Artificial Intelligence: Fact, Fiction. How Enterprises Can Crush It

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester surveyed business and technology professionals and found that 58% of them are researching AI, but only 12% are using AI systems. This gap reflects growing interest in AI, but little actual use at this time. We expect enterprise interest in, and use of, AI to increase as software vendors roll out AI platforms and build AI capabilities into applications. Enterprises that plan to invest in AI expect to improve customer experiences, improve products and services, and disrupt their industry with new business models.

But the burning question is: how can your enterprise use AI today to crush it? To answer this question we first must bring clarity to the nebulous definition of AI.Let’s break it down further:

■        “Artificial” is the opposite of organic. Artificial simply means person-made versus occurring naturally in the universe. Computer scientists, engineers, and developers research, design, and create a combination of software, computers, and machine to manifest AI technology.

■        “Intelligence” is in the eye of the beholder.  Philosophers will have job security for a very long time trying to define intelligence precisely. That’s because, intelligence is much tougher to define because we humans routinely assign intelligence to all matter of things including well-trained dachshunds, self-driving cars, and “intelligent” assistants such as Amazon Echo. Intelligence is relative. For AI purists, intelligence is more akin to human abilities. It means the ability to perceive its environment, take actions that satisfy a set of goals, and learn from both successes and failures. Intelligence among humans varies greatly and so too does it vary among AI systems.

Temper Your Expectations, But Don’t Give Up On AI

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In 2017, Digital Transformation Budgets Will Top The Billion-Dollar Bar

Ted Schadler
Check out our Predictions 2017: In Digital Transformation, The Hard Work Of Operational Excellence Begins piece that went live this morning. It has more predictions and more detail from from my coauthors Nigel Fenwick and Martin Gill.
 
You've been creating digital customer experiences for years now. You've built a successful app. You’ve assembled a martech/adtech stack. You may even have started swinging at omnichannel delivery or harnessed AI or piloted a connected product. So it’s time to declare victory on digital transformation, right? [In our 2016 services survey, a shockingly high 19% have . . .]
 
Not so fast. Digital customer experiences are only the shining faces of a digital business. Those pretty faces quickly lose their luster unless you’ve also transformed your business operations to make them better every single day -- and introduce new digital faces all the time. We call this capability "digital operational excellence." It’s the 80 in the 80/20 rule of digital transformation. Here are three predictions for 2017 to prod the digital business conversation:
 
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Video - and Online Video Platforms - Are Essential For Customer Engagement

Nick Barber

Video conveys emotion unlike text and can show features and functionality unlike any picture. That’s why retailers see nearly triple the conversion rate on product pages that have video versus those that don’t. Entering what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “this new golden age of videos online,” companies and brands need an enterprise-class online video platform to deliver the video experiences that drive customer engagement.

 

In The Forrester Wave™: Online Video Platforms For Sales And Marketing, Q4 2016 we looked at nine vendors in the space--Adobe, Brightcove, IBM, Invodo, Kaltura, Ooyala, Qumu, uStudio, and Vidyard--and scored them against a list of 39 criteria.

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Videoconferencing Delays Cost You Millions

Nick Barber

Videoconferencing technology has the awesome power to connect teams separated by oceans or internal silos, but it’s still not frictionless. Technical difficulties that delay videoconferences account for millions of dollars a year in lost productivity. In our brief Start Your Videoconferences On Time, we take a look at some best practices to avoid productivity loss. Inside the report is an interactive calculator so that you can customize the scenario to your business and build the case for change.

 

 

From 2013 to 2015, the prevalence of web- and videoconferencing use by global information workers grew 40%, according to Forrester Business Technographics data. But companies have multiple VC vendors or don’t deploy it universally and that contributes to technical difficulties.

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Google’s Next Play: Your Assistant For Everything - Not Just Answers

Michael Facemire

This blog post is co-authored by VP and Principal Analyst Julie Ask and Analyst Andrew Hogan at Forrester.

Google held an event in San Francisco this week to announce several new consumer products – a smartphone, a wireless speaker, Wi-Fi routers, a virtual reality headset and an updated Chromecast solution. All showcased an emerging strategic direction for Google and some killer engineering and design skills.

None of it impressed as much as the demos of Google Assistant – Google’s virtual assistant.

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Field Service: Increasingly Important For Differentiated Customer Service Experiences

Kate Leggett

Field service technologies are more than two decades old. Companies have leveraged them to coordinate the flow of work orders that came in as service requests to the contact center. They were able to reap real ROI by using these technologies to schedule technicians, manage their routes and their flow of work. 

