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IT Leaders, Here’s How to Use AI to Delight Your Customers

Learn how to become a customer company through IT and AI implementation to create seamless customer experiences.

Organizations have the power to place customers at the center of everything they do. From being able to automatically categorize customer service cases for improved live interactions to reducing time in closing sales leads, AI makes all this possible. 

But the sheer volume of data (and the fact it’s often scattered across different systems within an organization) can make this challenging to achieve. Inefficient systems, disconnected data, manual processes, and a shortage of talent and resources all stand in the way of an organization becoming a customer company.

So who can help bring this all together? It’s up to IT. 

Using AI to become a customer company

To become an intelligent customer company, customer experiences must be powered by AI. Eighty-four percent of IT leaders believe that generative AI will help them better serve customers. That belief is for good reason, too. AI has proven to have a strong ROI.

AI solutions have boosted revenue growth and reduced costs for 67% and 79% of organizations, respectively. Today, AI has become a priority for 67% of IT leaders.

To harness the power of AI to the fullest, you need:

  • Reliable, trusted customer data to build a harmonized customer profile
  • Pre-built, custom, or public AI models (or a combination) to feed your data into so you can leverage insights into automated actions
  • A single platform with security and governance built in to enable innovations and increase customer trust

Regardless of industry or what you’re selling, delighting your customers is key to your success — where trust, personalization, and seamless interactions intersect. Making customers happy isn’t just about meeting their needs – you need to be one step ahead. In fact, 62% of customers expect businesses to anticipate their needs. 

But anticipating their needs is often easier said than done, and IT can help businesses meet growing customer expectations.

AI is only as good as your data

Connecting clean data is critical to unlocking AI capabilities. Only with reliable and trusted data, pulled together on a single platform from service, sales, and other relevant sources, can AI even perform as intended. Remember: good in, good out. 

But for years, the promise has been that with more data, we’d know exactly what we needed at the right moment to deliver amazing customer experiences. It’s a critical component of becoming a customer company. But this reality is still far out of reach for many organizations.

The amount of data generated each day is increasing faster than ever. By 2025, there will be 100 zettabytes of data in the cloud with the amount forecasted to double by 2026

An organization’s data is often siloed in a host of different systems. To connect and harmonize it can require specific, costly technical expertise, and there are also security and compliance concerns to consider.

It’s no wonder that 36% of IT teams say that their struggle to integrate siloed data is hindering their digital transformation efforts.

Right now, data is being generated faster than IT’s ability to integrate it, let alone harmonize it and derive meaningful insights. Today, 33% of business leaders say they struggle to generate insights from all their data. What is data when you aren’t able to translate it into value?

To tackle the task, you must be able to connect to data from any system quickly and securely. But this shouldn’t be done with custom code — that will only increase technical debt. Rather, create, use, and reuse data integration assets, like APIs and connectors, on a platform with DevOps and security built in.

Since modern enterprises, on average, use up to 500 APIs, a uniform API strategy will help you manage and secure all of your previous integration efforts and easily help you create and reuse new ones.

Similarly, having the means to manage the data in a consistent manner helps minimize potential errors by establishing processes and policies for usage and building trust in the data being used to make decisions across your organization.

To realize the full value of your data, you need to go from data collection to data that drives action. You need to:

  • Harmonize your data into a consistent format to create a unified customer profile 
  • Connect your customer profile to the engagement layer your customers care about
  • Use your data to enable your organization to deliver great experiences

Simply having lots of data won’t allow you to get any value from AI. But with a single platform to manage data, integration, reuse, security, and DevOps, you can harmonize and transform your data into something that triggers action and helps you deliver high-impact results for customers.

AI and automation drive efficiency

The number of projects IT is asked to deliver continues to increase — currently at a rate of roughly 40% year-over-year since 2021. With ever-growing project lists, IT leaders often struggle to prioritize when demand outpaces time, budget, or both. 

But it’s not just about the number of projects. Customer expectations are on the rise. Eighty-eight percent of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as the product or service it’s delivering. 

