Enterprise hits and misses – normal eludes the workplace (and the retailer), chip shortages concern, and edge computing rises

Enterprise hits and misses – normal eludes the workplace (and the retailer), chip shortages concern, and edge computing rises
Jon Reed
Sun, 05/09/2021 – 17:13

This week – return to work? Maybe. Return to normal? No. Retailers are coming to the same realization. Also: edge computing makes hybrid sexy – and changes the data center. Add chip shortages to the list of recovery challenges. As always, your weekly whiffs.


Lead story –  Normal isn’t coming back – the latest on return to work (and stores)

MyPOV: No crystal balls allowed, but: what’s next in the Vaccine Economy? Stuart kicks things off with No going back to the ‘Old Normal’ after COVID? How the ‘New Normal’ experience shapes up is going to be complicated, according to Qualtrics.

Citing a Qualtrics study on consumer attitudes, Stuart raises the kicker question:

So what will stick online and what won’t?

We have clues:

Going back to the grocery sector, another exemplar of ‘a good war had by most’ in the main – a few supply chain sticky moments aside – it’s clear that it’s a not a zero sum game going forward. The online shift happened and while many people will want to return to in-store, equally many will have been awakened to the convenience of online ordering and delivery.

Similar themes from my piece, Store re-openings are not a return to normal – six retail project lessons for the Vaccine Economy, from Wipro’s Srini Rajamani. Bottom line: the new retail normal won’t be the old one. Some changed behaviors have become habits, aided and abetted by tech surges (e.g. contactless shopping, improved mobile apps, buy online/pickup at store). As Rajamni put it:

These are some of the things we see as tectonic changes – people won’t go back to where they were pre-pandemic.

And yet: there remains a return-to-work problem. You can call it employee morale, or you can get a wonky start on buzzword bingo and call it “employee experience.” As I wrote:

The big challenge remains the retail employee experience. Digitize all you want; employees still dictate customer experiences, especially when you get near a store. Brands that don’t invest (smartly) in employees will find their dazzling AI tech falls short.

Smart employers will invest/ensure employees have both the technology and human support to excel. Cath extends that employee well-being conversation in The Future of Work – how to execute a mindful return to the workplace. But can mindfulness, a concept that periodically trends, really help here? If mindfulness in the workplace roughly equates to more thoughtful and conscious communication, I’d give a cautious yes. Cath makes clear this won’t be enough. I found this stat refreshing in its bluntness:

Between 45-50% would benefit from some training to enhance their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, while between 10-15% “shouldn’t be let near other people and can’t be trained”. Instead they should be transferred to a role that plays to the technical strengths that led to them being promoted in the first place.

Meet the new boss indeed. Though putting them in a proper role is an improvement…

Diginomica picks – my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Enterprise vendors kept us hustling this week – here’s a few more notables.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


If earth is getting you down, physicists just gave the chances of faster-than-light space travel a boost (to be fair, it’s a pretty tiny boost, more of a hypothetical…) Here’s one for the had-a-worse-week-than-you-file: Bride Leaves Groom at Altar for Failure to Recite Multiplication Tables.

I like this kid:

Not a fan of this dude though:

Finally, it wouldn’t be a week of enterprise fun without a tasty PR treat from my email inbox:

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, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa – all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure – Oracle, Workday, IFS, Adobe Workfront and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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