Enterprise hits and misses – the collaboration market heats up, Privacy Shield goes down, and retailers confront the next normal

Enterprise hits and misses – the collaboration market heats up, Privacy Shield goes down, and retailers confront the next normal
Jon Reed
Sun, 07/19/2020 – 02:18

This week – the collaboration market heats up as Microsoft Teams and Google Cloud jockey for news attention. Plus: the end of Privacy Shield raises huge economic (and data) questions). Whiffs include Twitter hacks, IBM, AirBnB, and 5G hype overdose.


Lead story – Gmail and Teams compete for the news wire as the collaboration market gets a big push

MyPOV: Even with the rise of enterprise messaging 2.0 via Slack and Microsoft Teams, the collaboration market underwhelmed – at least when contrasted with the self-congratulatory “workplace revolution” hype.

But the urgent remote needs of a pandemic changed all that. Now the news stories come fast and furious. Collaboration maven Phil was on his game, starting with Microsoft goes all-in on Teams, Slack gets into HR. What now? What’s the underlying story here? Phil:

Microsoft’s 365 OS is built to serve a vertically integrated enterprise… Slack’s strategy, in contrast, is network-centric. In a networked world, connection across enterprise boundaries is just as important as connection within a single enterprise — often more so, if it provides faster access to better and/or cheaper resources.

Zoom factors into this, but as Phil says, don’t write off Google’s Gmail play either: Google’s bold move to put Gmail at the center of digital teamwork. Huh? Gmail-as-teamwork? Well, not before Google embeds a bunch of super-spammy annoying helpful links to Google Meet throughout the Gmail/GSuite platform. Phil:

At diginomica, we talk about the need to build a collaborative canvas for enterprise digital teamwork. Most often, this combines tools from various different vendors, but increasingly there are a subset of leading vendors who are able to offer a core set of services that can bind the rest together. Today’s announcements at last place Google firmly in the midst of those leaders.

Asana remains a nichier player in this digital teamwork push, but Phil is tracking them also: Asana connects goals to work, maps data-driven roadmap for digital teamwork.

Diginomica picks – my top stories on diginomica this week

Europe’s “Privacy Shield” is shattered – but what’s next?  – Stuart aimed his satirical powers on the kludgy ideas foil known as Privacy Shield on many occasions. If you think Stuart is happy Privacy Shield is obliterated, think again.

He explains why in Privacy Shield is shattered once and for all. Stand by for more trouble between the EU and the US over transatlantic data transfers:

The global digital economy depends on the free flow of data and with a post-pandemic recession on the horizon, we don’t need any more complications, least of all self-inflicted ones.

Next up: the pungently-titled Euro rock, meet MAGA hard place! – post-Privacy Shield’s political fallout. Stuart asks: “Will we get the leaders we deserve?” I’m afraid the answer may be yes. Update: at presstime, Stuart published Post-Priivacy Shield advisory for end user organizations, and began unraveling the implications of post-Privacy Shield and Brexit.

More picks:

Vendor analysis, diginomica style.

Virtual events – the never-ending saga – nope, virtual event season isn’t over, and it may never be… Though August vacations should give vendors pause. Derek got the lucky number at Google Cloud’s (virtual) Next event:

Den puts a wrap on IFS’ extensive Mindfuel show in How was your Spring season virtual event? IFS spills the beans on its MindFuel event. He also examined two vendors shifting the ERP market in Oracle and IFS doing well because of pandemic opportunity for customers.

Jon’s grab bag – Virtual events don’t have to be an under-attended festival of the bland brand. I (finally) found an event platform to take my interactivity challenge. The illustrated results: Putting large-scale virtual events to the interactivity test – my dive into SaaS and Industry 4.0 speed networking with Hopin.

Neil tackles one of the toughest issues in AI in AI explainability and interpretability – we have a long way to go But is AI good enough to write marketing copy? Barb explores the possibilities: Can AI improve your marketing copy? Phrasee says yes. Finally, it’s not all happy vibes for Google this week, as Maxwell reports in Open source groups spar over Google trademark initiative.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Lead story – A framework for retail success in the next normal 

MyPOV: We’ve reached a point in the pandemic economy where we can start to see in front of us a tad. Not years, but enough to respond strategically over sandbagging. McKinsey pulls together a retail agenda, noting differences by segment:

Of the three subsectors we examined, grocery is the most likely to expand both revenues and margins, given its starting point. By contrast, our research shows that AF&L is likely to experience significant revenue decline and margin contraction because of consumers’ reduced discretionary spending and increased use of e-commerce, which tends to be a higher-cost channel for many retailers. And the restaurant sector is likely to see profit-margin pressure—primarily because of higher delivery costs—as well as decreased revenue.

Still too general. Even healthier retail segments are disrupted. Take online grocery, where customers are showing no reluctance to switch from favorite brands:

Because of continuing concerns about COVID-19, grocers will need to move even more aggressively into e-commerce and alternative delivery options—including scan-to-go and contactless payment and pickup services. Moreover, consumers’ shifting preferences for food items, including those pantry items necessary for routine daily cooking, means that grocery stores will need to continually re-evaluate their full product mix—in many cases shifting to fresh, local, and healthy options in line with consumer trends.

Add in margin pressures from regulating in-store traffic, demand for contactless checkout, and better shopping apps: grocers face a daunting digital and automation agenda. Every retail segment has its own digital urgencies, but perhaps with a lot less consumer demand to work with.

On cybersecurity

Honorable mention

Overworked businessman


This week in “How’s your pandemic going?” Couple finds out they’re living with thousands of bees after fresh honey drips down their walls.

This week in “How’s your 5G BS onslaught changes everything flogfest going?” Verizon ads “falsely implied” it’s nationwide.

So, IBM got a bit ahead of itself on this Kubernetes thing:

Folks had plenty of rejoinders. I liked this one from Thorsten Franz:

Finally, a New York Times story on AirBnb stirred the pot: Airbnb Was Like a Family, Until the Layoffs Started. The Times asks: “What happens when a kumbaya office culture meets the business realities of a pandemic?” Readers took apart this story. One gripe that came up on LinkedIn has been sticking in my craw for a while now: the myth of corporations as “families.” Your family is whoever is still there when the paychecks run out. Airbnb didn’t owe their employees a family. But if you choose to call your business a family, then you’re going to take heat when the fiction of your culture grinds into the unforgiving blade of a pandemic economy.

Not an upbeat note to end on. So how about some AI helping to save coral reefs? 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 – Oracle, Workday, ASUG, ServiceNow, IFS, Acumatica and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

Disclosure – Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock – all from Fotolia.com.

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