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Posts from the ‘SaaS’ Category

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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Predicting The Future Of Digital Marketplaces

  • The U.S. B2B eCommerce market is predicted to be worth $1.2T by 2022 according to Forrester.
  • 75% of marketing executives say that reaching customers where they prefer to buy is the leading benefit a company gains from selling through an e-commerce marketplace according to Statista.
  • 67% strongly agree to the importance of B2B e-commerce being critical to their business’s advantages and results in their industry.

Digital Marketplaces are flourishing today thanks to the advances made in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, real-time personalization and the scale and speed of the latest generation of cloud platforms including the Google Cloud Platform. Today’s digital marketplaces are capitalizing on these technologies to create trusted, virtual trading platforms and environments buyers and sellers rely on for a wide variety of tasks every day.

Differentiated from B2B exchanges and communities from the 90s that often had high transaction costs, proprietary messaging protocols, and limited functionality, today’s marketplaces are proving that secure, trusted scalability is achievable on standard cloud platforms. Kahuna recently partnered with Brian Solis of The Altimeter Group to produce a fascinating research study, The State (and Future) of Digital Marketplaces. The report is downloadable here (PDF, 14 pp., opt-in). A summary of the results is presented below.

Kahuna Digitally Transforms Marketplaces With Personalization

The essence of any successful digital transformation strategy is personalization, and to the extent, any organization can redefine every system, process, and product to that goal is the extent to which they’ll grow. Digital marketplaces are giving long-established business and startups a platform to accelerate their digital transformation efforts by delivering personalization at scale.

Kahuna’s approach to solving personalization at scale across buyers and sellers while creating trust in every transaction reflects the future of digital marketplaces. They’ve been able to successfully integrate AI, machine learning, advanced query techniques and a cloud platform that scales dynamically to handle unplanned 5x global traffic spikes. Kahuna built its marketplace platform on Google App EngineGoogle BigQuery, and other Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Kahuna’s architecture on GCP has been able to scale and onboard 80+ million users a day without any DevOps support, a feat not possible with the exchange and community platforms of the 90s. By integrating their machine learning algorithms designed to enhance their customers’ ability to personalize marketing messages with Google machine learning APIs to drive TensorFlow, Kahuna has been able to deliver fast response times to customers’ inquiries. Their latest product,  Kahuna Subject Line Optimization, analyzes the billions of emails their customers use to communicate with customers to see what has and hasn’t worked in the past.  Marketplace customers will receive real-time recommendations as they are in the email editor composing an email subject line. Kahuna scores the likely success of the subject lines in appealing to target audiences so that marketers can make adjustments on the fly.

The State (And Future) Of Digital Marketplaces

Digital marketplaces are rapidly transforming from transaction engines to platforms that deliver unique, memorable and trusted personal experiences.
Anyone who has ever used OpenTable to get a last-minute reservation with friends at popular, crowded restaurant has seen the power of digitally enabled marketplace experiences in action. Brian Solis noted futurist, author, and analyst with The Altimeter Group recent report,  The State (and Future) of Digital Marketplaces is based on 100 interviews with North American marketing executives across eight market segments.
Key insights and lessons learned from the study include the following:

  • Altimeter found that 67% of marketplaces are generating more than $50M annually and 32% are generating more than $100M annually with the majority of marketplaces reporting a Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of between $500M to $999M. When the size of participating companies is taken into account, it’s clear digital marketplaces are one form of new digital business models larger organizations are adopting, piloting and beginning to standardize on. It can be inferred from the data that fast-growing, forward-thinking smaller organizations are looking to digital marketplaces to help augment their business models. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) is the total value of merchandise sold to customers through a marketplace.
  • 59% of marketing executives say new product/service launches are their most important marketplace objective for 2019. As marketplaces provide an opportunity to create an entirely new business model, marketing executives are focused on how to get first product launches delivering revenue fast. Revenue growth (55%), customer acquisition (54%) and margin improvement (46%) follow in priority, all consistent with an organizations’ strategy of relying on digital marketplaces as new business models.

  • Competitive differentiation, buyer retention, buyer acquisition, and social media engagement and the four most common customer-facing challenges marketplaces face today. 39% of marketing execs say that differentiating from competitors is the greatest challenge, followed by buyer retention (32%), buyer acquisition (29%) and effective social media campaigns (29%) Further validation that today’s digital marketplaces are enabling greater digital transformation through personalization is found in just 22% of respondents said customer experience is a challenge.
  • Marketplaces need to scale and provide a broader base of services that enable “growth as a ” to keep sellers engaged. Marketplaces need to continually be providing new services and adding value to buyers and sellers, fueling growth-as-a-service. The three main reasons sellers leave a marketplace are insufficient competitive differentiation (46%), insufficient sales (33%) and marketplace service fees (31%). Additionally, sellers claim that marketing costs (28%) and the lack of buyers (26%) are critical business issues.
  • Lack of sellers who meet their needs (53%) is the single biggest reason buyers leave marketplaces. Buyers also abandon marketplaces due to logistical challenges including shipping costs and fees added by sellers (49%) and large geographic distances between buyers and sellers (39%). These findings underscore why marketplaces need to be very adept at creating and launching new value-added services and experiences that keep buyers active and loyal. Equally important is a robust roadmap of seller services that continually enables greater sales effectiveness and revenue potential.

