Scoble and Howlett: a boring Face/off

Scoble and Howlett: a boring Face/off

Summary: Just how far apart are consumer grade apps from the enterprise? This story with Scoble illustrates the topic very well.


As we approach the festive season I thought I'd close out the year with something Valley readers will appreciate. A conversation between Robert Scoble and myself.

Scoble and I have known each other a number of years and while he is normally enamoured of cool startups our conversation was much more enterprise focused. In truth we occupy very different parts of the IT spectrum and that's OK. Open minds can learn from that.

Scoble had fluffed his understanding of how Workday operates in his company's environment. At the time I asked if he would be at LeWeb and could we discuss the topic on camera. In this candid conversation, Scoble acknowledges that he didn't fully appreciate what was going on inside his company and explains some of the lessons he learned. I wonder sometimes if enterprise people would be so gracious.

For anyone out there with ego issues - that's a seriously big deal and one that Scoble handled with aplomb.

What's more important is the subtext. Enterprise developers are still not doing the best job they could at delivering a consumer style (not grade) experience to users. It's a topic we touch upon but which we do not explore at depth. It's another's day's discussion but one that I believe will take on great importance in 2012.

If nothing else, my sense is that this shoot demonstrates the work enterprises have yet to do in order to delight day to day users of their 'stuff.' Even among the best it is just not happening fast enough.

Thanks to Robert for being such a good sport and prepared to acknowledge that even when you spend your head in innovation, it isn't necessarily the same thing as operating enterprise systems.

Thanks also to Rocky Scoble's producer for what turned out to be a brilliant edit.


Topics: Start-Ups, Apps, IT Employment

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Scoble and Howlett: a boring Face/off

    Great discussion. Not sure who was the interviewee/interviewer. My impression is that it shows how rapidly the enterprise/consumer distinction is being eliminated. The adoption of any device, anywhere as the delivery means will only accelerate this trend. As long as the tool -- app -- does what the user needs to do and does it simply and elegantly, then enterprise, startup, who cares. The big hurdle to this will be the IT departments who will may be slow to give up some strict control of the provisioning of services.
    Kevin Grove