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Posts from the ‘SaaS’ Category

10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of AI In Marketing

  • Top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing (28% vs. 12%) according to Adobe’s latest Digital Intelligence Briefing.
  • Retailers are investing $5.9B this year in AI-based marketing and customer service solutions to improve shoppers’ buying experiences according to IDC.
  • Financial Services marketers lead all other industries in AI application adoption, with 37% currently using them today.
  • Sales and Marketing teams most often collaborate using Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and Marketing Automation AI-based applications, with sales leaders predicting AI adoption will increase 155% across sales teams in two years.

Artificial Intelligence enables marketers to understand sales cycles better, correlating their strategies and spending to sales results. AI-driven insights are also helping to break down data silos so marketing and sales can collaborate more on deals. Marketing is more analytics and quant-driven than ever before with the best CMOs knowing which metrics and KPIs to track and why they fluctuate.

The bottom line is that machine learning and AI are the technologies CMOs and their teams need to excel today. The best CMOs balance the quant-intensive nature of running marketing with qualitative factors that make a company’s brand and customer experience unique. With greater insight into how prospects make decisions when, where, and how to buy, CMOs are bringing a new level of intensity into driving outcomes. An example of this can be seen from the recent Forbes Insights and Quantcast research, Lessons of 21st-Century Brands Modern Brands & AI Report (17 pp., PDF, free, opt-in). The study found that AI enables marketers to increase sales (52%), increase in customer retention (51%), and succeed at new product launches (49%). AI is making solid contributions to improving lead quality, persona development, segmentation, pricing, and service.

The following ten charts provide insights into how AI is transforming marketing:

  • 21% of sales leaders rely on AI-based applications today, with the majority collaborating with marketing teams sharing these applications. Sales leaders predict that their use of AI will increase 155% in the next two years. Sales leaders predict AI will reach critical mass by 2020 when 54% expect to be using these technologies. Marketing and sales are relying on AI-based marketing automation, configure-price-quote (CPQ), and intelligent selling systems to increase revenue and profit growth significantly in the next two years. Source: Salesforce Research, State of Sales, 3rd edition. (58 pp., PDF, free, opt-in).

  • AI sees the most significant adoption by marketers working in $500M to $1B companies, with conversational AI for customer service is 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).

  • 22% of marketers currently are using AI-based applications with an additional 57% planning to use in the next two years. There are nine dominant use cases marketers are concentrating on today, ranging from personalized channel experiences to programmatic advertising and media buying to predictive customer journeys and real-time next best offers. Source: Salesforce’s State of Marketing Study, 5th edition

  • Content personalization and predictive analytics from customer insights are the two areas CMOs most prioritize AI spending today. The CMO study found that B2B service companies are the top user of AI for content personalization (62.2%) and B2B product companies use AI for augmented and virtual reality, facial recognition and visual search more than any other business types. Source: CMOs’ Top Uses For AI: Personalization and Predictive Analytics. Marketing Charts. March 14, 2019

  • Personalizing the overall customer journey and driving next-best offers in real-time are the two most common ways marketing leaders are using AI today, according to Salesforce. Improving customer segmentation, improving advertising and media buying, and personalizing channel experiences are the next fastest-growing areas of AI adoption in marketing today. Source: Salesforce’s State of Marketing Study, 5th edition

  • 81% of marketers are either planning to or are using AI in audience targeting this year. 80% are currently using or planning to use AI for audience segmentation. EConsultancy’s study found marketers are enthusiastic about AI’s potential to increase marketing effectiveness and track progress. 88% of marketers interviewed say AI will enable them t be more effective in getting to their goals. Source: Dream vs. Reality: The State of Consumer First and Omnichannel Marketing. EConsultancy (36 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

  • Over 41% of marketers say AI is enabling them to generate higher revenues from e-mail marketing. They also see an over 13% improvement in click-thru rates and 7.64% improvement in open rates. Source: 4 Positive Effects of AI Use in Email Marketing, Statista (infographic), March 1, 2019.

Additional data sources on AI’s use in Marketing:

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

AI: The Next Generation Of Marketing Driving Competitive Advantage Throughout The Customer Life Cycle, Forrester Consulting. February 2017 (10 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

Artificial Intelligence for Marketing (complete book) (361 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in)

Artificial Intelligence Roundup, eMarketer, May 2018 (15 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in)

Digital Intelligence Briefing, Adobe, 2018 (43 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

How 28 Brands Are Using AI to Enhance Their Marketing [Infographic], Impact Blog

How AI Is Changing Sales, Harvard Business Review, July 30, 2018

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

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)

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Artificial Intelligence in Enterprise Marketing Clouds 2017 Vendor Assessment, (11 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in.)

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

Leading reasons to use artificial intelligence (AI) for marketing personalization according to industry professionals worldwide in 2018, Statista.

Lessons of 21st-Century Brands Modern Brands & AI Report, Forbes Insights and Quantcast Study (17 pp., PDF, free, opt-in),

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

Share of marketing and agency professionals who are comfortable with AI-enabled technology automated handling of their campaigns in the United States as of June 2018, Statista.  

The CMO Survey: Highlights and Insights Report, February 2019. Duke University, Deloitte and American Marketing Association. (71 pp., PDF, free, no opt-in).

Visualizing the uses and potential impact of AI and other analytics, McKinsey Global Institute, April 2018.  Interactive page based on Tableau data set can be found here.

What really matters in B2B dynamic pricing, McKinsey & Company, October 2018

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

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

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What’s Next For You? How AI Is Transforming Talent Management

Bottom Line: Taking on the talent crisis with greater intelligence and insight, delivering a consistently excellent candidate experience, and making diversity and inclusion a part of their DNA differentiates growing businesses who are attracting and retaining employees. The book What’s Next For You? by Ashutosh Garg, CEO and Co-Founder and Kamal Ahluwalia, President of eightfold.ai provide valuable insights and a data-driven roadmap of how AI is helping to solve the talent crisis for any business.

The Talent Crisis Is Real

  • 78% of CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) say talent programs are important, with 56% say their current programs are ineffective.
  • 83% of employees want a new job yet only 53% want to leave for a new company.
  • 57% of employees say diversity and inclusion initiatives aren’t working, and 40% say their companies lack qualified diverse talent.
  • Nearly 50% of an organizations’ top talent will leave their jobs in the first two years of being hired.
  • 28% of open positions today won’t be filled in the next 12 months.

