Enterprise hits and misses – COVID-19's digital lessons take hold, Uber gets a gig economy wake-up call, and an enterprise buyer debate takes hold
Enterprise hits and misses – COVID-19’s digital lessons take hold, Uber gets a gig economy wake-up call, and an enterprise buyer debate takes hold
Sun, 03/21/2021 – 22:56
- This week – pulling COVID-19 digital lessons from the education sector – but will they stick? Plus: the enterprise buyer one-throat-to-choke debate heats up again. Uber must give UK drivers “worker” status, and tech companies’ “diversity theater” gets called out. In the whiffs section, I backtrack on NFTs.
Lead story – COVID-19’s digital lessons – the education sector in focus
MyPOV: At this point, it’s a placeholder: COVID has accelerated digital adoption across sectors. What gets interesting is the the industry story – and how organizations adapted, often under duress. Cath’s Digital lessons learned for the education sector during COVID-19 shares how several UK schools fared.
One thing on my mind: how much will the advantages of digital learning be retained in the years to come? Otherwise we squandered an opportunity. Cath quotes digital learning advisor Andy Perryer, who advises Cognita Schools across forty locations:
Now that learners are back at school though, Perryer is keen to ensure that “the best bits of edtech continue to remain in place” and is developing a five-year strategy on that basis. For instance, because Teams helps “remove barriers to learning”, the idea is that, in future, international students could be invited to attend particular classes held in the UK and vice versa.
Another advantage is that if a local student were to break their leg and have to stay at home, “it doesn’t mean that learning has to stop”, Perryer says.
At its best, digital collaboration gives students access to outside experts. Then there is the potential payoff of applying digital data – as long as the ethics of data privacy are in place. Cath cites two lessons from James Browning, of the non-profit Academies Enterprise Trust:
The first involves enabling collaboration beyond the school’s four walls to ensure learners benefit from the expertise of teachers elsewhere. The second entails using predictive analytics tools to mine student data, ranging from attendance and attainment to behavioural information, in order to enable the best outcomes for them – as long as it is used within ethical frameworks and codes of conduct, that is.
But not all the takeaways are happy ones. As Derek reports in COVID-19 – lower income students suffer the most with remote learning, digital learning tech ran smack into the UK’s so-called digital divide:
This digital divide has not been helped by the Department for Education not having an existing plan in place to deal with such widespread disruption to the schooling system. Emergency plans existed for localised disruption, such as flooding, but there had been zero preparation for a pandemic situation prior to March 2020.
A good reminder: true transformation is intentional, and depends on a strong collective resolve. Otherwise the digital tech we apply won’t fix the underlying problem, whatever its purveyors might claim.
diginomica picks – my top stories on diginomica this week
- Williams Sonoma’s digital transformation marathon models a strong design for the Vaccine Economy’s new world of retail – Stuart on a “A long term digital transformation story of solid, steady progress” – we don’t see that too often in retail.
- When is a headless content management solution not completely headless? When it’s Contentful! – Barb on how headless and “apps platform” come together. But what’s next? Barb: “This is Scott Brinker’s platform ecosystem coming to fruition.”
- Name the place! HR, the mid-market and the SMB dilemma – Can modern SaaS suites ease the stress of the spread-too-thin small business HR manager? In the midst of HR Tech event week, Brian opines on Namely’s chances.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Coupa ends fiscal 2021 on a strong note as customer focus on spend management remains high on the corporate agenda – “In an adverse uncertain situation, companies can often make the most important impact by controlling their spend.” Stuart parses Coupa’s numbers.
- Salesforce taps AI to do the ‘heavy lifting’ in identifying the right contacts for successful Account-Based Marketing – Barb weighs in on Salesforce’s latest AI/ABM twist. Also see Derek’s related use case: McAfee aims for sales and marketing alignment with Salesforce Pardot.
- IFS Cloud – how Cubic enables stations as a service on the London Underground – Phil files a nifty “moment of service” use case from IFS’s cloud announce extravaganza.
- The Zen of workplace data privacy – Zoho’s Raju Vegesna on productivity monitoring, privacy as a best-of-breed weakness, and Google’s “cookieless” campaign – Zoho’s trying to do privacy differently – but how? I did into their position (and yeah, I could have gone with a shorter article title).
