Strategy & Transformation

Flourishing in the modern marketplace relies on an organisation’s ability to make the right choices.

To avoid being left behind in an evolving world it is critical for organisations to jump at opportunities for transformational growth. However, acting without sufficient planning is fraught with risk. 

Transformation can only happen when an organisation is aligned on its strategic intent, and IT leaders need the resources to drive great choice-making across their organisation.

From planning to delivery, IBRS can cut through the confusion and guide your organisation all the way through its transformational journey. Our advisors have first-hand experience delivering digital transformation projects and can develop a tailored roadmap to deliver the outcomes you want. 

Conclusion: Given that multi-Cloud is a combination of public/private Cloud and customised systems governed by in-house and/or outsourced arrangements, end-to-end service level management becomes a critical success factor. IT organisations should implement a complete set of service level practices covering people, processes and systems that allow IT organisations to efficiently deliver services in accordance with service level agreements (SLAs).

The SLAs should span across the full service lifecycle. Service level foundation requires defining the:

  • services provided
  • metrics associated with these services
  • acceptable and unacceptable service levels
  • liabilities on the part of the service providers and the buyer, and
  • actions to be taken in specific circumstances.

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Related Articles:

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 42: Incident and problem management integration is critical for hybrid Cloud" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:14:55

Conclusion: Interest in eforms solutions is being driven by two drivers:

  • First, the promise of enabling “citizen developers” within the organisation to take ownership of the creation of forms and automate simple processes.
  • Second, the promise of greater workforce efficiency by digitising manual activities.

These two drivers sit at opposite ends of a spectrum of eforms capabilities. The following framework provides a starting point for organisations to capture and refine their eforms requirements and structure information gathering prior to going to market for a solution.

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Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need" IBRS, 2018-01-03 05:42:10

"How to succeed with eforms Part 2: The five most common eforms challenges" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:06:14

"Selecting Mobile Application development tooling" IBRS, 2015-09-02 01:43:47

"SNAPSHOT: eForms & workflow products" IBRS, 2018-07-05 02:45:24

  • What is the future of work and how do we prepare our kids for it?
  • Are schools and universities setting kids up for future success?
  • Does technology in the classroom improve outcomes for kids?
  • Should every school student be learning to code?
  • And what are the skills that kids will need in tomorrow's world?

These are just some of the questions I ask Dr Joe Sweeney, technologist, researcher, writer and expert in workforce transformation in this episode of the Potential Psychology podcast.

Joe and I discuss schools, education, technology, tools, parenting and the future of work. We talk about why LEGO is important for the digital world, the role of books in future happiness and success and why the most important thing we can do for our kids is teaching them to think.

Join me as we explore the future - and the past - with Dr Joe Sweeney.

Full Story

Conclusion: Penalties and incentives are designed to ensure agreed critical service levels are achieved. Penalties are enforced whenever service levels are not met. Incentives are rewarded whenever agreed service levels are exceeded. However, there are cases whereby providers prefer to pay the penalty instead of improving the service level. For example, it is easier to pay a penalty of $10,000 instead of fixing a service issue that might cost $50,000. The purpose of this note is to prevent such situations from occurring and maintain the focus on meeting the service level in all circumstances.

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Related Articles:

"Public Cloud Success requires Mature Governance" IBRS, 2014-01-30 00:00:00

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 31: Maximising relationship management ROI" IBRS, 2017-06-04 03:41:00

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

Conclusion: Organisations seeking to ride the new wave of AI-enabled transformation are facing a clear choice when it comes to the adoption of supporting AI capabilities such as machine learning or speech recognition, either:

  1. DIY (Do It Yourself) – By adopting AI early as stand-alone services; or
  2. MODIFY (Make Others Do It For You) – By waiting for AI functionality to be embedded in existing solutions.

Deciding which path to take requires that organisations reflect on their current maturity when it comes to building solutions. Only those organisations that can honestly demonstrate full development lifecycle capabilities and that have contemporary development tools and frameworks should expect anything but proof of concept success with DIY approaches to AI solutions.

