The Technology-Augmented Employee.

The National Retail Federation’s Big Show attracted tens of thousands of attendees . Far from resigning themselves to conquest by market places they are determined to make the right investments to thrive and survive.
Three years ago we found retail CIOs most concerned about innovation and security
https://www.forrester.com/report/The+Retail+CIO+Agenda+2015+Secure+And+Innovate/-/E-RES121188
At the NRF show in 2018 it was evident that they are still looking to innovation to drive customer engagement and a healthy bottom line.

As store and online shopping converge, retailers need innovative applications to deliver distinctive customer intimacy and a choice of exciting new merchandise.  The NRF 2018 show convinced Forrester that:

1) Myriad point solutions will coalesce into retail applications ecosystems. Retailers, especially those selling branded merchandise, differentiate through process and experience, so they are reluctant to consign all their applications to a single vendor. They have to experiment with point solutions and in-store gadgets, but face challenges to scale and integrate the winners into their legacy enterprise stack. Emerging retail applications ecosystems help retailers to capitalize on opportunities more quickly by delivering preconfigured integration between leading solutions in each domain.
For example, Dunnhumby and JDA demonstrated ‘transformational’ assortment planning, applying Dunnhumby’s powerful customer segmentation to JDA’s proven assortment planning and execution platform. Salesforce Commerce Cloud demonstrated its ability to integrate Instagram and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

2) (Almost) every process now includes embedded “AI”.
For years retailers lacked the infrastructure to store large volumes of granular data such as basket analysis, click stream, or social data. They used weighted moving averages to predict sales at the SKU and store level – a bit like driving while looking only in the rear view mirror. They lacked the computing power to develop, test, and run predictive models. They lacked trust in the predictive power of data generated by millions of “natural experiments”, recording the outcome in terms of sales uplift from combinations of causal factors. But widespread adoption of cloud computing in retail opens a new world in which applications can recommend pricing, promotion, assortment, and space plans, based on systematic understanding of multiple independent causal factors. Somewhat confusingly, vendors and retailers lump into the term “AI” multiple capabilities, driving a transition from descriptive to prescriptive retail management systems.

3) Stores are becoming logistical hubs as well as showrooms. Retailers like Rent the Runway are transforming stores from showrooms for item sale or rental to logistical hubs for unlimited subscribers to drop off items and check out new ones, all through self-service tablets.

As enterprises strive to stay on a path of digital evolution, the consulting and systems integration marketplace is rapidly transforming as well to deliver a new generation of digital services. Forrester data shows that services buyers are focused on the right priorities: improving customer experience and digitally reinventing the business for growth. But the path to deliver against those priorities is becoming increasingly complex. Most companies have already attacked the low-hanging fruit in the form of front-end design for digital experiences, but improving scale and providing contextualized experiences is even harder. 

For the new generation of digital evolution, these are two examples of pitfalls to watch out for on service provider engagements: 

  1. Don’t make the same mistake with immersive experiences as you did with mobileMany organizations are already experimenting with technologies like bots and intelligent agents to deliver immersive CX. But remember the great race to create a mobile app? That proved there’s no implicit value in developing a new channel alone. There’s no value in content without context, and you can’t deliver context without operational excellence too. Your services engagements should include alignment between the operational core and digital CX initiatives in order to deliver holistic, meaningful experiences at scale. 
  2. Watch out for legacy tech buying processes interfering with agility Services providers have made significant growth in building out new engagement models for working with clients and expanding their ecosystems to bring in non-traditional partners, like startups or academia. Despite desire on the client side to work in new ways, I often hear innovation-heavy projects face huge stumbling blocks when it’s time to sign on the dotted line. The next challenge for services buyers is to develop new sourcing and buying processes that enable flexibility without sacrificing security.  

One additional consequence of a new set of digital services for buyers is that sifting through these offerings is getting more complex too. I can’t remember the last time I spoke with a vendor that didn’t mention “end-to-end” capabilities. Agencies, management consultants, and tech services firms all speak in the language of digital transformation, and all are acquiring capabilities across the spectrum from design to cloud optimization.  

Why The Right Web Analytics Platform Is (Even More) Business Critical

Forrester just recently published The Forrester Wave™: Web Analytics, Q4 2017. In it we rank the leading web analytics platform provides including Adobe, AT Internet, Cooladata, Google, IBM, Mixpanel, and Webtrekk.

