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2021 State Of The Machine Learning Market: Enterprise Adoption Is Strong

data science, machine learning, enterprise software, AI, artificial Intelligence
  • 59% of all large enterprises are deploying data science (DS) and machine learning (ML) today.
  • Nearly 50% of all organizations have up to 25 or more ML models in use today.
  • 29% of enterprises are refreshing their data science and machine learning models every day.
  • The higher the data literacy an enterprise can achieve before launching Data Science & Machine Learning initiatives, the higher the probability of success.

These and many other insights defining the state of the data science and machine learning market in 2021 are from Dresner Advisory Services’ 2021 Data Science and Machine Learning Market Study. The 7th annual report is noteworthy for its depth of analysis and insight into how data science and machine learning adoption is growing stronger in enterprises. In addition, the study explains which factors drive adoption and determine the key success factors that matter the most when deploying data science and machine learning techniques. The methodology uses crowdsourcing techniques to recruit respondents from over 6,000 organizations and vendors’ customer communities. As a result, 52% of respondents are from North America and 34% from EMEA, with the balance from Asia-Pacific and Latin America. 

“The perceived importance of data science and machine learning correlates with organizational success with BI, with users that self-report as completely successful with BI almost twice as likely to rate data science as critical,” said Jim Ericson, vice president, and research director at Dresner Advisory. “The perceived level of data literacy also correlates directly and positively with the current or likely future use of data science and machine learning in 2021.” 

Key insights from the study include the following:

  • 59% of large enterprises are deploying data science and machine learning in production today.  Enterprises with 10K employees or more lead all others in adopting and using DS and ML techniques, most often in R&D and Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC)-related work. Large-scale enterprises often rely on DS and ML to identify how internal processes and workflows can be streamlined and made more cost-efficient. For example, the CEO of a manufacturing company explained on a recent conference call that DS and ML pilots bring much-needed visibility and control across multiple plants and help troubleshoot inventory management and supply chain allocation problems.
machine learning
  • The importance of data science and ML to enterprises has doubled in eight years, jumping from 25% in 2014 to 70% in 2021. The Dresner study notes that a record level of enterprises sees data science and ML as critically important to their business in 2021. Furthermore, 90% of enterprises consider these technologies essential to their operations, rating them critically important or very important. Successful projects in Business Intelligence Competency Centers (BICC) and R&D helped data science and ML gain broad adoption across all organizations. Larger-scale enterprises with over 10K employees are successfully scaling data science and ML to improve visibility, control, and profitability in organizations today.
machine learning
  • Enterprises dominate the recruiting and retention of data science and machine learning talent. Large-scale enterprises with over 10K employees are the most likely to have BI experts and data scientists/statisticians on staff. In addition, large-scale enterprises lead hiring and retention in seven of the nine roles included in the survey. It’s understandable how the Business Intelligence (BI) expertise of professionals in these roles is helping remove the roadblocks to getting more business value from data science and machine learning. Enterprises are learning how to scale data science and ML models to take on problems that were too complex to solve with analytics or BI alone.    
machine learning
  • 80% of DS and ML respondents most want model lifecycle management, model performance monitoring, model version control, and model lineage and history at a minimum. Keeping track of the state of each model, including version control, is a challenge for nearly all organizations adopting ML today. Enterprises reach ML scale when they can manage ML models across their lifecycles using an automated system. The next four most popular features of model rollback, searchable model repository, collaborative, model co-creation tools, and model registration and certification are consistent with the feedback from Data Science teams on what they need most in an ML platform. 
machine learning
  • Financial Services prioritize model lifecycle management and model performance monitoring to achieve greater scale from the tens of thousands of models they’re using today. Consistent with other research that tracks ML adoption by industry, the Dresner study found that Financial Services leads all other industries in their need for the two most valuable features of ML platforms, model lifecycle management and model performance monitoring. Retail and Wholesale are reinventing their business models in real-time to become more virtual while also providing greater real-time visibility across supply chains. ML models in these two industries need automated model version control, model lineage and history, model rollback, collaborative, model co-creation tools, and model registration and certification. In addition, retailers and Wholesalers are doubling down on data science and machine learning to support new digital businesses, improve supply chain performance and increase productivity.
machine learning
  • Enterprises need support for their expanding range of regression models, text analytics functions, and ensemble learning. Over the last seven years, text analytics functions and sentiment analysis’ popularity has continually grown. Martech vendors and the marketing technologists driving the market are increasing sentiment analysis’ practicality and importance. Recommendation engines and geospatial analysis are also experiencing greater adoption due to martech changing the nature of customer- and market-driven analysis and predictive modeling. 
machine learning
  • R, TensorFlow, and PyTorch are considered the three most critical open-source statistical and machine learning frameworks in 2021. Nearly 70% of respondents consider R important to getting work done in data science and ML. The R language has established itself as an industry standard and is well-respected across DevOps, and IT teams in financial services, professional services, consulting, process, and discrete manufacturing. Tensorflow and Pytorch are considered important by the majority of organizations Dresner’s research team interviewed. They’re also among the most in-demand ML frameworks today, with new applicants having experience in all three being recruited actively today.   
machine learning
  • Data literacy predicts DS and ML program success rates. 64% of organizations say they have extremely high literacy rates, implying that DS and ML have reached mainstream adoption thanks partly to BI literacy rates in the past. Enterprises that prioritize data literacy by providing training, certification, and ongoing education increase success odds with ML. A bonus is that employees will have a chance to learn marketable skills they can use in their current and future positions. Investing in training to improve data literacy is a win/win.
machine learning
  • On-database analytics and in-memory analytics (both 91%), and multi-tenant cloud services (88%) are the three most popular technologies enterprises rely on for greater scalability. Dresner’s research team observes that the scalability of data science and machine learning often involves multiple, different requirements to address high data volumes, large numbers of users, data variety while supporting analytic throughput. Apache Spark support continues to grow in enterprises and is the fourth-most relied-on industry support for ML scalability.   
machine learning

Four Interesting Insights From Gartner 2020 CRM Market Share Update

Four Interesting Insights From Gartner 2020 CRM Market Share Update
  • “The worldwide CRM market grew from $61.6 billion in 2019.  The CRM market grew 12.6% to $69.3 billion in 2020, a strong performance but with wide variations in growth due to pandemic impacts.  However, CRM generally continues to thrive and grow above the overall software industry average rates, which were 8.8% in 2020”.
  • “CRM accounted for the largest share in the overall enterprise software market at 29%”
  • “Salesforce’s  CRM revenue grows by 18.8%, Reaching $13.5 billion In 2020”.
  • “SAP and Oracle each witnessed a slight decrease in market share to 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively, in 2020, down slightly from 5.7% and 4.7% in 2019”.