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Related Articles:

"Machine learning will displace “extract, transform and load” in business intelligence and data integration" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:03:37

"Preparing for the shift from digital to AI-enabled transformation" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:10:21

"Proactive optical character recognition of incoming content will accelerate AI-enabled automation" IBRS, 2018-03-06 06:54:57

Conclusion: During January to March 2018, IBRS conducted a detailed market scan of eForms vendors and their products in the Australian market. The market scan was structured around common selection criteria and comparisons developed. The following snapshot summarises the results of the study, and may be used to assist with the development of eForm and workflow solution shortlists.

This snapshot includes eForms solutions that are in use within Australian organisations

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Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need" IBRS, 2018-01-03 05:42:10

"How to succeed with eforms Part 2: The five most common eforms challenges" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:06:14

 
IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: The enterprise application marketplace has seen some changes in the past two years, with new entries, consolidation and acquisition, particularly in the mid-market of ERP finance systems. IBRS recently investigated a cross-section of ERP finance systems from top tier to the smaller players including, but not limited to: SAP, Oracle, Workday (Finance), Technology One Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations (Microsoft Dynamics AX), Sage X3, NetSuite, Microsoft Navision, Sage 300, Great Plains, MYOB, Xero and SaaSu.

This research paper includes a comparison of current functionality available across three popular mid to upper market ERP finance systems, namely Sage X3, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (previously A) and Oracle’s revamped NetSuite. They have been reviewed given their strength in the finance and operations functionality.

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Conclusion: Traditional outsourcing and managed service contracts primarily focus on incident management service levels and give little attention to problem management. For example, incident management service level might be 95 per cent of Severity 2 outages resolved within four hours. In general, a temporary fix is sufficient to meet the incident management service levels. However, this might not prevent the outage from reoccurring because the outage root cause was not addressed. To address this issue, problem management root cause analysis must be used. This necessitates the integration of incident and problem management to govern multi-providers’ activities managing hybrid Cloud1.

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Conclusion: In seeking to achieve their vision, goals and objectives, organisations constantly evaluate internal and external factors in order to take action. Although tuned to the unique needs of each enterprise, there have been identifiable waves of factors and responding actions that have occurred since 2000 in the form of business and digital transformation.

Business transformation addressed the changing nature of markets in a connected and globalised world by focusing on delivering cost savings through new models of operation, while the subsequent wave of digital transformation sought to employ technology and exploit pervasive connectivity to increase the efficiency of internal processes and customer-facing interactions.

IBRS has identified a new wave we call “artificial intelligence-enabled (AI-enabled) transformation”, which is focused on optimising business operations through the use of emerging technologies that leverage “self-learning” algorithms to make predictions, respond to real-world objects and events, and possess user interfaces that mimic how humans communicate.

However, in order to successfully exploit this new wave of transformation, organisations must first understand what exactly AI is and how AI-enabled transformation differs from the waves that have come before it.

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Conclusion: Organisations everywhere are thinking about, planning or undertaking digital transformation activities. While good progress is being made, there is still a tendency to view digital transformation as a technology project or series of technology projects which will provide some value but will not result in an organisation being digital.

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Conclusion: Current approaches to knowledge management are being disrupted by a wave of new working practices that replace the paper-based metaphor that pre-dates the computer revolution, with a digital-only metaphor. While this change has been brewing for over a decade, it should not be confused with simple “digitisation” of paper processes. It is a fundamental shift in thinking about knowledge as a digital asset, which is detailed in “Workforce Transformation Part 1: Disrupting the very idea of paper is an important first step”.

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Workforce Transformation: Complimentary Whiteboard Session
 
One of the key themes at IBRS is the workforce of the future and workforce transformation. Organisations are grappling with how they transform their workforce and what role technologys play in the next iteration of the future workplace.
 
Over the past 24 months, Dr Joe Sweeney has interviewed over 200 C-suite executives from Australian organisations, facilitated peer discussions at over 14 executive roundtables and has presented at many conferences on this topic.
 
As an attendee of Digital Edge, we would like to extend an invitation to run a complimentary 90 minute whiteboard session for your organisation on the workforce transformation, and the future work. This invitation is limited to the first 15 to register below.
 
Who should attend?
  • IT
  • HR
  • Marketing
Why is IBRS offering this?

1. We want to help you and your team gain an understanding of where technology and the workforce is heading, including

  • what are the critical technologies that are driving change?
  • how to develop a digital culture?
  • how will ICT roles change in the next decade?
  • what is the impact on organisational structures of digital workspace and deep collaboration?