Which CRM Applications Matter Most In 2018

 

According to recent research by Gartner,

  • Marketing analytics continues to be hot for marketing leaders, who now see it as a key business requirement and a source of competitive differentiation
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive technologies are of high interest across all four CRM functional areas, and mobile remains in the top 10 in marketing, sales and customer service.
  • It’s in customer service where AI is receiving the highest investments in real use cases rather than proofs of concept (POCs) and experimentation.
  • Sales and customer service are the functional areas where machine learning and deep neural network (DNN) technology is advancing rapidly.

These and many other fascinating insights are from Gartner’s What’s Hot in CRM Applications in 2018 by Ed Thompson, Adam Sarner, Tad Travis, Guneet Bharaj, Sandy Shen and Olive Huang, published on August 14, 2018. Gartner clients can access the study here  (10 pp., PDF, client access reqd.).

Gartner continually tracks and analyzes the areas their clients have the most interest in and relies on that data to complete their yearly analysis of CRM’s hottest areas. Inquiry topics initiated by clients are an excellent leading indicator of relative interest and potential demand for specific technology solutions. Gartner organizes CRM technologies into the four category areas of Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Digital Commerce.

The following graphic from the report illustrates the top CRM applications priorities in Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Digital Commerce.

Key insights from the study include the following:

  • Marketing analytics continues to be hot for marketing leaders, who now see it as a key business requirement and a source of competitive differentiation. In my opinion and based on discussions with CMOs, interest in marketing analytics is soaring as they are all looking to quantify their team’s contribution to lead generation, pipeline growth, and revenue. I see analytics- and data-driven clarity as the new normal. I believe that knowing how to quantify marketing contributions and performance requires CMOs and their teams to stay on top of the latest marketing, mobile marketing, and predictive customer analytics apps and technologies constantly. The metrics marketers choose today define who they will be tomorrow and in the future.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive technologies are of high interest across all four CRM functional areas, and mobile remains in the top 10 in marketing, sales and customer service. It’s been my experience that AI and machine learning are revolutionizing selling by guiding sales cycles, optimizing pricing and enabling CPQ to define and deliver smart, connected products. I’m also seeing CMOs and their teams gain value from Salesforce Einstein and comparable intelligent agents that exemplify the future of AI-enabled selling. CMOs are saying that Einstein can scale across every phase of customer relationships. Based on my previous consulting in CPQ and pricing, it’s good to see decades-old core technologies underlying Price Optimization and Management are getting a much-needed refresh with state-of-the-art AI and machine learning algorithms, which is one of the factors driving their popularity today. Using Salesforce Einstein and comparable AI-powered apps I see sales teams get real-time guidance on the most profitable products to sell, the optimal price to charge, and which deal terms have the highest probability of closing deals. And across manufacturers on a global scale sales teams are now taking a strategic view of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) as encompassing integration to ERP, CRM, PLM, CAD and price optimization systems. I’ve seen global manufacturers take a strategic view of integration and grow far faster than competitors. In my opinion, CPQ is one of the core technologies forward-thinking manufacturers are relying on to launch their next generation of smart, connected products.
  • It’s in customer service where AI is receiving the highest investments in real use cases rather than proofs of concept (POCs) and experimentation. It’s fascinating to visit with CMOs and see the pilots and full production implementations of AI being used to streamline customer service. One CMO remarked how effective AI is at providing greater contextual intelligence and suggested recommendations to customers based on their previous buying and services histories. It’s interesting to watch how CMOs are attempting to integrate AI and its associated technologies including ChatBots to their contribution to Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Every senior management team running a marketing organization today has strong opinions on NPS. They all agree that greater insights gained from predictive analytics and AI will help to clarify the true value of NPS as it relates to Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and other key metrics of customer profitability.
  • Sales and customer service are the functional areas where machine learning and deep neural network (DNN) technology is advancing rapidly.  It’s my observation that machine learning’s potential to revolutionize sales is still nascent with many high-growth use cases completely unexplored. In speaking with the Vice President of Sales for a medical products manufacturer recently, she said her biggest challenge is hiring sales representatives who will have longer than a 19-month tenure with the company, which is their average today.  Imagine, she said, knowing the ideal attributes and strengths of their top performers and using machine learning and AI to find the best possible new sales hires. She and I discussed the spectrum of companies taking on this challenge, with Eightfold being one of the leaders in applying AI and machine learning to talent management challenges.

Source: Gartner by Ed Thompson, Adam Sarner, Tad Travis, Guneet Bharaj,  Sandy Shen and Olive Huang, published on August 14, 2018.

How Blockchain Can Improve Manufacturing In 2019

  • The business value-add of blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176B by 2025, then exceed $3.1T by 2030 according to Gartner.
  • Typical product recalls cost $8M, and many could be averted with improved track-and-traceability enabled by blockchain.
  • Combining blockchain and IoT will revolutionize product safety, track-and-traceability, warranty management, Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO), and lead to new usage-based business models for smart, connected products.
  • By 2023, 30% of manufacturing companies with more than $5B in revenue will have implemented Industry 4.0 pilot projects using blockchain, up from less than 5% today according to Gartner.