“The worldwide CRM market grew by 12.6% to $69.3 billion in 2020, up by $7.77 billion from 2019. CRM is the software market  and the third fastest-growing” according to the Gartner, Market Share Analysis: Customer Experience and Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2020, by Julian Poulter, Yanna Dharmasthira, Neha Gupta, Amarendra, 16 June 2021.

Gartner found that “Digital commerce grew at a rate of 17.1%, up from 13.2% growth in the prior year, highlighting the shift to digital”. The research firm also defined a new CRM submarket called Cross-CRM comprised of Customer Data Platform (CDP) and Voice of the Customer (VoC) spending. According to Gartner, “Customer Service and Support (CSS) also continues to be the largest segment in the overall CRM market, accounting for 35.5%share. The following graphic compares the top five vendors’ revenue by subsegments:

Four Interesting Insights From Gartner 2020 CRM Market Share Update

Additional interesting insights from Gartner latest CRM market share update include the following:

  • Five vendors comprise 35.6% of an increasingly fragmented CRM market. “Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Adobe, and Microsoft jointly held share in the CRM market is at 35.6%, up slightly from 35.2% in 2019, while still leaving a highly fragmented 23% stake for 81 named vendors (that we track in market share) and 41.5% stake for the remaining large number of other software vendor”s. “Shopify grew 41.5% year on year, a higher rate than the previous year’s 38%”.
Four Interesting Insights From Gartner 2020 CRM Market Share Update
  • Salesforce, Microsoft, and Adobe grew faster than the market in 2020.  “Salesforce’s CRM revenue grows by 18.8%, Reaching $13.5 Billion in 2020”. Microsoft’s CRM Revenue grew by 17.5% in 2020. Sales is its largest segment with 61% of its CRM revenue and achieved 13.7% growth, above the sales average growth of 10.9% suggesting Dynamics attractive price point, integrated with Power Platform and Office and as a unified CRM suite, are appealing to buyers”. Adobe is the most significant marketing software vendor with its “CRM revenue totaling $2.4 billion in 2020 (just ahead of Salesforce at $2.35 billion), up from $2.1 billion in 2019”.
Four Interesting Insights From Gartner 2020 CRM Market Share Update
  • $55 billion of 2020 CRM sales were cloud-based, comprising 79.4% of all sales, increasing from $47.7 billion in 2019. Gartner believes that “Cloud growth was slightly slower due to the pandemic, and on-premises software (new license and software support services) still had very small growth of just over 4% up from the previous year”. Vertical market niche-based applications are sold on-premise, including those tailored to the specific needs of banking, financial services, manufacturing, and process industries’ operations.
  • “North America and Western Europe hold the largest share in the CRM market, with 59.6% and 20.7% stakes, respectively”. According to Gartner, “Mature APAC and Japan emerged as the fastest-growing regions with 19.2% and 17.5% growth rates respectively. Adoption lags in these markets compared with North America and Western Europe, and this higher growth rate shows more investment as companies catch up. At the moment however, Mature APAC and Japan together only account for about 9% of the overall CRM market share”.
  • Global spending on Customer Service and Support (CSS) grew 12.9% in 2020, down from 14.78% in 2019.   “The CSS market saw growth of 12.9% in 2020, down from 14.78% in 2019, reaching $24.6 billion, up from $21.8 billion in 2019”. “The leading vendor in the CSS segment is Salesforce , with $5.3 billion in revenue,with service being its biggest cloud, overtaking sales in 2020”, according to Gartner. The next three top vendors include Genesys, Oracle and Zendesk – with Zendesk replacing SAP at No. 4 Zendesk,  achieved revenue of $866 million and a growth rate of 25.1%”.

Source:

Gartner, ‘Market Share Analysis: Customer Experience and Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2020’, Julian Poulter, Yanna Dharmasthira, Neha Gupta, Amarendra, June 16, 2021 (client access required)

2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth

2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth

Demand for TensorFlow expertise is one of the leading indicators of machine learning and AI adoption globally. Kaggle’s State of Data Science and Machine Learning 2020 Survey found that TensorFlow is the second most used machine learning framework today, with 50.5% of respondents currently using it.

TensorFlow expertise continues to be one of the most marketable machine learning and AI skills in 2021, making it a reliable leading indicator of technology adoption. In 2020, there were on average 4,134 LinkedIn open positions that required TensorFlow expertise soaring to 8,414 open LinkedIn positions this year in the U.S. alone. Globally, demand for TensorFlow expertise has doubled from 12,172 open positions in 2020 to 26,958 available jobs on LinkedIn today.  

Demand for machine learning expertise, as reflected in LinkedIn open positions, also shows strong growth. Increasing from 44,864 available jobs in 2020 to 78,372 in 2021 in the U.S. alone, organizations continue to staff up to support new initiatives quickly. Globally, LinkedIn’s open positions requiring machine-learning expertise grew from 98,371 in 2020 to 191,749 in 2021.

Market forecasts and projections also reflect strong growth for AI and machine learning spending globally for the long term. The following are key takeaways from the machine learning market forecasts from the last year include the following:

  • Forrester says the AI market will be defined and grow within four software segments, with AI maker platforms growing the fastest, reaching $13 billion by 2025, helping drive the market to $37 billion by 2025. Forrester is defining the four AI software segments as follows: AI maker platforms for general-purpose AI algorithms and data sets; AI facilitator platforms for specific AI functions like computer vision; AI-centric applications and middleware tools built around AI for specialized tasks like medical diagnosis; and AI-infused applications and middleware tools that differentiate through advanced use of AI in an existing app or tool category.  New AI-centric apps built on AI functions such as medical diagnosis and risk detection solutions will be the second-largest market, valued at nearly $10 billion by 2025. Source: Sizing The AI Software Market: Not As Big As Investors Expect But Still $37 Billion By 2025, December 10, 2020.
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • IDC predicts worldwide revenues for the artificial intelligence (AI) market, including software, hardware, and services, will grow from $327.5 billion in 2021 to $554.3 billion in 2024, attaining a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%. IDC further predicts that the AI Software Platforms market will be the strongest, with a five-year CAGR of 32.7%. The slowest will be AI System Infrastructure Software, with a five-year CAGR of 13.7% while accounting for roughly 36% of AI software revenues. IDC found that among the three technology categories, software represented 88% of the total AI market revenues in 2020. It’s the slowest growing category with a five-year CAGR of 17.3%. AI Applications took the largest share of revenue within the AI software category at 50% in 2020. Source: IDC Forecasts Improved Growth for Global AI Market in 2021, February 23, 2021
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • AI projects continued to accelerate in 2020 in the healthcare, bioscience, manufacturing, financial services, and supply chain sectors despite economic & social uncertainty. Two dominant themes emerge from the combination of 30 diverse AI technologies in this year’s Hype Cycle. The first theme is the democratization or broader adoption of AI across organizations. The greater the democratization of AI, the greater the importance of developers and DevOps to create enterprise-grade applications. The second theme is the industrialization of AI platforms. Reusability, scalability, safety, and responsible use of AI and AI governance are the catalysts contributing to the second theme.  The Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2020, is shown below: Source: Software Strategies Blog, What’s New In Gartner’s Hype Cycle For AI, 2020, October 20, 2020.
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Capgemini finds that Life Sciences, Retail, Consumer Products, and Automotive industries lead in the percentage of successfully deployed AI use cases today. Life Sciences leads all interviewed industries to AI maturity, with 27% of companies saying they have deployed use cases in production and at scale. Retail is also above the industry average of 13% of companies that have deployed AI in production at scale, with 21% of companies in the industry has adopted AI successfully.  17% of companies in the Consumer Products and Automotive industries now have AI in production, running at scale. Source: Capgemini, Making AI Work For You, (The AI-powered enterprise: Unlocking the potential of AI at scale) 2021
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Between 2018 and 2020, there’s been a 76% increase in sales professionals using AI-based apps and tools. Salesforce’s latest State of Sales survey found that 57% of high-performance sales organizations use AI today. High-performing sales organizations are 2.8x more likely to use AI than their peers. High-performing sales organizations rely on AI to gain new insights into customer needs, improve forecast accuracy, gain more significant visibility of rep activity, improve competitive analysis, and more. Source: Salesforce Research, 4th Edition, State of Sales, June 2020
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • While 24% of companies are currently using AI for recruitment, that number is expected to grow, with 56% reporting they plan to adopt AI next year. In addition, Sage’s recent survey of 500 senior HR and people leaders finds adoption of AI as an enabling technology for talent management increasing. AI is proving effective for evaluating job candidates for potential, improving virtual recruiting events, and reducing biased language in job descriptions. It’s also proving effective in helping to improve career planning and mobility. Josh Bersin, a noted HR industry analyst, educator, and technologist, recently published an interesting report on this area titled The Rise of the Talent Intelligence Platform. Leaders in the field of Talent Intelligence Platforms include Eightfold.ai. Grounded in Equal Opportunity Algorithms, the Eightfold® Talent Intelligence Platform uses deep-learning AI to help each person understand their career potential, and each enterprise understands the potential of their workforce.Sources: VentureBeat, 8 ways AI is transforming talent management in 2021, March 25, 2021, and Eightfold.ai.
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • 84% of marketers are using AI-based apps and platforms today, up from 28% in 2018. Salesforce Research’s latest State of Marketing survey finds that high-performing marketers use an average of seven different applications or use cases. The familiarity high-performing marketers have with AI is a primary factor in 52% of them predicting they will increase their use of AI-based apps in the future. Source: Salesforce Research, 6th Edition, State of Marketing, June 2020
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Marketing and Sales lead revenue increases due to AI adoption, yet lag behind other departments on cost savings.  40% of the organizations McKinsey interviewed see between a 6 and 10% increase in revenue from adopting AI in their marketing and sales departments. Adopting Ai to reduce costs delivers the best manufacturing and supply chain management results based on the McKinsey survey results. Revenue increases and cost reductions based on AI adoption are shown in the graphic below. Source: McKinsey & Company, The state of AI in 2020, November 17, 2020
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • 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 cases. Just over 52% of small businesses with sales of $25M or less use 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).
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Three out of four companies are fast-tracking automation initiatives, including AI.  Bain & Company found that executives would like to use AI to reduce costs and acquire new customers, but they’re uncertain about the ROI and cannot find the talent or solutions they need. Bain research conducted in 2019 found that 90% of tech executives view AI and machine learning as priorities that they should be incorporating into their product lines and businesses. But nearly as many (87%) also said they were not satisfied with their Company’s current approach to AI. Source: Bain & Company, Will the Pandemic Accelerate Adoption of Artificial Intelligence? May 26, 2020
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms predicts a continued glut of exciting innovations and visionary roadmaps from competing vendors. Competitors in the Data Science and Machine Learning (DSML) market focus on innovation and rapid product innovation over pure execution. Gartner said key areas of differentiation include UI, augmented DSML (AutoML), MLOps, performance and scalability, hybrid and multicloud support, XAI, and cutting-edge use cases and techniques (such as deep learning, large-scale IoT, and reinforcement learning). Please see my recent article on VentureBeat, Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant cites ‘glut of innovation’ in data science and ML, March 14, 2021.
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • 76% of enterprises are prioritizing AI & machine Learning In 2021 IT Budgets. Algorithmia’s survey finds that six in ten (64%) organizations say AI and ML initiatives’ priorities have increased relative to other IT priorities in the last twelve months. Algorithmia’s survey from last summer found that enterprises began doubling down on AI & ML spending last year. The pandemic created a new sense of urgency regarding getting AI and ML projects completed, a key point made by CIOs across the financial services and tech sectors last year during interviews for comparable research studies. Source: Algorithmia’s Third Annual Survey, 2021 Enterprise Trends in Machine Learning.
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Technavio predicts the Artificial Intelligence platforms market will grow to $17.29 billion by 2025, attaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 35%. The research firm cites the increased levels of AI R&D investments globally combined with accelerating adoption for pilot and proof of concept testing across industries. Technavio predicts Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alphabet Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. will emerge as top artificial intelligence platforms vendors by 2025. Source:  Artificial Intelligence Platforms Market to grow by $ 17.29 Billion at 35% CAGR during 2021-2025. June 21, 2021
2021 Roundup Of AI And Machine Learning Market Forecasts Show Strong Growth
  • Tractica predicts the AI software market will reach $126 billion in worldwide revenue by 2025.  The research firm predicts AI will grow fastest in consumer (Internet services), automotive, financial services, telecommunications, and retail industries. As a result, annual global AI software revenue is forecast to grow from $10.1 billion in 2018 to $126.0 billion by 2025. Source: T&D World, AI Software Market to Reach $126.0 Billion in Annual Worldwide Revenue by 2025.

Sources of Market Data on Machine Learning:

Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results

Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results
  • Salesforce Q1, FY22 revenue was $5.96B, the best quarter in the company’s history. 
  • $1M+ deals hit an all-time high and were up 120% year-over-year.  New $1M+ sales are averaging four or more Clouds, with senior management calling out Service Cloud during the earnings call as gaining strong traction in enterprises. Eight of the top 10 deals included Tableau, and five included MuleSoft.
  • FY22 Revenue guidance raised from $25.9B to $26B, approximately 22% year-over-year growth.
  • Service Cloud Q1, FY22 revenue is $1.5B, growing 20% year-over-year.
  • Tableau sales grew 38% year-over-year, reaching $394M in sales. MuleSoft grew 49% year-over-year, reaching $380M in sales in Q1, FY22.
  • The Slack acquisition is expected to close at the end of Q2, FY22.

