Talk about interesting times in the business of insurance. The year 2015 saw the attention-getting launch of Google Compare and its hibernation about 12 months later. Traditional insurers like Mass Mutual and Shelter Mutual got busy and launched their own direct-to-consumer digital quoting and sales businesses. State Farm was busy filing patents for by-the-trip car insurance and the means to measure just how stressed drivers were behind the wheel and rate their insurance accordingly. Prudential recognized that previously scary diseases were now chronic conditions that could be medically managed, launching life insurance coverage for HIV positive customers. AOL saw an opportunity and is now selling insurance to its members. And we at Forrester have been busy keeping track of over 700 disrupters across FinTech that have been capturing market attention and venture capital. Some of these firms like Lemonade are returning to the social roots of insurance. Lemonade's founders also appreciate that consumers are irrational economic animals and decided to hire a behavioral scientist to help them anticipate the crazy actions of homo sapiens. And yet some people out there still call insurance a boring industry!
Live video gets 3 times the amount of engagement as non-live video and that’s one of the reasons why Facebook is releasing its Live API to developers. Here’s what you need to know.
Until now, a limited set of Facebook users have been able to go live from their smartphones; broadcasting real time video to followers and fans. They could respond to submitted text comments in real time. With the API release we’ll start to see higher quality live video hit newsfeeds because broadcasters will be able to plug their professional platforms into the system. It’s not just broadcasters though who will benefit from the API. An auto maker could give a live tour of a factory and field questions in real time. Or concert venues could give a behind the scenes look ahead of a performance.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s F8 conference. (Credit: Facebook)
At the F8 developer conference Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the live platform with a DJI drone that was livestreaming video directly to Facebook. The previous smartphone-only livestreaming setup didn’t allow this.
With this rollout, Application Development & Delivery Professionals need to consider:
The holy grail of digital advertising is accurately determining who to target, when to target them, and what products to highlight. Data management platforms (DMPs) facilitate smarter media buying by unifying data from multiple sources to allow more accurate and detailed audience segmentation. In our recently published Ad Technology (Data Management Platforms) Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (US), we take a more in-depth look at the market. We examine demand for DMPs that support the programmatic advertising ecosystem, including platforms from vendors such as Adobe, Google, IgnitionOne, Krux, Lotame, Neustar, Oracle, and Wunderman (KBM Group). We conclude that:
• DMPs have hit a tipping point, driving continued robust growth. While the US DMP market is relatively small at $500 million, we expect to see robust 43% annual growth over the 2015 to 2021 period. We believe DMPs reached a tipping point in the past year or two as both marketers and publishers became increasingly aware of their benefits. CMOs are focusing on improving their marketing and advertising ROI, and DMPs demonstrate tangible value by clearly organizing data into taxonomies, identifying intent to purchase, and yielding higher conversion rates.
Source: The Forrester Wave™: Innovation Management Solutions, Q2 2016
Innovation that only creates change is just that — change. When we asked firms about their major business objectives, 37% claim that product and service innovation is central to their business transformation.
But old-style innovation will be very tough to maintain. To exploit business value from digital technologies, innovation managers need to increasingly think in open ecosystems, open standards, open platforms, and open source software. Digital innovation equals service innovation, which in turn requires a willingness to experiment and engage in minimal-viable-product thinking, because:
As customers’ demand changes more quickly, innovation cycles must get shorter. Fast software innovation will “eat” slow hardware innovation given the ever greater role that software plays for today’s business value creation. An innovation management solution supports decision sessions and real-time voting and collaboration to quickly validate or gauge the interest of organizational priorities in short sessions. Organizations need to be willing to fail fast, be able to work iteratively on product and service improvements, run idea experiments based on soft-launches, and get feedback on innovation efforts via external feedback loops quickly.
Enterprises, in their quest to reduce labor costs, are applying RPA technologies. Yet they do not have a well-defined set of principles and best practices, including how to position RPA with other process tools and initatives. Today it may have become a bit more clear. Pega is the first tech provider, and only BPM market particpant of substance, to purchase an RPA provider (OpenSpan). The combination brings robotics, analytics, and case management together - and that makes sense. Think of Pega's process/rules capibility firing off a set of RPA scripts.
RPA in many respects is an alternative, some would say the polar opposite of Pega's current business model that feasts on the transformitive "big IT spend" for BPM, case management, automation, and customer service projects. RPA does not require invasive integration. It is a quick hit for automation, a “low touch” approach for process improvement for brittle legacy systems. The bottom line. Enterprises that employ labor on a large scale for process work can gain efficiencies by just automating repetitive human tasks for the “as is” process.
OpenSpan is nice pick-up for Pega that will help with back-office BPM work, but more so with contact center environments where the agent requires human and machine multitasking that often spans multiple windows and web applications, few of which are integrated with each other. Cumbersome process flows, rekeying of data, and lack of integration add up to lengthy call times, reduced accuracy, and an overall increase in customer frustration. Pega/OpenSpan will give Jacada and NICE a run for their money, and the future integration with Pega's analytics tracks where the RPA space is heading.
The number of tools, technologies, and techniques for measuring digital customer experience has exploded, but many firms continue to build out their growing capabilities in separate silos, such as campaign measurement, web analytics, mobile, social listening, voice of customer, online testing. My colleague James McCormick and I have just published a report that lays out the full range of metrics of a mature digital intelligence measurement framework (see figure below). Take a look. How many of these measurements do you work with today?