Blockchain’s greatest potential to deliver business value is in manufacturing. Increasing visibility across every area of manufacturing starting with suppliers, strategic sourcing, procurement, and supplier quality to shop floor operations including machine-level monitoring and service, blockchain can enable entirely new manufacturing business models. Supply chains are the foundation of every manufacturing business, capable of making use of blockchain’s distributed ledger structure and block-based approach to aggregating value-exchange transactions to improve supply chain efficiency first. By improving supplier order accuracy, product quality, and track-and-traceability, manufacturers will be able to meet delivery dates, improve product quality and sell more.

Capgemini Research Institute’s recent study, Does blockchain hold the key to a new age of supply chain transparency and trust? provide valuable insights into how blockchain can improve supply chains and manufacturing. A copy of the study is available here (PDF, 32 pp., no opt-in). Capgemini surveyed 731 organizations globally regarding their existing and planned blockchain initiatives. Initial interviews yielded 447 organizations who are currently experimenting with or implementing blockchain. Please see pages 25 & 26 of the study for additional details regarding the methodology.

Key takeaways of the study include the following:

  • Typical product recalls cost $8M, and many could be averted with improved track-and-traceability enabled by blockchain. Capgemini found that there was 456 food recalls alone in the U.S. last year, costing nearly $3.5B. Blockchain’s general ledger structure provides a real-time audit trail for all transactions secured against modifications making it ideal for audit and compliance-intensive industries.

  • Gaining greater cost savings (89%), enhancing traceability (81%) and enhancing transparency (79%) are the top three drivers behind manufacturer’s blockchain investments today. Additional drivers include increasing revenues (57%), reducing risks (50%), creating new business opportunities (44%) and being more customer-centric (38%). The following graphic from the study illustrates the manufacturer’s priorities for blockchain. Capgemini finds that improving track-and-traceability is a primary driver across all manufacturers, consistent with the broader trend of manufacturers adopting software applications that improve this function today. That’s also understandable given how additional regulatory compliance requirements are coming in 2019 and those manufacturers competing in highly regulated industries including aerospace & defense, medical devices, and pharma are exploring how blockchain can give them a competitive edge now

  • Digital marketplaces, tracking critical supply chain parameters, tracking components quality, preventing counterfeit products, and tracking asset maintenance are the five areas Capgemini predicts blockchain will see the greatest adoption. Based on interviews with industry experts and startups, Capgemini found 24 blockchain use cases which are compared by level of adoption and complexity in the graphic below. The use cases reflect how managing supplier contracts is already emerging as one of the most popular blockchain use cases for manufacturing organizations today and will accelerate as compliance becomes even more important in 2019.

  • Manufacturers have the most at-scale deployments of blockchain today, leading all industries included in the study. Blockchain adoption is still nascent across all industries included in the study, with 6% of manufacturers having at-scale implementations today. Customer products manufacturers lead in pilots, with 15% actively [purusing blockchain in limited scope today. And retailers trail all industries with 91% having only proofs of concept.

  • Combining IoT and blockchain at the shipping container level in supply chains increases authenticity, transparency, compliance to product and contractual requirements while reducing counterfeiting. In highly regulated industries including Aerospace & Defense (A&D), Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), medical devices, and pharma, combining IoT and blockchain provides real-time data on the shipping container conditions, tamper-proof storage, each shipment’s locational history and if there have been changes in temperature and product condition. Capgemini sees use cases where a change in a shipment’s temperature as measured by a sensor change sends alerts regarding contractual compliance of perishable meats and produce, averting the potential of bad product quality and rejected shipments once they reach their destination.

  • Capgemini found that 13% of manufacturers are Pacesetters and are either implementing blockchain at scale or have pilots in at least one site. Over 60% of Pacesetters believe that blockchain is already transforming the way they collaborate with their partners. Encouraged by these results, Pacesetters are set to increase their blockchain investment by 30% in the next three years. They lead early stage experimenters and all implementers on three core dimensions of organizational readiness. These include end-to-end visibility across functions, detailed and defined supportive processes, and availability of the right talent to succeed.

  • Lack of a clear ROI, immature technology and regulatory challenges are the top three hurdles Pacesetter-class manufacturers face in getting blockchain initiatives accepted and into production. All implementations face these three challenges in addition to having to overcome the lack of complementary IT systems at the partner organizations. The following graphic compares the hurdles all manufacturers face in getting blockchain projects implemented by the level of manufacturers adoption success (Pacesetter, early-stage experimenters, all implementers).

Source: Capgemini Research Institute, Does blockchain hold the key to a new age of supply chain transparency and trust? October, 2018

2018 Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts And Market Estimates

Cloud computing platforms and applications are proliferating across enterprises today, serving as the IT infrastructure driving new digital businesses. The following roundup of cloud computing forecasts and market estimates reflect a maturing global market for cloud services, with proven scale, speed and security to support new business models.