The above findings are just a sample of the depth of data-driven content and roadmap the book What’s Next For You? delivers. Co-authors Ashutosh Garg’s and Kamal Ahluwalia’s expertise in applying AI and machine learning to talent management problems with a strong data-first mindset is evident throughout the book. What makes the book noteworthy is how the authors write from the heart first with empathy for applicants and hiring managers, supporting key points with data. The empathetic, data-driven tone of the book makes the talent crisis relatable while also illustrating how AI can help any business make better talent management decisions.

“Businesses are having to adapt to technology changes and changes in customer expectations roughly every 10 years – a timeframe that is continuing to shrink. As a result, business leaders need to really focus on rethinking their business strategy and the associated talent strategy, so they have the organizational capability to transform and capitalize on the inevitable technology shifts,” writes John Thompson, Venture Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Chairman of the Board at Microsoft in the forward.

The book cites talent management researchers and experts who say “our current knowledge base has a half-life of about two years, and the speed of technology is outperforming us as humans because of what it can do quickly and effectively“ (p.64). John Thompson’s observations in the forward that the time available for adapting to change is shrinking is a unifying thread that ties this book together. One of the most convincing is the fact that using today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and hiring processes prone to biases, there’s a 30% chance a new hire will not make it through their first year. If the new hire is a cloud computing professional, this equates to a median salary of $146,350 and taking best-case 46 days to find their replacement. The cost and time loss of losing just one recruited cloud computing professional can derail a project for months. It will cost at least $219,000 or more to replace just that one engineer. Any manager who has lost a new hire within a year can relate to how real the talent crisis is and how urgent it is to solve it.

The Half-Life Of Skills Is Shrinking Fast

The most compelling chapter of the book illustrates how today’s talent crisis can be solved by taking an AI-enabled approach to every aspect of talent management. Chapter 4, The Half-Life Of Skills Is Shrinking Fast, delves into how AI can find candidates who can unlearn old concepts, and quickly master new ones. The book calls out this attribute of any potential new hire as being essential for them to adapt.  Using higher quality data than is available in traditional ATS systems, the authors illustrate how AI-based systems can be used for evaluating both the potential and experiences of applicants to match them with positions they will excel in. The authors make a convincing argument that AI can increase the probability of new candidate success. They cite a well-known Leadership IQ statistic of 46% of all new employee hires failing to adapt within 18 months, and the Harvard Business Review study finding between 40% to 60% of new upper management hires fail within 18 months. The authors contend that even Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the primary architects of the Renaissance, would have trouble finding work using a traditional resume entered into an ATS system today because his exceptional capabilities and potential would have never been discovered. When our existing process of recruiting is based on practices over 500 years old, as this copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s resume illustrates, it’s time to put AI to work matching peoples’ potential with unique position requirements.

When Employees Achieve Their Potential, Companies Do Too   

Attracting the highest potential employees possible and retaining them is the cornerstone of any digital business’ growth strategy today and in the future. The book addresses the roadblocks companies face in attaining that goal, with bias being one of the strongest. “For example, McKinsey & Co., a top consulting agency, studied over 1,000 companies across 12 countries and found that firms in the top quartile of gender diversity were a fifth more likely to have above-average profits than those in the bottom quartile,” (p. 105). Further, “diverse executive boards generate better financial returns, and gender-diverse teams are more creative, more productive and more confident.” (p. 105).

In conclusion, consider this book a roadmap of how hiring and talent management can change for the better based on AI. The authors successfully illustrate how combining talent, personalization at scale, and machine learning can help employees achieve their potential, enabling companies to achieve theirs in the process.

Salesforce Now Has Over 19% Of The CRM Market

 

  • Salesforce dominated the worldwide CRM market with a 19.5% market share in 2018, over double its nearest rival, SAP, at 8.3% share.
  • Worldwide spending on customer experience and relationship management (CRM) software grew 15.6% to reach $48.2B in 2018.
  • 72.9% of CRM spending was on software as a service (SaaS) in 2018, which is expected to grow to 75% of total CRM software spending in 2019.
  • Worldwide enterprise application software revenue totaled more than $193.6B in 2018, a 12.5% increase from 2017 revenue of $172.1B. CRM made up nearly 25% of the entire enterprise software revenue market.

CRM remains the largest and fastest growing enterprise software category today according to the latest market sizing, and market share research Gartner published this weekGartner defines CRM as providing the functionality to companies across the four segments of customer service and support, digital commerce, marketing, and sales. All four subsegments of the CRM market grew by more than 13.7%, with marketing emerging as the fastest growing segment, increasing by 18.8% and representing more than 25% of the entire CRM market. Customer service and support retain its No. 1 position, contributing 35.7% of CRM market revenue, attaining $17.1B in revenues in 2018.

Key insights include the following:

  • With 19.5% market share, Salesforce has over 2X the CRM sales SAP has and over 3X of Oracle. Salesforce continues to dominate CRM globally, increasing its market share from 18.3% in 2017 to 19.5% in 2018. Adobe is the only other vendor to grow its market share in 2018. Microsoft and SAP successfully held onto to market share while Oracle lost share.

  • Adobe and Salesforce grew faster than the overall market, increasing CRM revenues 21.7% and 23.2% respectively. Adobe’s CRM sales jumped from $2B in 2017 to $2.4B in 2018. Salesforce CRM revenues increased from $7.6B in 2017 to $9.4B in 2018, growing the fastest of all competitors in this market. SAP grew 15.5% between 2017 and 2018, just below the overall market growth of 15.6%. Microsoft (15%) and Oracle (7.1%) grew slower than the market. The following graphic compares growth rates between 2017 and 2018.

  • Adobe dominates the marketing subsegment of CRM with 19% market share in 2018. Salesforce has 11.7% of the marketing subsegment, followed by IBM (5.7%), SAP (4%), Oracle (3.6%) and HubSpot (3.4%). Gartner estimates the marketing subsegment was a $12.2B market in 2018, increasing from $10.3B in 2017, achieving 18.8% growth in just a year.
  • Eastern and Western Europe were the fastest growing regions at 19.7% and 17.5% respectively. North America and Western Europe were the largest two regions with North America growing at 15.2% to reach $28.1B in revenue.