Salesforce’s ability to successfully close new multi-cloud deals and upsell multi-cloud solutions into their sizeable installed base helped deliver the best quarterly results in its history. Service Cloud, Tableau, MuleSoft, and Government sector customer wins also contributed to a strong FY Q1, 2022. The following is the Salesforce Q1, FY22 Financial Summary from their Financial Update Q1 FY22 Presentation.

 

Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results

Key takeaways from their Q1, FY22 results include the following:

  • Q1, FY22 revenue is up 23% year-over-year to $5.96B. Operating margins reached 5.9%, with non-GAAP operating margins reaching 20.2% in Q1. Salesforce successfully capitalizes on its customers’ urgency to transform their businesses while providing them with proven, well-integrated apps and platform strategies to help them build new digital businesses. Salesforce is also well-positioned to increase revenue based on the growing interest in analytics apps, combined with strong demand for mobile and social apps and multi-cloud integration. Combining proven apps and platforms with their ongoing R&D work in machine learning, AI, and predictive intelligence shows Salesforce is well-positioned for long-term growth in an increasingly multi-cloud enterprise world.
Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results
  • Successful multi-cloud sales strategies are propelling double-digit growth in the platform side of the business. Five of the ten $1M+ deals Salesforce signed in Q1 included MuleSoft. The Platform business is the fastest-growing segment of Salesforce today, attaining 28% year-over-year growth. Marketing and Commerce are next at 25% year-over-year revenue growth, driven by many Salesforce customers digitally transforming their selling and service strategies online. The latest quarters’ financial results by product area show how well-integrated and revenue-generating the ExactTarget, MuleSoft, and Tableau are turning out to be today.
Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results
  • Salesforce will reach $50B in revenue by 2026, supported by their Total Available Market (TAM), reaching $204B by CY2025. During the Q1, FY22 earnings call, Marc Benioff predicted Salesforce would nearly double in size in four years, reaching $50B from $26B, which is the projected FY22 revenue target. During the earnings call, Marc Benioff also said, “but I’ll tell you that it’s awesome to see not just be number one in CRM, but we’re going to be the number one enterprise software applications company in the world passing SAP.”  The seven core product areas Salesforce compete are combining to create a TAM growing at an 11% CAGR between 2021 and 2025. 
Salesforce Sees Surge In $1M+ Deals Powering Record Q1, FY22 Results

The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG

The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
Apple Headquarters, Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. 
  • Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and Tesla are considered the five most innovative companies, according to BCG’s analysis of the 50 most innovative companies of 2021. 
  • Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Comcast, Mitsubishi, and Moderna join the top 50 most innovative companies for the first time this year.
  • The fastest movers include Toyota, who jumped from 41st to 21st; Salesforce, who jumped from 35th to 22nd; and Coca-Cola, who jumped from 48th to 28th.
  • 90% of companies that outperform on innovation outcomes demonstrate clear C-suite ownership of the innovation agenda.

These and many other insights are from the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) 15th annual report defining the world’s 50 most innovative companies in 2021. BCG surveyed 1,500 global innovation executives and found a 10% point increase, to 75%, in executives reporting that innovation is a top-three priority at their companies today. That’s the most significant year-over-year increase in the 15 global innovation surveys BCG has conducted since 2005. BCG’s Most Innovative Companies 2021: Overcoming the Innovation Readiness Gap is available for download free here (28 pp., PDF).  This years’ report methodology focuses on identifying the factors causing a large innovation readiness gap between the world’s most innovative companies and their peers across industries. Please see page 23 of the study for the methodology.

Key insights from BCGs’ most innovative companies of 2020 include the following:

  • Creating a new COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year, inventing test kits in weeks to protect public health, and redefining online shopping and safe home delivery reflect the versatility of the world’s most innovative companies in 2021. Pzifer, Moderna, and Merck & Company’s innate ability to innovate gave everyone a decade of their lives back. Delivering a vaccine in a year when the initial projection was a decade reflects the innovative efficiency of these companies. 2021 is the first year Abbott Labs, who invented and scaled the production of COVID-19 test kits, is included in the 50 most innovative companies worldwide. Amazon and Walmart’s logistics and e-commerce expertise helped ensure safe online shopping and fast home delivery was available to millions of people under stay-at-home orders.
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
  • Five factors most differentiate the most and least innovative companies. The basis of BCG’s methodology to identify the 50 most innovative companies in 2021 centers on their innovation-to-impact (i2i) framework. The framework is designed to help companies measure the readiness of their innovation programs to operate at a consistently high level of efficiency and effectiveness. The BCG i2i scoring system identified five factors that most differentiate innovative company leaders and laggards. The five factors that best indicate how innovative a company has the potential to be are shown in the following graphic:  
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG

  • Lack of collaboration between sales, marketing & R&D is the major obstacle to innovation.    31% of all companies surveyed see poor collaboration between marketing and R&D as the most significant obstacle to improving the return on their innovation investments. According to BCG, the collaboration between marketing, sales, and R&D is the most challenging in the Pharmaceutical industry, where 42% of respondents say it’s the biggest hurdle to achieving more significant returns on innovation.
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
  • Digital transformation of the core business is now a top priority for 75% of CEOs, and 65% of firms are doubling down on their plans for transformation with renewed urgency. BCG identified six success factors that together—and only together—flip the odds of digital transformation success from 30% to 80%. Those six success factors are close integration of digital strategy with the business strategy, commitment from the CEO through middle management, a talent core of digital superstars, business-led and flexible technology and data platforms, agile governance, and effective monitoring of progress toward defined outcomes.

Conclusion

Companies that know how to collaborate quickly between customer and R&D teams have an inside edge on being innovation leaders. The world’s most innovative companies also have senior management teams committed to the long-term success of nascent, unproven programs. There’s greater tolerance for risk, more of a focus on customers first and innovating around their needs, and an intuitive sense of how to close innovation gaps that hold other companies back.  

Gartner Predicts Public Cloud Services Market Will Reach $397.4B by 2022

Gartner Predicts Public Cloud Services Market Will Reach $397.4B by 2022
  • Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23.1% in 2021 to total $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.
  • Garter predicts worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will jump from $242.6B in 2019 to $692.1B in 2025, attaining a 16.1% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
  • Spending on SaaS cloud services is predicted to reach $122.6B this year, growing to $145.3B next year, attaining 19.3% growth between 2021 and 2022.  

These and many other insights are from Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 23% in 2021.  The pandemic created the immediate need for virtual workforces and cloud resources to support them at scale, accelerating public cloud adoption in 2020 with momentum continuing this year. Containerization, virtualization, and edge computing have quickly become more mainstream and are driving additional cloud spending. Gartner notes that CIOs face continued pressures to scale infrastructure that supports moving complex workloads to the cloud and the demands of a hybrid workforce.