CIOs who are creating compelling business cases that rely on cloud platforms as a growth catalyst is the architects enabling these new business initiatives to succeed. The era of CIO strategist has arrived. Key takeaways include the following:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounted for 55% of the company’s operating profit in Q2, 2018, despite contributing only 12% to the company’s net sales. In Q1, 2018 services accounted for 40% of Amazon’s revenue, up from 26% three years earlier. Source: Cloud Business Drives Amazon’s Profits, Statista, July 27, 2018.

  • 80% of enterprises are both running apps on or experimenting with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their preferred cloud platform. 67% of enterprises are running apps on (45%) and experimenting on (22%) the Microsoft Azure platform. 18% of enterprises are using Google’s Cloud Platform for applications today, with 23% evaluating the platform for future use. RightScale’s 2018 survey was included in the original data set Statista used to create the comparison. Source: Statista, Current and planned usage of public cloud platform services running applications worldwide in 2018. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure increased significantly from 43% to 58% attaining a 35% CAGR while AWS adoption increased from 59% to 68%. Enterprise respondents with future projects (the combination of experimenting and planning to use) show the most interest in Google (41%). Source: RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Wikibon projects the True Private Cloud (TPC) worldwide market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 29.2%, reaching $262.4B by 2027. The firm predicts TPC growth will far outpace the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) growth of 15.2% over the same period. A true private cloud is distinguished from a private cloud by the completeness of the integration of all aspects of the offering, including performance characteristics such as price, agility, and service breadth. Please see the source link for additional details on TPC. Source: Wikibon’s 2018 True Private Cloud Forecast and Market Shares. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • Quality Control, Computer-Aided Engineering, and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are the three most widely adopted systems in the cloud by discrete and process The survey also found that 60% of discrete and process manufacturers say their end users prefer the cloud over on-premise. Source: Amazon Web Services & IDC: Industrial Customers Are Ready For The Cloud – Now (PDF, 13 pp., no opt-in, sponsored by AWS). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

  • The Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market is projected to grow by 17.3 3% in 2019 to total $206.2B, up from $175.8B in 2018 according to Gartner. In 2018 the market will grow a healthy 21% up from $145.3B in 2017 according to the research and advisory firm. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will be the fastest-growing segment of the market, forecasted to grow by 27.6% in 2019 to reach $39.5B, up from $31B in 2018. By 2022, Gartner expects that 90% of enterprises purchasing public cloud IaaS will do so from an integrated IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and will use both the IaaS and PaaS capabilities from that provider. Source: Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019.

  • More than $1.3T in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud by 2022. 28% of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022, up from 19% in 2018. The largest cloud shift before 2018 occurred in application software, particularly driven by customer relationship management (CRM) software, with Salesforce dominating as the market leader. CRM has already reached a tipping point where a higher proportion of spending occurs in the cloud than in traditional software. Source: Gartner Says 28 Percent of Spending in Key IT Segments Will Shift to the Cloud by 2022.

  • IDC predicts worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending will reach $180B in 2018, an increase of 23.7% over 2017. According to IDC, the market is expected to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.9% with public cloud services spending totaling $277B in 2021. The industries that are forecast to spend the most on public cloud services in 2018 are discrete manufacturing ($19.7B), professional services ($18.1B), and banking ($16.7B). The process manufacturing and retail industries are also expected to spend more than $10B each on public cloud services in 2018. These five industries will remain at the top in 2021 due to their continued investment in public cloud solutions. The industries that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast period are professional services (24.4% CAGR), telecom (23.3% CAGR), and banking (23.0% CAGR). Source: Worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending Forecast to Reach $160 Billion This Year, According to IDC.
  • Discrete Manufacturing is predicted to lead all industries on public cloud spending of $19.7B in 2018 according to IDC. Additional industries forecast to spend the most on public cloud services this year include Professional Services at $18.1B and Banking at $16.7B. The process manufacturing and retail industries are also expected to spend more than $10B each on public cloud services in 2018. According to IDC, these five industries will remain at the top in 2021 due to their continued investment in public cloud solutions. The industries that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast period are Professional Services with a 24.4% CAGR, Telecommunications with a 23.3% CAGR, and banking with a 23% CAGR. Source: Worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending Forecast to Reach $160 Billion This Year, According to IDC.

Additional Resources:

Google Needs To Make Machine Learning Their Growth Fuel

  • In 2017 Google outspent Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook on R&D spending with the majority being on AI and machine learning.
  • Google needs new AI- and machine learning-driven businesses that have lower Total Acquisition Costs (TAC) to offset the rising acquisition costs of their ad and search businesses.
  • One of the company’s initial forays into AI and machine learning was its $600M acquisition of AI startup DeepMind in January 2014.
  • Google has launched two funds dedicated solely to AI: Gradient Ventures and the Google Assistant Investment Program, both of which are accepting pitches from AI and machine learning startups today.
  • On its Q4’17 earnings call, the company announced that its cloud business is now bringing in $1B per quarter. The number of cloud deals worth $1M+ that Google has sold more than tripled between 2016 and 2017.
  • Google’s M&A strategy is concentrating on strengthening their cloud business to better compete against Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

These and many other fascinating insights are from CB Insight’s report, Google Strategy Teardown (PDF, 49 pp., opt-in). The report explores how Alphabet, Google’s parent company is relying on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to capture new streams of revenue in enterprise cloud computing and services. Also, the report looks at how Alphabet can combine search, AI, and machine learning to revolutionize logistics, healthcare, and transportation. It’s a thorough teardown of Google’s potential acquisitions, strategic investments, and partnerships needed to maintain search dominance while driving revenue from new markets.

