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Posts tagged ‘Machine learning’

Machine Learning Engineer Is The Best Job In The U.S. According To Indeed

  • Machine Learning Engineer job openings grew 344% between 2015 to 2018, and have an average base salary of $146,085.
  • At $158,303, Computer Vision Engineers earn among the highest salaries in tech
  • The average base salary of the 25 best jobs in the U.S. according to Indeed is $104,825, and the median base salary is $99,007.
  • Agile Coach is the highest paying job with an average base salary of $161,377.
  • 9 of the top 25 jobs in the U.S. this year are in tech fields according to Indeed.
  • Five jobs are heavily dependent on applicants’ Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills and expertise.

These and many other insights are from this Indeed’s The Best Jobs in the U.S.: 2019 study released this week. Indeed defined the best jobs as those experiencing the fastest growth measured by the increase in job postings between 2015 and 2018, in conjunction with those offering the highest pay using a baseline salary of $75,000. Indeed’s best jobs of 2019’s data set is available here in Microsoft Excel.

Key insights from Indeed’s ranking of the best jobs of 2019 include the following:

  • At $158,303, Computer Vision Engineers earn among the highest salaries in tech according to Indeed, followed Machine Learning Engineers with a base salary of $146,085. The average base pay of the nine tech-related jobs that made Indeed’s list is $122,761, above the median salary of $99,007 for the entire group of the top 25 jobs. Indeed’s top 25 jobs for 2019 are illustrated below in descending salary order with the median salary providing a benchmark across the group. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Three of the top 10 fastest growing jobs as measured by percentage growth in the number of job postings are in tech. From 2015 to 2018, job postings for Machine Learning Engineers grew 344%, followed by Full-stack developers (206%) and Salesforce developers (129%). In aggregate, all nine technology-related job postings increased by 146% between 2015 and 2018. The graphic below illustrates the percentage of growth in the number of postings between 2015 and 2018. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Comparing average base salary to percentage growth in job postings underscores the exceptionally high demand for Machine Learning Engineers in 2019. Technical professionals with machine learning expertise today are in an excellent position to bargain for the average base salary of at least $146,085 or more. Full-stack developers and Salesforce developers are in such high demand, technical professionals with skills on these areas combined with experience can command a higher salary than the average base salary. The following graphic compares the average base salary to percentage growth in job postings for the years 2015 – 2018. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

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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.

 

10 Ways AI & Machine Learning Are Revolutionizing Omnichannel

Disney, Oasis, REI, Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and others excel at delivering omnichannel experiences using AI and machine learning to fine-tune their selling and service strategies. Source: iStock

Bottom Line: AI and machine learning are enabling omnichannel strategies to scale by providing insights into the changing needs and preferences of customers, creating customer journeys that scale, delivering consistent experiences.

For any omnichannel strategy to succeed, each customer touchpoint needs to be orchestrated as part of an overarching customer journey. That’s the only way to reduce and eventually eliminate customers’ perceptions of using one channel versus another. What makes omnichannel so challenging to excel at is the need to scale a variety of customer journeys in real-time as customers are also changing.

89% of customers used at least one digital channel to interact with their favorite brands and just 13% found the digital-physical experiences well aligned according to Accenture’s omnichannel study. AI and machine learning are being used to close these gaps with greater intelligence and knowledge. Omnichannel strategists are fine-tuning customer personas, measuring how customer journeys change over time, and more precisely define service strategies using AI and machine learning. Disney, Oasis, REI, Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and others excel at delivering omnichannel experiences using AI and machine learning for example.

Omnichannel leaders including Amazon use AI and machine learning to anticipate which customer personas prefer to speak with a live agent versus using self-service for example. McKinsey also found omnichannel customer care expectations fall into the three categories of speed and flexibility, reliability and transparency, and interaction and care. Omnichannel customer journeys designed deliver on each of these three categories excel and scale between automated systems and live agents as the following example from the McKinsey article, How to capture what the customer wants illustrate:

The foundation all great omnichannel strategies are based on precise customer personas, insight into how they are changing, and how supply chains and IT need to flex and change too. AI and machine learning are revolutionizing omnichannel on these three core dimensions with greater insight and contextual intelligence than ever before.

