Looking back, we can see the value these emerging innovations offered, but in the moment, their promise seemed less clear. It is, therefore, remarkable how quickly organizations across sectors and regions navigated through the so what and into the now what for these trends and went on to successfully traverse the new digital landscape. This journey from uncertainty to digital transformation informs our latest offering, Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier. A persistent theme of every Tech Trends report has been the increasing, often mind-bending velocity of change. A decade ago many companies could achieve competitive advantage by embracing innovations and trends that were already underway. Today, this kind of reactive approach is no longer enough. To stay ahead of the game, companies must work methodically to sense new innovations and possibilities, make sense of their ambitions for tomorrow, and find the confidence to boldly go beyond the digital frontier. So here's to the next decade of opportunity, whatever it may be. Along the way, embrace that queasy feeling of uncertainty.
With leaders increasingly seeing artificial intelligence (AI) as helping to drive the next great economic expansion, a fear of missing out is spreading around the globe. Numerous nations have developed AI strategies to advance their capabilities, through investment, incentives, talent development, and risk management. As AI's importance to the next generation of technology grows, many leaders are worried that they will be left behind and not share in the gains. There is a growing realization of AI's importance, including its ability to provide competitive advantage and change work for the better. A majority of global early adopters say that AI technologies are especially important to their business success today--a belief that is increasing. A majority also say they are using AI technologies to move ahead of their competition, and that AI empowers their workforce. AI success depends on getting the execution right. Organizations often must excel at a wide range of practices to ensure AI success, including developing a strategy, pursuing the right use cases, building a data foundation, and cultivating a strong ability to experiment. These capabilities are critical now because, as AI becomes even easier to consume, the window for competitive differentiation will likely shrink. Early adopters from different countries display varying levels of AI maturity. Enthusiasm and experience vary among early adopters from different countries. Some are pursuing AI vigorously, while others are taking a more cautious approach.
The new world of marketing is personalized, contextualized, and dynamic. Increasingly, this world is orchestrated not by outside parties but by chief marketing officers partnering with their technology organizations to bring control of the human experience back in-house. Together, CMOs and CIOs are building an arsenal of experience-focused marketing tools that are powered by emerging technology. Their goal is to transform marketing from a customer acquisition-focused activity to one that enables a superb human experience, grounded in data. In experiential marketing, companies treat each customer as an individual by understanding their preferences and behaviors. Analytics and cognitive capabilities illuminate the context of customers' needs and desires, and determine the optimal way to engage with them. Experience-management tools tailor content and identify the best method of delivery across physical and digital touchpoints, bringing us closer to truly unique engagement with each and every human. Imagine a world in which a brand knows who you are and what you want, and can deliver the product, service, or experience that best suits your needs seamlessly and in real time, across physical or digital channels. Marketing technology is undergoing a renaissance. Channel-focused solutions such as websites, social and mobile platforms, content management tools, and search engine optimization are fast becoming yesterday's news. As part of the growing beyond marketing trend, organizations are adopting a new generation of martech systems that deliver unprecedented levels of customer intimacy, targeted engagement, and precision impact.
FOR the second straight year, Deloitte surveyed executives in the US knowledgeable about cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence,1 representing companies that are testing and implementing them today. We found that these early adopters2 remain bullish on cognitive technologies' value. As in last year's survey, the level of support for AI is truly extraordinary. These findings illustrate that cognitive technologies hold enticing promise, some of which is being fulfilled today. However, AI technologies may deliver their best returns when companies balance excitement over their potential with the ability to execute. A year later, and the thrill isn't gone. In Deloitte's 2017 cognitive survey, we were struck by early adopters' enthusiasm for cognitive technologies.4 That excitement owed much to the returns they said cognitive technologies were generating: 83 percent stated they were seeing either "moderate" or "substantial" benefits. Respondents also said they expected that cognitive technologies would change both their companies and their industries rapidly. In 2018, respondents remain enthusiastic about the value cognitive technologies bring. Their companies are investing in foundational cognitive capabilities, and using them with more skill. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say their companies have invested US$5 million or more in cognitive technologies. Another reason is that companies have more ways to acquire cognitive capabilities, and they are taking advantage.
With intelligent automation marching steadily toward broader adoption, media coverage of this historic technology disruption is turning increasingly alarmist. "New study: Artificial intelligence is coming for your jobs, millennials,"1 announced one business news outlet recently. "US workers face higher risk of being replaced by robots,"2 declared another. These dire headlines may deliver impressive click stats, but they don't consider a much more hopeful--and likely--scenario: In the near future, human workers and machines will work together seamlessly, each complementing the other's efforts in a single loop of productivity. And, in turn, HR organizations will begin developing new strategies and tools for recruiting, managing, and training a hybrid human-machine workforce. Notwithstanding sky-is-falling predictions, robotics, cognitive, and artificial intelligence (AI) will probably not displace most human workers. Yes, these tools offer opportunities to automate some repetitive low-level tasks. Perhaps more importantly, intelligent automation solutions may be able to augment human performance by automating certain parts of a task, thus freeing individuals to focus on more "human" aspects that require empathic problem-solving abilities, social skills, and emotional intelligence. For example, if retail banking transactions were automated, bank tellers would be able to spend more time interacting with and advising customers--and selling products.