Key takeaways from the report include the following:

  • Google needs new AI- and machine learning-driven businesses that have lower Total Acquisition Costs (TAC) to offset the rising acquisition costs of their ad and search businesses. CB Insights found Google is experiencing rising TAC in their core ad and search businesses. With the strategic shift to mobile, Google will see TAC escalate even further. Their greatest potential for growth is infusing greater contextual intelligence and knowledge across the entire series of companies that comprise Alphabet, shown in the graphic below.

  • Google has launched two funds dedicated solely to AI: Gradient Ventures and the Google Assistant Investment Program, both of which are accepting pitches from AI and machine learning startups today. Gradient Ventures is an ROI fund focused on supporting the most talented founders building AI-powered companies. Former tech founders are leading Gradient Ventures, assisting in turning ideas into companies. Gradient Venture’s portfolio is shown below:

  • In 2017 Google outspent Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook on R&D spending with the majority being on AI and machine learning. Amazon dominates R&D spending across the top five tech companies investments in R&D in 2017 with $22.6B. Facebook leads in percent of total sales invested in R&D with 19.1%.

  • Google AI led the development of Google’s highly popular open source machine software library and framework Tensor Flow and is home to the Google Brain team. Google’s approach to primary research in the fields of AI, machine learning, and deep learning is leading to a prolific amount of research being produced and published. Here’s the search engine for their publication database, which includes many fascinating studies for review. Part of Google Brain’s role is to work with other Alphabet subsidiaries to support and lead their AI and machine learning product initiatives. An example of this CB Insights mentions in the report is how Google Brain collaborated with autonomous driving division Waymo, where it has helped apply deep neural nets to vehicles’ pedestrian detection The team has also been successful in increasing the number of AI and machine learning patents, as CB Insight’s analysis below shows:

  • Mentions of AI and machine learning are soaring on Google quarterly earnings calls, signaling senior management’s prioritizing these areas as growth fuel. CB Insights has an Insights Trends tool that is designed to analyze unstructured text and find linguistics-based associations, models and statistical insights from them. Analyzing Google earnings calls transcripts found AI and machine learning mentions are soaring during the last call.

  • Google’s M&A strategy is concentrating on strengthening their cloud business to better compete against Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Google acquired Xively in Q1 of this year followed by Cask Data and Velostrata in Q2. Google needs to continue acquiring cloud-based companies who can accelerate more customer wins in the enterprise and mid-tier, two areas Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure have strong momentum today.

Identities Are The New Security Perimeter

  • Privileged credentials for accessing an airport’s security system were recently for sale on the Dark Web for just $10, according to McAfee.
  • 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.
  • Apple employees in Ireland have been offered as much as €20,000 ($22,878) in exchange for their privilege access credentials in 2016, according to Business Insider.
  • Privileged access credentials belonging to more than 1 million staff at a top UK law firm have been found for sale on the Dark Web.

There’s been a 135% year-over-year increase in financial data for sale on the Dark Web between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018. The Dark Web is now solidly established as a globally-based trading marketplace for a myriad of privileged credentials including access procedures with keywords, and corporate logins and passwords where transactions happen between anonymous buyers and sellers. It’s also the online marketplace of choice where disgruntled, angry employees turn to for revenge against employers. An employee at Honeywell, angry over not getting a raise, used the Dark Web as an intermediary to sell DEA satellite tracking system data he accessed from unauthorized accounts he created to Mexican drug cartels for $2M. He was caught in a sting operation, the breach was thwarted, and he was arrested.

Your Most Vulnerable Threat Surface Is A Best Seller

Sites on the Dark Web offer lucrative payment in bitcoin and other anonymous currencies for administrators’ accounts at leading European, UK and North American banking institutions and corporations. Employees are offering their privileged credentials for sale to the highest bidder out of anger, revenge or for financial gain anonymously from online auction sites.

Privileged access credentials are a best-seller because they provide the intruder with “the keys to the kingdom.” By leveraging a “trusted” identity, a hacker can operate undetected and exfiltrate sensitive data sets without raising any red flags. This holds especially true when the organizations are not applying multi-factor authentication (MFA) or risk-based access controls to limit any type of lateral movement after unauthorized access. Without these security measures in place, hackers can quickly access any digital businesses’ most valuable systems to exfiltrate valuable data or sabotage systems and applications.

81% of all hacking-related breaches leverage either stolen and weak passwords, according to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report. A recent study by Centrify and Dow Jones Customer Intelligence titled, CEO Disconnect is Weakening Cybersecurity (31 pp, PDF, opt-in), found that CEOs can reduce the risk of a security breach by rethinking their Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategies. 68% of executives whose companies experienced significant breaches in hindsight believe that the breach could have been prevented by implementing more mature identity and access management strategies.

