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How To Improve Channel Sales With AI-Based Knowledge Sharing Networks

How To Improve Channel Sales With AI-Based Knowledge Sharing Networks

Bottom Line: Knowledge-sharing networks have been improving supply chain collaboration for decades; it’s time to enhance them with AI and extend them to resellers to revolutionize channel selling with more insights.

The greater the accuracy and speed of supply chain-based data integration and knowledge, the greater the accuracy of custom product orders. Add to that the complexity of selling CPQ and product configurations through channels, and the value of using AI to improve knowledge sharing networks becomes a compelling business case.

Why Channels Need AI-Based Knowledge Sharing Networks Now

Automotive, consumer electronics, high tech, and industrial products manufacturers are combining IoT sensors, microcontrollers, and modular designs to sell channel-configurable smart vehicles and products. AI-based knowledge-sharing networks are crucial to the success of their next-generation products. Likewise, to sell to any of these manufacturers, suppliers need to be pursuing the same strategy. AI-based services, including Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Voice and others, rely on knowledge-sharing networks to collaborate with automotive supply chains and strengthen OEM partnerships. The following graphic reflects how successful Amazon’s Alexa Automotive OEM sales team is at using knowledge-sharing networks to gain design wins across their industry.

The following are a few of the many reasons why creating and continually fine-tuning an AI-based knowledge-sharing network is an evolving strategy worth paying attention to:

  • Supply chains are the primary source of knowledge that must permeate an organization’s structure and channels for the company to stay synchronized to broader market demands. For CPQ channel selling strategies to thrive, they need real-time pricing, availability, available-to-promise, and capable-to-promise data to create accurate, competitive quotes that win deals. The better the supplier collaboration across supply chains and with channel partners, the higher the probability of selling more. A landmark study of the Toyota Production System by Professors Jeffrey H Dyer & Kentaro Nobeoka found that Toyota suppliers value shared data more than cash, making knowledge sharing systems invaluable to them (Dyer, Nobeoka, 2000).
  • Smart manufacturing metrics also need to be contributing real-time data to knowledge sharing systems channel partners use, relying on AI to create quotes for products that can be built the fastest and are the most attractive to each customer. Combining manufacturing’s real-time monitoring data stream of ongoing order progress and production availability with supply chain pricing, availability, and quality data all integrated to a cloud-based CPQ platform gives channel partners what they need to close deals now. AI-based knowledge-sharing networks will link supply chains, manufacturing plants, and channel partners to create smart factories that drive more sales. According to a recent Capgemini study, manufacturers are planning to launch 40% more smart factories in the next five years, increasing their annual investments by 1.7 times compared to the previous three years, according to their recent Smart factories @ scale Capgemini survey. The following graphic illustrates the percentage growth of smart factories across key geographic regions, a key prerequisite for enabling AI-based knowledge-sharing networks with real-time production data:
  • By closing the data gaps between suppliers, manufacturing, and channels, AI-based knowledge-sharing networks give resellers the information they need to sell with greater insight. Amazon’s Alexa OEM marketing teams succeeded in getting the majority of design-in wins with automotive manufacturers designing their next-generation of vehicles with advanced electronics and AI features. The following graphic from Dr. Dyer’s and Nobeoka’s study defines the foundations of a knowledge-sharing network. Applying AI to a mature knowledge-sharing network creates a strong network effect where every new member of the network adds greater value.
  • Setting the foundation for an effective knowledge sharing network needs to start with platforms that have AI and machine learning designed in with structure that can flex for unique channel needs. There are several platforms capable of supporting AI-based knowledge-sharing networks available, each with its strengths and approach to adapting to supply chain, manufacturing, and channel needs. One of the more interesting frameworks not only uses AI and machine learning across its technology pillars but also takes into consideration that a company’s operating model needs to adjust to leverage a connected economy to adapt to changing customer needs. BMC’s Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) is differentiated from many others in how it is designed to capitalize on AI and Machine Learning’s core strengths to create innovation ecosystems in a knowledge-sharing network. Knowledge-sharing networks thrive on continuous learning. It’s good to see major providers using adaptive and machine learning to strengthen their platforms, with BMC’s Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) emerging as a leader. Their approach to using adaptive learning to maintain data quality during system state changes and link exceptions with machine learning to deliver root cause analysis is prescient of where continuous learning needs to go.  The following graphic explains the ADE’s structure.

