Machine learning and artificial intelligence will take over mundane tasks across the enterprise, freeing people up for more strategic activities. In preparation, more organizations will “press pause” to ascertain their readiness across three dimensions: processes, systems, and talent. All need to be optimized to ensure ROI.
Processes: Outdated processes or ad hoc approaches prevent a customer-first view that allows delivery of highly customized, contextual experiences regardless of channel or touchpoint. Multiple studies from organizations like Cisco, Mercer, and Deloitte indicate that this is the year companies plan to revisit how they collaborate across functions and teams. In addition, companies will adopt better governance to provide more freedom to create differentiating experiences while at the same time providing guard rails to assure consistent messaging and branding.
Systems: New processes may require jettisoning or augmenting systems and tools. Many platforms already incorporate basic AI that supports marketing automation, account-based marketing, predictive analytics, CRM and customer experience. A recent Demand Gen survey indicated that 70% of respondents feel that AI-powered apps will improve/accelerate ability to offer up next best action along the full customer lifecycle. Yet only 14% currently use AI-powered tools. 38% are actively considering how to integrate AI apps into their tech stack. As they do, companies will press pause to consider how to optimize current tools or add functionality or determine if it makes sense to start anew.
Talent: As machine learning and artificial intelligence shifts focus to more strategic pursuits, the talent mix will change. In marketing, for example, new emphasis will be placed on new content formats and the skills to produce them, distribution strategies, predictive marketing, and analytics. The blurring of media types will require new buying skills and the integration of organic and paid strategies. Digital competence is essential across the enterprise and organizations will see the rise of an enterprise digital manager. Another skill set is the ability to cull massive data stores to uncover deep customer knowledge to humanize the customer journey. Visual communications will be another essential skill.