Sources:

Gartner Says Worldwide Customer Experience and Relationship Management Software Market Grew 15.6% in 2018

Market Share: Customer Experience and Relationship Management, Worldwide, 2018 (client access required)

How To Improve Supply Chains With Machine Learning: 10 Proven Ways

Bottom line: Enterprises are attaining double-digit improvements in forecast error rates, demand planning productivity, cost reductions and on-time shipments using machine learning today, revolutionizing supply chain management in the process.

Machine learning algorithms and the models they’re based on excel at finding anomalies, patterns and predictive insights in large data sets. Many supply chain challenges are time, cost and resource constraint-based, making machine learning an ideal technology to solve them. From Amazon’s Kiva robotics relying on machine learning to improve accuracy, speed and scale to DHL relying on AI and machine learning to power their Predictive Network Management system that analyzes 58 different parameters of internal data to identify the top factors influencing shipment delays, machine learning is defining the next generation of supply chain management. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 95% of Supply Chain Planning (SCP) vendors will be relying on supervised and unsupervised machine learning in their solutions. Gartner is also predicting by 2023 intelligent algorithms, and AI techniques will be an embedded or augmented component across 25% of all supply chain technology solutions.

The ten ways that machine learning is revolutionizing supply chain management include:

  • Machine learning-based algorithms are the foundation of the next generation of logistics technologies, with the most significant gains being made with advanced resource scheduling systems. Machine learning and 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 machine learning can contribute to solving complex constraint, cost and delivery problems companies face today. McKinsey predicts machine learning’s most significant contributions will be in providing supply chain operators with more significant insights into how supply chain performance can be improved, anticipating anomalies in logistics costs and performance before they occur. Machine learning is also 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

  • The wide variation in data sets generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, telematics, intelligent transport systems, and traffic data have the potential to deliver the most value to improving supply chains by using machine learning. Applying machine learning algorithms and techniques to improve supply chains starts with data sets that have the greatest variety and variability in them. The most challenging issues supply chains face are often found in optimizing logistics, so materials needed to complete a production run arrive on time. Source: KPMG, Supply Chain Big Data Series Part 1

  • Machine learning shows the potential to reduce 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

  • Reducing forecast errors up to 50% is achievable using machine learning-based techniques. Lost sales due to products not being available are being reduced up to 65% through the use of machine learning-based planning and optimization techniques. Inventory reductions of 20 to 50% are also being achieved today when machine learning-based supply chain management systems are used. Source: Digital/McKinsey, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? (PDF, 52 pp., no opt-in).

  • DHL Research is finding that machine learning enables logistics and supply chain operations to optimize capacity utilization, improve customer experience, reduce risk, and create new business models. DHL’s research team continually tracks and evaluates the impact of emerging technologies on logistics and supply chain performance. They’re also predicting that AI will enable back-office automation, predictive operations, intelligent logistics assets, and new customer experience models. Source: DHL Trend Research, Logistics Trend Radar, Version 2018/2019 (PDF, 55 pp., no opt-in)

  • Detecting and acting on inconsistent supplier quality levels and deliveries using machine learning-based applications is an area manufacturers are investing in today. 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. The greatest growth barrier is the lack of skilled labor available. Using machine learning and advanced analytics 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, 2018

  • Reducing risk and the potential for fraud, while improving the product and process quality based on insights gained from machine learning is forcing inspection’s inflection point across supply chains today. When inspections are automated using mobile technologies and results are uploaded in real-time to a secure cloud-based platform, machine learning algorithms can deliver insights that immediately reduce risks and the potential for fraud. Inspectorio is a machine learning startup to watch in this area. They’re tackling the many problems that a lack of inspection and supply chain visibility creates, focusing on how they can solve them immediately for brands and retailers. The graphic below explains their platform. Source: Forbes, How Machine Learning Improves Manufacturing Inspections, Product Quality & Supply Chain Visibility, January 23, 2019

  • Machine learning is making rapid gains in end-to-end supply chain visibility possible, providing predictive and prescriptive insights that are helping companies react faster than before. Combining multi-enterprise commerce networks for global trade and supply chain management with AI and machine learning platforms are revolutionizing supply chain end-to-end visibility. One of the early leaders in this area is Infor’s Control Center. Control Center combines data from the Infor GT Nexus Commerce Network, acquired by the company in September 2015, with Infor’s Coleman Artificial Intelligence (AI) Infor chose to name their AI platform after the inspiring physicist and mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson, whose trail-blazing work helped NASA land on the moon. Be sure to pick up a copy of the book and see the movie Hidden Figures if you haven’t already to appreciate her and many other brilliant women mathematicians’ many contributions to space exploration. ChainLink Research provides an overview of Control Center in their article, How Infor is Helping to Realize Human Potential, and two screens from Control Center are shown below.

  • Machine learning is proving to be foundational for thwarting privileged credential abuse which is the leading cause of security breaches across global supply chains. By taking a least privilege access approach, organizations can minimize attack surfaces, improve audit and compliance visibility, and reduce risk, complexity, and the costs of operating a modern, hybrid enterprise. CIOs are solving the paradox of privileged credential abuse in their supply chains by knowing that even if a privileged user has entered the right credentials but the request comes in with risky context, then stronger verification is needed to permit access.  Zero Trust Privilege is emerging as a proven framework for thwarting privileged credential abuse by verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.  Centrify is a leader in this area, with globally-recognized suppliers including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and Salesforce being current customers.  Source: Forbes, High-Tech’s Greatest Challenge Will Be Securing Supply Chains In 2019, November 28, 2018.
  • Capitalizing on machine learning to predict preventative maintenance for freight and logistics machinery based on IoT data is improving asset utilization and reducing operating costs. McKinsey found that predictive maintenance enhanced by machine learning allows for better prediction and avoidance of machine failure by combining data from the advanced Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and maintenance logs as well as external sources. Asset productivity increases of up to 20% are possible and overall maintenance costs may be reduced by up to 10%. Source: Digital/McKinsey, Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector? (PDF, 52 pp., no opt-in).

