Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included Icertis publishing a report that looks at business leaders’s attitudes towards generative AI and the impact it will have. The State of Flux, a leading procurement and supply chain consultancy. They published an impressive report titled Extended Enterprise, 2023 Global SRM research report (registration required).
Inventory Planner published findings from a survey that looked at the impact of inflation on retailers and shoppers ahead of the festive season. The Wolters Kluwer 2023 Future Ready Lawyer Survey looks at how client expectations, technology and market trends have and will impact the legal profession.
Acxiom released its annual trends report, “Where AI and Marketing Collide.” The quantitative research reveals the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the customer experience (CX). It offers a strategic guide for brands seeking AI-powered marketing success.
Tate Olinghouse, Chief Revenue Officer at Acxiom, notes, “This year, AI has revolutionized brand-customer engagement. Our report dives into the emerging trends for 2024, providing perspectives from both brands and consumers on how AI will further elevate the customer experience in the year ahead.”
The report identified five trends to watch for in 2024.
- Shoppable Ads: Leveraging AI, e-commerce, and digital advertising, personalised ads will increase and drive buying behaviour. 66% of consumers value the convenience of discovering products relevant to their interests.
- Proactive Customer Service: There is a growing use of chatbots and AI. 35% of consumers favour AI chatbots over humans for basic interactions.
- Healthy Acquisition & Retention: Pivoting to AI-powered strategies for acquiring and retaining high-value customers, brands prioritize lasting profitability over sheer growth. 73% of customers surveyed remain loyal to brands that offer tailored, meaningful experiences.
- Predictive Personalization: Using AI to intuitively anticipate and address customers’ wants and needs, brands are set to revolutionize CX. 47% of the report’s respondents engage more actively with individualized content and offers.
- Sustainable CX: Catering to eco-conscious and socially aware consumers, AI empowers brands to align business objectives with consumer values. 44% are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products, and 38% weigh a brand’s social impact before purchasing.
Chad Engelgau, Acxiom’s CEO, adds, “2023 brought AI breakthroughs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, reshaping how we approach CX. Yet, it’s crucial to note that AI’s brilliance shines brightest when grounded on accurate, ethically sourced data. For brands to thrive using this advanced technology, a robust customer intelligence strategy is essential — prioritizing foundational analytics, scaling AI efforts, and balancing personalization with privacy and respect are key. Our report paves the way forward for successful AI-enabled CX.”
Aera published findings from an IDC Whitepaper, “What Every Executive Needs to Know About AI-Powered Decision Intelligence.” The whitepaper was based on a survey of Fortune 1,000 companies from across 8 countries and six industries. Though the sample size was not revealed. The research identifies common characteristics of enterprises with decision velocity — defined by IDC as the speed at which a decision-making process can be executed within a set of enterprise controls — and the connection to business value and competitive differentiation.
Dan Vesset, Group Vice President, Analytics and Information Management at IDC, said, “While today’s headlines speculate about potential benefits and the future of AI, our research indicates that leading organizations are using AI, analytics, and data to generate value for their customers, employees, partners, investors, and communities. What unites these organizations are clear goals and KPIs to measure them, investments to accelerate decision velocity, and pragmatic use of enabling AI, analytics and data technologies and skills.”
Key highlights from the research include:
- 33% of decisions are made primarily based on intuition and experience. And 25% of decisions that should be made are not.
- Nearly double the number of leaders vs followers (33% vs 17%) indicated that they have a program for ongoing monitoring, review, and transformation of decision-making processes.
- An estimated 11%-30% of leaders vs followers experienced improvements over the previous fiscal year across business metrics.
Fred Laluyaux, CEO of Aera Technology, commented, “IDC’s research clearly shows the value creation divide among enterprises operationalizing decision intelligence and those that are not. The next wave of enterprise digital transformation can no longer be another data lake or planning tool. People must be empowered with innovative, intuitive technology that accelerates accurate decision-making at scale and enables companies to be self-driving, self-learning, and ready to compete in a digital world.”
The Bullhorn GRID 2023 Talent Trends Report reveals highlights why talent will work with a staffing firm again. Each phase of the recruitment stage is an opportunity for loyalty increase. The research found that a positive experience at every step increases the likelihood that candidates would work with a firm again:
- Job search: 27% increase
- Interview process: 44% increase
- Filling out forms: 57% increase
- Job fit: 48% increase
- Logging and submitting time: 35% increase
Other factors include responsiveness. 73% more likely to keep working with a staffing firm if they found their recruiter to provide prompt communication. 30% of candidates stopped working with a staffing firm if they didn’t receive enough communication from their recruiter. The type of communication matters, with local preferences also important. Another factor is that the jobs available must be a good fit, and the placement should be quick. 72% indicated they want to be placed in a job within four weeks of their first contact with a firm — and 22% actually hope to be placed within a week.