Conclusion

Knowledge-sharing networks have proven very effective in improving supply chain collaboration, supplier quality, and removing barriers to better inventory management. The next step that’s needed is to extend knowledge-sharing networks to resellers and enable knowledge sharing applications that use AI to tailor product and service recommendations for every customer being quoted and sold to. Imagine resellers being able to create quotes based on the most buildable products that could be delivered in days to buying customers. That’s possible using a knowledge-sharing network. Amazon’s success with Alexa design wins shows how their use of knowledge-sharing systems helped to provide insights needed across automotive OEMs wanted to add voice-activated AI technology to their next-generation vehicles.

References

BMC, Maximizing the Value of Hybrid IT with Holistic Monitoring and AIOps (10 pp., PDF).

BMC Blogs, 2019 Gartner Market Guide for AIOps Platforms, December 2, 2019

Cai, S., Goh, M., De Souza, R., & Li, G. (2013). Knowledge sharing in collaborative supply chains: twin effects of trust and power. International journal of production Research51(7), 2060-2076.

Capgemini Research Institute, Smart factories @ scale: Seizing the trillion-dollar prize through efficiency by design and closed-loop operations, 2019.

Columbus, L, The 10 Most Valuable Metrics in Smart Manufacturing, Forbes, November 20, 2020

Jeffrey H Dyer, & Kentaro Nobeoka. (2000). Creating and managing a high-performance knowledge-sharing network: The Toyota case. Strategic Management Journal: Special Issue: Strategic Networks, 21(3), 345-367.

Myers, M. B., & Cheung, M. S. (2008). Sharing global supply chain knowledge. MIT Sloan Management Review49(4), 67.

Wang, C., & Hu, Q. (2020). Knowledge sharing in supply chain networks: Effects of collaborative innovation activities and capability on innovation performance. Technovation94, 102010.

 

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • One in 10 enterprises now use 10 or more AI applications; chatbots, process optimization, and fraud analysis lead a recent survey’s top use cases according to MMC Ventures.
  • 83% of IT leaders say AI & ML is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say it is transforming their business according to Salesforce Research.
  • IDC predicts spending on AI systems will reach $97.9B in 2023.

AI pilots are progressing into production based on their combined contributions to improving customer experience, stabilizing and increasing revenues, and reducing costs. The most successful AI use cases contribute to all three areas and deliver measurable results. Of the many use cases where AI is delivering proven value in enterprises today, the ten areas discussed below are notable for the measurable results they are providing.

What each of these ten use cases has in common is the accuracy and efficiency they can analyze and recommend actions based on real-time monitoring of customer interactions, production, and service processes. Enterprises who get AI right the first time build the underlying data structures and frameworks to support the advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI techniques that show the best potential to deliver value. There are various frameworks available, with BMC’s Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE) encapsulating what enterprises need to scale out their AI pilots into production. What’s unique about BMC’s approach is its focus on delivering transcendent customer experiences by creating an ecosystem that uses technology to cater to every touchpoint on a customer’s journey, across any channel a customer chooses to interact with an enterprise on.

10 Areas Where AI Is Delivering Proven Value Today

Having progressed from pilot to production across many of the world’s leading enterprises, they’re great examples of where AI is delivering value today. The following are 10 areas where AI is delivering proven value in enterprises today