10 Ways AI & Machine Learning Are Revolutionizing Omnichannel

The following are 10 ways AI & machine learning are revolutionizing omnichannel strategies starting with customer personas, their expectations, and how customer care, IT infrastructure and supply chains need to stay responsive to grow.

  1. AI and machine learning are enabling brands, retailers and manufacturers to more precisely define customer personas, their buying preferences, and journeys. Leading omnichannel retailers are successfully using AI and machine learning today to personalize customer experiences to the persona level. They’re combining brand, event and product preferences, location data, content viewed, transaction histories and most of all, channel and communication preferences to create precise personas of each of their key customer segments.
  2. Achieving price optimization by persona is now possible using AI and machine learning, factoring in brand and channel preferences, previous purchase history, and price sensitivity. Brands, retailers, and manufacturers are saying that cloud-based price optimization and management apps are easier to use and more powerful based on rapid advances in AI and machine learning algorithms than ever before. The combination of easier to use, more powerful apps and the need to better manage and optimize omnichannel pricing is fueling rapid innovation in this area. The following example is from Microsoft Azure’s Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution (PCS). Source: Azure Cortana Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution.

  1. Capitalizing on insights gained from AI and machine learning, omnichannel leaders are redesigning IT infrastructure and integration so they can scale customer experiences. Succeeding with omnichannel takes an IT infrastructure capable of flexing quickly in response to change in customers’ preferences while providing scale to grow. Every area of a brand, retailer or manufacturer’s supply chain from their supplier onboarding, quality management and strategic sourcing to yard management, dock scheduling, manufacturing, and fulfillment need to be orchestrated around customers. Leaders include C3 Solutions who offers a web-based Yard Management System (YMS) and Dock Scheduling System that can integrate with ERP, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and many others via APIs. The following graphic illustrates how omnichannel leaders orchestrate IT infrastructure to achieve greater growth. Source: Cognizant, The 2020 Customer Experience.

  1. Omnichannel leaders are relying on AI and machine learning to digitize their supply chains, enabling on-time performance, fueling faster revenue growth. For any omnichannel strategy to succeed, supply chains need to be designed to excel at time-to-market and time-to-customer performance at scale. 54% of retailers pursuing omnichannel strategies say that their main goal in digitizing their supply chains was to deliver greater customer experiences. 45% say faster speed to market is their primary goal in digitizing their supply chain by adding in AI and machine learning-driven intelligence. Source: Digitize Today To Future-Proof Tomorrow (PDF, 16 pp., opt-in).

  1. AI and machine learning algorithms are making it possible to create propensity models by persona, and they are invaluable for predicting which customers will act on a bundling or pricing offer. By definition propensity models rely on predictive analytics including machine learning to predict the probability a given customer will act on a bundling or pricing offer, e-mail campaign or other call-to-action leading to a purchase, upsell or cross-sell. Propensity models have proven to be very effective at increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Every business excelling at omnichannel today rely on propensity models to better predict how customers’ preferences and past behavior will lead to future purchases. The following is a dashboard that shows how propensity models work. Source: customer propensities dashboard is from TIBCO.

  1. Combining machine learning-based pattern matching with a product-based recommendation engine is leading to the development of mobile-based apps where shoppers can virtually try on garments they’re interested in buying. Machine learning excels at pattern recognition, and AI is well-suited for creating recommendation engines, which are together leading to a new generation of shopping apps where customers can virtually try on any garment. The app learns what shoppers most prefer and also evaluates image quality in real-time, and then recommends either purchase online or in a store. Source: Capgemini, Building The Retail Superstar: How unleashing AI across functions offers a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