Your firm may have capability to produce many - or all of these metrics - but are you using them to improve customer experience and business value? Several vendors we’ve talked to recently, who represent a cross-section of digital measurement technologies and services, described what they hear about this from prospects and clients. A (scary) summary: the firms report that they now have boatloads of data and a growing number of digital measurement technologies, mostly in silos – but don’t think they’re getting enough value from what they have. It’s as if some firms are paralyzed. This can’t continue. Operating silos of separate digital measurement approaches is not good enough any more. You risk falling behind competitors who are successfully combiningg approaches and continuously maturing their digital intelligence.
April 12, 2016: The day Oculus updated its Rift shipment timeframe for customers. As has been widely reported, Oculus customers face widespread months-long delays in the deliveries of their virtual reality headset purchases. To add a personal anecdote, I ordered within the first 5 minutes of the pre-launch window (once the web site started working, which it didn’t at first), and my Rift shipment has been delayed from March 30th to “between May 9 and 19th,” assuming Oculus actually succeeds in meeting its new dates.
While my personal Rift delay is merely an annoyance, the botched launch has real repercussions for the VR ecosystem. Oculus’ delay:
Hurts developers of games and apps. The diversity and depth of the VR developer ecosystem is impressive. While many developers focus on games – logically enough, since that’s a key early adopter demographic – others offer applications ranging from clinical treatments for PTSD to collaboration in virtual spaces. The common denominator? None of these developers are making money if there are no headsets available. And while many apps can be ported to other platforms, Oculus has been the centerpiece of many developers’ high-end VR efforts.
Hurts media startups and innovations. Media, too, sees a potential loss. While some media companies go the route of the New York Times and focus on Google Cardboard phone-based VR, others are counting on developing truly immersive experiences that simulate presence. Studio Jaunt VR has an Oculus app that, again, won’t be addressable until customers receive their Rifts.
An announcement late last week by the Facebook media team may have been overlooked by many marketers, but it has intriguing ramifications.
Facebook announced that it would effectively allow any organization with a verified page to publish brand-sponsored content without asking Facebook for explicit permission first, provided that content was tagged to the brand. They said:
Today we're updating our branded content policy to enable verified Pages to share branded content on Facebook. Along with changes to our branded content policy and ads policy, we're offering a new tool that makes it easy for publishers and influencers to tag a marketer when they publish branded content. Publishers and influencers must use this tag for all branded content shared on Facebook.
What does it mean?
Facebook's going to have lots and lots of data on which publishers work with which brands and how that content performs across Facebook. This 'new tool' is at the very least a passive instrument (clocking events), with the opportunity to turn it into an active program (reporting and optimizing events). MarketingLand moots the idea that Facebook may in future ask for a cut of that relationship, which seems unlikely; why would Facebook double tax in a way that potentially supressed creation and thus, as a knock-on effect, suppressed the content's distribution, which is where Facebook is playing? Rather, Facebook would want to use the data to encourage more partnerships.
Digital transformation is about reinventing the business model of your company. It’s an end-to-end transformation that moves at only one speed: the speed of the customer. Back-end systems are not immune from these pressures, somehow shielded from change as customer-facing systems and processes innovate quickly to keep up with fast-changing customer behaviors.
Forrester believes that the pursuit of two-speed IT (aka bimodal IT) is a trap for CIOs. My colleague John McCarthy recently published a report that explains why CIOs need a single, bolder business technology (BT) strategy to accelerate innovation and simplification, not a two-class system that adds more silos of complexity (Forrester clients can have access to the report here).
At a recent CIO event organized in Singapore with our partner Odgers Berndtson, we shared the results of this research and related case studies. The audience was in agreement with this call, best illustrated by two examples that were shared during the discussion:
Two-speed operations break the best unified customer experience intent. The head of digital for a life insurance provider mentioned how his team did a great job creating a digital only policy purchasing capability enabling customers to purchase a life policy within 15 minutes online. Unfortunately, it then takes about 2 months for the operational teams to come back to the customer with the actual policy due to slow back-end systems moving at yesteryear speeds. Once the complete engagement has been executed, most clients are lost.
Everyone is buzzing this week about bots with Facebook/Messenger’s anticipated launch of bots on its messenger platform. What is a bot you ask? A bot is a chat-based interface that helps consumers complete tasks -- ordering take-out food, chatting with their doctors, or checking the score of a big sports game. Many believe that this next step -- bots in conversation with consumers -- is imminent. We agree, but not so fast.
There are a few trends playing in favor of bots becoming the next big user interface:
Apps put a huge burden on consumers. The app ecosystem forces consumers to orchestrate getting the content and services that they need -- sometimes in a single app, most times through a composition of many. And this doesn’t even address individual app quality -- too many of them are simply awful. We're forced through processes translated from online that make no sense on the go or on our mobile phones.
Bots foster natural communication. Having a bot is like having an assistant. You can chat with the bot, ask the bot to do things for you -- like order take-out or get a new lipstick. They are a natural extension of how we communicate and use our mobile phones.
Consumers spend 84% of their time in only five apps each month. Chances are that one or two of those are social media, instant messaging,etc., as a handful of mobile giants like Facebook, Google and Apple in the US own a disproportionate number of customers mobile moments, measured both by time and data. Consumers are asking for a better experience.