References

Accenture, Reinventing The Supply Chain With AI, 20 pp., PDF, no opt-in.

Bendoly, E. (2016). Fit, Bias, and Enacted Sensemaking in Data Visualization: Frameworks for Continuous Development in Operations and Supply Chain Management Analytics. Journal Of Business Logistics37(1), 6-17.

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

The Most Innovative Companies of 2019 According to BCG

Google Press

Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to BCG, unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings.

  • Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to BCG, unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings.
  • Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in Big Data Analytics.
  • The ten most innovative companies in the world extensively use AI and platforms today to grow faster than competitors and markets.
  • T-MobileDow DuPontValeStryker, and Rio Tonto join the list of the top 50 most innovative companies for the first time this year.
  • Fastest movers include Adidas, who jumped from 35th to 10thSAP who increased from 42nd to 28th and Phillips who improved from 49th to 29th.

These and many other insights are from the Boston Consulting Group’s 13th annual report defining the world’s most innovative companies in 2019. The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems is a fascinating glimpse into the rising importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of platforms that support innovation. What makes this survey noteworthy is how it captures how AI’s use is rapidly expanding and how enterprises are relying on platforms to scale their efforts in this area. BCG is providing an Interactive Guide that compares the 50 most innovative companies in the world, sortable by industry, company and year. There’s also interactive analysis of Steady Innovators or those companies who’ve appeared on the list every year since 2005. There are breakouts of New Entrants, Returnees, and Movers for easier analysis. The report is available for download here (28 pp., PDF, free). Forbes also has an annual list of the world’s most innovative companies you can find here. The methodology Forbes uses is explained in the post, How We Rank The Most Innovative Companies 2018. Key insights from BCGs’ most innovative companies of 2019 include the following:

  • What differentiates the world’s most innovative companies are their creation and use of AI and platforms with Alphabet/GoogleAmazonApple, and Microsoft leading all others. Each of them is actively creating and providing AI-based applications, platforms and ecosystems that enable enterprises to improve customer experiences, creating entirely new revenue streams, business models and competitive advantages. Alphabet/Google has defined its direction as an “AI first” company, intentionally creating a culture of AI-driven innovation. The following is BCG’s list of the most innovative companies of 2019:

  • Enterprises who rate themselves strongest at innovation and better than average at AI base their self-evaluations on successfully changing customer experiences. BCG found that the most advanced enterprises using AI today are succeeding at changing customer experiences, creating new business models and measuring AI’s contribution to streamlining internal processes. 19.2% of all enterprises interviewed perceive themselves as being better than average at AI and strong innovators. The following graphic compares how enterprises rate themselves at AI versus their strength at innovation:

  • Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in Big Data Analytics. Enterprises who perceive themselves as strong AI innovators based on their success using AI to improve customer experiences, create new business models and streamline operations are two times as likely to be faster at adopting new technologies. They’re also 65% more likely to be actively targeting technology platforms to scale their AI initiatives and strategies further. The following graphic compares strong and weak innovators’ relative levels of adoption across 15 different innovation and product development categories:

  • Big Data Analytics, the speed of adopting tech, digital design, and technology platforms are the four areas enterprises who consider themselves strong innovators have the widest perceived advantage over weak innovators. When enterprises were asked which of the following 15 areas of innovation and product development will be the most impactful over the next 3 to 5 years, Big Data Analytics was far and away the most valued by strong versus weak innovators. Digital Design and Speed of Adopting Tech are two additional areas of innovation and product development that most differentiate the most and least innovative companies.

 

74% Of Data Breaches Start With Privileged Credential Abuse

Centrify’s survey shows organizations are granting too much trust and privilege, opening themselves up to potential internal and externally-driven breaches initiated with compromised privileged access credentials. Photo credit: iStock

Enterprises who are prioritizing privileged credential security are creating a formidable competitive advantage over their peers, ensuring operations won’t be interrupted by a breach. However, there’s a widening gap between those businesses protected from a breach and the many who aren’t. In quantifying this gap consider the typical U.S.-based enterprise will lose on average $7.91M from a breach, nearly double the global average of $3.68M according to IBM’s 2018 Data Breach Study.

Further insights into how wide this gap is are revealed in Centrify’s Privileged Access Management in the Modern Threatscape survey results published today. The study is noteworthy as it illustrates how wide the gap is between enterprises’ ability to avert and thwart breaches versus their current levels of Privileged Access Management (PAM) and privileged credential security. 74% of IT decision makers surveyed whose organizations have been breached in the past, say it involved privileged access credential abuse, yet just 48% have a password vault, just 21% have multi-factor authentication (MFA) implemented for privileged administrative access, and 65% are sharing root or privileged access to systems and data at least somewhat often.

Addressing these three areas with a Zero Trust approach to PAM would make an immediate difference in security.

“What’s alarming is that the survey reveals many organizations, armed with the knowledge that they have been breached before, are doing too little to secure privileged access. IT teams need to be taking their Privileged Access Management much more seriously, and prioritizing basic PAM strategies like vaults and MFA while reducing shared passwords,” remarked Tim Steinkopf, Centrify CEO. FINN Partners, on behalf of Centrify, surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers (500 in the U.S. and 500 in the U.K.) online in October 2018. Please see the study here for more on the methodology.

How You Choose To Secure Privileged Credentials Determines Your Future 

Identities are the new security perimeter. Threats can emerge within and outside any organization, at any time. Bad actors, or those who want to breach a system for financial gain or to harm a business, aren’t just outside. 18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $500 to $1,000, and 24% of employees know of someone who has sold privileged credentials to outsiders, according to a recent Accenture survey.

Attackers are increasingly logging in using weak, stolen, or otherwise compromised credentials. Centrify’s survey underscores how the majority of organizations’ IT departments have room for improvement when it comes to protecting privileged access credentials, which are the ‘keys to the kingdom.’ Reading the survey makes one realize that forward-thinking enterprises who are prioritizing privileged credential security gain major cost and time advantages over their competitors. They’re able to keep their momentum going across every area of their business by not having to recover from breaches or incur millions of dollars on losses or fines as the result of a breach.

