Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
Will Microsoft Teams Hammer Yammer?
Anne says: Staying up-to-date across the latest enterprise social technologies can be challenging. New entrants, new features, new analytics and of course AI, are all shifting the landscape every month. And then we have the disruptors (think Slack), but what happens when previous disruptors get taken over by new ones? Enter the Microsoft Teams versus Microsoft Yammer skirmish. Yammer, once the new kid on the block and major enterprise disruptor, since being acquired by Microsoft has languished quietly behind Office 365 and now its new sibling, Teams. Will the early ESN challenger survive the arrival of the new kid? Tom Petrocelli, the author of this CMSWire article, thinks not – he’s giving Yammer 6 months!
The question then arises, what happens to enterprise social strategy that is committed to Yammer? Watch this space for updates!
DNA Storage is Coming, and it’s Going to Revolutionize the Way We Share Data
Nat says: The world is changing so rapidly and we’re all struggling to catch-up. Such change has been the result of technological innovation, yet with computerised technology now meeting BioScience, our relationship to the digital world has progressively reflected the steadfast integration of technology becoming part of our physical being. For example, if you think about the first type of camera, they could only print in black and white. Then colour came about, but the image was still lifeless, so we moved to black and white cinema with captions for dialogue and jittery transitions from scene to scene. But then we wanted cinema to be more real – more life-like, so we created colour, movement and sound. Eventually, we got onto 3D cinema, but the illusion of seeing and feeling was not the same as ‘being there’ or touching, so we moved to virtual reality with sensors attached to our bodies, or boards to stand on which vibrate our feet when we play something like a VR game. We’ve moved from computers on a desktop to super computers in the form of a mobile phone in our back pockets. We can now wear technology on our skins (wearables) and have internet-enabled ‘things’, and we have people designing virtual faces that appear human and respond to our questions with emotion – sort of like a pseudo-human as the next iteration of Siri.
The evolution of technology has reflected our obsession of making it more integrated and integral to our everyday lives. Part of me sees the progression of technology as slowly eliciting man’s attempt at immortality – at becoming God, and this is starting to be reflected in our pursuit to do things such as store data in our DNA, or replace organs with digital replicas. I think the philosophy of technology is interesting but seldom discussed whenever we talk about technological evolution. As Michael Crichton once said, “Scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline.” We constantly build on what others have done and take the next step, yet we never question whether we should do something just because we can. I know I always reflect on existentialism in my posts, but technology is symbolic for us either wanting to prolong life, or simply make reproductions of it. We use computers at work then go home to watch television screens. Humans have always had a hand-in-glove relationship with technology, but where does it end? Are we so busy both consuming and creating a digital world that we forget to live in the now and miss the point of living altogether? What’s going to happen after we have data in our DNA? If we keep going down this path, I’m going to guess a reality that reflects something like the Matrix or Westworld. In our feeble attempts of becoming God-like creatures, we might just paradoxically lose our minds and our sense of reality in the process.
Imagining the Retail Store of the Future
“The holy grail now for retailers is creating digital empathy…”
Emilio says: It’s all very ominous for traditional retail outlets: dwindling store traffic, plunging sales, shopfront closures. Disruption in the traditional retail sector continues, as online shopping and social commerce strengthen its hold on the (digital) consumer.
So when I came across this piece which provides different perspectives about what the future of the retail store might look like, my interest was piqued quickly. I don’t particularly enjoy lingering in a mall or a store – but I must admit I do like to look online for trends and to see what bargains might be on there.
While the consensus is that physical stores wouldn’t entirely disappear, the retail experience of the future is going to be different. In fact, it is starting to happen right now, with innovative bricks-and-mortar retail shops transforming themselves to cater for the new consumer. For instance, there is ‘Story‘, a store in New York City, which has adopted the ‘magazine’ concept – think of a new ‘issue’ every 4 to 6 weeks, featuring new retailers, displaying new product lines, and offering new experience for shoppers. Sounds like the perfect strategy to create a steady stream of in-store traffic and shopper interest. Then there is the “Magic Mirror” being used by a cosmetics company, a virtual makeup selling tool that allows shoppers to try on different products, digitally superimposed onto their faces, with images emailed to the shopper, shareable on social media and linked to shopping orders.
While no one can predict what the future of the retail shop will exactly look like – whether it will feature robots as sales assistants, 3D printers and paying for merchandise with just one’s voice or fingerprints – one thing’s for sure: retailers who use technology and data smartly, and customise and deliver personalised experiences for their customers will be hearing the merry sound of ka-ching.
The Power of Pride at Facebook
Jakkii says: Whilst I’m not sure what rock they’ve been living under if they’ve only just noticed companies talking about ’employee engagement,’ I found this piece from some of Facebook’s HR team interesting not only for its insights into Facebook’s culture, but also for it actually putting a little definition around what they mean by employee engagement: beyond having “satisfied” employees, Facebook want “people to bring their full attention, energy, and effort to work.”
Facebook are data obsessives – remember that revelation a while back that Facebook experiment on their users – so it should come as no surprise that they use data to understand their employees and what drives engagement at Facebook. They found the single biggest driver to be pride – pride in the company, and pride to work there.
The idea that pride drives engagement is, to be fair, not revolutionary. However figuring out how to encourage and foster pride amongst employees seems a useful proposition for organisations focused on improving – or maintaining – employee engagement. Platforms that provide a voice for employees with genuine, open participation from leaders can help support these efforts, as can sharing the company’s stories internally – in real, non-PR speak ways. Be transparent, be open, be inclusive, and provide opportunities for employees to think ‘this is a great place to work’ and ‘this is a great company to work for.’
For a few hints on predictors of pride, check out what the Facebook team have found are the three key factors that predict pride at Facebook.
Atlassian Co-founder Scott Farquhar on How Aussie Tech Can Overcome the “Tyranny of Distance”
Joel says: For those of you who attended the yearly AWS summit in Sydney last week, you may have been lucky enough to see Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Australian Software company Atlassian give this talk in person.
During his talk, Scott discusses how Australia’s isolation in its early days caused a struggle to efficiently export goods to England, and only when we started exporting sheep wool did we overcome the issue due to the wool’s value and weight. Farqhuar used this analogy to segue into how he believes that distance still remains a challenge for Australian Businesses being too far away from their target markets, but says that “weightless” Australian software can overcome any distance.
“With technology developments like the cloud, software and tech products are an opportunity for Australian companies to overcome this tyranny of distance,”
Read further into the article to find out why Scott says Australia is currently lacking talent depth and also a small update on how Atlassian’s acquisition of Trello is going.