In A Zero Trust World, Identities Are The New Security Perimeter

The buying and selling of privileged credentials are proliferating on the Dark Web today and will exponentially increase in the years to come. Digital businesses need to realize that dated concepts of trusted and untrusted domains have been rendered ineffective. Teams of hackers aren’t breaking into secured systems; they’re logging in.

Digital businesses who are effective in thwarting privileged credential access have standardized on Zero Trust Security (ZTS) to ensure every potentially compromised endpoint, and threat surface within and outside a company is protected. Not a single device, login attempt, resource requested or other user-based actions are trusted, they are verified through Next-Gen Access (NGA).

Zero Trust Security relies upon four pillars: real-time user verification, device validation, access and privilege limitation, while also learning and adapting to verified user behaviors. Leaders in this area such as Centrify are relying on machine learning technology to calculate risk scores based on a wide spectrum of variables that quantitatively define every access attempt, including device, operating system, location, time of day, and several other key factors.

Depending on their risk scores, users are asked to validate their true identity through MFA further. If there are too many login attempts, risk scores increase quickly, and the NGA platform will automatically block and disable an account. All this happens in seconds and is running on a 24/7 basis ― monitoring every attempted login from anywhere in the world.

A recent Forrester Research thought leadership paper titled, Adopt Next-Gen Access to Power Your Zero Trust Strategy (14 pp., PDF, opt-in), provides insights into how NGA enables ZTS to scale across enterprises, protecting every endpoint and threat surface. The study found 32% of enterprises are excelling at the four ZTS pillars of verifying the identity of every user, validating every device using Mobile Data Management (MDM) and Mobile App Management (MAM), limiting access and privileges and learning and adapting using machine learning to analyze user behavior and gain greater insights from analytics.

NGA is a proven strategy for thwarting stolen and sold privileged access credentials from gaining access to a digital business’ network and systems, combining Identity-as-a-Service, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Privileged Access Management (PAM). Forrester found that scalable Zero Trust Security strategies empowered by NGA lead to increased organization-wide productivity (71%), reduced overall risk (70%) and reduced cost on compliance initiatives (70%).

Additionally, insights gained from user behavior through machine learning allow for greater efficiency — both on reduced compliance (31% more confident) and overall security costs (40% more likely to be confident), as well through increased productivity for the organization (8% more likely to be confident). The following graphic from the study ranks respondents’ answers.

Conclusion

Making sure your company’s privileged access credentials don’t make the best seller list on the Dark Web starts with a strong, scalable ZTS strategy driven by NGA. Next-Gen Access continually learns the behaviors of verified users, solving a long-standing paradox of user experience in security and access management. However, every digital business needs to focus on how the four pillars of Zero Trust Security apply to them and how they can take a pragmatic, thorough approach to secure every threat surface they have.

Glassdoor’s 10 Highest Paying Tech Jobs Of 2018

  • Software Engineering Manager is the highest paying position with an average salary of $163,500 with 31,621 open positions on Glassdoor today.
  • Over 368,000 open positions are available across the 10 highest paying jobs on Glassdoor today.
  • $147,000 is the average salary of the top 10 tech jobs on Glassdoor today.
  • 12.7% of all open positions are for software engineers, making this job the most in-demand in tech today.

Glassdoor is best known for its candid, honest reviews of employers written anonymously by employees. It is now common practice and a good idea for anyone considering a position with a new employer to check them out on Glassdoor first. With nearly 40 million reviews on more than 770,000 companies. Glassdoor is now the 2nd most popular job site professionals rely on in the U.S., attracting approximately 59 million job seekers a month. The Chief Human Resources Officer of one of the largest and best-known cloud-based enterprise software companies told me recently she gets 2X more applications from Glassdoor for any given position than any other recruiting site or channel.

Earlier this month Glassdoor Economic Research published the results of research completed on how base pay compares between tech and non-tech jobs.  The research team gathered a sample of tech companies with at least 100 job postings on Glassdoor as of June 26, 2018. Glassdoor defined tech roles as those positions requiring knowledge of code, software or data. The study found the following to be the 10 highest paying tech jobs today:

Walmart eCommerce, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, and Google have the highest concentration of tech jobs as a percentage of all positions open. Workday, Salesforce, Verizon, and IBM have the highest concentration of non-tech positions available today.

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research Blog, Landing a Non-Tech Job in Tech: Who’s Hiring Today? July 19, 2018

Global State Of Enterprise Analytics, 2018

  • 71% of enterprises globally predict their investments in data and analytics will accelerate in the next three years and beyond.
  • 57% of enterprises globally have a Chief Data Officer, a leadership role that is pivotal in helping to democratize data and analytics across any organization.
  • 52% of enterprises are leveraging advanced and predictive analytics today to provide greater insights and contextual intelligence into operations.
  • 41% of all enterprises are considering a move to cloud-based analytics in the next year.
  • Cloud Computing (24%), Big Data (20%), and AI/Machine Learning (18%) are the three technologies predicted to have the greatest impact on analytics over the next five years.
  • Just 16% of enterprises have enabled at least 75% of their employees to have access to company data and analytics.