  1. 56% of brands and retailers say that order track-and-traceability strengthened with AI and machine learning is essential to delivering excellent customer experiences. Order tracking across each channel combined with predictions of allocation and out-of-stock conditions using AI and machine learning is reducing operating risks today. AI-driven track-and-trace is invaluable in finding where there are process inefficiencies that slow down time-to-market and time-to-customer. Source: Digitize Today To Future-Proof Tomorrow (PDF, 16 pp., opt-in).
  2. Gartner predicts that by 2025, customer service organizations who embed AI in their customer engagement center platforms will increase operational efficiencies by 25%, revolutionizing customer care in the process. Customer service is often where omnichannel strategies fail due to lack of real-time contextual data and insight. There’s an abundance of use cases in customer service where AI and machine learning can improve overall omnichannel performance. Amazon has taken the lead on using AI and machine learning to decide when a given customer persona needs to speak with a live agent. Comparable strategies can also be created for improving Intelligent Agents, Virtual Personal Assistants, Chatbot and Natural Language (NLP) performance.  There’s also the opportunity to improve knowledge management, content discovery and improve field service routing and support.
  3. AI and machine learning are improving marketing and selling effectiveness by being able to track purchase decisions back to campaigns by channel and understand why specific personas purchased while others didn’t. Marketing is already analytically driven, and with the rapid advances in AI and machine learning, markets will for the first time be able to isolate why and where their omnichannel strategies are succeeding or failing. By using machine learning to qualify the further customer and prospect lists using relevant data from the web, predictive models including machine learning can better predict ideal customer profiles. Each omnichannel sales lead’s predictive score becomes a better predictor of potential new sales, helping sales prioritize time, sales efforts and selling strategies.
  4. Predictive content analytics powered by AI and machine learning are improving sales close rates by predicting which content will lead a customer to buy. Analyzing previous prospect and buyer behavior by persona using machine learning provides insights into which content needs to be personalized and presented when to get a sale. Predictive content analytics is proving to be very effective in B2B selling scenarios, and are scaling into consumer products as well

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.

Which Analytics And BI Technologies Will Be The Highest Priority In 2019?

  • 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services.
  • 54% say AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority.
  • 50% of enterprises say their stronger focus on metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) company-wide are a major driver of new investment in analytics and BI.
  • 43%  plan to both build and buy AI and machine learning applications and platforms.
  • 42% are seeking to improve user experiences by automating discovery of data insights and 26% are using AI to provide user recommendations.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the recent TDWI Best Practices Report, BI and Analytics in the Age of AI and Big Data. An executive summary of the study is available online here. The entire study is available for download here (39 PP., PDF, free, opt-in). The study found that enterprises are placing a high priority on augmenting existing systems and replacing older technologies and data platforms with new cloud-based BI and predictive analytics ones. Transforming Data with Intelligence (TDWI) is a global community of AI, analytics, data science and machine learning professionals interested in staying current in these and more technology areas as part of their professional development. Please see page 3 of the study for specifics regarding the methodology.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI applications and platforms as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services. 78% of enterprises are prioritizing advanced analytics, and 76% data preparation. 54% say AI, machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority. The following graphic ranks enterprises’ investment priorities for acquiring or subscribing to new technologies and cloud-based services by analytics and BI initiatives or strategies. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Data warehouse or mart in the cloud (41%), data lake in the cloud (39%) and BI platform in the cloud (38%) are the top three types of technologies enterprises are planning to use. Based on this finding and others in the study, cloud platforms are the new normal in enterprises’ analytics and Bi strategies going into 2019. Cloud data storage (object, file, or block) and data virtualization or federation (both 32%) are the next-most planned for technologies by enterprises when it comes to investing in the analytics and BI initiatives. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • The three most important factors in delivering a positive user experience include good query performance (61%), creating and editing visualizations (60%), and personalizing dashboards and reports (also 60%). The three activities that lead to the least amount of satisfaction are using predictive analytics and forecasting tools (27% dissatisfied), “What if” analysis and deriving new data (25%) and searching across data and reports (24%). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • 82% of enterprises are looking to broaden the base of analytics and BI platforms they rely on for insights and intelligence, not just stay with the solutions they have in place today. Just 18% of enterprises plan to add more instances of existing platforms and systems. Cloud-native platforms (38%), a new analytics platform (35%) and cloud-based data lakes (31%) are the top three system areas enterprises are planning to augment or replace existing BI, analytics, and data warehousing systems in. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • The majority of enterprises plan to both build and buy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions so that they can customize them to their specific needs. 43% of enterprises surveyed plan to both build and buy AI and ML applications and platforms, a figure higher than any other recent survey on this aspect of enterprise AI adoption. 13% of responding enterprises say they will exclusively build their own AI and ML applications.