One of the most promising approaches to securing every privileged identity and threat space within and outside an organization is Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP). ZTP enables an organizations’ IT team to grant least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

Key Lessons Learned from the Centrify Survey

How wide the gap is between organizations who see identities as the new security perimeter and are adopting a Zero Trust approach to securing them and those that aren’t is reflected in the results of Centrify’s Privileged Access Management in the Modern Threatscape surveyThe following are the key lessons learned of where and how organizations can begin to close the security gaps they have that leave them vulnerable to privileged credential abuse and many other potential threats:

  • Organizations’ most technologically advanced areas that are essential for future growth and attainment of strategic goals are often the most unprotected. Big Data, cloud, containers and network devices are the most important areas of any IT infrastructure. According to Centrify’s survey, they are the most unprotected as well. 72% of organizations aren’t securing containers with privileged access controls. 68% are not securing network devices like hubs, switches, and routers with privileged access controls. 58% are not securing Big Data projects with privileged access controls. 45% are not securing public and private cloud workloads with privileged access controls. The study finds that UK-based businesses lag U.S.-based ones in each of these areas as the graphic below shows:

  • Only 36% of U.K. organizations are very confident in their company’s current IT security software strategies, compared to 65% in the U.S. The gap between organizations with hardened security strategies that have a higher probability of withstanding breach attempts is wide between U.K. and U.S.-based businesses. 44% of U.K. respondents weren’t positive about what Privileged Access Management is, versus 26% of U.S. respondents. 60% of U.K. respondents don’t have a password vault.

  • Just 35% of U.S. organizations and 30% of those in the UK are relying on Privileged Access Management to manage partners’ access to privileged credentials and infrastructure. Partners are indispensable for scaling any new business strategy and expanding an existing one across new markets and countries. Forward-thinking organizations look at every partner associates’ identity as a new security perimeter. The 35% of U.S.-based organizations doing this have an immediate competitive advantage over the 65% who aren’t. By enforcing PAM across their alliances and partnerships, organizations can achieve uninterrupted growth by eliminating expensive and time-consuming breaches that many businesses never fully recover from.
  • Organizations’ top five security projects for 2019 include protecting cloud data, preventing data leakage, analyzing security incidents, improving security education/awareness and encrypting data. These top five security projects could be achieved at scale by having IT teams implement a Zero Trust-based approach to Privileged Access Management (PAM). The time, cost and scale advantages of getting the top five security projects done using Zero Trust would free up IT teams to focus on projects that deliver direct revenue gains for example.

Conclusion

Centrify’s survey shows organizations are granting too much trust and privilege, opening themselves up to potential internal and externally-driven breaches initiated with compromised privileged access credentials. It also reveals that there is a strong desire to adhere to best practices when it comes to PAM (51% of respondents) and that the reason it is not being adequately implemented rarely has to do with prioritization or difficulty but rather budget constraints and executive buy-in.

The survey also shows U.K. – and U.S.-based organizations need to realize identity is the new security perimeter. For example, only 37% of respondents’ organizations are able to turn off privileged access for an employee who leaves the company within one day, leaving a wide-open exposure point that can continue to be exploited.

There are forward-thinking organizations who are relying on Zero Trust Privilege as a core part of their digital transformation efforts as well. The survey found that given a choice, respondents are most likely to say digital transformation (40%) is one of the top 3 projects they’d prefer to work on, followed by Endpoint Security (37%) and Privileged Access Management (28%). Many enterprises see digital transformation’s missing link being Zero Trust and the foundation for redefining their businesses by defining every identity as a new security perimeter, so they can securely scale and grow faster than before.

Vodafone’s 2019 IoT Barometer Reflects Robust Growth In The Enterprise

  • 85% of enterprises who develop deep expertise with IoT succeed at driving revenue faster than competitors.
  • 81% of enterprises say Artificial Intelligence streamlines interpreting and taking action on data insights gained from IoT systems and sensors.
  • 68% of enterprises are using IoT to track the security of physical assets, making this use case the most common across enterprises today.
  • Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing & Industrials saw the most significant increase in adoption between 2018 and 2019.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the 6th annual Vodafone IoT Barometer, 2019.  The entire report can be downloaded here (PDF, 32 pp., e-mail opt-in). The methodology is based on 1,758 interviews distributed across the Americas (22%), EMEA (49%) and Asia-Pacific (29%). Eight vertical markets were included with manufacturing (22%), healthcare and wellness (14%) and retail, leisure, and hospitality (14%) being the three most represented markets.  Vodaphone is making an interactive tool available here for exploring the results.

Key insights from Vodafone’s 2019 IoT Barometer include the following:

  • 34% of global businesses are now using IoT in daily operations, up from 29% in 2018, with 95% of IoT adopters are already seeing measurable benefits. 81% of IoT adopters say their reliance on IoT has grown, and 76% of adopters say IoT is mission-critical to them. 58% are using analytics platforms to get more insights from their IoT data to improve decision making. 71% of enterprises who have adopted IoT expect their company and others like them will start listing data resources on their balance sheets as assets within five years.

  • 95% of enterprises adopting IoT are achieving tangible benefits and positive ROI. 52% of enterprises report significant returns on their IoT investments. 79% say IoT is enabling positive outcomes that would have been impossible without it, further reflecting robust growth in the enterprise. Across all eight vertical markets reducing operating costs (53%) and gaining more accurate data and insights (48%) are the most common benefits. Transitioning an IoT pilot to production based on cost reduction and improved visibility creates a compelling ROI for many enterprises. The following graphic compares IoT’s benefits to enterprises. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Transport & Logistics and Manufacturing & Industrials saw the greatest increase in adoption between 2018 and 2019. Transport and Logistics had the highest IoT adoption rate at 42% followed by Manufacturing and Industrials at 39%. Manufacturers are facing the challenges of improving production efficiency and product quality while accelerating time-to-market for next-generation smart, connected products. IoT contributes to productivity improvements and creates opportunities for services-based business models, two high priorities for manufacturers in 2019 and beyond.  The following graphic from the interactive tool compares IoT adoption by industry based on Vodaphone’s IoT barometer data over the last six years:

  • 89% of most sophisticated enterprises have multiple full-scale projects in production, orchestrating IoT with analytics, AI and cloud, creating a technology stack that delivers real-time insights. Enterprises who lead IoT adoption in their industries rely on integration to gain scale and speed advantages quickly over competitors. The greater the real-time integration, the greater the potential to digitally transform an enterprise and remove roadblocks that get in the way of growing. 95% of adopters where IoT is fully integrated say it’s enabling their digital transformation, compared with 55% that haven’t started integration. The following graphics reflect how integrated enterprises’ IoT projects are with existing business systems and processes and the extent to which enterprises agree that IoT is enabling digital transformation.