These and many other fascinating insights are from MicroStrategy’s latest research study, 2018 Global State of Enterprise Analytics Report.  You can download a copy here (PDF, 44 pp., opt-in). The study is based on surveys completed in April 2018 with 500 globally-based enterprise analytics and business intelligence professionals on the state of their organizations’ analytics initiatives across 20 industries. Participants represented organizations with 250 to 20,000 employees worldwide from five nations including Brazil, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. For additional details on the methodology, please see the study here. The study’s results underscore how enterprises need to have a unified data strategy that reflects their growth strategies and new business models’ information needs.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • Driving greater process and cost efficiencies (60%), strategy and change (57%) and monitoring and improving financial performance (52%) are the top three ways enterprises globally are using data and analytics today. The study found that enterprises are also relying on data and analytics to gain greater insights into how current products and services are used (51%), managing risk (50%) and attain customer growth and retention (49%). Across the five nations surveyed, Japan leads the world in the use of data and analytics to drive process and cost efficiencies (65%). UK-based enterprises lead all nations in their use of data and analytics to analyze how current products and services are being used.  The report provides graphical comparisons of the five nations’ results.

  • Cloud Computing, Big Data, and AI/Machine Learning are the three technologies predicted to have the greatest global impact on analytics over the next five years. Japanese enterprises predict cloud computing will have the greatest impact on the future of analytics (28%) across the five nations’ enterprises interviewed. AI/Machine Learning is predicted to have the greatest impact on analytics in the U.K. (26%) globally as is Big Data in Germany (29%). Please see the study for country-specific prioritization of technologies.

  • 52% of enterprises are leveraging advanced and predictive analytics today to provide greater insights and contextual intelligence into operations. Additional leverage areas include distribution of analytics via e-mail and collaboration tools (49%), analytics embedded in other apps including Salesforce (44%) and mobile productivity apps (39%). Japanese enterprises lead the world in their adoption of advanced and predictive analytics (60%). German enterprises lead the world in the adoption of analytics for collaboration via e-mail and more real-time data and knowledge-sharing methods (50%).

  • 59% of enterprises are using Big Data Analytics, leading all categories of intelligence applications. Enterprise reporting (47%), data discovery (47%), mobile productivity apps (44%) and embedded apps (42%) are the top five intelligence applications in use globally by enterprises today. Big Data’s dominance in the survey results can be attributed to the top five industries in the sampling frame is among the most prolific in data generation and use. Manufacturing (15%) is the most data-prolific industry on the planet. Additional industries that generate massive amounts of data dominate the survey’s demographics including software technology-based businesses (14%), banking (13%), retail (11%), and financial services/business services (6%).

  • 27% of global enterprises prioritize security over any other factor when evaluating a new analytics vendor. The three core attributes of a scalable, comprehensive platform, ease of use, and a vendor’s products having an excellent reputation are all essential. Enterprises based in four of the five nations also prioritize security as the most critical success factor they evaluate potential analytics vendors to do business with. Enterprise scalability is most important in the U.S., with 26% of enterprises interviewed saying this is the most important priority in evaluating a new analytics vendor.

  • Data privacy and security concerns (49%) is the most formidable barrier enterprises face in gaining more effective use of their data and analytics. Enterprises from four of the five nations say data privacy and security are the most significant barrier they face in getting more value from analytics. In Japan, the greatest barrier is access limited to data across the organization (40%).

  • Globally 41% of all enterprises are considering a move to the cloud in the next year. 64% of U.S.-based enterprises are considering moving to a cloud-based analytics platform or solution in the next year. The U.S. leads enterprises from all five nations in planned cloud-based analytics cloud adoption as the graphic below illustrates.

10 Ways To Improve Cloud ERP With AI And Machine Learning

Capitalizing on new digital business models and the growth opportunities they provide are forcing companies to re-evaluate ERP’s role. Made inflexible by years of customization, legacy ERP systems aren’t delivering what digital business models need today to scale and grow.

Legacy ERP systems were purpose-built to excel at production consistency first at the expense of flexibility and responsiveness to customers’ changing requirements. By taking a business case-based approach to integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning into their platforms, Cloud ERP providers can fill the gap legacy ERP systems can’t.

Closing Legacy ERP Gaps With Greater Intelligence And Insight

Companies need to be able to respond quickly to unexpected, unfamiliar and unforeseen dilemmas with smart decisions fast for new digital business models to succeed. That’s not possible today with legacy ERP systems. Legacy IT technology stacks and the ERP systems they are built on aren’t designed to deliver the data needed most.

That’s all changing fast. A clear, compelling business model and successful execution of its related strategies are what all successful Cloud ERP implementations share. Cloud ERP platforms and apps provide organizations the flexibility they need to prioritize growth plans over IT constraints. And many have taken an Application Programming Interface (API) approach to integrate with legacy ERP systems to gain the incremental data these systems provide. In today’s era of Cloud ERP, rip-and-replace isn’t as commonplace as reorganizing entire IT architectures for greater speed, scale, and customer transparency using cloud-first platforms.