“Why should I care?”, you may ask.  After all when it comes to understanding customers on digital touchpoints most businesses have extended their intelligence capablities beyond browser analytics to now include app, social, media, ads, and much more including even IoT. Digital intelligence practices have certainly continued to evolve over the past 2 decades.

The fact is that web analytics tech and approaches have continued to modernize in step with the customer digital engagement and digital transformation journeys that firms are undergoing. In this latest research comparing the leading web analytics enterprise vendors we report that:

  • Modern web analytics technologies now form the core of the digital intelligence stack. Today’s digital practitioners are using their web analytics systems for a lot more including: to aid behavioral targeting & personalization; manage their digital data; integrate it with testing; understand app engagement; and for cross-channel attribution (see Figure 1).
  • Web analytics remains the single-most dominate digital intelligence technique. Almost three-quarters of respondents in Forrester’s Q2 2017 Global Digital Intelligence Platforms Forrester Wave™ Customer Reference Online Survey used web analytics from their DI platform providers. Web analytics adoption is significantly greater than the next three dominant digital intelligence techniques which were: application analytics (48%), interaction analytics (43%), and cross-channel attribution (41%).
  • Web engagement is still critical to business success. Since the late 90’s, there has been significant shift of digital customer engagement beyond the browser & email (e.g. to mobile apps, social, kiosks and IoT). Yet the clear majority of active internet users still interact via browsers, which remains the most important digital channel for consumers to make online purchases.In a major new research report, The Technology-Augmented Employee, I take on a problem that’s vexing CIOs and government leaders alike. In aggregate, US companies face a productivity paradox: Despite billions of dollars invested in technology, growth in employee productivity has slowed since 2004. Even though global technology spending will for the first time pass $3 trillion globally in 2018, this productivity paradox should concern CIOs and other decision-makers: For all these investments, shouldn’t we expect a return in the form of more effective employees?As it turns out, not all those technology investments make their way down to employees — at least not effectively. While employees commonly have devices — 6 out of 10 information workers have a PC, and the same proportion have a smartphone — too few of them have adequate apps beyond just the basics: Forrester’s Business Technographics data shows that fewer than 1 in 10 have job-specific applications they use daily. Emerging technology time-savers like voice applications enjoy moribund usage, despite the recent boom in Amazon Alexa applications. Instead, employees use just the basics, like email and calendars, on their devices.

    But the problem runs deeper than apps or voice control. Tectonic shifts are underway in our economy and how we work. Forrester forecasts a world in which automation cannibalizes 17% of US jobs by 2027, partly offset by the growth of 10% new jobs from the automation economy. A transformed workforce, comprised of human-machine teams, is already emerging. More and more human employees find themselves working side-by-side with robotic colleagues — today.

    What’s required to succeed in this new world is, in part, a new way of thinking. CIOs and other leaders must think about how a given technology will help an employee solve problems, across three possible dimensions:

    1. Decision Context: First, design experiences providing information to help employees act. Making informed, timely decisions is difficult. Done right, technology can help a great deal. Increasingly, smart software can offer next-best action advice across the employee journey.
    2. Execution Support: A second level of augmentation occurs when machines take on part of the workload. In the 1960s, a Budget Director spent a lot of time calculating a budget by hand. Today, Microsoft Excel or financial software takes that arduous task off their plate.
    3. Human-managed machines: Finally, with machines taking over entire workflows, some humans are becoming robot-managers. As robotics process automation (RPA) deployments proliferate, humans who formerly did routine work are being promoted to overseeing exception-handling and process improvement, training the bots to be even more effective.

    Once you’ve determined the appropriate context for augmenting an employee’s activities with technology, you face a new challenge: An ever-increasing panoply of emerging technologies that can help solve previously intractable problems. Making decisions about these technologies requires you to ask numerous questions and to perform a proof of concept trial. How mature is this new technology, and have other companies succeeded with it? How will it impact the employee and customer experiences? What’s the total economic impact and business case of deployment?