  • 68% of enterprises are using IoT to track the security of physical assets, making this use case the most common across enterprises today. 57% of all enterprises are using IoT to manage risk and compliance. 53% are using it to increase revenue and cut costs, with 82% of high performing enterprises rely on IoT to manage risk and compliance. The following graphic compares the types of variables enterprises are using IoT to track today and plan to in the future.

  • IoT adoption is soaring in Americas-based enterprises, jumping from 27% in 2018 to 40% in 2019. The Americas region leads the world in terms of IoT usage assessed by strategy, integration, and implementation of IoT deployments. 73% of Americas-based enterprises are the most likely to report significant returns from their IoT investments compared to 47% for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and 45% for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
  • 52% of IoT-enabled enterprises plan to use 5G when it becomes available. Enterprises are looking forward to 5G’s many advantages including improved security via stronger encryption, more credentialing options, greater quality of service management, more specialized services and near-zero latency. Vodafone predicts 5G will be a strong catalyst of growth for emerging IoT applications including connected cars, smart cities, eHealth and industrial automation.

 

Digital Transformation’s Missing Link Is Zero Trust

    • Enterprises will invest $2.4T by 2020 in digital transformation technologies including cloud platforms, cognitive systems, IoT, mobile, robotics, and integration services according to the World Economic Forum.
    • Digital transformation software and services revenue in the U.S. is predicted to reach $490B in 2025, soaring from $190B in 2019, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.49% according to Grand View Research published by Statista.
    • IDC predicts worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation of business practices, products, and organizations will reach $1.97T in 2022.
    • Legacy approaches to Privileged Access Management (PAM) don’t protect the new threatscapes digital transformation initiatives create, making Zero Trust Privilege essential for enterprises.

B2B customers, including manufacturers looking to replace legacy production equipment with smart, connected machines, have high expectations when it comes to product quality, ease of integration, and intuitive user experiences. Replacing factories full of legacy assets with smart, connected machinery is one of the most powerful catalysts driving digital transformation today. Innovative smart, connected machinery and the performance gains they provide are the oxygen that keeps customer relationships alive. That’s why digital transformation forecasts from the World Economic Forum, Grand View ResearchIDC, and many others predict perennial growth. The many forecasts reflect a fundamental truth: digital transformation done with intensity creates a customer-driven renaissance for any business.

Businesses digitally transforming themselves are succeeding because they’ve made themselves accountable and transparent to customers. Earning and protecting that trust is the heartbeat of any business’ growth. 51% of enterprises invest in digital transformation to capture growth opportunities in new markets, with 46% investing to stay in front of evolving customer behaviors and preferences. Brian Solis’ excellent report, The State of Digital Transformation, 2018 – 2019 Edition (31 pp., PDF, opt-in) shows how digitally transforming any business with the customer first leads to greater growth. The graphic from his study illustrates this point:

 

Closing The Digital Transformation Gap With Zero Trust

Gaps exist between the results digital transformation initiatives are delivering today, and the customer-driven value they’re capable of. According to Gartner, 75% of digital transformation projects are not aligned internally today, leading to delayed new product launches, mediocre experiences, and greater security risks than ever before. Interactive, IoT-enabled experiences and products are expanding the threatscape of enterprises to include Big Data, cloud, containers, DevOps, IoT systems, and more. With that comes a host of new exposure points, many of which allow access to sensitive data that must be protected with modern Privileged Access Management solutions that reduce risk in these modern enterprise use cases.

The new security perimeter is identity. Forrester estimates that 80% of data breaches are caused by privileged access abuse. Every smart, connected machine that replaces legacy production equipment is another identity that defines a manufacturer’s security perimeter.

As the use cases and adoption of smart, connected machines proliferate, so too does the urgency that manufacturers need to replace their legacy approaches to Privileged Access Management (PAM). Relying on outdated strategies for protecting administrative access to all machines needs to be replaced with a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach.

IT needs to improve how they’re protecting the most privileged access credentials, the ‘keys to the kingdom,’ by granting just-enough, just-in-time privilege. Of the many cybersecurity approaches available today, Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP) enables IT to grant least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

The more diverse any digital transformation strategy, the greater the risk of privileged credential abuse. Thwarting privileged credential abuse needs to start with a least privilege access approach, minimizing each attack surface, improving audit and compliance visibility while reducing risk, complexity, and costs. Leaders in Zero Trust include CentrifyMobileIronPalo Alto Networks, and others. Of these companies, Centrify’s approach to Zero Trust to prevent privileged access abuse shows the greatest potential for securing digital transformation initiatives and strategies.

How To Secure Digital Transformation Strategies

IDG Research found in their Security Priorities for 2018 study that 71% of security-focused IT decision-makers are aware of the Zero Trust model and 18% of enterprises are either running pilots or have implemented Zero Trust.

Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP) is the force multiplier digital transformation initiatives need to reach their true potential by securing administrative access to the complex mix of machinery and infrastructure – and the sensitive data they hold and use – that manufacturers rely on daily.

Starting with a strategic perspective, ZTP’s contribution to securing digital transformation deployments apply to every area of planning, pilots, platforms, product, and service data being designed to stop the leading cause of breaches, which is privileged credential abuse. The following graphic illustrates how ZTP needs to span every aspect of an enterprise’s digital transformation capabilities.

Source: World Economic Forum, Digital Transformation Initiative, May 2018

Conclusion

By 2020, 30% of Global 2000 companies will have allocated capital budget equal to at least 10% of revenue to fuel their digital transformation strategies according to IDC.  European spending on technologies and services that enable the digital transformation of business practices, products, and organizations is forecasted to reach $378.2B in 2022. The perennial growth these forecasts promise is predicated on enterprises delivering new experiences and innovative products, which create the oxygen that keeps their customer relationships alive.

