Bots: The Next Big Thing In Mobile? Not So Fast.

Julie Ask

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Consumers spend 84% of their time in just 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.
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What Should I Order? A Tasting Menu Of Customer Analytics Techniques

Brandon Purcell

The primary objective of customer analytics is to transform data into valuable insights that impact organizational goals.  With an abundance of organizational goals, petabytes of data at their disposal, and a whole slew of potential techniques for analyzing that data, customer insights professionals often (quite ironically) find themselves in a state of analysis paralysis.

Forrester’s updated TechRadar™: Customer Analytics Methods, Q2 2016, originally published in 2014, aims to help CI pros by highlighting 15 customer analytics techniques their peers are using to extract insights from their data.  In this edition, we have emphasized the need for customer entity resolution, a foundational precursor to many of these techniques.  We have also broadened sentiment analysis to text analytics to reflect the move toward more actionable categorization of unstructured data.  And we have updated examples of relevant technology and services vendors, the estimated cost of implementation, and our assessment of where each technique sits on the analytics adoption curve.

The techniques run from descriptive to predictive, and employ structured, unstructured, and geospatial data.  Potential use cases run the customer lifecycle gamut from acquisition to personalization to loyalty and retention.  Since customer analyses don’t exist in a vacuum, the report describes the interrelationships and dependencies between different techniques. 

CI pros who face an ever-expanding list of stakeholder requests should use read this report to help plan and prioritize customer analytics projects.

The Data Digest: Wearables And Youth

Anjali Lai

You might be on the fence about your wearable device, but how do you feel about that new toy your child is now playing with?

American youth love gadgets – and now, that includes wearables. While some technologies have a bigger impact on parents (like those intended to keep track of youngsters’ whereabouts), other wearables are helping kids accomplish the same results that adults seek from their own wearable devices: a healthier lifestyle, instant education, and pure entertainment.

Among early technophiles, the products are catching on: Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data shows that 14% of US online youth (ages 12 to 17) currently use a wearable device – the most popular being a Fitbit, followed by the Apple Watch (in the US, nearly half of young mobile users own an Apple iPhone). And, as with many toys or fashions among adolescents, wearable preferences differ significantly by gender:

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Digital Wallets Are Poised For Growth – But Adoption Will Be Slower Than You Think

Jacob Morgan

Digital wallets appear to be so compelling – simplifying life for the customer (check), always present (check), location marketing (check), loyalty and rewards (check), multiple payment types (check), digital delivery (check) adoption…hmmm, not so good.

So why are consumers not flocking to the promised land of Apple Pay, Android Pay and other digital wallets?

Well they are...sort of. You have to look to China to see the promise of a wallet fulfilled, where Alipay has left its humble payment origins behind and now moved into smart cities. It lines up alongside the lifestyle platform WeChat; as well as shopping, paying bills and taxes with WeChat Pay, you can also schedule hospital appointments, order a taxi, apply for a visa or file your taxes. The numbers are staggering: according to this article by The Drum, 420 million people used WeChat to send 8.08 billion “red envelope” digital payments over Chinese New Year alone, almost double the transactions that PayPal had during the whole of 2015. But China is a special case – born straight in to a digital world, wallets arrived without legacy, without competition. Head back to the West and you start to understand some of the challenges – highly competitive markets, fragmented providers, disintermediation fears from banks and card issuers, trust issues from consumers – it’s just not China.

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Envision 2016: Microsoft Pushes Beyond IT

Nigel Fenwick
Where was HololensThis week in New Orleans, Microsoft launched it's first conference aimed squarely at business leaders as the company looks to move beyond the department of the CIO. Envision 2016 replaces Microsoft's previous Convergence conference and comes on the heels of "Build2016" the previous week.
 
As a guest of Microsoft, I had two reasons to attend Envision: First, to hear from CEO Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives; I wanted to better understand their business strategy going forward, specifically as it relates to enterprise customers. Secondly, I had the opportunity to provide feedback to Microsoft leaders on its enterprise marketing strategy.
 
It was no doubt clear to attendees that Microsoft wants a relationship with enterprise customers beyond the office of the CIO. Based on Satya's opening keynote, there is a recognition that Microsoft must become a more strategic business partner, helping today's CIO clients work alongside their line-of-business peers to deliver on the promise of digital business. 
 
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Before You Reorganize Customer Insights, Press “Pause”

Cinny Little

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”  - A.A. Milne  

There’s good food for thought in that statement.  “Organizing” is a topic that customer insights (CI) professionals and their marketing, digital, and other business partners are asking about. And one frequently asked question is “what’s the best way for us to organize?”

Why is that question so top of mind?  Consider this: Forrester research shows that despite continuing investments in people, big data, and technology, companies are not driving enough insights to actions. For example, 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” yet only 29% say they’re good at connecting insights to actions.  In addition, business satisfaction with analytics went down 21% between 2014 and 2015.  These numbers show that there’s an insights-to-action disconnect, and it’s an expensive problem.

