1. Empowerment with Low Code/No Code platforms
It isn’t only BIG innovation that is happening so quickly, small innovation within enterprises has also picked up pace enormously. Something that has and will continue to aid this - even more so in 2017 - is low code/no code programing platforms. It used to be that teams couldn’t innovate without the assistance and buy-in of IT. But with the rapidly evolving needs of customers it has become essential for teams and departments to develop new technology themselves - particularly in the area of customer interface. So a key aspect of 2017 will be the adoption of platforms that empower employees to become “citizen developers”.
2. AI comes of age
Machines that think for themselves seemed very Orwellian not so long ago but all of a sudden, artificial intelligence and predictive analysis are not only realities, but easily available to most organisations. The way in which organisations can manipulate and benefit from their big data and business intelligence is going to be huge and Kim writes that in 2017 we will begin to see AI dominate the discussion. AI and predictive analytics can surface trends and patterns and make recommendations, freeing up employees to focus on the wider strategic and creative questions. This revolution also supports faster decision making. Learning how to make the most of this to gain huge competitive advantage and delight our customers will be a massive theme in 2017.
3. Chatbots are the future
Our second annual “State of the Connected Customer Report” found that 51 per cent of customers now expect a brand to be available to help them morning, noon and night. It isn’t possible - or at least financially feasible - to resource that kind of availability, which is why another seemingly futuristic concept has suddenly emerged - chatbots. Very soon, all our customer service will be conducted by online robots able to chat through our problems with us and find the right solution without bothering a human. Kim sees 2017 being huge for chatbots taking over the customer service world. If you don’t believe us, just ask Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant!
4. Mobile messaging and live chat killed the telephone star
It isn’t a new thing that most consumers’ idea of hell is to have to ring a call centre, but the difference is that there is now a realistic replacement. The evolution of enterprise-scale mobile messaging and live chat are robust enough to actually replace the phone as the chief channel for customer engagement. With these technologies embedded into enterprise workflow and back office systems organisations can now communicate with customers about marketing, sales or services confident that the conversation is captured and integrated into their critical systems. These technologies even extend to Facebook, Twitter and WeChat; and brands like Burberry, Estee Lauder and Buzzfeed have already seen huge wins from rolling these technologies out. Expect to see much more of this in 2017, says Kim.
5. There’s nothing virtual about Virtual Reality
The “hot” Christmas present for 2016 was a Virtual Reality headset like Oculus Rift or Samsung’s Gear VR. But it isn’t just a consumer gaming accessory - it is set to become an $80 billion marketplace. So what’s in store for VR beyond immersive flight simulators and fully in-game car races? Kim shows us how brands are exploring all sorts of new applications for this technology - including a video example of how Marriott is using VR to enhance the customer experience. In 2017, she predicts, VR will move well beyond early adopting gamers and into the mainstream.
Read Kim’s blog in full to find out more about what the immediate future holds for you and your organisation.