Eddie the Flower Guy, the Black Crowes, and Enterprise Digitization

The Consumerization of IT: One Music Fan's Story

A couple of months ago I was driving home from work when my Pandora station took a millisecond too long to buffer, so I tuned to the Attitude Adjustment Hour on WZLX with Chuck Nolan just as “Eddie the Flower Guy” called in to request Thorn in my Pride.

While I love the Black Crowes, and Thorn in my Pride in particular, I wondered as I happily played steering wheel drums for the next six minutes why anyone would still even consider calling a radio station to request a song. There are a myriad of reasons why this antiquated practice has for the most part become obsolete, and they align nicely with several megatrends in enterprise technology; the consumerization of IT, digitization, the personalization of goods and services, mobility, and the move to real-time among them.

As far as enterprise technology is concerned, calling a radio station to request a song is the equivalent of using a mainframe that runs on punched cards. Do millennials even know that calling in a request is a thing? Or that pre-iPod if you were away from your home “sound system”, calling a radio station was the only way to hear a song you wanted? Even with a portable cassette player, you couldn’t queue up a song on demand unless it was the first song on an album side. (Millennials: “Cassette player?” “Album side?”)

As far as enterprise technology is concerned, calling a radio station to request a song is the equivalent of using a mainframe that runs on punched cards.

The contrast between how we consume music today versus a decade ago is stark. In the time it took Eddie the Flower Guy to call WZLX, be put through to Chuck, request the song, and then – at Chuck’s whim – wait for an undetermined time during the Attitude Adjustment Hour to hear the song, I could have punched up about a dozen versions of Thorn in My Pride from my Google Play Music library and played it in my car – all very nearly hands-free. In fact, when the song was over on WZLX I decided to put my Ford’s SYNC system to the test and timed the process. Step one: Press the “media” button on the steering wheel. Step two: Say “Bluetooth Audio”. Step three: say “Play Thorn in My Pride”. Eight seconds. That’s how long it took to hear the opening acoustic note after I pressed the “media” button. And, if I wanted, I could also scroll through every version in the Google catalog by thumbing the forward button on the steering wheel. Take that, Eddie.

As a writer of case studies for insiderPROFILES featuring companies that turn to SAP technology to keep up with enterprise digitization, I hear business users talk about the challenges presented by manual processes or otherwise outdated technologies. Lately, Eddie the Flower Guy has helped to put a face to the stories I’m told about slow, cumbersome, and tedious processes that frustrate the everyday business user. When you know there’s a better way, an inefficient process is a hard pill to swallow. A couple of months ago my SYNC was down for a few days and until I figured out what was wrong I was seriously considering selling the car. What, listen to CDs? Are you mad?

The latest insiderPROFILES issue includes several case studies showcasing companies using SAP solutions to undertake digital transformations and make the transition to becoming a real-time enterprise, including New York Life, Swiss Re, Glazer’s Distributors, and Interroll. So put on your favorite music and read up on the real-world benefits companies are achieving today by embracing the newest digital technologies.

And if you have a hankering to listen to Thorn in My Pride as you do so, I recommend the classic version from the 2008 Newport Folk Festival.