Back in 2016, Progress conducted a survey to explore the state of what companies consider digital transformation. Fast forward four years and the marketplace has made great strides. The conversation has evolved to what many now call digital experience, which encompasses innovations in IoT, AI and machine learning.
So how are companies doing? To find out, Progress commissioned a new study from independent researchers in the U.K., known as Insight Avenue. Their global survey asked 900 business leaders about topics spanning digital experience, application development and the business demands creating urgency for digital answers.
Though the study was expansive, this article will focus on the fascinating new learnings surrounding IoT, AI and machine learning.
The relationship between digital experience and IoT
Some might wonder how IoT relates to digital experience, but it’s a critical driver of a much larger digital movement. Initially, IoT was often discussed in terms of personal use cases relating to location data that companies used to provide relevant orders, or devices used to track family and friends. In the age of COVID-19, IoT takes on more importance with contact tracing, work from home enablement, telemedicine and touchless deliveries.
Though these all focus on customer experiences, there’s a key opportunity to better expand into employee and partner experiences. These groups are ripe for better engagement and operational optimization. Whether IoT is used to track inventory, deliveries or used to circumvent potential problems with the aid of predictive analytics, companies have an opportunity to drive innovation with these technologies.
Tapping IoT in the workplace
Initial data shows that companies have indeed started to use IoT to innovate how their business operates, including:
- 67% of companies are using IoT and sensor-related experiences to monitor and improve how customers engage with company offerings.
- 55% of companies are using IoT to improve uptime and reduce maintenance costs.
- 48% of companies are improving asset tracking, inventory and delivery with IoT systems.
- 45% of companies are empowering employees with better customer insights.
The study showed great progress has been made with IoT and more is slated for the next 12 months, including personalization.
Liberating personalization from the web silo
For some, the word personalization can often relate to the image of a website. And that’s unfortunate, because the potential for personalization is so much larger. Progress’ study showed that 78% of respondents had not done anything with personalization, and if so, it was something basic on their website. Only 12% of respondents had applied personalization beyond the web to other digital channels.
Going forward, there is great potential for companies to leverage personalization to enhance employee and partner experiences. IoT can make this an even more efficient and smart undertaking. At the end of the day, the reason companies personalize the customer experience is to provide them with more value and increase the likelihood of purchase by speeding customers through a tailored purchase process.
Applying those same principles to employees creates value and increases the likelihood of employee success. Think of the enormous impact companies can make on their business by simply speeding up any employee process; it could be huge. It’s definitely time to tap the unfulfilled potential of personalization by nudging it forward.
AI and machine learning trend up
Unlike the lag with personalization, the survey results for AI and machine learning were ahead of where the market is in many respects. Based on my conversations with companies and individuals around the world, I personally found that companies didn’t seem to be buying into the immediate promise of AI and machine learning. However, this was not the case with mature organizations where there was a relatively low percentage of respondents focusing on reporting and analytics, without including some aspect of AI and machine learning.
Not surprising was the percent of companies investing in customer and user experience, so I was pleased to see how many were likewise investing in predictive analytics and pursuing AI and machine learning to become more autonomic. These are strong indicators that companies are seeing the value of adopting AI and machine learning practices.
- 36% focus AI and machine learning efforts on customer and user experience.
- 35% are investing in data science to drive experience using predictive results.
- 22% are using AI and machine learning to become more autonomic.
- 7% focusing on reporting and analysis without AI and machine learning.
Factoring AI and machine learning into digital experience planning
As companies dive deeper into AI and machine learning, it’s crucial that they avoid the bad lessons many companies have found with their reporting practices. Too many companies seek to retroactively measure and report on metrics not recoverable because the proper systems weren’t set up in advance, such as with transactional systems.
It’s hard to make sound decisions with bad data. So as companies dive into AI and machine learning, they must factor it into their digital experience planning from the beginning to derive the full benefit these powerful technologies provide.
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