Amidst all the potential for growth, enterprises need to realize every new infrastructure element, machine, or connected production asset is a new identity that collectively comprises the fabric of their security perimeter. Legacy cybersecurity approaches won’t scale to protect the proliferating number of smart machines being put into use today. Relying entirely on legacy approaches to PAM, where privileged access to systems and resources only inside the network are secure, is failing today. Smart, connected machinery and the products and experiences they deliver require an entirely new cybersecurity strategy, one based on a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach. Centrify Zero Trust Privilege shows potential to meet this challenge by granting least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

How Machine Learning Improves Manufacturing Inspections, Product Quality & Supply Chain Visibility

Bottom Line: Manufacturers’ most valuable data is generated on shop floors daily, bringing with it the challenge of analyzing it to find prescriptive insights fast – and an ideal problem for machine learning to solve.

Manufacturing is the most data-prolific industry there is, generating on average 1.9 petabytes of data every year according to the McKinsey Global Insititute. Supply chains, sourcing, factory operations, and the phases of compliance and quality management generate the majority of data.

The most valuable data of all comes from product inspections that can immediately find exceptionally strong or weak suppliers, quality management and compliance practices in a factory. Manufacturing’s massive problem is in getting quality inspection results out fast enough across brands & retailers, other factories, suppliers and vendors to make a difference in future product quality.

How A Machine Learning Startup Is Revolutionizing Product Inspections

Imagine you’re a major brand or retailer and you’re relying on a network of factories across Bangladesh, China, India, and Southeast Asia to produce your new non-food consumer goods product lines including apparel. Factories, inspection agencies, suppliers and vendors that brands and retailers like you rely on vary widely on ethics, responsible sourcing, product quality, and transparency. With your entire consumer goods product lines (and future sales) at risk based on which suppliers, factories and product inspection agencies you choose, you and your companies’ future are riding on the decisions you make.

These career- and company-betting challenges and the frustration of gaining greater visibility into what’s going on in supply chains to factory floors led Carlos Moncayo Castillo and his brothers Fernando Moncayo Castillo and Luis Moncayo Castillo to launch Inspectorio. They were invited to the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator in the summer of 2017, a competition they participated in with their cloud-based inspection platform that includes AI and machine learning and pervasive support for mobile technologies. Target relies on them today to bring greater transparency to their supply chains. “I’ve spent years working in non-food consumer goods product manufacturing seeing the many disconnects between inspections and suppliers, the lack of collaboration and how gaps in information create too many opportunities for corruption – I had to do something to solve these problems,” Carlos said. The many problems that a lack of inspection and supply chain visibility creates became the pain Inspectorio focused on solving immediately for brands and retailers. The following is a graphic of their platform:

Presented below are a few of the many ways the combining of a scalable inspection cloud platform combined with AI, machine learning and mobile technologies are improving inspections, product quality, and supply chain visibility:

  • Enabling the creation of customized inspector workflows that learn over time and are tailored to specific products including furniture, toys, homeware and garments, the factories they’re produced in, quality of the materials used. Inspectorio’s internal research has found 74% of all inspections today are done manually using a pen and paper, with results reported in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDFs, making collaboration slow and challenging. Improving the accuracy, speed and scale of inspection workflows including real-time updates across production networks drive major gains in quality and supply chain performance.
  • Applying constraint-based algorithms and logic to understand why there are large differences in inspection results between factories is enabling brands & retailers to manage quality faster and more completely. Uploading inspections in real-time from mobile devices to an inspection platform that contains AI and machine learning applications that quickly parse the data for prescriptive insights is the future of manufacturing quality. Variations in all dimensions of quality including factory competency, supplier and production assembly quality are taken into account. In a matter of hours, inspection-based data delivers the insights needed to avert major quality problems to every member of a production network.
  • Reducing risk, the potential for fraud, while improving the product and process quality based on insights gained from machine learning is forcing inspection’s inflection point. When inspections are automated using mobile technologies and results are uploaded in real-time to a secure cloud-based platform, machine learning algorithms can deliver insights that immediately reduce risks and the potential for fraud. One of the most powerful catalysts driving inspections’ inflection point is the combination of automated workflows that deliver high-quality data that machine learning produces prescriptive insights from. And those insights are shared on performance dashboards across every brand, retailer, supplier, vendor and factory involved in shared production strategies today.
  • Matching the most experienced inspector for a given factory and product inspection drastically increases accuracy and quality. When machine learning is applied to the inspector selection and assignment process, the quality, and thoroughness of inspections increase. For the first time, brands, retailers, and factories have a clear, quantified view of Inspector Productivity Analysis across the entire team of inspectors available in a given region or country. Inspections are uploaded in real-time to the Inspectorio platform where advanced analytics and additional machine learning algorithms are applied to the data, providing greater prescriptive insights that would have ever been possible using legacy manual methods. Machine learning is also making recommendations to inspectors on which defects to look for first based on the data patterns obtained from previous inspections.
  • Knowing why specific factories and products generated more Corrective Action/Preventative Action (CAPA) than others and how fast they have been closed in the past and why is now possible. Machine learning is making it possible for entire production networks to know why specific factory and product combinations generate the most CAPAs. Using constraint-based logic, machine learning can also provide prescriptive insights into what needs to be improved to reduce CAPAs, including their root cause.

10 Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Sales

  • Sales teams adopting AI are seeing an increase in leads and appointments of more than 50%, cost reductions of 40%–60%, and call time reductions of 60%–70% according to the Harvard Business Review article Why Salespeople Need to Develop Machine Intelligence.
  • 62% of highest performing salespeople predict guided selling adoption will accelerate based on its ability rank potential opportunities by value and suggest next steps according to Salesforces’ latest State of Sales research study.
  • By 2020, 30% of all B2B companies will employ AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes according to Gartner.
  • High-performing sales teams are 4.1X more likely to use AI and machine learning applications than their peers according to the State of Sales published by Salesforce.
  • Intelligent forecasting, opportunity insights, and lead prioritization are the top three AI and machine learning use cases in sales.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning show the potential to reduce the most time-consuming, manual tasks that keep sales teams away from spending more time with customers. Automating account-based marketing support with predictive analytics and supporting account-centered research, forecasting, reporting, and recommending which customers to upsell first are all techniques freeing sales teams from manually intensive tasks.

