Artificial Intelligence: 2017 Predictions from Forrester

forresterfigure-1-biz-insights Insights matter. Businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to uncover new business insights “will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020.” So says Forrester in a new report, “Predictions 2017: Artificial Intelligence Will Drive The Insights Revolution.”

Across all businesses, there will be a greater than 300% increase in investment in artificial intelligence in 2017 compared with 2016. Through the use of cognitive interfaces into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology, AI will provide business users access to powerful insights never before available to them. It will help, says Forrester, “drive faster business decisions in marketing, ecommerce, product management and other areas of the business by helping close the gap from insights to action.”

The combination of AI, Big data, and IoT technologies will enable businesses investing in them and implementing them successfully to overcome barriers to data access and to mining useful insights. In 2017 these technologies will increase business’ access to data, broaden the types of data that can be analyzed, and raise the level of sophistication of the resulting insight. As a result, Forrester predicts an acceleration in the trend towards democratization of data analysis. While in 2015 it found that only 51% of data and analytics decision-makers said that they were able to easily obtain data and analyze it without the help of technologist, Forrester expects this figure to rise to around 66% in 2017.

Big data technologies will mature and vendors will increasingly integrate them with their traditional analytics platforms which will facilitate their incorporation in existing analytics processes in a wide range of organizations. The use of a single architecture for big data convergence with agile and actionable insights will become more widespread.

The third set of technologies supporting insight-driven businesses, those associated with IoT, will also become integrated with more traditional analytics offerings and Forrester expects the number of digital analytics vendors offering IoT insights capabilities to double in 2017. This will encourage their customers to invest in networking more devices and exploring the data they produce. For example, Forrester has found that 67% of telecommunications decision-makers are considering or prioritizing developing IoT or M2M initiatives in 2017.

The increased investment in IoT will lead to new type of analytics which in turn will lead to new business insights. Currently, much of the data that is generated by edge devices such as mobile phones, wearables, or cars, goes unused as “immature data and analytics practices cause most firms to squander these insights opportunities,” says Forrester. In 2016, less than 50% of data and analytics decision-makers have adopted location analytics, but Forrester expects the adoption of location analytics will grow to over two-thirds of businesses by the end of 2017.  The resulting new insights will enable firms to optimize their customers’ experiences as they engage in the physical world with products, services and support.

In general, Forrester sees encouraging signs that more companies are investing in initiatives to get rid of existing silos of customer knowledge so they can coordinate better and drive insights throughout the entire enterprise. Specifically, Forrester sees three such initiatives becoming prominent in 2017:

Organizations with Chief Data Officers (CDOs) will become the majority in 2017, up from a global average of 47% in 2016. But to become truly insights-driven, says Forrester, “firms must eventually assign data responsibilities to CIOs and CMOs, and even CEOs, in order to drive swift business action based on data driven insights.”

Customer data management projects will increase by 75%. In 2016, for the first time, 39% of organizations have embarked on a big data initiative to support cross-channel tracking and attribution, customer journey analytics, and better segmentation. And nearly one-third indicated plans to adopt big data technologies and solutions in the next twelve months.

Forrester expects to see a marked increase in the adoption of enterprise-wide insights-driven practices as firms digitally transform their business in 2017. Leading customer intelligence practices and strategies will become “the poster child for business transformation,” says Forrester.

Longer term, according to Forrester’s “The Top Emerging Technologies To Watch: 2017 To 2021,” Artificial intelligence-based services and applications will eventually change most industries and redistribute the workforce.

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