While 2018 is on its way out, businesses are looking forward and pacing to follow the technology trends in order give a tough competition to their counterparts in the coming year. With 2019 sneaking from the rearview mirror, there are definitely some new developments popping up, delivering insights about how these businesses are required to prepare themselves to be able to meet customer expectations. Let’s have a quick look into some of the most prominent trends to keep an eye on in the year to follow.
Intelligent automation capabilities will get more prominence: To better understand the customer’s behavioral attributes, Marketing and Sales functions have evolved to a level and started allowing integration with several other platforms, like Intelligent CRM, Sales Force Automation Platforms, Business Intelligence tools etc. This, certainly helps organizations to carve a 360 degree, data-backed picture of their customers’ activity. With digitization spreading its wings globally, the scope for businesses to engage and interact with their customers is never-ending. Therefore, this is the right time when companies should start incorporating these ‘intelligent trends’ into their strategic planning process for 2019.
Connected Cloud – trend continues: Cloud platform services are growing at a rate of 20% – this will definitely help the overall tech outsourcing category (which itself is expected to grow by around 6% by the end of this year). Consequently, consulting services have started feeling the positive effects of cloud and are supposed to grow at a rate of around 5% by next year.
However, there are times when going by just public cloud or private cloud isn’t the best option and require a mix of all or both. Connected cloud or hybrid cloud is the flavor of the present cloud migration conversations. In fact, Multi-cloud will become the new buzzword for the cloud conversations, which clearly indicates that no matter which workload is being run in which cloud, the experience for IT and those who are leveraging the applications needs to be seamless, secure and streamlined.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all encompassing: Today, you need AI to map buyer’s journey and understand his need clearly to analyse if your offering can match the requirements. The more personalized your content is for your customer, the higher is the chance to sale closure. In fact, Gartner predicted that the majority of commercial interactions will involve a virtual agent by 2020.
Yes, AI is invading every aspect of our life. From smartphones having “AI detection” capabilities, to recommendation engines of online retailers to AI powered drones to Self-driving cars…..the list is endless and it looks like AI has touched almost everything that has hit its stride. Clearly, 2019 will see trend analysis enhancing with AI leverage, generating more accurate customer profiles, deducing results with higher degree of accuracy from the large data sets companies have to work with. Undoubtedly, using smart AI solutions to enhance your business along with your sales and marketing strategies, would be an indispensable option in 2019. If you’re not leading the curve, you will definitely fall behind.
Intelligent Database Management fused with Machine learning capabilities will continue to disrupt the industry: Bots undeniably make the effort around lead generation more productive. Now, you can actually reduce the time taken to acquire the ‘next new customer’ by leveraging extraction, business rules and database management, quite logically. Also, extracting the effective contactable database with multiple validations and checkpoints will become a reality, by leveraging those technologically enhanced bots that can provide logical, accurate, complete and validated data in a very short span of time.
Chatbots pushing service industry to greater height. Today, the manner in which natural language processing and sentiment analytics is progressing, it is certainly expected to shake up the entire service industry. Think about all the services that can be provided without humans—food chains, bank processes, job recruiters – and what not! Quite evidently, around 40% of large businesses have or will adopt NLP by the end of 2019. Now, this doesn’t mean that AI and Chatbots will impact the workforce, instead, businesses would require more up- skilling of their work forces rather than displacing them – because machines may be good at delivering faster outputs, but leave a lot to be desired when it comes to dealing with empathy. And, this is where human emotions will be required to deliver better customer experience.
Analytics will continue to be the sales catalyst: IDC forecasts, the Big Data industry is expected to reach $102 billion by 2019. With predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities, industry is now able to unlock some of the most meaningful insights to detect customers’ overall business health that we wouldn’t get otherwise. In fact, when Big Data is coupled with AI and ML capabilities, it helps not only in keeping a track of a large amount of data, but also making recommendations based on the past purchase patterns, thereby increasing the propensity to purchase more. Therefore, 2019 will see a lot more emphasis on building visually appealing information centers in Sales-Tech companies to enable better customer conversions.
Speech/Image recognition to impact data accuracy and reporting: Digital transformation and AI proliferation will leverage the progress made in speech recognition to improve the deployment of sales tools by replacing input mechanism through speech. Speech to text progression in local languages is still trailing behind English speech conversion. The overall experience of a sales platform usage can be enhanced exponentially by driving data input through voice.
The telecom industry is already moving fast in this direction leveraging this capability in smart phones. With the focus on analytics and market insights, the need to capture more last mile data is going up day by day, and speech to text/ image recognition evolution will become the primary drivers of such data capture. The same will be leveraged by the sales industry and will reduce the ongoing struggle between deployment and effective usage.
Reality Trends (AR, VR, MR and XR) will find more commercial application: take the market by storm:
Virtual Reality (VR) remote training has now become an effective form of learning and perfecting the industry skills. Though the entirety of the VR remote training scheme has not been invented yet, this reality technology holds great potential. Augmented Reality (AR) has already found application in executing innovating marketing strategies. Brands like IKEA and New Look introduced AR into their promotions. Even upcoming movie promos are introducing AR selfie filters on popular applications to attract media and customer attention. While VR can transport the user into a reality filled with data and charts to manipulate as they want, AR can even incorporate tangible elements into the world. Together they yield Mixed Reality (MR). The reality technology does not end at AR and VR and MR rather extends beyond it, aiming a more immersive and ubiquitous experience. By 2019, customers and users will be experiencing technology like never before that strives to bridge the physical distance between people, information and experiences.
GDPR to revolutionize new-age customer’s decision: 2018 is the year of GDPR and other global initiatives to protect consumer data. In 2019, GDPR or similar policies will hold companies accountable for how they treat privacy and personal data. While brands do not necessarily have to comply, this movement will serve as a caveat to companies to figure out better ways and genuinely build relationships with their customers. This is of course against the clear misuse and abuse of personal data in the name of marketing and selling.
Informed customers will now become more cautious and observe which companies truly care about protecting their data, and which companies don’t. Clearly, businesses who try hard to protect and not share their user’s data, are seen as more trustworthy and good places to connect with. In 2019, businesses that take a longer road of privacy and transparency will be rewarded
Hopefully, these top technology trends can serve as a compass of sorts, for the organizations looking to move their business and digital transformations forward. Ultimately, it’s all about being competitive and adapting to the changes that come across – interestingly, there will be plenty in 2019 and beyond so this is the time to get started.