I’ve been told that some twenty years ago, the best way to be a successful consultant in Finland was to go to a conference in the States, and then return to the motherland and preach whatever new and exciting things that were hot topics in the US at that time. You would usually be able to work with those themes for a couple of years, until again updating your rap by visiting a conference.
Obviously, this no longer holds true, but I still wanted to share the themes that caught my attention during the mega-event of the worlds most innovative company, Salesforce. These are areas that I suggest that CMO:s (or other C-suits) pick up on in the near future, to keep up with the development of the global competition.
1: Predictive Analytics
Why? Because having data is not enough, you have go to find ways to use it, too.
What? Salesforce revealed their new Analytics platform, called Wave (or also referred to as, the worst kept secret ever). Although nice and pretty and a great mobile-first product, the buzz was overshadowed by tons of vendors and tons of sessions on predictive analytics, enforcing the notion that you don’t only need to be able to show the data that you have in your system, but you use it to predict e.g. lead conversion, buying intent, supply chain bottlenecks, customer behaviour etc.
2: Cognitive computing and unstructured data
Why? Because you should be able to use also non-systematically introduced data, such as email, discussion, social media to enhance decision making. Also, you cannot always rely on data values to a) be inserted correctly or b) be inserted at all – one good example is sales forecasts made by sales reps.
What? Many applications are relying on having accurate data in the system, which often becomes a problem when the data should be manually inserted by hundreds or thousands of people e.g. within a sales organization. With developments in cognitive computing, spearheaded by IBM and the Watson project, some innovators are now applying this to processes such as sales. Using input such as emails and chatter / social media, the cognitive computing machine makes it possible to simply ask “what should I do to close this deal” or “what kind of collateral would help me in this situation”, and will answer based on what has worked in similar cases in the same company. What this also enables is for sales managers to be more aware of what the sales reps are actually doing on the field – increasing estimation accuracy and highlighting bias, bottlenecks and problem areas.
3: Internet of Things
Why? Because all the “things” around us are getting connected at an increasing speed – Cisco’s calculator shows that there are at this moment close to 14 billion connected things.
Who?What? As we can see already, getting the data will not be the problem, it is what to do with the data that will be the challenge for most organizations. IoT strategies will most certainly have implications on customer experience, customer acquisition, customer retention and business models (we will see a lot more of subscription-based businesses because of this, e.g. selling uptime, instead of machinery). Marketing’s role should change drastically for many B2B companies.
All of the software companies, all of the digital consultancies.
IoT on Wikipedia
Any other themes / interesting technologies / companies / trends you’d like to see on this list? Comment below!