Today, with the rise in importance of delivering differentiated customer experiences, field service technologies are become increasingly important. This is because, the service tech who ends up on your doorstep, or at the site of faulty equipment represents the face of your company. They are your brand ambassadors. These interactions are by far the most personal channel for customer engagement, and they can help make or break a relationship.

This means that: (1) you want to equip your service techs with all the information and data that they need to easily address the reported issue, and (2) you want to use cutting edge technologies to deliver great engagement.  These technologies include:

  • Mobility for field service effectiveness - Companies communicate to field techs, increasingly via mobile apps, the location, timing, and details of their jobs. They also allow techs to provide dynamic pricing of labor, parts, and products. Mobile applications must be easy for techs to use, often with gloved hands, in challenging conditions including low lighting and hazardous job sites. They must also work in disconnected environments.
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Can Salesforce Really Prescribe An End-to-End Sales Process?

John Bruno

Last week, nearly 170,000 business and technology professionals descended onto San Francisco for Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce. The event itself was ripe with discussions on social responsibility and charity, but most attendees, including myself, attended for other reasons. We wanted Salesforce to pull back the curtains on what it saw for the future of sales.

Once things got underway, Salesforce’s Einstein took center stage… quite literally. We’ll get to Einstein in just a bit, but not to be overshadowed by Einstein, Salesforce unequivocally made their keynote about sales. 2016 was a landmark year for Salesforce and their commitment to sales. They closed on their acquisitions of SteelBrick and Demandware, and used Dreamforce as the stage to rebrand them as Salesforce CPQ and Commerce Cloud respectively. So what does all this mean? It means that regardless of sales channel, Salesforce is fighting harder than ever to be your selling platform of choice… and they make a pretty compelling case.

Let’s take a closer look at the case Salesforce is making. To do so, we must understand Salesforce’s pillars of technology supporting sales.

  • Sales Cloud delivers core CRM functionality for sellers. Sales Cloud is the bread and butter for Salesforce. For many of its customers, Sales Cloud represents the foundation of technology enabled selling processes. From account and opportunity management to pipeline management and white space analysis, Sales Cloud helps sales and sales leaders strategize and prioritize their sales efforts.
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Drunk History of Your Mobile Strategy

Ted Schadler

Everybody can name their favorite apps. But can you name even two mobile websites you love? We can't. So we stared into the awful maw of the mobile web to learn how to fix it. 65 companies signed up to help. Along the way, we found problems stemming from the journey you've taken to be in your customer's pocket.

My colleague Danielle Geoffroy brilliantly realized that it was a drunk history, so we wanted to share it with you.

  • 2008: "There's an app for that." Savvy developers jailbroke the first iPhone so they could build apps. Apple then launched the Apple App Store and chaos ensued as every developer and company piled on the apps as the mobile strategy. (And y'all invented the pub game, "there's an app for that.") You ignored the mobile web.
  • 2010: Responsive retrofits tiny-ize websites but miss the mobile moment. Agencies and creative developers swooped in to magically morph brands' giant desktop websites into "mobile-friendly" websites. But that strategy led to the quiet crisis that responsive web design is not mobile-first.
  • 2016: Apps are winning . . . just not yours. Forrester's data shows that US consumers used 26 apps last year and 26 apps this year. (Millennials use . . . wait for it . . . 28 apps.) Consumers have enough apps — they don't want more. What's worse, they spend 60% of their total mobile time (web and app) in just three apps — usually owned by Facebook and Google. 
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R.I.P. BlackBerry Phones

Ted Schadler

An era has passed. BlackBerry will no longer make phones. RIM opened our eyes when it put the power of digital communications into our pockets. Email on the go was the beginning of the mobile mind shift.

I loved the passion of Mike Lazaridis and his team for building great devices that we'd drive home and get if we left on the counter. His devices were the first to inspire such passion, such intimacy, such a feeling of empowerment that we now all take for granted. He started it.

As a software guy, I was always saddened by the clunky interface for apps other than email and messaging, but I loved the power flowing into my palms from the BlackBerry devices I carried.

Then along came iPhone. As a software guy, it only took a few months of jailbroke phones and developer-built apps before I realized that the real mobile revolution had arrived -- a computer in your pocket. That's when the mobile mind shift really kicked in, as Julie Ask, Charlie Golvin, and Thomas Husson recognized very early.

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Video Helps Your Customers In Their Moment Of Need

Nick Barber

Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experience we found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.

The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.

UK footwear retailer Schuh expanded video chat by deploying it to mobile and increasing the number of video agents by 20% in two years. Video is now Schuh’s busiest customer service channel, eclipsing phone and text chat.

Video chat is useful across the customer journey. Agents can answer questions about a product, they can use co-browsing to help a customer navigate a site or find an item and they can answer questions about how to use a product once purchased.

Video chat endpoints diagram

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