Key insights from Gartner’s latest forecast of public cloud end-user spending include the following:

  • 36% of all public cloud services revenue is from SaaS applications and services this year, projected to reach $122.6B with CRM being the dominant application category. Customer Experience and Relationship Management (CRM) is the largest SaaS segment, growing from $44.7B in 2019 to $99.7B in 2025, attaining a 12.14% CAGR. SaaS-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are the second most popular type of SaaS application, generating $15.7B in revenue in 2019. Gartner predicts SaaS-based ERP sales will reach $35.8B in 2025, attaining a CAGR of 12.42%.
  • Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is predicted to grow 67% in 2021, followed by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) with a 38.5% jump in revenue. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is the third-fastest growing area of public cloud services, projected to see a 28.3% jump in revenue this year. SaaS, the largest segment of public cloud spending at 36.9% this year, is forecast to grow 19.3% this year. The following graphic compares the growth rates of public cloud services between 2020 and 2021.  
  • In 2021, SaaS end-user spending will grow by $19.8B, creating a $122.6B market this year. IaaS end-user spending will increase by $22.7B, the largest revenue gain by a cloud service in 2021. PaaS will follow, with end-user spending increasing $13.1B this year. CIOs and the IT teams they lead are investing in public cloud infrastructure to better scale operations and support virtual teams. CIOs from financial services and manufacturing firms I’ve recently spoken with are accelerating cloud spending for three reasons. First, create a more virtual organization that can scale; second, extend the legacy systems’ data value by integrating their databases with new SaaS apps; and third, an urgent need to improve cloud cybersecurity.

Conclusion

CIOs and the organizations they serve are prioritizing cloud infrastructure investment to better support virtual workforces, supply chains, partners, and service partners. The CIOs I’ve spoken with also focus on getting the most value out of legacy systems by integrating them with cloud infrastructure and apps. As a result, cloud infrastructure investment starting with IaaS is projected to see end-user spending increase from $82B this year to $223B in 2025, growing 38.5% this year alone. End-user spending on Database Management Systems is projected to lead all categories of PaaS through 2025, increasing from $31.2B this year to $84.8B in 2025. The following graphic compares cloud services forecasts and growth rates:

Which ERP Systems Are Most Popular With Their Users In 2021?

Which ERP Systems Are Most Popular With Their Users In 2021?
  • Sage Intacct, Oracle ERP Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP are the three highest-rated ERP systems by their users.
  • 86% of Unit4 ERP users say their CRM system is the best of all vendors in the study. The survey-wide satisfaction rating for CRM is 73%, accentuating Unit4 ERP’s leadership in this area.
  • 85% of Ramco ERP Suite users say their ERP systems’ analytics and reporting is the best of all 22 vendors evaluated.

These and many other insights are from SoftwareReview’s latest customer rankings published recently in their Enterprise Data Quadrant Report, Enterprise Resource Planning, April 2021. The report is based entirely on attitudinal data captured from verified owners of each ERP system reviewed. 1,179 customer reviews were completed, evaluating 22 vendors. SoftwareReviews is a division of the world-class IT research and consulting firm Info-Tech Research Group. Their business model is based on providing research to enterprise buyers on subscription, alleviating the need to be dependent on vendor revenue, which helps them stay impartial in their many customer satisfaction studies. Key insights from the study include the following:

  • Sage Intacct, Oracle ERP Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Unit4 ERP and FinancialForce ERP are most popular with their users.  SoftwareReview found that these six ERP systems have the highest Net Emotional Footprint scores across all ERP vendors included in the study. The Net Emotional Footprint measures high-level user sentiment. It aggregates emotional response ratings across 25 questions, creating an indicator of overall user feeling toward the vendor and product. The following quadrant charts the results of the survey:
  • 80% of Acumatica Cloud ERP users say their system helps create more business value, leading all vendors on this attribute. How effective an ERP system is at adapting to support new business and revenue models while providing greater cost visibility is the essence of how they deliver business value. The category average for this attribute is 75%. Of the 22 vendors profiled, 12 have scores at the average level or above, indicating many ERP vendors are focusing on these areas to improve the business case of adopting their systems.
Which ERP Systems Are Most Popular With Their Users In 2021?
  • 86% of Sage Intacct ERP users say their system excels at ease of implementation, leading all vendors in the comparison by a wide margin. Implementing a new ERP system can be a costly and time-consuming process as it involves extensive training, change management, and integration. Ease of Implementation received a category score of 75% across the 22 vendors, indicating ERP vendors are doubling down investments to improve this area. Just 11 of the 22 ERP vendors scored above the category average.
Which ERP Systems Are Most Popular With Their Users In 2021?

LinkedIn Best Companies To Work For In 2021 Dominated By Tech

  • Four of LinkedIn’s top ten companies to grow your career in 2021 are tech leaders.
  • Amazon is the highest rated company, followed by Alphabet (2nd), IBM (6th), and Apple (8th).
  • 15 of the 50 top companies in the U.S. are in the tech industry, including Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP.

These and many other insights are from the LinkedIn Top Companies 2021: The 50 best workplaces to grow your career in the U.S. published today. All 50 companies are currently hiring and have over 300,000 jobs available right now. LinkedIn’s analysis of the best companies to grow your career spans 20 countries, including Australia, BrazilCanadaChinaFranceGermanyIndiaItalyJapanMalaysiaMexico, the Netherlands, the PhilippinesSaudi ArabiaSingaporeSpainQatar, the UAE, and the U.K. 

LinkedIn is relying on a new methodology for the 2021 Top Companies Report. They’re basing the methodology has seven key pillars, each revealing an important element of career progression: the ability to advance, skills growth, company stability, external opportunity, company affinity, gender diversity, and educational background. LinkedIn provides an in-depth description of how they built their methodology here.

