eWEEKchat June 14: New Roles for AI in Enterprise, Consumer IT

Business is now all about the “customer experience.” Artificial intelligence is the main ingredient for making this happen on a mainstream basis; let's chat about this huge trend on June 14.

On Wednesday, June 14, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 56th monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be "New Roles for Artificial Intelligence in Enterprise and Consumer IT." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: "New Roles for Artificial Intelligence in Enterprise IT."

Date/time: June 14, 2017, 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT

Moderator: Chris Preimesberger: @editingwhiz

Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate, but it's easier and more efficient to use real-time chat room links.

Chat room real-time links: We have two: http://tweetchat.com/room/eweekchat and http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat. Both work well. Sign in via Twitter and use #eweekchat for the identifier.

AI, BI Will Be Keys to Improving the ‘Customer Experience’

We keep hearing about how IT is revolutionizing the “customer experience,” and that artificial intelligence is the main ingredient for making this happen on a mainstream basis.

In a recent study, 80 percent of marketing leaders reported that AI will “revolutionize” marketing by 2020. In addition, IDC research projected worldwide revenues for cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems will reach $12.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 59.3 percent over 2016. That, folks, is a trend.

Another key data point: Global spending on cognitive and AI solutions will continue to see significant corporate investment over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.4 percent through 2020 when revenues will be more than $46 billion.

Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and longtime IT investor Mark Cuban said at SXSW that “the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of.” Something to consider. Enterprise ranging from Google and Netflix to Walmart and Nordstrom are making major investments in AI.

But why is this happening now? It’s a convergence of factors: The proliferation of customer data volume via mobile devices, wearable internet of things (IoT) technology such as Apple Watch and FitBits, beacons and smart appliances and even open public data sources have far outstripped human capability to process, generate insights and drive action.

At the same time, consumers are getting more spoiled all the time, expecting IT and their devices to satisfy them on demand--every time they ask for something. They increasingly expect highly contextual, fluid interactions with brands, which traditional marketing automation and personalization tools can’t provide at meaningful scale.

What types of software will be needed to wring out the truly illuminating facts and figures from volumes of data storage? Enterprises will need a few new-gen tools to do this: Secure storage and backup with encryption, solid and dependable data management, fast and intuitive analytics engines and good data visualization (DV) all should be on that list.

Here are current key trends in business intelligence eWEEK is seeing in using insight from big data for business intelligence.

"Information activism" is emerging. Inside each organization, users want to be actively engaged with their data; however, they haven't had the technology to do so. By providing users with business intelligence (BI) solutions that allow true self-service, they move from passively consuming the data to actively using it to glean important information. We live in a world of data—both at a personal and professional level—and people express themselves through the work they do with it.

Data must come from both internal and external sources. Intelligent organizations know that smart decisions come from the use of data, but from where that information comes is what matters. To gain true context around trends and industry happenings, organizations must look to both internal and external data sources. Simply focusing on their own data and shying away from the accelerating data boom is a mistake. Organizations that use comprehensive solutions to process the information from multiple sources and in multiple views are better able to stay ahead of the game.

Real-time interaction with BI will become a requirement. In 2017, BI solutions that excel in reporting but lack analysis via interaction will be a thing of the past. The shift in BI platform requirements, moving from reporting-centric to analysis-centric, means companies will expect to be able to digest and gain insights at a glance. Visualization is key as users need to be able to understand their data in a way that is natural to them, breaking down the barriers between people and their data.

Governed data discovery will become crucial. As data discovery tools spread to more users across the organization, companies must revamp their governance practices to control the chaos. Data governance, when done correctly, can be tailored to meet the organization's specific needs, ensuring the efficient and effective use of data while enabling users to make smarter business decisions.

Data storytelling enables good decisions. When analysis is done in silos, it can be difficult to share findings with others to drive a consensus. BI is no longer about collecting reports; it's about interactive decision-making. Therefore, data storytelling is critical because it allows users to create a compelling narrative of their results to convince team members and executives to take action. Static stories, however, can lead to unanswered questions and the end of a successful meeting. An option to dive into the data to answer questions in real time is key to the report maker's success.

The evolving role of IT is a key factor. In the past, the role of the chief information officer was to oversee infrastructure and ensure that systems were up and running. Now the "I" in CIO has evolved, and it is much more about innovation and information. CIOs now are being looked upon to transform the organization in a more strategic way—not just to attend to IT infrastructure.

The need for speed won't change. The speed of business has accelerated, and IT systems must keep pace. As analytics becomes part of the standard operating procedure, users rely more and more on speed to drive fast and agile business decisions. For example, retailers that once had two major fashion seasons a year are now being pushed to design and distribute new lines each week to keep up with new trends.

These are just a few of the use cases and data points we'll talk about on June 14. We will pose questions such as:

--How are some ways we will use BI or AI every day in the future?

--Where do you see business intelligence becoming a detriment to users, companies and the IT world?

--What do you personally see as the No. 1 business advantage of using business intelligence inside native and Web applications?

--What companies do you expect to become business intelligence players in 2017?

Join us June 14 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. GMT for an hour. Chances are good that you'll learn something valuable.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...