    Augmenting workers — more frequently, with more sophisticated tools — will require an upgrade in employees’ skills. RQ (robotics quotient) will join IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) in the lexicon of human resources, business, and technology leaders everywhere. That’s because RQ measures the skill set that human workers have when working with automated and semiautonomous systems; people who are adaptable, flexible, pick up new smart tools quickly, and who can problem solve have higher RQ. Companies with high RQ among their staffs will create more top-line revenue and profits than those with lower RQ ratings. In many cases, these organizations will need to invest in training and learning and development efforts to raise RQ, even if they don’t know it yet.

    For more insights, please check out my new report, The Technology-Augmented Employee.

    J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst serving CIOs. He leads Forrester’s research on the impact that robots, AI, and automation technologies have on employment, the economy, and the future of work. He also covers innovation in the context of disruptive devices and interfaces — from PCs to mobile devices, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), digital signage, and intelligent agents. He was named one of the five most important people in the world in the area of wearable computing. Follow him on Twitter .

    Enterprise Trends In 2018… The year 2017 was a landmark year for the Enterprise IT. On one hand, technologies like Software Defined Networking (SDN), Internet of Things(IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) came in the mainstream. On the other hand, SMEs have also started leveraging technology to serve their customers in a better way. The inclusion of enterprise IT has made the SMEs more competitive than ever.

    The start of 2018 brings a lot of expectations and predictions in the technology domain. It is interesting to jot down the top tech trends that are capable to transform the thriving enterprise IT into the sector that can offer tangible benefits.

     

    Here are top five technology trends that are going to impact the enterprise IT in 2018:

    1. IoT will Get AI and Robotics Advantage

    AI and machine learning, after passing through various stages of evolution, are ready to drive innovation across various industry sectors and IT arena. A report published by IDC has revealed that over half of the enterprise infrastructure would use cognitive and AI in one or other form by 2021 to improve productivity at a reduced cost. The prediction comes as we witness a rapid incorporation of AI in the corporate world.

    IoT will play a major role in the organization in 2018. Now, the challenge is to integrate the device management into the existing IT infrastructure without causing disruption. Here AI and robotics come into the picture. Both these technologies would offer intelligent automation to manage IoT devices efficiently.

    1. SDN is Ready to Take Off

    As the SDN advances, companies around the globe have started exploring the possibilities of virtual network services. We can see the broader adoption of SDN in the near future. The software-defined model will take charge of entire IT infrastructure soon. Also, the application-aware networking concept will play a major role in managing the performance, functionalities, and security of apps in the complex digital world.

    When the cloud, 5G, and IoT technologies will converge, they will give rise to both machine learning and SDN solutions. They will improve the overall experience of consumers and enable expansion of B2B model.

    1. DevSecOps Approach will Prevail

    Let’s face it. Security concerns loom larger than before due to increasing incidences of cyber attacks. Companies may need to consider the security while adopting the DevOps approach in IT operations. The DevSecOps approach addresses this requirement and will gain strength in 2018. There is no exaggeration in predicting 2018 as the year of DevSecOps because security teams, which are equipped with the next-gen IT security tools, rely heavily on the insertion of security in the development lifecycle.

    As we attempt to prevent high-profile data breaches and malware attacks on the business IT system, the nascent DevSecOps approach will become more important in the near future.

    1. Augmented Reality will Rule at Workplace

    The phenomenal success of Pokémon Go has paved the way for Augmented Reality (AR) in our daily life. As per the prediction of Deloitte Global, tens of thousands of apps with AR capability will be available during 2018. Talking about the industries, auto, real estate, and manufacturing sectors will remain the biggest beneficiaries of AR.

    However, experts believe that AR will find its way across various industry sectors. In the IT sector, for example, AR tutorials can help professionals to maintain and deploy hardware in data centers.

    1. Edge Computing is Here to Stay

    Low latency and high throughput are much in demand for high-end, edge applications. It gives rise to edge computing. Let’s take an example of a self-driving car to understand the importance of edge computing. A self-driving car may need a real-time computation to take direction-based judgments. It is only possible when a car can access a server and the computation completes in milliseconds. This type of latency requires edge computing architecture.

    We can apply the same principle to enhance the workload management capabilities at the workplace. Companies can leverage the highly distributed edge computing network in 2018 and beyond to increase scalability and productivity.

