consecutive selections' record with a series of provocative pieces. The "CONTEXT" piece is good to read before you sink into Den's, but it's also the kind of blog conversation I like best. Twitter is fine for some surface discussions, but nothing beats a series of blogs to really advance a conversation, as Chris Paine did on Vijayasankar's talent piece which Vijayasankar then responded to.

As for my view on context, I prefer to see projects that are limited  in scope and derive an instant benefit. And I'm much more optimistic about incorporating machine feeds (weather data, law enforcement data, online/offline machine status) than I am about attempting to mine social media, where too much of the big data marketing hype has trolled.

The Changing face of UKOUG by Debra Lilley

quotage: 'The most read posting on my blog is the one that explains the relationship between Oracle and User Groups, and I find myself referring to it a lot. There have been a lot of changes in UKOUG over the past two years and I keep being asked about them so thought I would try and explain them as I see them.'

myPOV: One thing I can never get enough of is reflections from user group leaders on lessons learned along the way. Lilley, a stalwart of Oracle's UK User Group, brings out the issues that user groups have to deal with: dealing with paid staff and in this case a board structure, without losing sight of the mission of supporting and representing users. My big hope for enterprise software user groups is that they continue to move in the direction of not just education and back channel communication but public advocacy. 

Other standouts: A very strong week for enterprise blogging, narrowed my picks to: Why Internet Companies Don’t Buy From The Enterprise Kings by Alex Wiliams. Alex kicked off the week with a bold strike that should not sit well with the big ERP incumbents. One of the essential bloggers in our space, Phil Fersht of Horses for Sources, hammers at innovation stagnation with the extensively titled Forget business outcomes and innovation for now… most enterprises just want to get beyond adequate first. Fersht backs up the post with data from the recent HfS State of Outsourcing study.

Meantime, Redmonk's Donnie Berkholz posted one of the most interesting VMworld reviews, one which that included his own data crunching on the entire VMworld tweetstream. Luke Marson strikes again, raising the good questions on the Consulting as a Service model. Bob Warfield goes on an epic rant even by his standards, with You Have to Have an Overseas Dev Team to Scale? Baloney!

I have to mention Cloud Infrastructure: Three views from the IaaS sharp end from ZDnet's Toby Wolpe as lining up customers for these kinds of stories is no picnic (there is also an executive's guide to IaaS, free with sign-up). I'm running out of room for multi-media picks this week, but if you enjoy that kind of thing, I am now sharing the most interesting enterprise multi-media content on my newsblur blog as I scour through my reader.


Overworked businessman
Whenever you combine two of my bones of contention, millennials and the so-called 'collaborative economy,' you are going to get a reaction. Voila - Jeremiah Owyang has done just that with his Expert Interview: The Millennials in the Collaborative Economy. As it turns out, the millennials don't like buying houses and cars, and they do like sharing things (like things they don't own such as other peoples' intellectual property - but that's my beef, not the author's).

On a more serious note, which expert Dan Schawbel does acknowledge, the millennials are pushed towards sharing models to cope with a very difficult, job-scarce economy. And to be fair, Schawbel does have important data on millennial buying patterns (millennials bought only 27% of all new vehicles sold in America, down from 38% in 1985.). I am persuaded by those who contend these buying patterns are not just a recession issue, but a cultural shift companies should pay heed to.

But here's where you lose me - phrases like 'millennials would rather work in a collaborative setting than in cubicles...' 'millennials want this or that from their employers'. Dandy - but they are not in a very good negotiating position. Most generations have had to take their lumps entering the workforce, I fail to see how millennials have the leverage to dictate their terms, nor do I see how it helps them to be pandered to. When I entered the workforce, my best mentors gave me tough advice on how I needed to change to make things work. Am I missing some economic boom that allows young workers to dictate their terms? And don't give me the 'digital natives' argument. I know plenty of grayhairs who are quite savvy with their smart devices.

Officially off-topic

On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't take shots at millennials when media elites are busy making Twitter accounts for their babies. Maybe millennials should have those people's jobs. And it's not as if the existing corporate culture is anything to brag about, as we learned from this scathing Tales of an Ex-Microsoft Manager.

Continuing the 'maybe we should just hand over the world to the kids' theme, check this video of this cat Parkour and his urban Spiderman routine. Or this more business-oriented 13 year old girl who is now the invetor/CEO of an Internet-enbabled dog treat and 'canine chat' company.

On the sillier side, my favorite blog post title of the week definitely goes to 'Salesforce realizes nobody wants to store their files in Salesforce.' Oh, and this 'bicycle when you want it, motorcyle when you need it' electric combo looks pretty swell. It's certainly a better idea than filming yourself speeding around Manhattan and busting out your peacock feathers on YouTube so police can ID and arrest you.

On the home entertainment side, if you're not the NFL type, you might want to check out this vocals-only track of The Beatles' Abbey Road medley, which I consider their finest of finest hours. 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: Workday and Salesforce.com are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.