New business models thrive when an ERP system is constantly learning. That’s one of the greatest gaps between what Cloud ERP platforms’ potential and where their legacy counterparts are today. Cloud platforms provide greater integration options and more flexibility to customize applications and improve usability which is one of the biggest drawbacks of legacy ERP systems. Designed to deliver results by providing AI- and machine learning insights, Cloud ERP platforms, and apps can rejuvenate ERP systems and their contributions to business growth.

The following are the 10 ways to improve Cloud ERP with AI and machine learning, bridging the information gap with legacy ERP systems:

  1. Cloud ERP platforms need to create and strengthen a self-learning knowledge system that orchestrates AI and machine learning from the shop floor to the top floor and across supplier networks. Having a cloud-based infrastructure that integrates core ERP Web Services, apps, and real-time monitoring to deliver a steady stream of data to AI and machine learning algorithms accelerates how quickly the entire system learns. The Cloud ERP platform integration roadmap needs to include APIs and Web Services to connect with the many suppliers and buyer systems outside the walls of a manufacturer while integrating with legacy ERP systems to aggregate and analyze the decades of data they have generated.

  1. Virtual agents have the potential to redefine many areas of manufacturing operations, from pick-by-voice systems to advanced diagnostics. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Voice, and Microsoft Cortana have the potential to be modified to streamline operations tasks and processes, bringing contextual guidance and direction to complex tasks. An example of one task virtual agents are being used for today is guiding production workers to select from the correct product bin as required by the Bill of Materials. Machinery manufacturers are piloting voice agents that can provide detailed work instructions that streamline configure-to-order and engineer-to-order production. Amazon has successfully partnered with automotive manufacturers and has the most design wins as of today. They could easily replicate this success with machinery manufacturers.

  1. Design in the Internet of Things (IoT) support at the data structure level to realize quick wins as data collection pilots go live and scale. Cloud ERP platforms have the potential to capitalize on the massive data stream IoT devices are generating today by designing in support at the data structure level first. Providing IoT-based data to AI and machine learning apps continually will bridge the intelligence gap many companies face today as they pursue new business models. Capgemini has provided an analysis of IoT use cases shown below, highlighting how production asset maintenance and asset tracking are quick wins waiting to happen. Cloud ERP platforms can accelerate them by designing in IoT support.

  1. AI and machine learning can provide insights into how Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can be improved that aren’t apparent today. Manufacturers will welcome the opportunity to have greater insights into how they can stabilize then normalize OEE performance across their shop floors. When a Cloud ERP platform serves as an always-learning knowledge system, real-time monitoring data from machinery and production assets provide much-needed insights into areas for improvement and what’s going well on the shop floor.

  1. Designing machine learning algorithms into track-and-traceability to predict which lots from which suppliers are most likely to be of the highest or lowest quality. Machine learning algorithms excel at finding patterns in diverse data sets by continually applying constraint-based algorithms. Suppliers vary widely in their quality and delivery schedule performance levels. Using machine learning, it’s possible to create a track-and-trace application that could indicate which lot from which supplier is the riskiest and those that are of exceptional quality as well.
  2. Cloud ERP providers need to pay attention to how they can help close the configuration gap that exists between PLM, CAD, ERP and CRM systems by using AI and machine learning. The most successful product configuration strategies rely on a single, lifecycle-based view of product configurations. They’re able to alleviate the conflicts between how engineering designs a product with CAD and PLM, how sales & marketing sell it with CRM, and how manufacturing builds it with an ERP system. AI and machine learning can enable configuration lifecycle management and avert lost time and sales, streamlining CPQ and product configuration strategies in the process.
  3. Improving demand forecasting accuracy and enabling better collaboration with suppliers based on insights from machine learning-based predictive models is attainable with higher quality data. By creating a self-learning knowledge system, Cloud ERP providers can vastly improve data latency rates that lead to higher forecast accuracy. Factoring in sales, marketing, and promotional programs further fine-tunes forecast accuracy.
  4. Reducing equipment breakdowns and increasing asset utilization by analyzing machine-level data to determine when a given part needs to be replaced. It’s possible to capture a steady stream of data on each machine’s health level using sensors equipped with an IP address. Cloud ERP providers have a great opportunity to capture machine-level data and use machine learning techniques to find patterns in production performance by using a production floor’s entire data set. This is especially important in process industries where machinery breakdowns lead to lost sales. Oil refineries are using machine learning models comprise more than 1,000 variables related to material input, output and process perimeters including weather conditions to estimate equipment failures.
  5. Implementing self-learning algorithms that use production incident reports to predict production problems on assembly lines needs to happen in Cloud ERP platforms. A local aircraft manufacturer is doing this today by using predictive modeling and machine learning to compare past incident reports. With legacy ERP systems these problems would have gone undetected and turned into production slowdowns or worse, the line having to stop.
  6. Improving product quality by having machine learning algorithms aggregate, analyze and continually learn from supplier inspection, quality control, Return Material Authorization (RMA) and product failure data. Cloud ERP platforms are in a unique position of being able to scale across the entire lifecycle of a product and capture quality data from the supplier to the customer. With legacy ERP systems manufacturers most often rely on an analysis of scrap materials by type or caused followed by RMAs. It’s time to get to the truth about why products fail, and machine learning can deliver the insights to get there.
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