So how do you deliver exceptional customer experiences more efficiently? By leveraging the insights from AI and taking a data-driven approach to automation. In fact, 72% of companies are prioritizing automation as their strategic priority, with 95% of technical leaders specifically prioritizing process automation.

With data-driven automation, data insights can be transformed into action that will grow revenue, improve collaboration, and boost productivity. Today, 49% of companies are using automation to coordinate across business units resulting in better integration of customer data and improved customer experiences. Tools like Workflow Builder in Slack are helping teams not just build shortcuts, but streamline processes to alleviate pressure on IT and relieve them of manual tasks.

Further, 90% of customer service employees have seen an increase in productivity after enacting data-driven automation initiatives. Seventy-four percent of companies’ employee time by reducing manual processes through automation. Eighty percent of companies that are combining automation with valuable customer insights to deliver workflows and better customer experiences are seeing significant revenue increases. 

To deliver this type of impact through automation, you need to:

  • Be able to connect to all your systems — cloud, on-premises, hybrid, or legacy — even with the average number of apps rising (currently at 1,061!)
  • Activate RPA to extract data from legacy systems and assets, like docs and images, that would otherwise require manual work to access
  • Make it possible to reuse existing data and integration components, such as APIs and connectors 
  • Enable the use of low- and no-code across your organization so even non-developers can participate in self-serve automation projects

Through data-driven automation, organizations can resolve customer service cases more quickly, improve efficiency, and further deliver great customer experiences to drive business impact.

Deliver better customer experiences with automation

Get the checklist for taking a platform approach to automation and learn how to build a successful automation strategy.

AI depends on governance and security

Connected, harmonized data allows you to unlock AI and automate it. The one steel thread that must be present throughout is how to enable all this securely. In fact, security concerns hinder 70% of automation initiatives.

Successful customer relationships are built on trust. Therefore, securing customer data and satisfying regulatory compliance must be top of mind for IT as part of laying the foundation for building a customer company.

The role of IT in securing customer data is vital. A breach of data can often damage a customer relationship beyond repair. But like ripples on the surface of the water, the effect grows. The average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million.

When there are security concerns, how can you identify them and resolve them quickly?

Most importantly, organizations must enable access to data. Only then can teams begin to deliver better customer experiences. But with growing access to data, there are increased security risks. IT teams must be able to successfully govern all of the tools being deployed as part of the AI strategy. 

With real-time visibility into the health of your application network, you can holistically monitor all your APIs, integrations, and microservices in real-time, enabling data governance across the enterprise — even across self-serve and automation tools. As a result, organizations accelerate issue identification and root-cause analysis to ensure resilient infrastructure and high performance.

Developers need the right data and environment where they can test effectively, iterate rapidly, and deploy safely. 

To establish oversight and ensure complete visibility into data governance across the enterprise, you must: 

  • Have a space for your developers to work effectively without affecting production or inviting security risks, making it easy to track changes, seamlessly integrate with version control, and effectively handle release management  
  • Mask data and leverage security best practices like end-to-end data encryption to secure sensitive information (like de-identifying PII) giving your developers realistic datasets to test, without compromising security
  • Employ tools like universal API management to enable consistent data governance across systems and users 

When you can control who has access to which data and affirm that person’s identity, your company has a greater chance of guaranteeing security integrity. Then, more nuanced cases such as masking sensitive data in sandbox environments or safely monitoring events add that extra layer of protection.

A proactive data strategy keeps security and privacy top of mind. And with a platform where security and central governance are built in, you can accelerate development and release cycles while protecting your data at every step.

Be empowered with AI 

AI empowers organizations to deliver powerful customer experiences by driving efficiency through automation and building trust by securing customer data. All of this contributes to building an intelligent customer company — and it’s up to IT to deliver.

From product design to marketing to customer support, AI will transform the customer experience at every touchpoint. Armed with the right tools, IT can lead the organization to become an intelligent customer company.  

See how AI connects you with customers

With MuleSoft and AI, your organization can connect and use data from any source efficiently and quickly — helping you easily meet changing customer needs. Learn how you can start building a better customer experience today.

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