2. We are genuinely interested in what Australian organisations are doing in this space

3. We want to give back to those who have participated in our research

4. We want to highlight the capability of IBRS and how we can offer practical advice

We hope that you take up this offer. IBRS would welcome the opportunity to guide and advise you in this complicated and evolving topic.
 

To request a workforce of the future whiteboard session, please provide your details below and we will contact you shortly to arrange a date and time for the session.


Please let us know your name.
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Please provide your company, or if personal, enter "Personal."
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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: IBRS recently conducted interviews with development partners that promote the use of Agile project development. During the interviews, IBRS noted that the spectrum of Agile services available in Australia has evolved in the market over the last three years. Understanding this emerging spectrum of services is vital, since it is important to align an organisation’s Agile maturity and appetite: is Agile viewed as a project delivery methodology, or is it an important organisational capability? Only then should potential Agile partners be considered.

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Conclusion: Due to years of tactical software deployments in response to urgent digital transformation uplifts, organisations have created a jungle of business intelligence (BI) technologies deployed in the absence of a well described and comprehensive approach to the challenges faced; challenges that will continue to increase with the shift to AI-enabled transformation.

Instead the majority of solution paradigms have centred around the application of emerging technologies with little articulation of a coherent architecture traceable to the underlying functional or non-functional requirements required to support a well governed and long lived data analytics platform. Instead, with each new trend in reporting and analytics, e. g. big data, results in a litany of partial solutions.

Enter Data Vault 2.0 (DV2.0) is the first well described architecture, methodology and modelling approach to emerge from the BI community in the last 5 years. DV2.0 provides a solid basis for organisations wishing to avoid the data sins of the past and adoption should be a top consideration for the inevitable expansion of BI that flows from business application transformation and as part of a clear DataOps strategy.

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Conclusion: Private Cloud1 managed by an as-a-Service contract has become the inevitable replacement of managed services arrangements. The main difference is that an as-a-Service contract is charged on consumption instead of on a fixed price basis and the service levels are tightly linked to end user experience and delivered at a lower price. However, unlike the common perception that Cloud migration is relatively easy, transitioning to private Cloud still requires thorough planning especially whenever the scope covers the full IT functions.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: On 3rd April 2018, Microsoft announced the availability of its Azure Cloud running within Canberra Data Centres (CDC) facilities, and officially rated for protected workloads.

Superficially, this appears to boost Microsoft’s ability to “check off” security concerns for government and other clients that have specific compliance demands.

While removing compliance barriers to Cloud adoption is certainly welcome, there are more compelling factors for considering the new Azure facilities. These include: closing the gap between legacy solutions, hyper-scale, (selected) SaaS environments, and legacy solutions; reducing the distinction between public and private Cloud services; blending customer ecosystems for critical national infrastructure.

The timing of this new infrastructure coincides with The Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill introduced to the Lower House in December last year, and passed by the Senate late last week.

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Conclusion: Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are largely developed in isolation. The result is ineffective recovery arrangements that do not meet the fundamental business needs. With the variety of Cloud service continuity solutions, IT organisations should initiate a unified business and IT continuity project to intimately involve business units in defining and deploying complete service recovery facilities, including mitigating the risks such as ransomware attacks and the lack of SaaS escrow1 services. This will tightly couple recovery services to business imperatives. The use of Cloud for service continuity (which was not available eight years ago) will reduce the overall cost of recovery.

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Conclusion: Current approaches to knowledge management are being disrupted by a wave of new working practices that replace the paper-based metaphor which pre-dates the computer revolution, with a digital-only metaphor. While this change has been brewing for over a decade, it should not be confused with simple “digitisation” of paper processes. It is a fundamental shift in thinking about knowledge as a digital asset.

This disruption is already seeing tensions for organisations embracing new collaborative workplace productivity suites, such as G Suite and Office 365. Likewise, vendors of enterprise content management (ECM) solutions are struggling to find relevance, or are fundamentally rethinking their future offerings.

Understanding the differences between the current paper-metaphor approach to knowledge management and the (still evolving) digital-only metaphor is a vital set to a workable knowledge management for the future, and for planning future investments in ECM solutions – which will not be anything like the ones of the past.

