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Digital Transformation

2017 Digital Transformation Trend: Smart Anything

So anyone who can read, knows that artificial intelligence, chatbots, Internet of Things, etc. are all poised to take over the world.  While you shouldn’t believe all the hype, there is something here.  Our reality shows us that we cannot scale on human power alone.  You can’t create a world class customer experience for every user in every outlet simply by adding more people.  That works for luxury industries like high end jewelry, yachts, and the like.  It doesn’t work for almost everything else.  We need smart assistance to create those experience in a cost efficient manner.  It will include many different smart tools.  Here are a few:

  • AI and Chatbots: Using this alongside your customer service reps to scale.  You can cut down on the time it takes to answer calls and still provide a better experience.
  • Internet of Things: Smart devices that relay information have huge implications in healthcare, high tech manufacturing, and almost any industry you can think of.
  • Contextual Intelligence: Taking insight and making use of it.  We are seeing almost every major software vendor make use of this to power marketers, physicians, field service technicians, etc.  This area probably has the most probability of a large short term impact.

AI and Chatbot

This has huge potential to transform both the customer experience as well as other aspects of a company. Forrester says this in their January 9, 2017 article on the Promise and Peril of AI

AI can transform your business . . . The current applications mentioned above merely scratch the surface. AI will be employed across enterprises, doing everything from engaging with customers and employees to automating and improving large elements of the operation. The deployment of AI technologies will create significant value, as companies will be able to predict customer needs in near real time while optimizing operations and supply chains in the background. This transformative capability will further prepare companies to win, serve, and retain customers. The question is not just who will get there first, but who will do it right and best.

While they also note that you have to walk before you run, there are plenty of companies doing a lot of walking here.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The promise here is phenomenal.  From smart printers to smart utility meters and everything in between.  This started a while ago and keeps growing.   One client of our implemented smart devices to communicate low ink/toner, page count, and other information. They threw this into large data store along with a wide range of other data like failure rates on components and began to draw correlations. This turned into smarter service where field service technicians are scheduled to stop by and replace parts before they fail and while the technician is in the area. We then saw another client choose this printer manufacturer based on this promise.  In other words, IoT has real world benefits.  But gartner has a lot to say as well on this subject in their January 5, 2017 prediction on IoT.

By 2020, at least 65% of companies (up from 33% today) that have adopted IoT will utilize an IoT platform suite.

By 2020, 50% of IoT solutions implemented by IoT service providers (up from less than 5% today) will map directly to the customer’s C-level-driven IoT strategy.

Contextual Intelligence

The plethora of data will drive better use of data in context.  For example, Adobe makes use of thousands of company’s data to better define what works and doesn’t.  They are then helping marketers make better decisions.  One of many examples is the subject line creation in email campaigns.  Sure you could it yourself but if the system already figured out that one approach delivers a 5% better click through rate then why not go with that one?

Web Content Management vendors continue to refine their personalization capabilities by injecting intelligence to let marketers define and end result and a few parameters and then letter the computer find out the best path. Turns out when you are dealing with millions of page views, you have a lot of data points.

We could name more examples but you get the idea.  Contextual intelligence will improve the efficiency of business owners everywhere

Bottom Line

Our increased capabilities to both gather data and use that to create better customers experience has improved to the point where “smart tools” will become a must have capability if you want to stay competitive in the market place.


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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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