The 10 Best Companies To Grow Your Career In 2021

  1. Amazon – According to LinkedIn, Amazon has built an innovative remote-onboarding system, and it has more than 30,000 openings now. The fastest-growing skills in demand at Amazon include User Experience Design (UED), Digital Illustration, and Interaction Design. LinkedIn’s analysis shows the most in-demand jobs are Health And Safety Specialist, Station Operations Manager, Learning Manager.
  1. Alphabet, Inc – Planning to add at least 10,000 jobs in the U.S. alone and investing $7B in data centers and offices across 19 states, Alphabet grew revenue 47% last year, reaching $13B.  According to LinkedIn, the most in-demand jobs are Digital Specialist, Field Sales Specialist, and Business Systems Analyst.
  1. JPMorgan Chase & Co. – JPMorgan now offers 300 accredited skills and education programs to its workers, and the bank has been boosting wages for thousands of customer-facing roles to $16-$20 an hour. The most in-demand jobs include Market Specialist, Software Engineering Specialist, and Mortgage Underwriter.
  1. AT&T – 2020 was a tough year for AT&T, increasing the urgency the company has to grow its wireless and WarnerMedia businesses. Due to the pandemic, the company had to close hundreds of stores. Fortunately, AT&T was able to help the employees affected by the closures to find new jobs. The most in-demand jobs are Service Analyst, Trading Analyst, and Investment Specialist.
  1. Bank of America – Bank of America rose to the challenges of 2020, quickly redeploying almost 30,000 employees to assist in its role facilitating the government-backed Paycheck Protection Program. The most in-demand jobs are Trading Analyst, Investment Specialist, and Financial Management Analyst.
  1. IBM – More than one-third of IBM’s revenue now comes from work related to cloud computing. The company’s Red Hat unit is a leading contributor to that growth, prizing skills such as Linux, Java, Python, and agile methodologies. IBM also is a leader in hiring autistic people through its Neurodiversity program. Most in-demand jobs include Back End Developer, Enterprise Account Executive, and Technical Writer.
  1. Deloitte –  Deloitte’s key activities span audit, assurance, tax, risk, and financial advisory work, as well as management consulting. It’s aiming to hire 19,000 people in the year ending May 29. Top recruiting priorities currently include cybersecurity, cloud computing, and analytics specialists.
  1. Apple – LinkedIn finds that Apple is committed to building an inclusive culture. Over half of its new hires in the U.S. represent historically underrepresented groups in tech — and the company claims to have achieved pay equity in every country where it operates—looking for an in? Apple has nearly 3,000 open jobs in the U.S. right now, ranging from its “genius” role at its retail stores to executive assistants and software engineers. 
  1. Walmart –  In February, the retail giant promised further raises to over 400,000 of its people and months later announced it would increase the share of its hourly store employees who work full-time to over 66% (up from 53% five years ago). Meanwhile, Walmart continues to think beyond the store as it ventures deeper into the e-commerce realm. Most in-demand jobs include Operational Specialist, Fulfillment Associate, and Replenishment Manager.
  1. EY – The accounting firm spent $450 million on employee training in 2020. And it is planning to hire over 15,000 people in the next year. With that much talent coming in, EY is focused on bringing in workers with diverse backgrounds, focusing on gender identity, race, and ethnicity, disability, LGBT+, and veterans. The most in-demand jobs include Strategy Director, Business Transformation Consultant, and Information Technology Consulting Manager.

FinancialForce’s Spring 2021 Release Shows Why Being Customer-Centric Pays

FinancialForce's Spring 2021 Release Shows Why Being Customer-Centric Pays

Bottom Line: Customer revenue lifecycles are the lifeblood of any services business, making FinancialForce’s Spring 2021 release timely given the services-first revenue renaissance happening today.

The essence of an excellent services business is that it can consistently create expectations clients trust and the business regularly exceeds. Orchestrating the best people for a given project at the right time, tracking costs, revenue, and margin across all services revenue, including those associated with a client’s assets, is very challenging. Customer revenue lifecycles are in the data, yet no one can get to them because they’re hidden across multiple systems that aren’t integrated. Knowing how efficient a services business is at turning customer engagement into cash is what everyone needs to know, but no one can find. The challenge is equally as daunting for long-established services providers and those rushing into new services businesses to redefine themselves in the hope of profits that are more consistent and fewer price wars.

How Much Is Customer Engagement Is Worth?

Services businesses face the paradox of exceeding client expectations with every engagement but not knowing if extra time, resources, and staff invested are paying off with more revenue and profit. FinancialForce’s Spring 2021 release looks to solve this problem. What galvanizes the ERP, PSA, and platform announcements is a fresh intensity on customer centricity, both for the services business adopting the Spring 2021 release and the customers it’s intended to serve.

Knowing if and by how much a given customer engagement and its revenue lifecycle generate cash, and its potential is one of the core focus areas of the Spring 2021 release. It’s badly needed as many services are flying blind today, overcommitting resources for little return and too often losing control of client engagement and paying the price in lost margin and profits. FinancialForce sees that pain and wants to alleviate it with better financial visibility on all aspects of customer services revenue. FinancialForce aims to provide customer-centric financial reporting down to the revenue stream and costing measure level.  

FinancialForce's Spring 2021 Release Shows Why Being Customer-Centric Pays
Knowing every customer’s impact on revenue and profitability from all revenue streams will make managing services engagements much more accurate, easier to manage, and more profitable. 

Key Takeaways From The Spring 2021 Release

Customer centricity seen through a financial lens is the cornerstone of FinancialForce’s latest release. One of the primary goals of this release is to update more applications to Salesforce Lightning to provide FinancialForce users with a more consistent user experience across all applications.  Salesforce has been doubling down for years on Lightning and its user experience technologies, with FinancialForce reaping the benefits for over a decade. FinancialForce is transitioning their core Professional Services Automation (PSA), Billing, Accounting & Finance and Procurement, Order and Inventory Management to Lightning in this release in response to their customers wanting a consistent user experience across the entire FinancialForce suite of applications.  The Spring 2021 release reflects how FinancialForce strives to provide a real-time understanding of customer lifetime value for their ERP and PSA customers.  

Additional key takeaways include the following:

  • FinancialForce sees reducing days to close as one of the highest priorities they need to address today. The majority of new feature announcements center on how the days to close cycles can be streamlined, especially across multi-company and multisite locations across geographic and currency-specific regions of the world. Multi-company currency revaluation will help FinancialForce customers who operate across multiple geographies that operate in different currencies and will be especially useful for those clients creating new global channels and considering foreign acquisitions. Further showing the high priority they are putting on reducing days to close, the Spring 2021 release also includes automated eliminations, multi-company period close for software closes, which are designed to temporarily close out a financial report and revenue schedules that can provide a future view in revenues – a key factor in knowing customer revenue lifecycles.
  • New features and a new Lightning interface for Accounting, Billing Central, and Inventory Management simplifies complex transactions for users. FinancialForce has one of the most customer-driven product management teams in enterprise software. The depth of features they have added to inventory management, transactional and reconciliation processes for accounting, drop-ship use cases, and enhancements for adding products to billing contracts show how much FinancialForce is listening to customers.
  • AI-enhanced financial reporting that works with any Einstein data set. FinancialForce leads the Salesforce partner ecosystem when it comes to integrating Tableau CRM (formerly known as Einstein Analytics) into its platform. Now thirteen releases in, FinancialForce’s Spring 2021 release reflects the intuitive, adaptive intelligence that the product management team aims to achieve by integrating Einstein into their financial reporting workflows. 
  • Professional Services Automation (PSA) Applications Including Resource Management, Project Management, and Time & Expense upgraded to Lightning.  Transitioning three of the core PSA applications to Lightning will help broaden adoption and make them easier to upsell and cross-sell across the FinancialForce customer base. It will also help existing customers using these applications get new employees up to speed faster on them, given how much more streamlined Lightning is as an interface compared to previous versions.
  • Intelligent Staffing solves the complex challenges resource managers face when assigning the best possible associates to a given project. Designed to filter and intelligently rank potential resources based on region, practice, group skill sets, and availability, Intelligent Staffing is designed to get resource managers as close to an ideal match as possible for a given project’s requirements. This is a much-welcomed new feature by FinancialForce customers who are large-scale services providers as they’re facing the challenges of assigning the right person to the right project at the right time to ensure project success.    
  • Integration of Salesforce AI’s Next Best Action (NBA) will raise the level of project expertise at scale across customers.  Part of the customer centricity focus in Spring 2021 is focused on providing customers with new technologies and applications to share expertise and knowledge at scale. Next Best Action provides prescriptive guidance for the project manager and will see heavy use in new associate onboarding across services businesses and achieve greater corporate-wide learning at scale. This is consistent with the focus in the Spring 2021 release on bringing greater space and speed to mid-size and larger services customers.