  • Customer feedback systems lead all implementations of AI-based self-service platforms. That’s consistent with the discussions I’ve had with manufacturing CEOs who are committed to Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that also fuel their new product development plans. The best-run manufacturers are using AI to gain customer feedback better also to improve their configure-to-order product customization strategies as well. Mining contact center data while improving customer response times are working on AI platforms today. Source: Forrester study, AI-Infused Contact Centers Optimize Customer Experience Develop A Road Map Now For A Cognitive Contact Center.
  • McKinsey finds that AI is improving demand forecasting by reducing forecasting errors by 50% and reduce lost sales by 65% with better product availability. Supply chains are the lifeblood of any manufacturing business. McKinsey’s initial use case analysis is finding that AI can reduce costs related to transport and warehousing and supply chain administration by 5% to 10% and 25% to 40%, respectively. With AI, overall inventory reductions of 20% to 50% are possible. Source: Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? McKinsey & Company.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • The majority of CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) globally plan to use more AI within three years, with the U.S. leading all other nations at 73%. Over 63% of all CEOs and CHROs interviewed say that new technologies have a positive impact overall on their operations. CEOs and CHROs introducing AI into their enterprises are doing an effective job at change management, as the majority of employees, 54%, are less concerned about AI now that they see its benefits. C-level executives who are upskilling their employees by enabling them to have stronger digital dexterity skills stand a better chance of winning the war for talent. Source: Harris Interactive, in collaboration with Eightfold Talent Intelligence And Management Report 2019-2020 Report.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI is the foundation of the next generation of logistics technologies, with the most significant gains being made with advanced resource scheduling systems. AI-based techniques are the foundation of a broad spectrum of next-generation logistics and supply chain technologies now under development. The most significant gains are being made where AI can contribute to solving complex constraints, cost, and delivery problems manufacturers are facing today. For example, AI is providing insights into where automation can deliver the most significant scale advantages. Source: McKinsey & Company, Automation in logistics: Big opportunity, bigger uncertainty, April 2019. By Ashutosh Dekhne, Greg Hastings, John Murnane, and Florian Neuhaus.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI sees the most significant adoption by marketers working in $500M to $1B companies, with conversational AI for customer service as the most dominant. Businesses with between $500M to $1B lead all other revenue categories in the number and depth of AI adoption use cases. Just over 52% of small businesses with sales of $25M or less are using AI for predictive analytics for customer insights. It’s interesting to note that small companies are the leaders in AI spending, at 38.1%, to improve marketing ROI by optimizing marketing content and timing. Source: The CMO Survey: Highlights and Insights Report, February 2019. Duke University, Deloitte, and American Marketing Association. (71 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).
  • A semiconductor manufacturer is combining smart, connected machines with AI to improve yield rates by 30% or more, while also optimizing fab operations and streamlining the entire production process. They’ve also been able to reduce supply chain forecasting errors by 50% and lost sales by 65% by having more accurate product availability, both attributable to insights gained from AI. They’re also automating quality testing using machine learning, increasing defect detection rates up to 90%. These are the kind of measurable results manufacturers look for when deciding if a new technology is going to deliver results or not. These and many other findings from the semiconductor’s interviews with McKinsey are in the study, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? . The following graphic from the study illustrates the many ways AI and machine learning are improving semiconductor manufacturing.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • AI is making it possible to create propensity models by persona, and they are invaluable for predicting which customers will act on a bundling or pricing offer. By definition, propensity models rely on predictive analytics including machine learning to predict the probability a given customer will act on a bundling or pricing offer, e-mail campaign or other call-to-action leading to a purchase, upsell or cross-sell. Propensity models have proven to be very effective at increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Every business excelling at omnichannel today rely on propensity models to better predict how customers’ preferences and past behavior will lead to future purchases. The following is a dashboard that shows how propensity models work. Source: customer propensities dashboard is from TIBCO.
  • AI is reducing logistics costs by finding patterns in track-and-trace data captured using IoT-enabled sensors, contributing to $6M in annual savings. BCG recently looked at how a decentralized supply chain using track-and-trace applications could improve performance and reduce costs. They found that in a 30-node configuration, when blockchain is used to share data in real-time across a supplier network, combined with better analytics insight, cost savings of $6M a year is achievable. Source: Boston Consulting Group, Pairing Blockchain with IoT to Cut Supply Chain Costs, December 18, 2018, by Zia Yusuf, Akash Bhatia, Usama Gill, Maciej Kranz, Michelle Fleury, and Anoop Nannra.
  • Detecting and acting on inconsistent supplier quality levels and deliveries using AI-based applications is reducing the cost of bad quality across electronic, high-tech, and discrete manufacturing. Based on conversations with North American-based mid-tier manufacturers, the second most significant growth barrier they’re facing today is suppliers’ lack of consistent quality and delivery performance. Using AI, manufacturers can discover quickly who their best and worst suppliers are, and which production centers are most accurate in catching errors. Manufacturers are using dashboards much like the one below for applying machine learning to supplier quality, delivery, and consistency challenges. Source: Microsoft, Supplier Quality Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