Andre Mileti, Product Evangelist, Talent Experience at Bullhorn, commented, “As staffing firms strive to retain business and improve their margins, it’s more important than ever to cultivate a loyal community of satisfied talent. The firms that succeed in this climate will be those that can place candidates in the right jobs quickly, while offering a convenient, consumer-grade experience. And the recruiters who will be able to do this best are those who have the right talent-facing technologies accompanying their efforts.”
Globant has published its newest report, Applied AI: Driving Change Forward in the Automotive Industry. It explores how AI is reshaping the automotive landscape in manufacturing, design, supply chain management, production, post-production, and enabling tools such as “driver assistance” and “driver risk assessment” systems.
The report shows that by analyzing data, AI can streamline decision-making processes and improve customer experience. AI can also bring several other benefits to the industry, such as accelerating the supply chain, production, and post-production stages. Also maximizing efficiency with automation and intelligent robots. AI also enables safer driving with the emerging concept of self-driving cars.
Diego Tartara, Chief Technology Officer of Globant, “AI is driving change within the automotive industry in very practical ways such as supply chain management, manufacturing, and design. But it also goes beyond that: with the advent of autonomous driving, AI will affect urban planning and the design of future cities entirely. This knock-on impact will be transformative for the automotive industry and beyond it, impacting how we live, work, and commute.”
Marina Saint-Lary, Managing Director of Globant’s Automotive Reinvention Studio, added, “AI is not only revolutionizing the automotive sector; it is rewriting the rules of mobility, manufacturing, and driving altogether. As algorithms empower vehicles to perceive, learn, and adapt, we are witnessing the transformation of an entire industry as we enter a new age of immersive experiences, seamless connectivity, and unparalleled safety.”
Kantata published results from a report based on a survey of 213 respondents conducted by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Entitled “The Macro Technology Shift Impacting the Professional Services Industry”. The report explores the state of professional services organizations, the challenges they face, and the role of technology. The report shows a significant gap between the critically important role of technology within professional services organizations and the ability of current tools used to provide the data needed by leadership teams to lead effectively.
Key findings included:
- 85% of professional services leaders, the applications and technologies they use extensively influence the quality of their day-to-day work experience.
- For 36%, the technology they use is the most critical factor, more important than company culture, colleagues, and compensation.
- 47% of respondents strongly believe their current tools provide the data and related insights that leadership, delivery, and finance teams need to make strategic decisions about how the organization can improve.
Top challenges include:
- Adapting to more remote and asynchronous working (51%)
- Pricing transparency and margin pressure (49%)
- Recruiting and retaining talent (46%)
- Securing access to the contract workforce (44%)
- Rapidly shifting client needs (36%)
- Volatile customer demand (33%)
Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata, commented, “Many organizations are working in technology silos, which limits the valuable context and data-driven intelligence they can access. This challenge has grown as the technology landscape has become more complex, creating constant friction that makes it difficult for professional services organizations to deliver consistently excellent outcomes to their clients. The key to addressing this friction and removing technology silos is adopting solutions that are specifically designed to align the teams and processes that drive the professional services lifecycle.”
The report looks at the technology in use, what works and what doesn’t. With Speranza adding, “Making the right technology choices has never been more important for professional service firms given the intense macroeconomic and digital transformation pressures shaping customer and employee expectations. Businesses that invest in technologies that provide industry-specific capabilities that provide more context, collaboration, and control for their users will come out ahead of the competition.”
Kaseya released its third annual Datto Global State of the MSP: Trends and Forecasts for 2024 Report. This report surveyed 1,575 MSPs worldwide about what keeps them up at night.
It has been a year of explosive growth for MSPs. In North America, 68% of MSPs experienced a revenue increase, and among them, 38% saw their revenue grow by more than 10%. Likewise, the revenue increase was also significant in Europe. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of MSPs in Europe experienced year-over-year revenue growth. And among them, 37% of those experienced an increase of more than 10%.
Competition is tuff, though. More than a third (35%) of MSPs globally cite competition as the biggest challenge, up from 29% last year. While seen as a challenge, MSPs are harnessing this competition to drive innovation. They are offering solutions to better meet their client’s needs. With 91% regarding customer experience as a high or top priority.
For 2024, several priorities stood out:
- 74% of respondents said they prefer to use fewer vendors to meet their technology needs — up from 64% in 2022.
