Kohl’s omni-channel progress, according to Kohl’s

Also, fun words:

Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS)

From what I can tell, omni-channel strategies are table stakes – ultimately they will be differentiated by working, not just existing. Integrating with loyalty programs is also a key, technical part. I'm sure all of the organizations are really thinking about what they can do differently than others, like integrating with Pinterest or whatever.

The problem with software, however, is that it can quickly and easily and cheaply be replicated. Us software vendors have known this for a long time – there are many databases, all which do the same thing; many “office” suites; countless ERP vendors. The only way to differentiate is on success (community, ecosystem, partners, people know how to use it), price (cheaper or easier to acquire than competitors), and simply working (software is error prone and buyers customize how they use it so much that software often just doesn't work well).

After all this digital transformation, when large organizations run on software, they'll have to get back to competing in execution and having unique features, or price. You know, Porter shit.

Original source: Amazon alliance is boosting footfall in store at Kohl's, but not sales to any great effect

Always start with the business case, the strategy

before you get wound up to upgrade, stop, take a breath, and ask the right question first: Where is our business going, and how should we transform? The ERP decisions will flow from this and not vice versa.

Also, beware of vendors that are focusing on profits and cash-flow and so cut spending on innovation:

Check if your current ERP vendor has undergone a material change of control. For more on a material change of control, see this Diginomica piece. New owners may take ERP innovation in different directions or may curtail needed innovation investments. Some ownership changes, like the appearance of private equity firms or activist shareholders, can radically alter one’s relationship with an ERP firm. In the last decade, we’ve seen a number of these changes and their effect on ERP product lines and management.

Original source: Assessing ERP upgrades in the 21st century

Bad tools get bad results, so fix them

Lack of access to robust digital tools in the workplace can frustrate employees who see productivity hindered by inefficient systems. An excess of workplace tools can be overwhelming too, and can alienate for millennial workers. When tools fail to elevate workers, output suffers.

This is an obvious truth. However, the managerial point is to not let it happen. I’ve always gotten the feeling that managers and executives don’t have much first hand use of productivity tools: they use email, for sure, but they have whole staffs (whole divisions and companies of people!) who do the tinkering work in Office and other collaborative tools.

At each large company I’ve worked at (just two) and several small ones the productivity and collaborative tools have gotten in the way or been less than ideal. Security handling is often a problem, file sharing, collaborative editing, and basic Intranet information sharing.

The last time I recall the industry focusing on this collaboration was in the Enterprise 2.0 days – the mid-2000s. I think what happened was that Google Docs (G Suite – whatever) took over and the. Slack. Google’s enterprise stuff is really good, not least of which because it takes a very consumer tech approach. To that point, most people are familiar with Google apps and style from their own life. Schools use it. The way Google enterprise apps “think” is known.

Slack is just another, more efficient email. Oddly, Google never won the IM and chat room competition – their stuff was terrible and seemed to be ignored.

Anyhow: managers and executives! Each quarter use these tools for at least week, if not every week. If you find them weird, if you keep thinking you’ll ask one of your staff to do the work for you because you “just don’t have the time,” that means your tools suck and you need to replace them. Think of how every day your employees have that same experience.

Original source: Are employees disengaged? Check the tech stack

Often, governance and rules turn out to be folklore, their origins long forgotten, even non-existent. Here’s a technique to expose that, and then start building up more helpful governance.

For example, we ran a leadership program with a set of senior leaders in a large, private-sector organization. They felt frustrated about the ways the organization constrained them from innovation, from collaboration, and from having the time and space to focus more on creating what they want for the future rather than reacting to what they have now. As they discussed these limitations together, they realized they each had a different sense of what, exactly, the limitations were. Each person had created in her mind a set of the limitations that came from outside, and all of them had been acting to ensure that their own staff lived inside those boundaries. Upon collective reflection, though, they discovered that none of them had a really clear sense of what the actual limitations were in the organization. Listening to their different perspectives on this day was boundary shattering for them; they discovered that most of what they were railing against was a phantom, a rumor, or other ghostly sense of what was allowed or not. They realized that they, too, had been unconsciously creating these boundaries for their people, even as they disliked them for themselves. Collectively, they began to play with creating new boundaries—with their eyes open and on purpose—that would enable some of the things they had previously experienced as constrained.

Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders by Jennifer Garvey Berger, Keith Johnston

Ask open ended questions, for stories

“Instead, ask about people’s interests. Try to find out what excites or aggravates them — their daily pleasures or what keeps them up at night. Ask about the last movie they saw or for the story behind a piece of jewelry they’re wearing. Also good are expansive questions, such as, “If you could spend a month anywhere in the world, where would you go?””

Original source: Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How.

Nice example of tech debt taken on for business reasons

This project might be considered a success; it was launched on time, on budget, and has the correct functionality. But then the sales team, who are often on the road, are demanding that this functionality be available on their mobile phones. So, the IT team is now tasked with building a mobile app. But the developers building the app aren’t able to use any of the work that was done for previous projects. So they have to redo all the work, which in itself is not a great outcome.

Even though the developers know this is likely a short-sighted approach, they justify it given the typically intense time pressures. If there are consultants involved (as is typical), the problem gets worse, as they have little incentive to think about the long term. Over time, changes become very expensive or near impossible to make. But as change is constant, agility is now made very difficult. As you can see below, the familiar “spaghetti code” pattern begins to take shape.

This is fine, so long as you’re a rational actor making the trade offs and prioritizing.

Original source: What is API-led Connectivity?

IDC review’s VMware’s $10bn year

Fiscal year 2019 was a watershed year for VMware as it achieved over $10 billion in revenues, executed two of the largest acquisitions (Pivotal and Carbon Black) in the company's history, expanded its vast partnership network (i.e. Telcos, MSP, ISVs, AWS), announced Kubernetes run-time and management tools, and continued to extend its product portfolio into new enterprise IT buying centers. The company also announced new security products, and a security strategy and vision now called its Intrinsic Security Strategy. At the same time, the company closed more $10 million plus deals than at any time prior. New pricing and delivery models emerged via SaaS delivered products and subscription pricing.

Original source: VMware's 2019 Watershed Year; What's It Mean To CIOs in the Future?

Most of the stock market owned by a handful of people

A whopping 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households. And that includes everyone’s stakes in pension plans, 401(k)’s and individual retirement accounts, as well as trust funds, mutual funds and college savings programs like 529 plans.

As summarized in one of the sub-headings: “Don’t confuse the Dow with the economy.”

Original source: We All Have a Stake in the Stock Market, Right? Guess Again

The Economist writes up Bernie Sanders

If he got his way, all American residents, including undocumented immigrants, would receive free health care, child care and education at state universities. Workers would have a jobs guarantee, seats on corporate boards and receive 20% of the equity of large firms. Billionaire clout would be broken by a wealth tax.

Original source: What does Bernie Sanders’s political revolution hope to accomplish?