Over the last few years, technology has played a defining role in helping enterprises enhance customer experience. I believe 2018 will see technology advance further – to not only partner with organizations but also become an enabler of nearly everything. This will come about due to steady advancements in big data, predictive analytics, AI, IoT, as well as the resurgence of AR and VR as potent forms of immersive technologies. Let us take a closer look.
Big Data will get bigger and better
2017 has seen the exponential growth of big data, and I foresee this trend gaining further momentum in 2018. As it becomes increasingly clear to enterprises that big data promises to deliver new insights into business processes, companies will come forward to embrace big data to help streamline operations, lower costs, and achieve steady growth.
According to International Data Corporation or IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics are expected to increase from about $130.1 billion in 2016 to over $203 billion in 2020.
While I see large enterprises continuing to invest big budgets and infrastructure for in-house big data capabilities, small and medium companies will invest in 'software-as-a-service' platforms. Third-party providers will ‘loan’ them space, software systems, and processing power to 'store' and analyze big data. And big data analysis will enable these companies to derive relevant insights to course correct and scale up business operations.
More accurate customer profiles with Predictive Analytics
These developments that will enable big data to be available more easily to a range of different kinds of companies, will in turn, be mined to yield predictions and highly customized analysis for improved business outcomes. As data increases at exponential rates, enterprises of every kind in every industry will be incentivized to correlate customer data footprints from across multiple interaction channels, to build accurate customer profiles.
Transactions data, such as call centre data, web browsing behaviour data, online chat data as well as voice data, will have the potential to be mapped carefully to customer demographics. These insights will provide retail and financial companies with the ability to create engaging and more relevant 'sticky' experiences across multiple customer touch points, which will in turn help improve customer loyalty and engagement.
Artificial Intelligence for everyone and everything
Which brings me to AI. Although the last few years have seen a lot of talk about this technology, 2018 will see it emerge as a tech trend available to be leveraged by just about anyone. Making this possible will be open platforms that will help facilitate access to AI and machine learning tools to a far wider audience. As a result, AI will provide interested companies with the possibility of automating ‘Dull, Dangerous, Dirty and Dear' jobs, and its related processes and functions by outsourcing these to intelligent machines.
In wealth management, AI is already proving that it can carry out a multitude of core office functions in less time, at lower costs, and with better efficiency. In the front office, for instance, AI is enhancing financial companies’ marketing strategies by delivering context-aware information to the right client at the right time.
I foresee AI being able to go further by also pulling in vital information from clients to help firms forecast the likelihood of client or advisor churn - a crucial insight that will provide firms with a safety net to adjust their business outlook and protect their organizational credibility in the short and long run.
AI will also have a key role in the Insurance sector. Combined with cognitive, AI will enable companies to analyze contact centre as well as chat data interactions in real-time to predict the propensity for fraud, another valuable insight to safeguard firms from potential losses.
The emergence of IoT as 'backbone of customer value.'
As businesses find value in handing over specific tasks to machine learning tools and intelligent things, there will be a growing need for machines equipped to relay information to other machines and people reliably, safely and at a steady clip. This is where I see IoT stepping in to play a much bigger role than it has done so far.
A recent report from Forrester Research predicts that in 2018, IoT will make a clear move from having been 'largely an experiment' to a 'business at scale' and emerge to become "the backbone of future customer value." This trend will compel enterprises to invest in building smart environments with embedded sensors to be able to engage end-customers in real-time, including while they are browsing products and services via mobiles, TVs, and other connected appliances.
IoT will also help financial institutions expedite everyday functions such as payment processing. While banks will be able to use bionic sensors for speedy identity confirmation, AI-enabled hand-held devices deployed by financial firms at several customer touch points will help plot information key to deriving a fuller view of consumers—their current intentions and future requirements.
Richer customer engagement with immersive technologies
As the demand for hyper-personalized products and services grows, technologies capable of offering immersive experiences such as AR and VR will see a resurgence. Some banks, for example, are experimenting with VR to illustrate an engaging way how savings started today grow over the years. Both AR and VR promise to help transform the kind of said image banks have, to one that is more fun and even entertaining.
However, even as the coming year seems set to get several of these next-gen technologies more closely intertwined for greater returns, all businesses will have to be mindful of the even greater need to invest in innovative data protection compliance regulations. Once in place, businesses can look forward to 2018 rolling out as an exceptional year for collaborative growth.
This point of view article originally published on PCQuest.com
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