- Expand the service portfolio, including collaboration software (27%), business intelligence or analytics software (22%), and incident response and forensics (22%).
- 50% or more of their clients are shifting their workloads to the cloud.
- 28% of respondents cited their customers’ lack of concern about cyber risks as a major cybersecurity challenge.
Holly Pateman, Kaseya’s SVP of Product Marketing, said, “While MSPs have long been the unsung heroes of tech, this year’s survey results clearly speak to a growing understanding of the critical role technology plays in a sustainable business. With revenues and competition on the rise, and a focus on the need for a superior customer experience, MSPs have a front-row seat to what makes their customers successful.
“As a result, these MSPs have a clear view into what keeps a major cornerstone of our economy — small and midsize businesses — running. As we head into the end of the year and the start of 2024, we can all learn from the stories, challenges and successes of the MSPs shaping the future of IT services. We hope that this report will shed light on this thriving industry that is currently experiencing more growth potential than ever before.”
Pipefy has published the results from its Process & Workflow Automation survey. The report looks at the anticipated benefits that generative AI workflow automation can and has brought to organisations. 73% already used AI initiatives in place.
Respondents believe generative AI offers the following benefits:
- 53% anticipate better use of employee time
- 51% plan to benefit from a competitive advantage
- 50% expect to improve operational efficiency
- 47% anticipate faster access to data analytics
For process and workflow automation, the drivers for adoption include:
- 74% are seeking to increase efficiency
- 73% want to improve productivity
- 55% are looking for ways to reduce errors
Where process automation is adopted already, organisations have seen:
- Better data and decision-making — 59%
- Have improved agility — 57%
- Have realized cost savings — 57%
Alessio Alionco, CEO and Founder of Pipefy said, “Businesses today are tasked with the challenge of increasing efficiency in all areas of their business, and when you combine generative AI and process automation into one solution, it delivers major efficiency and productivity benefits to businesses. With our new generative AI capability, our customers have more control over the process than ever before. And for organizations that have extensive amounts of data, our generative AI capabilities can make the data even more meaningful for business.”
The report also highlights the top criteria used to evaluate workflow automation solutions, noting security (75%), integration (64%) and ease of use (61%) as the top three.
Alionco added, “Our process automation makes it easy for business teams to automate their workflows and manage their processes — no coding skills required. By making Pipefy easy to use, we are removing the learning curves that are often barriers to adoption. At the same time, we are continually making it easier for customers to integrate with their tech stacks to create a unified ecosystem, through native and custom integrations.”
The 2024 Market Research Trends Report from Qualtrics finds that researchers are eager to embrace new technology in 2024 — but are struggling to keep pace with AI and are burdened by the potential for fraud. At the same time, despite cuts to global marketing budgets, organizations around the world are increasing their reliance on timely, thorough consumer research. To inform strategy, increase profits, and understand what customers want.
The 2024 market research trends are:
- Market research is ripe for AI innovation
- Remote and virtual research opens the door for deeper understanding at scale
- Better technology + better data = better decisions
- The skills gap is widening, and AI can close it fast
Jill Larson, Chief Product Officer for Strategy & Research at Qualtrics, said, “The market research industry may experience a more rapid AI-powered transformation than any other industry in the world in 2024, but will they be ready for it? Advances in AI will help companies use market research to make faster, smarter decisions and get closer to their customers at a time when it has never mattered more.”
Despite the growing use (47%) of AI, most researchers (87%) feel secure about their jobs. Larson added, “Researchers are embracing AI. They recognize AI as an important research tool, helping them maximize their impact by unlocking potential insights hidden in unstructured operational and experience data.”
Digital qualitative research is increasing. With 87% reporting that they are conducting the research remotely more than half the time. However, there are concerns, with 36% claiming they do not get the same rapport with interviewees. The benefits are significant, though, with the report noting the top five:
- More cost-effective
- Increase geographical diversity
- Faster time to insights
- Increased accessibility
- Better reach of the target audience
The use of AI is increasing and seen as a way of overcoming the shortage of analytical skills that is seen within research firms. This is an interesting report that both research firms and especially vendors should take note of before considering where to place. It seems like a combination of humans and AI is the best combination to give the best and most effective results.
QuickBase has published a Total Economic Impact report from Forrester Consulting for its dynamic work management platform. The TEI report demonstrated a 315% return on investment (ROI) for the Quickbase platform over three years.
Other, more likely benefits include:
- Reduction in operational costs — Quickbase customers saved $8.3 million in operational costs, enabled through improved organizational visibility to make better decisions on staffing, inventory ordering, maintenance, and other actions that directly impact operational spend.