Conclusion

FinancialForce defines customer engagement and centricity from a financial standpoint in the Spring 2021 release. Too often, services businesses commit to large-scale projects without a clear idea of the customer revenue lifecycle. With FinancialForce, they can stop and ask if the level of customer engagement they’re committing to is worth it or not – and if it isn’t, what needs to be done. FinancialForce is doubling down on user experience and accelerating time-to-close, two areas their customers want innovation to and look to them to deliver. Look for FinancialForce to scale out with more MuleSoft and Tableau integration scenarios, all aimed at capitalizing on their expertise developing on the Salesforce platform. There’s a bigger challenge to customer engagement on the horizon, and that’s providing a real-time view of financials across all customers with all available data across a business, making MuleSoft integration key to FinancialForce’s future growth.

The Top 20 Machine Learning Startups To Watch In 2021

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  • There are a record number of 9,977 machine learning startups and companies in Crunchbase today, an 8.2% increase over the 9,216 startups listed in 2020 and a 14.6% increase over the 8,705 listed in 2019.
  • Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning (ML)-related companies received a record $27.6 billion in funding in 2020, according to Crunchbase. 
  • Of those A.I. and machine learning startups receiving funding since January 1, 2020, 62% are seed rounds, 31% early-stage venture rounds and 6.7% late-stage venture capital-funded rounds.
  • A.I. and machine learning startups’ median funding round was $4.4 million and the average was $29.8 million in 2020, according to Crunchbase.

Throughout 2020, venture capital firms continued expanding into new global markets, with London, New York, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Boston, Seattle and Singapore startups receiving increased funding. Out of the 79 most popular A.I. & ML startup locations, 15 are in the San Francisco Bay Area, making that region home to 19% of startups who received funding in the last year. Israel’s Tel Aviv region has 37 startups who received venture funding over the last year, including those launched in Herzliya, a region of the city known for its robust startup and entrepreneurial culture.  

The following graphic compares the top 10 most popular locations for A.I. & ML startups globally based on Crunchbase data as of today:

Top 20 Machine Learning Startups To Watch In 2021

Augury – Augury combines real-time monitoring data from production machinery with AI and machine learning algorithms to determine machine health, asset performance management (APM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) to provide manufacturing companies with new insights into their operations. The digital machine health technology that the company offers can listen to the machine, analyze the data and catch any malfunctions before they arise. This enables customers to adjust their maintenance and manufacturing processes based on actual machine conditions. The platform is in use with HVAC, industrial factories and commercial facilities.

Alation – Alation is credited with pioneering the data catalog market and is well-respected in the financial services community for its use of A.I. to interpret and present data for analysis. Alation has also set a quick pace to evolving its platform to include data search & discovery, data governance, data stewardship, analytics and digital transformation. With its Behavioral Analysis Engine, inbuilt collaboration capabilities and open interfaces, Alation combines machine learning with human insight to successfully tackle data and metadata management challenges. More than 200 enterprises are using Alation’s platform today, including AbbVie, American Family Insurance, Cisco, Exelon, Finnair, Munich Re, New Balance, Pfizer, Scandinavian Airlines and U.S. Foods. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Alation is backed by leading venture capitalists including Costanoa, Data Collective, Icon, Sapphire and Salesforce Ventures.

Algorithmia – Algorithmia’s expertise is in machine learning operations (MLOps) and helping customers deliver ML models to production with enterprise-grade security and governance. Algorithmia automates ML deployment, provides tooling flexibility, enables collaboration between operations and development and leverages existing SDLC and CI/CD practices. Over 110,000 engineers and data scientists have used Algorithmia’s platform to date, including the United Nations, government intelligence agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Avora – Avora is noteworthy for its augmented analytics platform, making in-depth data analysis intuitively as easy as performing web searches. The company’s unique technology hides complexity, empowering non-technical users to run and share their reports easily. By eliminating the limitations of existing analytics, reducing data preparation and discovery time by 50-80% and accelerating time to insight, Avora uses ML to streamline business decision-making. Headquartered in London with offices in New York and Romania, Avora helps accelerate decision making and productivity for customers across various industries and markets, including Retail, Financial Services, Advertising, Supply Chain and Media and Entertainment.

Boast.ai – Focused on helping companies in the U.S. and Canada recover their R&D costs from respective federal governments, Boast.ai enables engineers and accountants to gain tax credits using AI-based tools. Some of the tax programs Boast.ai works with include US R&D Tax Credits, Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and Interactive Digital Media Tax Credits (IDMTC). The startup has offices in San Francisco, Vancouver and Calgary.

ClosedLoop.ai – An Austin, Texas-based startup, ClosedLoop.ai has created one of the healthcare industry’s first data science platforms that streamline patient experiences while improving healthcare providers’ profitability.  Their machine learning automation platform and a catalog of pre-built predictive and prescriptive models can be customized and extended based on a healthcare provider’s unique population or client base needs. Examples of their technology applications include predicting admissions/readmissions, predicting total utilization & total risk, reducing out-of-network utilization, avoiding appointment no-shows, predicting chronic disease onset or progression and improving clinical documentation and reimbursement. The Harvard Business School, through its Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator, recently named ClosedLoop.ai as one of the fastest accelerating companies in its Real World Data Analytics Landscapes report.

Databand – A Tel Aviv-based startup that provides a software platform for agile machine learning development, Databand was founded in 2018 by Evgeny Shulman, Joshua Benamram and Victor Shafran. Data engineering teams are responsible for managing a wide suite of powerful tools but lack the utilities they need to ensure their ops are running properly. Databand fills this gap with a solution that enables teams to gain a global view of their data flows, make sure pipelines complete successfully and monitor resource consumption and costs. Databand fits natively in the modern data stack, plugging seamlessly into tools like Apache Airflow, Spark, Kubernetes and various ML offerings from the major cloud providers.