In addition to organization, CI pros also frequently mention two day-to-day pressures they experience:

  1. They can’t keep up with the volume of stakeholder requests.
  2. There’s what one CI pro described as “the black hole” between insights and actions: CI pros may never know what action, if any, resulted from insights they provided. 
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Deep Learning Will Blow Up Your Data Strategy

Michele Goetz

Day one of the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose and I'm still glowing from watching Steve Wozniak "travel to Mars" through NVIDIA's photo real virtual reality.  Or, holding my stomach as Jen Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA took us soaring over Everest.  Or cringing, as I watch the early attempts at a car teaching itself to drive and being reminded of how my 16 year old daughter is learning to drive (there were a few similarities...). Each emotion illustrates what everyone will experience shortly on NVIDIA's next gen compute platform with announcement for AI, VR, self-driving, SDK and new deep learning appliance.  

This is not your traditional or even big data analytic platform.  It's a complete overhaul of the computing architecture.  It's a complete rethink of data management. It will also change how you think about analytics.  

Stepping back from what may seem like hype and examples steeped in robotics, VR and infrastructure, the truth is, the announcements today show that deep learning in action is at most a year away, and as soon as now.  In addition, the innovation coming out of robotics, VR and infrastructure will allow introduction of new form factors and channels to engage with customers and shape our workforce. In the end, it is a data challenge for the very reason that for every channel we use and add, it always ends up being a data challenge.

The implications for how you manage data are radical. Here is what you need to think about:

  • Deep learning systems are voracious eaters of data. If you think you have volume issues now, it will only get worse. Traditional integration won't cut it.  You need bigger compute on GPUs not CPUs for speed, performance, and efficiency. Don't you want to train your data in 2 hours vs. 2 weeks?
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The NFL: "Are You Ready For Some Twitter?"

Jessica Liu

Now that March Madness basketball is over (#sorrynotsorry UNC), we're turning our attention to baseball. No, wait. American football just picked off baseball's opening week with today's announcement that The National Football League and Twitter are embarking on a global streaming parternship.

For the NFL: Of all social networks, Twitter has the most active real-time conversations around football games, and NFL athletes use Twitter as their primary social sounding board. It makes sense to sync live viewing with live social conversation and merge those activities into one platform. In addition, this partnership offers the NFL reach into global markets. While the NFL has worked to establish a UK footprint by flying teams to London to compete, this deal signals real expansion.

For Twitter: Twitter is struggling with user and revenue growth, and this is a huge win for two reasons: the partnership provides 1) the ability to deliver quality content and attract dormant users and, more critically, non-users; and 2) the ability to be a unique provider of a live event plus live conversation viewing experience, creating more engaged users.

For users: Broadcasting live events on social networks isn't new (see: YouTube live concert streaming; Periscope live streaming the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match). But, the NFL is the varsity league: more teams, more games, more fans, and more dollars at stake. And, let's not forget the mobile factor – now users can (theoretically) watch Thursday NFL games on the go.

Is this Twitter's Hail Mary pass to prove it can still compete? Maybe. But, a Hail Mary still represents a chance (just ask Aaron Rodgers).

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Half of top-performing marketers use UGC extensively

Ryan Skinner

Last week Salesforce published its 'State of Marketing' survey results, which included some interesting findings for data-driven marketers.

First of all, the over-ambitious title* and the survey's methodology tell you to take the findings with a grain of salt. 43% of the survey's 4,000 respondents were either CEO or owner, which correlates well with the apparently 39% of respondents from companies of 1-100 employees.

To highlight best practice, the survey designers created a sub-set of respondents (18%) classified as 'high-performing teams' because they responded that they were extremely satisfied with the outcomes from their marketing investment.

Which leads to the first compelling data point (reflected in this post's title):

"47% of high-performing marketers extensively use UGC (vs. 19% of moderate performers and 8% of underperformers)"

Essentially, 'happy' marketers are 6x more likely to use UGC than their 'unhappy' counterparts. I believe that this story is much greater than 'SMB marketers use UGC because it's free'; this is a case of effective marketers expanding their brand governance to include input, interpretation and involvement from communities outside the immediate control of the brand (to tell the brand's story). A lesson here: If you can't get third-parties interested in what your brand's all about, your brand's relevance is likely dwindling.

The second intriguing datapoint relates to email tactics:

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Forrester's Inaugural FSI Summit In Singapore: Accelerating Digital Business And Innovation In Financial Services

Zhi-Ying Ng

Faced with increasingly empowered customers, together with mounting pressure from existing and potential digital disruptors in the financial services sector (such as Alipay in China and Codapay in Southeast Asia), many banks across Asia Pacific have launched mobile banking apps to enable customers to make mobile transactions. Initally, these mobile banking apps suffered from abysmally low customer adoption and delivered poor customer experience. However, mobile banking apps have come a long way over the past five years, going from little more than an extension of online banking to what one digital banking executive calls “the most important part of my job.”

Through conversations with our FSI clients, we have observed a positive transformation in how eBusiness executives think about and execute on their mobile strategy, which contributed to rising adoption levels and better customer experience. The most notable shift that eBusiness executives have made is to perceive mobile as a crucial part of their organization’s broader business transformation imperative linked to specific business objectives and outcomes — this is fundamentally different from the early days when some eBusiness executives equated a mobile app to a mobile strategy.

Our exclusive FSI summit in Singapore on Friday, April 15 will bring together an intimate group of senior executives from banks, insurance companies, and selected fintech firms. At the event, my colleagues and I will share Forrester’s FSI digital business research, and facilitate discussions with industry leaders.

My presentation, “Who Does Mobile Banking Well In Asia Pacific?”, will explore:

  • Key mobile banking trends across Asia Pacific
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