  • Optimizing Shop Floor Operations with Real-Time Monitoring and AI is in production at Hitachi today. Combining real-time monitoring and AI to optimize shop floor operations, providing insights into machine-level loads and production schedule performance, is now in production at Hitachi. Knowing in real-time how each machine’s load level impacts overall production schedule performance leads to better decisions managing each production run. Optimizing the best possible set of machines for a given production run is now possible using AI.  Source: Factories of the Future: How Symbiotic Production Systems, Real-Time Production Monitoring, Edge Analytics, and AI Are Making Factories Intelligent and Agile, Youichi Nonaka, Senior Chief Researcher, Hitachi R&D Group and Sudhanshu Gaur Director, Global Center for Social Innovation Hitachi America R&D.

10 Ways Enterprises Are Getting Results From AI Strategies

Additional reading:

15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing, eConsultancy, February 28, 2019

4 Positive Effects of AI Use in Email Marketing, Statista, March 1, 2019

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Your Marketing (Plus 10 Provider Suggestions), Forbes, Kate Harrison, January 20, 2019

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute (PDF, 80 pp., no opt-in)

Artificial Intelligence: The Ultimate Technological Disruption Ascends, Woodside Capital Partners. (PDF,

DHL Trend Research, Logistics Trend Radar, Version 2018/2019 (PDF, 55 pp., no opt-in)

2018 (43 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

Digital/McKinsey, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? (PDF, 52 pp., no opt-in)

How To Win Tomorrow’s Car Buyers – Artificial Intelligence in Marketing & Sales, McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, McKinsey & Company. February 2019. (44 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in)

How Top Marketers Use Artificial Intelligence On-Demand Webinar with Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce and Meghann York, Director, Product Marketing, Salesforce

In-depth: Artificial Intelligence 2019, Statista Digital Market Outlook, February 2019 (client access reqd).

bes Insights and Quantcast Study (17 pp., PDF, free, opt-in),

Marketing & Sales Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales, (PDF, 60 pp., no opt-in), McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey & Company, Automation in logistics: Big opportunity, bigger uncertainty, April 2019. By Ashutosh Dekhne, Greg Hastings, John Murnane, and Florian Neuhaus

McKinsey & Company, Notes from the AI frontier: Modeling the impact of AI on the world economy, September 2018 By Jacques Bughin, Jeongmin Seong, James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Raoul Joshi

Papadopoulos, T., Gunasekaran, A., Dubey, R., & Fosso Wamba, S. (2017). Big data and analytics in operations and supply chain management: managerial aspects and practical challenges. Production Planning & Control28(11/12), 873-876.

Powerful pricing: The next frontier in apparel and fashion advanced analytics, McKinsey & Company, December 2018

Winning tomorrow’s car buyers using artificial intelligence in marketing and sales, McKinsey & Company, February 2019

World Economic Forum, Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Supply Chains (PDF, 22 pgs., no opt-in)

World Economic Forum, Supply Chain 4.0 Global Practices, and Lessons Learned for Latin America and the Caribbean (PDF, 44 pp., no opt-in)

Worldwide Spending on Artificial Intelligence Systems Will Grow to Nearly $35.8 Billion in 2019, According to New IDC Spending Guide, IDC; March 11, 2019

 

How To Reduce The Unemployment Gap With AI

How To Reduce The Unemployment Gap With AI

It’s time for AI startups to step up and use their formidable technology expertise in AI to help get more Americans back to work now.

Bottom Line: A.I.’s ability to predict and recommend job matches will help get more Americans back to work, helping to reduce the 22 million unemployed today.

