Today we take another dive into 4 trends categorized as “awareness” by Forrester research. The awareness category basically means corporations know about the trends and have started to accept and explore ways in which to implement. Although some seem to be moving faster than others, they are all actively becoming part of companies’ strategies. Overall these are trends you should be aware of, and in most cases, have a strategy to implement. 

If you would like a recap on the trends and categories identified by Forrester for 2018 we have a summary here, as well as an article explaining the new trends in the “dawning” category here. Now on to the 2018 “awareness” trends. 

Software learns to learn 

Whether you believe AI will destroy us all (insert your favorite Terminator reference here), or believe it will help us to advance, there is no doubt AI technology is developing rapidly. And with this growth comes the inevitable compartmentalization of the industry. As the technology gets sorted and categorized, it also gets better defined, and much more focused. As this process matures major trends start to surface, and in the case of AI, potential business advantages as well. Forrester groups the 2018 AI trends into three categories. The ones that deal with understanding and interpreting speech and text are “sense”, Deep Learning (DL) technologies are “think”, and ones that take actions based on the former two categories are “act”.   

The combination of all three provide the capability for AI to mechanize the learning process. Think Alexa or Cortana, but built for business transactions, not personal. And although the concept is pretty new for some business, others are already deploying solutions, and seeing a return on investment from the initiatives. Bottom line, AI is here to stay, and it will be a part of successful business. 

Digital employees enter the white-collar workplace 

A natural extension of the “software learns to learn” trend is the concept of digital employees growing within the workplace. As the capabilities increase with the AI software, the amount of responsibilities the software has within an organization can increase. We’ve already spoken to this transformation in the legal industry, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. Companies staying ahead of this trend are starting to view employee responsibilities as definable workloads. The workloads that can be shifted to AI systems are moved to increase other employees’ productivity on the workloads that cannot be moved. This allows for additional scale while increasing profit margin, or at a bare minimum increases a company’s overall output. 

Insights-driven firms outpace competitors 

Although Forrester sees this trend as one that is not accelerating that rapidly, it has a huge pay-off for those that can implement effectively.  There is no question that data is important for a business.  But that doesn’t mean the more data you have to the better. Ultimately, data has one purpose, to help the business make better decisions. Anything else is just noise. The companies that outpace competitors are the ones the can determine what data is necessary for them to make the best decisions. And then (of course), actually execute against them. Our recommendation is to spend a good portion of your energy defining what your valuable Data is, then put together the plan to collect and analyze it. 

Customer experience becomes immersive 

This has never been truer, or more important, than it is now.  The consumer today is different than the consumer from yesterday.  They are educated, cause driven, vocal, impatient, and expect amazing experiences. Delivering on this can be very challenging, especially for the companies that are trying to fake it. Given that, it’s no surprise technology solutions are popping out of the woodwork to help. We see a lot of companies deploying these solutions to help map out and connect different portions of the customer journey, but also to help create awareness and accountability for customer experiences throughout the entire organization. One thing is for sure, this trend is not going away anytime soon. And the companies that can deliver a well received, consistent experience will win. 

Next week we’ll look into the trends that have gained full acceptance in the enterprise.  And although the trends in the dawning and awareness stages are important, the ones already accepted are critical.  Don’t miss it!