The Race for Sales-Focused AI & Machine Learning Patents Is On

CRM and Configure, Price & Quote (CPQ) providers continue to develop and fine-tune their digital assistants, which are specifically designed to help the sales team get the most value from AI and machine learning. Salesforces’ Einstein supports voice-activation commands from Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google. Salesforce and other enterprise software companies continue aggressively invest in Research & Development (R&D). For the nine months ended October 31, 2018, Salesforce spent $1.3B or 14% of total revenues compared to $1.1B or 15% of total revenues, during the same period a year ago, an increase of $211M according to the company’s 10Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The race for AI and machine learning patents that streamline selling is getting more competitive every month. Expect to see the race of sales-focused AI and machine learning patents flourish in 2019. The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study last July from the Stanford Institute For Economic Policy Research titled Some Facts On High Tech Patenting. The study finds that patenting in machine learning has seen exponential growth since 2010 and Microsoft had the greatest number of patents in the 2000 to 2015 timeframe. Using patent analytics from PatentSight and ipsearchIAM published an analysis last month showing Microsoft as the global leader in machine learning patents with 2,075.  The study relied on PatentSight’s Patent Asset Index to rank machine learning patent creators and owners, revealing Microsoft and Alphabet are dominating today. Salesforce investing over $1B a year in R&D reflects how competitive the race for patents and intellectual property is.

10 Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Sales

Fueled by the proliferation of patents and the integration of AI and machine learning code into CRM, CPQ, Customer Service, Predictive Analytics and a wide variety of Sales Enablement applications, use cases are flourishing today. Presented below are the ten ways machine learning is most revolutionizing selling today:

 

  1. AI and machine learning technologies excel at pattern recognition, enabling sales teams to find the highest potential new prospects by matching data profiles with their most valuable customers. Nearly all AI-enabled CRM applications are providing the ability to define a series of attributes, characteristics and their specific values that pinpoint the highest potential prospects. Selecting and prioritizing new prospects using this approach saves sales teams thousands of hours a year.
  2. Lead scoring and nurturing based on AI and machine learning algorithms help guide sales and marketing teams to turn Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) into Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), strengthening sales pipelines in the process. One of the most important areas of collaboration between sales and marketing is lead nurturing strategies that move prospects through the pipeline. AI and machine learning are enriching the collaboration with insights from third-party data, prospect’s activity at events and on the website, and from previous conversations with salespeople. Lead scoring and nurturing relies heavily on natural language generation (NLG) and natural-language processing (NLP) to help improve each lead’s score.
  3. Combining historical selling, pricing and buying data in a single machine learning model improves the accuracy and scale of sales forecasts. Factoring in differences inherent in every account given their previous history and product and service purchasing cycles is invaluable in accurately predicting their future buying levels. AI and machine learning algorithms integrated into CRM, sales management and sales planning applications can explain variations in forecasts, provided they have the data available. Forecasting demand for new products and services is an area where AI and machine learning are reducing the risk of investing in entirely new selling strategies for new products.
  4. Knowing the propensity of a given customer to churn versus renew is invaluable in improving Customer Lifetime Value. Analyzing a diverse series of factors to see which customers are going to churn or leave versus those that will renew is among the most valuable insights AI and machine learning is delivering today. Being able to complete a Customer Lifetime Value Analysis for every customer a company has provides a prioritized roadmap of where the health of client relationships are excellent versus those that need attention. Many companies are using Customer Lifetime Value Analysis as a proxy for a customer health score that gets reviewed monthly.
  5. Knowing the strategies, techniques and time management approaches the top 10% of salespeople to rely on to excel far beyond quota and scaling those practices across the sales team based on AI-driven insights. All sales managers and leaders think about this often, especially in sales teams where performance levels vary widely. Knowing the capabilities of the highest-achieving salespeople, then selectively recruiting those sales team candidates who have comparable capabilities delivers solid results. Leaders in the field of applying AI to talent management include Eightfold whose approach to talent management is refining recruiting and every phase of managing an employee’s potential. Please see the recent New York Times feature of them here.
  6. Guided Selling is progressing rapidly from a personalization-driven selling strategy to one that capitalized on data-driven insights, further revolutionizing sales. AI- and machine learning-based guided selling is based on prescriptive analytics that provides recommendations to salespeople of which products, services, and bundles to offer at which price. 62% of highest performing salespeople predict guided selling adoption will accelerate based on its ability rank potential opportunities by value and suggest next steps according to Salesforces’ latest State of Sales research study.
  7. Improving the sales team’s productivity by using AI and machine learning to analyze the most effective actions and behaviors that lead to more closed sales. AI and machine learning-based sales contact and customer predictive analytics take into account all sources of contacts with customers and determine which are the most effective. Knowing which actions and behaviors are correlated with the highest close rates, sales managers can use these insights to scale their sales teams to higher performance.
  8. Sales and marketing are better able to define a price optimization strategy using all available data analyzing using AI and machine learning algorithms. Pricing continues to be an area the majority of sales and marketing teams learn to do through trial and error. Being able to analyze pricing data, purchasing history, discounts are taken, promotional programs participated in and many other factors, AI and machine learning can calculate the price elasticity for a given customer, making an optimized price more achievable.
  9. Personalizing sales and marketing content that moves prospects from MQLs to SQLs is continually improving thanks to AI and machine learning. Marketing Automation applications including HubSpot and many others have for years been able to define which content asset needs to be presented to a given prospect at a given time. What’s changed is the interactive, personalized nature of the content itself. Combining analytics, personalization and machine learning, marketing automation applications are now able to tailor content and assets that move opportunities forward.
  10. Solving the many challenges of sales engineering scheduling, sales enablement support and dedicating the greatest amount of time to the most high-value accounts is getting solved with machine learning. CRM applications including Salesforce can define a salesperson’s schedule based on the value of the potential sale combined with the strength of the sales lead, based on its lead score. AI and machine learning optimize a salesperson’s time so they can go from one customer meeting to the next, dedicating their time to the most valuable prospects.
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