One in ten Americans is out of work today based latest U.S. Department of Labor data. They’re primarily from the travel and hospitality, food services, and retail trade and manufacturing industries, with many other affected sectors. McKinsey & Company’s recent article, A new AI-powered network, is helping workers displaced by the coronavirus crisis provides context around the scope of challenges involved in closing the unemployment gap. McKinsey, Eightfold A.I., and the FMI – The Food Industry Association combined efforts to create the Talent Exchange, powered by Eightfold.ai in a matter of weeks. McKinsey insights across a broad base of industries to help Eightfold and FMI create the Talent Exchange in record time. “In talking with clients across the U.S., it became very clear that there is a huge labor mismatch, and individuals are being affected very differently—from retailers furloughing tens of thousands of workers to other organizations needing to hire more than 100,000 workers quickly. We’re excited to help bring a scalable offering to the market,” said McKinsey partner Andrew Davis. McKinsey and FMI collaborating with Eightfold speak volumes to how Americans are coming together to combat the COVID-19 fallout as a team.

And with the food & agriculture, transportation, and logistics industries considered essential, critical infrastructure by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), demand for workers is more urgent than ever. Eightfold’s Talent Exchange launched last weekend and already has more than 600,000 jobs uploaded that employers need to fill and is available in 15 languages. Eightfold is making the Talent Exchange available free of charge through the COVID-19 epidemic. The Talent Exchange is also being extended to other industries and eco-systems, illustrating how the Eightfold A.I. platform can provide transferability of skills across roles and industries.

Getting Americans Back To Work Using A.I.

Earlier this week Eightfold, FMI – The Food Industry Association and Josh Bersin, the noted global research analyst, public speaker, and writer on many aspects of human resources and talent management, hosted the webinar, COVID-19: Helping the food industry on the front lines with A.I. It’s available to watch here and includes a walk-through of the Eightfold Talent Exchange. The following graphic explains how the Talent Exchange addresses the needs of downsizing companies, impacted workers and hiring companies:

How To Reduce The Unemployment Gap With AI

Eightfold’s Talent Exchange Is A Model For How To Use A.I. For Good

Eightfold’s Talent Exchange uses A.I. algorithms to match candidates with available roles, based on each individual’s skills and previous experience.

Current employers who have to furlough or lay off employees can invite employees to participate in the program. Eightfold also designed in a useful feature that enables employers to add lists of impacted employees and send them a link to register for the Exchange. Employers can view their entire impacted workforce in a single dashboard and can filter by role, department, or location to see details about the talent needs from hiring companies and how their impacted employees are getting placed in new roles. The following is the Talent Exchange dashboard  for current employers showing progress in placing employees with furlough and outplacement partners, including the number of offers accepted by each:

How To Reduce The Unemployment Gap With AI

Employees impacted by a furlough or lay-off can create and update profiles free on the Talent Exchange, defining their job preferences, skills, and experience. That’s invaluable data for hiring companies relying on the platform to make offers and fill positions quickly.  How current employers handle furloughs and lay-offs today will be their identity for years to come, a point John Bersin made during the webinar saying “employers who thrive in the future are going to build long-term relationships with employees today.” Employees receive the following when their current employer adds their name to the Eightfold Talent Exchange. The fictional Company Travel Air is used for this example:

Hiring companies see candidate matches generated by the Exchange, so they can contact these prospects or immediately offer them new jobs. Eightfold’s A.I. engineering teams have automated and personalized this contact as well, expediting the process even further. Hiring companies can add onboarding instructions to allow new hires to start as soon as they are ready and have real-time views of their hiring dashboard shown below:

How To Reduce The Unemployment Gap With AI

Conclusion

Combining A.I.’s innate strengths with H.R. and talent management professionals’ expertise and insights is closing the unemployment gap today. Employers furloughing or laying off employees need to look out for them and get their profile data on the Talent Exchange, helping them find new jobs with hiring companies. As was so well-said by Josh Bersin during the webinar this week, “smart employers should think of their hourly workers as talent, not fungible, replaceable bodies.” For hiring companies in a war for proven employees with talent today, that mindset is more important than ever.

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