    Along with these trends, we can see the prevalence of other technical aspects like interoperability and automation this year.

    Your law firm is a business. Like all businesses, growth and profitability is paramount. You want to see your client base grow and your profits increase, year on year. Even more importantly, you don’t want to go backwards just because you are so busy working in the business that you don’t notice what is happening. You may have other goals – opening another office or being recognized as an expert in a niche field. Whatever your measure of success is, you want it to be sustainable.

    But creating consistent, long-term growth can prove elusive. Many businesses hire more staff in an effort to kickstart stagnating revenue. They will continue doing the things that have brought them success so far, failing to realize that, just as they made an improvement or streamlined a process before, so they will need to do it again if they want to continue growing.

    The only true way to generate long-term growth is through the regular introduction of change to create new ways of doing things. For many businesses, including law firms, the clearest path to innovation is through the regular implementation of new technology in an ongoing cycle.

    This needs a culture of innovation so that your whole firm is accustomed to continuous improvement.

    You can visually plot the impact of innovation on growth and the inevitable progress through to decline using what is called the Sigmoid Curve.

     

    The Sigmoid Curve is a representation of time and activity – in this case, growth.

    It can be widely applied to the rise and fall of empires, countries, products and businesses, including law firms.

    THE SIGMOID CURVE IS COMPOSED OF 5 PHASES

    1. The introduction of change phase

    This is the period in which change is introduced.

    In an established New York or New Jersey law firm, this phase might occur when you begin investigating potential areas of improvement in your firm. You may consider how you can re-organize your processes using a technological solution. During this time, you will put in a lot of effort with little apparent return. The phase culminates in selecting a solution to provide growth and implementing it.

    1. The Growth phase

    Your firm experiences sharp growth. The reprocesses results in a dramatic increase in efficiency, productivity and billing. Improved customer service leads to an expanding client base.

    1. The Success phase

    Your firm in New York or New Jersey is more profitable than ever and is the peak of success. Complacency is the danger. For many businesses, the elation that comes with success makes it difficult to appreciate that without further innovation, this growth will eventually decline. Your firm doesn’t look for ways to improve or prolong its growth. You believe your success will last long-term.

    1. The Stagnation phase

    Your New York or New Jersey law firm hits a plateau. Growth and revenue stagnates.

    You are still benefitting from the last technology change, but previous efficiencies gained are not having the same impact that they once did, and areas that need improvement for you to keep competitive are now becoming an issue.

    1. The Decline phase

    The markers of success are in decline. Revenue is shrinking and your firm is no longer as profitable as it once was. At this point, it is increasingly difficult to initiate a change event.

    The decline of growth is not inevitable. The issue lies in businesses reaching a peak and rather than finding ways to improve, they remain stagnant. They fail to consider that success doesn’t last forever, so they are unable to objectively identify areas of potential improvement in their business.

    To achieve long-term growth in your law New York or New Jersey law firm, don’t fall into the trap of thinking the process of decline doesn’t apply to you. Much larger firms have declined and been merged away or even gone out of business, because they believed the process did not apply to them, and they did not adapt or innovate.

    The best time to start a new ‘curve’ is before you reach the peak of your existing one. That way, you will be starting something new when you still have the resources, and the spirit, to take it to new heights. In contrast, most people think of doing something new only when they have reached the bottom of what they are presently involved in and it is costly and hard.

    The key to avoiding decline is to initiate a new curve right before your firm hits the success phase of the first curve.

    HOW CAN THIS BE DONE?

    In many respects, law is a slow-moving profession. This can have a negative impact on your business, particularly when your clients have adapted to evolving technologies but you haven’t. If you want to stay competitive in the 21st century, you need to consider how you can meet the expectations of the modern client, as well as the ways you can improve your practice using technology.

    Seeking a legal software provider for your firm that is committed to innovation will allow your firm to enjoy natural and repeated cycles of growth through new efficiencies. By having a single provider, you will not have to worry about constantly changing providers to access the efficiencies offered by new technologies.

    LEAP invests more than 10 million dollars a year in research and development for small law firms in New York and New Jersey. We are continuously innovating solutions that keep our clients from being stuck in the stagnation to decline phases.

    To learn more about how your law firm can generate long-term growth, access the f

    Sponsored Series by Leap.us.

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