Maximise 2021 coverage and analysis – Stuart kicked off his wall-to-wall ServiceMax virtual event coverage with a 1:1 interview with CEO Neil Barua. This event marked a turning point for Salesforce and ServiceMax: from frenemies to besties. Why? The answers provide clues on the importance of platforms, asset management, and unified data models.
- Maximize 2021 – service can make you a hero to your customers, says Salesforce’s Denise Dresser
- Maximize 2021 – bacon, Bat-phones and banging it out at BioTek
- Maximize 2021 – ServiceMax CEO Neil Barua on supporting the field service sector through an inspirational year
A few more vendor picks, without the quips:
- Baleària brings Zendesk aboard to move customer service from email and phone to WhatsApp and chat – Madeline
- Environmentally friendly bottle makers Frugalpac aim to scale with SAP Business ByDesign – Derek
- PagerDuty delivers strong Q4 as buyers extend use case beyond ITOps – Derek
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven picks
- Does it keep COVID-19 out of buildings? Or is it really a facial recognition tool? – Hey look, it’s
big brother, no, it’s COVID theater, no, it’s a handy way to get tech workers safely back to work. And while your shoes are getting sanitized, you can experience a Brave New Worldwatch some commercials.
- Tech Vendors’ Lack of Security Transparency Worries Firms – I get a lot of pushback from enterprise software vendors when I bring up their lack of forthright security talk from the keynote stage. Take note – transparency wins
- Frank Scavo
gave marketing teams a hangoversparked a Twitter fracas with his post, Enterprise Buyers Not Looking for a One-Stop Shop. Line of the week: “Vendors love to talk about vendor consolidation, as long as the surviving vendor is them. They call this gaining in their “share of wallet,” as in the buyer’s wallet.” I would add: APIs aren’t always good enough. Buyers expect vendors to integrate with their most frequent combos – yes, even if it’s their closest competitor.
- Digital Transformation Leadership – What it Really Looks Like. Upper Edge’s John Belden in his transformation wheelhouse: “The buzzwords can make your head explode… Failure of the sponsor to perform their role will lead to change orders that are to the benefit of the SI.“
- Uber is reclassifying UK drivers as workers — here’s what happens next – One of the most inaccurately-reported tech stories of the week (the UK has a “worker” designation that is different from a full-fledged employee). It’s either a blow to the gig economy or an ethical win. Perhaps both. Hopefully this paves the way to a better model
- .How COVID-19 will change the low-wage labor market permanently – McKinsey: “A sustained recovery to an economy with full employment and ample “good jobs” will require a significant reallocation of workers from the low-wage, low-skill positions that have been eliminated to new ones requiring higher skills and more training.”
- Black Tech Employees Rebel Against ‘Diversity Theater’ – This Wired story is a couple weeks old, but worth including so we can ponder what real change versus the “diversity theater” of the status quo looks like.
As you know, I’m a sucker for making fun of big telecomm. This Techdirt headline did the trick: AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave. In other oddities, Taiwan is pleading with its citizens not to change their name to ‘Salmon’ for a restaurant promotion.
Karma can bite you: last week, I said something open-minded about the possibilities of NFTs. Now we get:
NYC man sells fart for $85, cashing in on NFT craze https://t.co/hPfCPiq0TL
-> not sure how to comment on this
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 19, 2021
Whiff indeed. I suppose this was inevitable:
Zoom Escaper lets you sabotage your own meetings with audio problems, crying babies, and more https://t.co/D6IrreT5Ro
lolz, though they missed my favorite:
“Sorry, I’m allergic to the word ‘pivot’ and breaking out in a rash.”
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 16, 2021
On the plus side: dogs with (digital) jobs!
Archie wants to audition 😆 pic.twitter.com/q19HcdOxjE
— Vijay Vijayasankar (@vijayasankarv) March 16, 2021
Finally, I’d like to think the pandemic made us a bit more humble. But not always:
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 18, 2021
Coming to a (virtual) open mic night near you… See you next time.
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses – in a good or bad way – let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. ‘myPOV’ is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.
Image credit – Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo – all from Fotolia.com.
Disclosure – Oracle, Workday, IFS, ServiceMax, Coupa, Zendesk, Zoho and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.