  • Capitalizing on machine learning’s innate strengths of applying algorithms to large volumes of data to find actionable new insights (54%) is what’s most important to the majority of enterprises. 47% of enterprises look to AI and machine learning to improve the accuracy and quality of information. And 42% are configuring AI and machine learning applications and platforms to augment user decision making by giving recommendations. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

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.

Using Machine Learning To Find Employees Who Can Scale With Your Business

  • Eightfold’s analysis of hiring data has found the half-life of technical, marketable skills is 5 to 7 years, making the ability to unlearn and learn new concepts essential for career survival.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) don’t capture applicants’ drive and intensity to unlearn and learn or their innate capabilities for growth.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are proving adept at discovering candidates’ innate capabilities to unlearn, learn and reinvent themselves throughout their careers.

Hiring managers in search of qualified job candidates who can scale with and contribute to their growing businesses are facing a crisis today. They’re not finding the right or in many cases, any candidates at all using resumes alone, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or online job recruitment sites designed for employers’ convenience first and candidates last. These outmoded approaches to recruiting aren’t designed to find those candidates with the strongest capabilities. Add to this dynamic the fact that machine learning is making resumes obsolete by enabling employers to find candidates with precisely the right balance of capabilities needed and its unbiased data-driven approach selecting candidates works. Resumes, job recruitment sites and ATS platforms force hiring managers to bet on the probability they make a great hire instead of being completely certain they are by basing their decisions on solid data.

Playing The Probability Hiring Game Versus Making Data-Driven Decisions

Many hiring managers and HR recruiters are playing the probability hiring game. It’s betting that the new hire chosen using imprecise methods will work out. And like any bet, it gets expensive quickly when a wrong choice is made. There’s a 30% chance the new hire will make it through one year, and if they don’t, it will cost at least 1.5 times their salary to replace them. When the median salary for a cloud computing professional is $146,350, and it takes the best case 46 days to find them, 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. The average size of an engineering team is ten people so only three will remain in 12 months. These are the high costs of playing the probability hiring game, fueled by unconscious and conscious biases and systems that game recruiters into believing they are making progress when they’re automating mediocre or worse decisions. Hiring managers will have better luck betting in Las Vegas or playing Powerball than hiring the best possible candidate if they rely on systems that only deliver a marginal probability of success at best.

Betting on solid data and personalization at scale, on the other hand, delivers real results. Real data slices through the probabilities and is the best equalizer there is at eradicating conscious and unconscious biases from hiring decisions. Hiring managers, HR recruiters, directors and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) vow they are strong believers in diversity. Many are abandoning the probability hiring game for AI- and machine learning-based approaches to talent management that strip away any extraneous data that could lead to bias-driven hiring decisions. Now candidates get evaluated on their capabilities and innate strengths and how strong a match they are to ideal candidates for specific roles.

A Data-Driven Approach To Finding Employees Who Can Scale

Personalization at scale is more than just a recruiting strategy; it’s a talent management strategy intended to flex across the longevity of every employees’ tenure. Attaining personalization at scale is essential if any growing business is going to succeed in attracting, acquiring and growing talent that can support their growth goals and strategies. Eightfold’s approach makes it possible to scale personalized responses to specific candidates in a company’s candidate community while defining the ideal candidate for each open position. Personalization at scale has succeeded in helping companies find the right person to the right role at the right time and, for the first time, personalize every phase of recruitment, retention and talent management at scale.

Eightfold is pioneering the use of a self-updating corporate candidate database. Profiles in the system are now continually updated using external data gathering, without applicants reapplying or submitting updated profiles. The taxonomies supported in the corporate candidate database make it possible for hiring managers to define the optimal set of capabilities, innate skills, and strengths they need to fill open positions.

Lessons Learned at PARC
Russell Williams, former Vice President of Human Resources at PARC, says the best strategy he has found is to define the ideal attributes of high performers and look to match those profiles with potential candidates. “We’re finding that there are many more attributes that define a successful employee in our most in-demand positions including data scientist that are evident from just reviewing a resume and with AI, I want to do it at scale,” Russell said. Ashutosh Garg, Eightfold founder, added: “that’s one of the greatest paradoxes that HR departments face, which is the need to know the contextual intelligence of a given candidate far beyond what a resume and existing recruiting systems can provide.”  One of the most valuable lessons learned from PARC is that it’s possible to find the find candidates who excel at unlearning, learning, defining and diligently pursuing their learning roadmaps that lead to reinventing their skills, strengths, and marketability.