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Conclusion: The development of AI-based solutions is heavily dependent on various types of data input in the form of either:

  • Large data sets used to conduct experiments to develop models and algorithms for predictive analytics, optimisation and decision recommendations; or
  • Enriched and tagged corpuses of images, audio, video and unstructured text used to train neural networks using deep learning techniques.

While at first the data management needs of AI-based solution development might leverage both data scientists and their existing business intelligence platforms to exploit these types of data, the actual lifecycle management needs of AI developers will expand quickly beyond the boundary of the traditional enterprise data warehouse.

Therefore, like the source code and configuration data underpinning transactional business applications, the raw data and algorithms of AI solutions must be managed by evolving DevOps practices towards a comprehensive “DataOps” model.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: Business leaders should convert recent global interest in AI applications, safety and effectiveness into AI governance guidelines in the exercise of their triple bottom line responsibilities (for profit, social responsibility and sustainability) as outlined in IBRS research note, “The emerging need for IT governance in artificial intelligence”1.

AI includes a very broad range of technologies being applied in virtually all industries. This means that the use of AI in both IT and operational technologies2 (OT) requires C-level attention and supervision.

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Conclusion: Although online digital platforms are in ready supply, organisations remain unable to avoid the receipt of critical information in the form of paper documents or scanned images. Whether from government, suppliers or clients, organisations are faced with written correspondence, typed material, completed forms or signed documents that must be consumed. For a variety of reasons, it may be unreasonable or impractical to expect this information to be sent in machine-readable form.

However, machine-readable content from incoming information, both past and future, is emerging as a prerequisite to exploit artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of digital transformation. Therefore, organisations need to re-examine their data ingestion strategies and move proactively to the use of optical character recognition on incoming paper- and scanned image-based information.

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Conclusion: Many IT organisations have adopted business transformation1 strategies to help their businesses increase revenue. However, while digital transformation has succeeded in making the communication with the enterprise more convenient (e. g. mobile applications), it has been difficult to substantiate digital transformation contribution to the financial performance improvement. As a result, justifying new software projects has become more difficult. It is recommended to shift the digital transformation focus from technology point solutions to building quality products and services that increase profit and elevate customer satisfaction. The success should be measured by increased sales instead of only technology charms.

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Conclusion: While there was significant media attention on artificial intelligence and blockchain in 2017, the primary concerns of Australia’s CIOs remain focused on the more pressing issues of migration to the Cloud, and its impact on IT operations and staffing. Where discussions of artificial intelligence play a role is in automation processes and workforce transformation.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: CEOs need their CIOs to be out on the cutting edge to decide which technology to incorporate so that the organisation can adapt and transform in a rapidly changing landscape. As the digital leader, the CIO needs to emphasise the culture shift, be an influencer and guide the change across the IT team and broader enterprise. Organisations that elect CIOs as their digital champions experience higher performance compared with organisations where CIOs play a more passive role in digital transformation.

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Conclusion: Achieving the ability to comply with the new European General Data Protection Regulation is seen as a costly and burdensome overhead adding a new layer of complexity to how organisations will need to manage and secure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) records kept by them.

However, organisations should view the potential benefits of being able to use obtaining and maintaining the ability to comply with GDPR as an opportunity to justify investments in technologies, process improvements and people to deliver better overall outcomes for the organisation.

Rather than simply focusing on doing what is required to be able to comply, focus should be on using the opportunity to update tools and processes to improve organisational efficiencies, reduce costs, increase customer and employee loyalty, and improve productivity.

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Conclusion: Many Cloud service providers manage their own systems but do not take any responsibility for working with other providers in a multi-sourced environment. As a result, IT organisations wishing to maximise the benefits of hybrid Cloud should develop a governance framework to address technology integration issues, optimise the interaction among service providers managing the multiple Clouds and define policies to operate in a multi-sourced environment. This will ensure business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ potential disputes.

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Conclusion: IBRS has observed that many organisations’ eforms initiatives face five common challenges. To help ensure the best long-term outcomes for an eforms initiative, each of the five challenges must be considered, and remediation strategies put in place.

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Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need" IBRS, 2018-01-03 05:42:10

Conclusion: Organisations continue to emphasise their competitive differentiation based on the data they hold, and the insights gained from analysing this valuable resource. The rate at which organisations are shifting from traditional process-based to insight-oriented differentiation is being further accelerated by the adoption of Cloud-based data analytics services.