- Improved project management — Using applications built into Quickbase’s platform, organizations reduced time spent on ad hoc data collection and reporting using dashboards, reporting, and integrations with data sources, saving project staff 2.5 weeks of FTE time per year and delivering $6.4 million of value in improved project management.
- Growth in bookings and customer revenue — Quickbase customers drove $5 million in competitive value from new and existing customers, managing and analyzing contracts quicker and more effectively in competitive bids and improving overall customer experience.
- Better utilization of project management applications — Developing purpose-built applications on the Quickbase platform allowed customers to eliminate costly, disconnected point solutions — acting as data and information silos — saving an average of $1.5 million on discontinued, disconnected legacy tools.
Ed Jennings, CEO of Quickbase, commented, “This study confirms what we’ve long known from working with our customers — the Quickbase Dynamic Work Management platform delivers significant bottom-line strategic and operational value. That value is more than just cost savings, however.
“It comes in the form of improving productivity by eliminating Gray Work, the time and resources lost when work is done in ad-hoc solutions and workarounds when your technology doesn’t work for you. In doing so, we’re helping improve both employee and customer experience, and helping organizations get their most complex and dynamic work done, faster and more efficiently, driving revenue growth — today and into the future.”
The bank closures study by AI and analytics leader SAS compared the number of bank branches open in 2020 across all local constituencies in the UK. To the number closed over the last three years to understand the annual bank closure rate. The study found that 80 constituencies have lost more than 80% of their banks in the last three years. With an annual bank loss rate of more than 25%. The average constituency across the UK saw 51% of its banks close in the last three years. With a branch loss rate of 17.3%.
Louise Potts, Head of Banking Customer Advisory at SAS UK, said, “Online banking has revolutionised personal finance, making it easier for customers to carry out day-to-day transactions whatever their location. Analytics and AI has also personalised the online experience, improved responsiveness and helped with fraud prevention, but it’s not always a viable option for everyone. In-person banking services provide crucial services if you’re struggling to access the internet or find a solution online.
“Banking hubs have become a new alternative for those who don’t have access to a traditional branch. Owned by Cash Access UK and run by the Post Office, banking hubs provide access to a number of high street banks, giving people the option to deposit, transfer and withdraw money from most major banks — all under one roof.
“Ultimately, everyone needs access to banking. Our research highlights the areas that may need support, whether it be technological advancements to improve internet access or consideration for the opening of a new banking hub.”
Trinet published its 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance Report. Burton M. Goldfield, TriNet President and CEO, said, “TriNet continues to evolve and meet the changing needs of America’s small and medium-sized businesses. We focus our efforts to help address the social and environmental factors that we believe we can influence while maintaining our strong governance practices. I’m incredibly proud of the TriNet team and our continued focus on making positive contributions in support of our stakeholders and the communities where we live and work.”
The report includes the following highlights:
- Environmental policy
- Building community Ecosystems
- Data storage migration to the cloud
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Efforts
- Paper Paycheck Reduction and Pay Card Program
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Board and Executive Officer composition
- A new Vendor Code of Conduct
UKG published a 2024 HR Megatrends report during its Aspire conference.
The three megatrends it identified were:
- Redefining the employee/employer relationship. Fair pay and benefits top the list of employees’ needs, though they account for just 37% of what employees want at work. The other 63% includes necessities such as transparent communication, personalized flexibility, and shared-value alignment.
- From buying and borrowing to building and mining. In the traditional skills-acquisition matrix, there are three options: buy (traditional recruitment), build (internal reskilling and upskilling), or borrow (hiring temporary contractors and freelancers). The year ahead will introduce a fourth option of mining. Which entails uncovering critical skills from an organization’s current workforce in sometimes hidden places.
- The impending ESG (environmental, social, and governance) gut check. Organizations that made long-term promises to do better for people and the planet — from ESG to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) — must establish their authentic positions on ESG and DEI&B and stay committed to achieving their goals.
UKG also identifies what organisations need to do to embrace these trends. Dr Jarik Conrad, Vice President of human insights at UKG and Executive Director of the UKG Workforce Institute, commented, “To say the past few years have been challenging for employers and their employees is a gross understatement. For the first time in quite a while, however, workplace optimism is returning.
“But now isn’t the time for leaders to regress or rest. The key to a successful 2024 and beyond is making people central in every decision you make, from your employees to your customers to your communities. In 2024, the talkers will be separated from the walkers, and it’s ultimately up to leaders to decide which kind of organization they want to lead.”