Conclusion

Machine learning algorithms capable of completing millions of pattern matching comparisons per second provides valuable new insights, enabling companies to find those who excel at reinventing themselves. The most valuable employees who can scale any business see themselves as learning entrepreneurs and have an inner drive to master new knowledge and skills. And that select group of candidates is the catalyst most often responsible for making the greatest contributions to a company’s growth.

How AI & Machine Learning Are Redefining The War For Talent

These and many other fascinating insights are from Gartner’s recent research note, Cool Vendors in Human Capital Management for Talent Acquisition (PDF, 13 pp., client access reqd.) that illustrates how AI and machine learning are fundamentally redefining the war for talent. Gartner selected five companies that are setting a rapid pace of innovation in talent management, taking on Human Capital Management’s (HCM) most complex challenges. The five vendors Gartner mentions in the research note are AllyO, Eightfold, jobpal, Knack, and Vettd. Each has concentrated on creating and launching differentiated applications that address urgent needs enterprises have across the talent acquisition landscape. Gartner’s interpretation of the expanding Talent Acquisition Landscape is shown below (please click on the graphic to expand):

Source: Gartner, Cool Vendors in Human Capital Management for Talent Acquisition, Written by Jason Cerrato, Jeff Freyermuth, John Kostoulas, Helen Poitevin, Ron Hanscome. 7 September 2018

Company Growth Plans Are Accelerating The War For Talent

The average employee’s tenure at a cloud-based enterprise software company is 19 months; in the Silicon Valley, this trends to 14 months due to intense competition for talent according to C-level executives leading these companies. Fast-growing enterprise cloud computing companies and many other businesses like them need specific capabilities, skill sets, and associates who know how to unlearn old concepts and learn new ones. Today across tech and many other industries, every company’s growth strategy is predicated on how well they attract, engage, screen, interview, select and manage talent over associates’ lifecycles.

Of the five companies Gartner names as Cool Vendors in the field of Human Capital Management for Talent Acquisition, Eightfold is the only one achieving personalization at scale today. Attaining personalization at scale is essential if any growing business is going to succeed in attracting, acquiring and growing talent that can support their growth goals and strategies. Eightfold’s approach makes it possible to scale personalized responses to specific candidates in a company’s candidate community while defining the ideal candidate for each open position.

Gartner finds Eightfold noteworthy for its AI-based Talent Intelligence Platform that combines analysis of publicly available data, internal data repositories, HCM systems, ATS tools, and spreadsheets then creates ontologies based on organization-specific success criteria. Each ontology, or area of talent management interest, is customizable for further queries using the app’s easily understood and navigated user interface. Gartner also finds that Eightfold.ai is one of the first examples of a self-updating corporate candidate database. Profiles in the system are now continually updated using external data gathering, without applicants reapplying or submitting updated profiles. The Eightfold.ai Talent Intelligence Platform is shown below:

Taking A Data-Driven Approach to Improve Diversity

AI and machine learning have the potential to remove conscious and unconscious biases from hiring decisions, leading to hiring decisions based on capabilities and innate skills. Many CEOs and senior management teams are enthusiastically endorsing diversity programs yet struggling to make progress. AI and machine learning-based approaches like Eightfold’s can help to accelerate them to their diversity goals and attain a more egalitarian workplace. Data is the great equalizer, with a proven ability to eradicate conscious and unconscious biases from hiring decisions and enable true diversity by equally evaluating candidates based on their experience, growth potential and strengths.

Conclusion

At the center of every growing business’ growth plans is the need to attract, engage, recruit, and retain the highest quality employees possible. As future research in the field of HCM will show, the field is in crisis because it’s relying more on biases than solid data. Breaking through the barrier of conscious and unconscious biases will provide contextual intelligence of an applicant’s unique skills, capabilities and growth trajectories that are far beyond the scope of any resume or what an ATS can provide. The war for talent is being won today with data and insights that strip away biases to provide prospects who are ready for the challenges of helping their hiring companies grow.

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.

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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