The combined result is an increasing portion of enterprise project activity that can be classified as extract, transform and load (ETL).

Despite ETL being the mainstay of data integration for decades, the cost of specialised skills and significant manual effort expended on integrating disparate data sources is now coming into sharp focus. In response, organisations are rightly seeking lower-cost solutions for data integration.

Although ETL exists in the form of at least one tool in almost every enterprise, the cost of ETL as a proportion of data analytics projects means organisations must decrease reliance on traditional ETL tools in favour of automated solutions that exploit machine learning techniques to reduce the need for ETL developers.

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The Future of Work: The Role of People

Foreword by Joseph Sweeney, IBRS Advisor
 
For the past 30 years, organisations have applied technology to people to make the workplace more productive. But despite substantial investments in technology, productivity has grown annually on average at just 1.8 percent.  Something was not working.   
 
During the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in power. Instead of organisations dictating technology, increasingly people are choosing the technology they wish to apply in the workplace. Initially seen as a problem, shadow IT, is now accepted and embraced.    
 

Conclusion: A customer relationship management (CRM) software tool is both a database for contact interaction and a productivity tool used to analyse customer data, win new business and track employee sales performance. The competition is fierce for a higher share of the CRM software market. Major benefits of the growing demand in CRM are the improvements in functionality including mobile applications, enhanced reporting and analytics, and better integration tools.

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Conclusion: The release of Amazon’s Echo in 2014 heralded the first of a series of “ambient” technologies1. These new devices are unobtrusive, multiple purpose and capable of responding to conversational input through integration with virtual digital assistants (VDAs) such as Amazon’s Alexa.

A key enabler of these platforms is the ability to implement “skills” or expand the platform’s capability to interpret and respond with appropriate conversational content beyond the basic function of the device itself.

The consistency of information required by organisations under omni-channel delivery models, combined with under-resourced editorial teams, mean organisations must prepare for conversational channels by transforming existing content sooner rather than later.

Failure to do so will see history repeat itself through short-term replication of content to support new channels only to have that content and channel functionality merged back into increasingly sophisticated content management platforms at significant cost.

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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to focus on business efficiency improvement. This requires shifting focus from addressing IT internal issues (e. g. operating system upgrade) to improving business operations. It requires building IT skills and capabilities to leverage the emerging IT trends, technologies and services in the areas of artificial intelligence, analytics, Internet of Things, cognitive learning and multi-Cloud management.

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Conclusion: Eforms hold the promise of democratising the development of work-related apps. However, eform projects will stagnate, or even fail outright, if they are initiated primarily as a technology-driven initiative. Instead, the selection of an eform involves identifying where on the eform solution spectrum your organisation sits, and this can be accomplished by answering four questions.

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Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 2: The five most common eforms challenges" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:06:14

In December 2017, IBRS joined eight globally recognised thought leaders to discuss the Future of Work as part of Adobe's Think Tank series.

IBRS advisor, Dr Joseph Sweeney, not only presented a view of how technology is impacting the workforce during the live panel discussion but also moderated the pre-event brainstorm session and assisted with pre-event briefings.

The discussion examined the long-term ramifications of the changing workplace, including:

  • technology's impact on traditional jobs

  • which jobs are under threat

  • opportunities for new roles

  • changing hiring and work practices

  • the disruption caused by the gig economy

  • the role of governments
    how education must change

    For more, click on the video below.

 

Conclusion: The future of customer service will rely heavily on automating assistance with targeted empathy1.

Expect virtual digital assistants to heavily reduce the need for contact centre services and become the preferred choice as a CX channel.

Amazon’s $100 million investment2 fund to drive innovation in Alexa and its large installed base will advance Alexa and consumer digital assistant Echo capabilities rapidly3.

Treat Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) new “Connect” Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) product as a complementary customer experience (CX) tool. Expect Connect to operate as a Trojan Horse for more complete AWS AI and CX solutions inside AWS customers’ operations.

Within two years it should be clear that AWS Connect has provided a significant point of inflection in the direction and functionality of global contact centre operations and the use of blended virtual digital assistants for voice navigation in CX. This is because in future, ecommerce or any customer service supported by separate or poorly integrated merchandising and buyer assistance platforms will be thoroughly unacceptable to end users4. A seamless fully blended CX56 will have become the (minimum) norm.

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