As we head into a new decade of connectivity, we'll see these technologies, and others, become entrenched in the ways APAC brands—and their CIOs—enable personalised, intuitive, and seamless customer experiences.
What will it take for CIOs to bridge the gap between promise and reality?
Empower Your People
APAC is set to leap into CX technology investments that will redefine the marketing landscape. According to the new 2020 Digital Trends in Asia Pacific (APAC) report, from Adobe and Econsultancy, 57% of organisations in the region revealed they are likely to increase their investments in CX-related technology in 2020, compared to 47% of companies across the rest of the world. Intentions to invest in AI and ML, specifically, are higher among APAC respondents than anywhere else in the world.
However, what began as a martech trend is broadening into something Dr Joseph Sweeney, an adviser at IBRS Future of Work, has dubbed "HuITech." HuITech refers to the application of AI technologies to human capital management—i.e., the workforce.
"The single takeaway from the rapid expansion of these technologies will be a more fluid and casual workforce where people are likely to have multiple jobs," he told said. "From a market perspective, this will increase competition across APAC as a tightening of human capital leads to more advanced product and service offerings."
Interestingly, Sweeney said HuITech uniquely positions the CIO as an employee experience (EX) champion, focused on integrating systems and using AI and ML to align with business outcomes. Together with other C-suite leaders, the CIO will need to ensure EX solutions are seamlessly integrated with customer-facing customer experience management (CXM) solutions and a host of always-on edge devices, entry points into an enterprise or network.
Empower Your Experiences
Technology automation that improve companies’ products and services, such as intelligent email responders, chatbots, and real-time product recommendations, will continue to evolve as developers increase the focus on combining AI with user experience.
"However, there will be an increasing demand for more integrated customer experience technologies," said Tracey Munn, founder and chief digital strategist at Munn Digital, a global digital marketing consultancy. "Humans will always have a primal need to interact, regardless of whether it’s communicating online or face to face."
APAC companies understand the importance of investing in CX. According to the aforementioned 2020 Digital Trends in Asia Pacific (APAC) report, APAC companies considered to be CX leaders are three times more likely to exceed important business goals than those that don’t invest.
Munn said the new decade should see a new type of CX-enhancing AI.
"I believe a big shift in CX will come when AI begins to understand emotional intelligence, which is when we will see AI play a much bigger role in the psychology of marketing," she said. "CIOs will need to selectively pinpoint the niche AI technologies that will have the most impact on their businesses."
One brand already developing this new breed of CX is Australian telecommunications giant Telstra. At the 2019 Adobe Symposium, Jenni Barnett, executive director at Telstra Digital, described how the company was working on stitching together CX across its physical retail stores and digital platforms to simplify the customer experience.
"It’s really about using personalisation capabilities and big data to unlock contextual experiences as customers move across channels," Barnett said.
Empower Your Technology
As many companies build and buy new technologies, a key challenge in the next decade will be how to integrate these technologies and platforms for the long term, said Lee Naylor, managing partner at The Leading Edge, a market research firm based in Sydney.
"The market-changing technologies we’ll be talking about in five years most likely haven’t yet been developed," Naylor said. "Some companies are developing internal systems that won’t integrate well with future technologies."
As new platforms and data sources are adopted, CIOs will face the difficult task of extracting actionable opportunities in real time, said Accordant COO and co-founder Scott King. This is where customer data platforms (CDPs), which employ AI and ML technologies to analyze data from virtually any source, are proving effective, he said.