DataVisor – DataVisor’s approach to using AI for increasing fraud detection accuracy on a platform level is noteworthy. Using proprietary unsupervised machine learning algorithms, DataVisor enables organizations to detect and act on fast-evolving fraud patterns and prevent future attacks before they happen. Combining advanced analytics and an intelligence network of more than 4.2B global user accounts, DataVisor protects against financial and reputational damage across various industries, including financial services, marketplaces, e-commerce and social platforms. They’re one of the more fascinating cybersecurity startups using AI today.

Exceed.ai – What makes Exceed.ai noteworthy is how their AI-powered sales assistant platform automatically communicates the lead’s context and enables sales and marketing teams to scale their lead engagement and qualification efforts accordingly. Exceed.ai follows up with every lead and qualifies them quickly through two-way, automated conversations with prospects using natural language over chat and email. Sales reps are freed from performing error-prone and repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on revenue-generating activities such as phone calls and demos with potential customers.

Indico – Indico is a Boston-based startup specializing in solving the formidable challenge of how dependent businesses are on unstructured content yet lack the frameworks, systems and tools to manage it effectively. Indico provides an enterprise-ready A.I. platform that organizes unstructured content while streamlining and automating back-office tasks. Indico is noteworthy given its track record of helping organizations automate manual, labor-intensive, document-based workflows.  Its breakthrough in solving these challenges is an approach known as transfer learning, which allows users to train machine learning models with orders of magnitude fewer data than required by traditional rule-based techniques. Indico enables enterprises to deploy A.I. to unstructured content challenges more effectively while eliminating many common barriers to A.I. & ML adoption.

LeadGenius – LeadGenius is noteworthy for its use of AI to provide personalized and actionable B2B lead information that helps its clients attain their global revenue growth goals. LeadGenius’s worldwide team of researchers uses proprietary technologies, including AI and ML-based techniques, to deliver customized lead generation, lead enrichment and data hygiene services in the format, methods and frequency defined by the customer. Their mission is to enable B2B sales and marketing organizations to connect with their prospects via unique and personalized data sets.

Netra – Netra is a Boston-based startup that began as part of MIT CSAIL research and has multiple issued and pending patents on its technology today. Netra is noteworthy for how advanced its video imagery scanning and text metadata interpretation are, ensuring safety and contextual awareness. Netra’s patented A.I. technology analyzes videos in real-time for contextual references to unsafe content, including deepfakes and potential cybersecurity threats. 

Particle –  Particle is an end-to-end IoT platform that combines software including A.I., hardware and connectivity to provide a wide range of organizations, from startups to enterprises, with the framework they need to launch IoT systems and networks successfully.  Particle customers include Jacuzzi, Continental Tires, Watsco, Shifted Energy, Anderson EV, Opti and others. Particle is venture-backed and has offices in San Francisco, Shenzhen, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Boston. Particle’s developer community includes over 200,000 developers and engineers in more than 170 countries today.

RideVision – RideVision was founded in 2018 by motorcycle enthusiasts Uri Lavi and Lior Cohen. The company is revolutionizing the motorcycle-safety industry by harnessing the strength of artificial intelligence and image-recognition technology, ultimately providing riders with a much broader awareness of their surroundings, preventing collisions and enabling bikers to ride with full confidence that they are safe. RideVision’s latest round was $7 million in November of last year, bringing their total funding to $10 million in addition to a partnership with Continental AG.

Savvie – Savvie is an Oslo-based startup specializing in translating large volumes of data into concrete actions that bakery and café owners can utilize to improve their bottom line every day.  In doing so, we help food businesses make the right decisions to optimize their operations and increase profitability while reducing waste at its source. What’s noteworthy about this startup is how adept they are at fine-tuning ML algorithms to provide their clients with customized recommendations and real-time insights about their food and catering businesses.  Their ML-driven insights are especially valuable given how bakery and café owners are pivoting their business models in response to the pandemic.

SECURITI.ai – One of the most innovative startups in cybersecurity, combining AI and ML to secure sensitive data in multi-cloud and mixed platform environments, SECURITI.ai is a machine learning company to watch in 2021, especially if you are interested in cybersecurity.  Their AI-powered platform and systems enable organizations to discover potential breach risk areas across multi-cloud, SaaS and on-premise environments, protect it and automate all private systems, networks and infrastructure functions.

SkyHive – SkyHive is an artificial intelligence-based SaaS platform that aims to reskill enterprise workforces and communities. It develops and commercializes a methodology, Quantum Labor Analysis, to deliver real-time, skill-level insights into internal workforces and external labor markets, identify future and emerging skills and facilitate individual-and company-level reskilling. SkyHive is industry-agnostic and supporting enterprise and government customers globally with a mission to reduce unemployment and underemployment. Sean Hinton founded the technology company in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2017.

Stravito – Stravito is an A.I. startup that’s combining machine learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Search to help organizations find and get more value out of the many market research reports, competitive, industry, market share, financial analysis and market projection analyses they have by making them searchable. Thor Olof Philogène and Sarah Lee founded the company in 2017, who identified an opportunity to help companies be more productive, getting greater value from their market research investments. Thor Olof Philogène and Andreas Lee were co-founders of NORM, a research agency where both worked for 15 years serving multinational brands, eventually selling the company to IPSOS. While at NORM, Anders and Andreas were receiving repeated calls from global clients that had bought research from them but could not find it internally and ended up calling them asking for a copy. Today the startup has Carlsberg, Comcast, Colruyt Group, Danone, Electrolux, Pepsi Lipton and others. Stravito has offices in Stockholm (H.Q.), Malmö and Amsterdam.

Verta.ai – Verta is a startup dedicated to solving the complex problems of managing machine learning model versions and providing a platform to launch models into production. Founded by Dr. Manasi Vartak, Ph.D., a graduate of MIT, who led a team of graduate and undergraduate students at MIT CSAIL to build ModelDB, Verta is based on their work define the first open-source system for managing machine learning models. Her dissertation, Infrastructure for model management and model diagnosis, proposes ModelDB, a system to track ML-based workflows’ provenance and performance. In August of this year, Verta received a $10 million Series A round led by Intel Capital and General Catalyst, who also led its $1.7 million seed round. For additional details on Verta.ai, please see How Startup Verta Helps Enterprises Get Machine Learning Right. The Verta MLOps platform launch webinar provides a comprehensive overview of the platform and how it’s been designed to streamline machine learning models into production:

V7 – V7 allows vision-based A.I. systems to learn continuously from training data with minimal human supervision. The London-based startup emerged out of stealth in August 2018 to reveal V7 Darwin, an image labeling platform to create training data for computer vision projects with little or no human involvement necessary. V7 specializes in healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, autonomous driving, agri-tech, sporting clients like Merck, GE Healthcare and Toyota. V7 Darwin launched at CVPR 2019 in Long Beach, CA. Within its first year, it has semi-automatically annotated over 1,000 image and video segmentation datasets. V7 Neurons is a series of pre-trained image recognition applications for industry use. The following video explains how V7 Darwin works:

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