Readers' Choice Survey 2019: Artificial Intelligence
The CGT community’s preferred providers of solutions leveraging artificial intelligence/machine learning software and services, either as a stand-alone tool or as an enhanced component of an existing technology.
Best in Category: Microsoft
Microsoft is leveraging its Azure cloud platform to enable CG companies to extend their artificial intelligence capabilities beyond supply chain. Clients call it “user friendly” with “good customer service.” Among major customers is Walmart, which is leveraging cloud-based machine learning, artificial intelligence and data platform solutions for both shopper-facing services and internal business applications.
Partners are a key to Microsoft’s AI go-to-market strategy: Alliances forged in 2018 include one with JDA Software, which will leverage Azure to increase the AI/ML capabilities of its supply chain solutions. A major deal with Nielsen intends to “democratize” the vast Nielsen Connect data set, integrating assets to help brands spot emerging trends more easily, diagnose performance gaps, and act faster.
SMB Market Leader: Google
AI is working its way into the industry from production through consumer engagement, and Google is helping lead the way. Its efforts have been particularly beneficial to startups and other small businesses without the resources needed for more intensive tech implementations. New developments in 2018 included an array of Google Assistant-connected appliances, as well as Google Duplex, a tool for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks by phone. Elsewhere, Google acquired AI startup Onward and announced a solution that lets companies with limited machine learning expertise deploy AI in their contact centers.
Customer Satisfaction Leader: IBM
The company that first made AI popular with the masses by unleashing IBM Watson on the entertainment world made some major investments in its business-focused AI services in 2018, including a new data science and machine learning platform for data-driven decision making and a no-charge consultancy to advise clients on adoption and roadmapping.
IBM also enhanced its partnership with SalesForce to produce AI-driven predictive analytics that can drive personalized, customer- triggered interactions based on the latest call or chat. One CGT survey respondent reports, “We already have a successful analytics garage with IBM,” and another said, “They are the main partner in our AI/digital enterprise journey.” Computer maker Lenovo has tapped IBM for AI in its call centers.
Noteworthy: Fractal Analytics
The importance of preparing for a new era of man-machine collaboration has been a key theme over the past year for data science, analytics and artificial intelligence firm Fractal Analytics, which is employed by leading CG companies including Kimberly-Clark. In support of that theme, the company acquired its former partner, Final Mile, a leader in the application of behavioral sciences to understand decision-making and influence consumer and social behavior.
According to Fractal Analytics chief executive officer Srikanth Velamakanni, the combination of data science and behavioral science can bolster client outcomes as well as advance the human-machine interface going forward.