Vendors must stop overhyping artificial intelligence

Vendors must stop overhyping artificial intelligence

Author: Mila D’Antonio, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement, Ovum

Summary

As artificial intelligence matures and interest accelerates from forward-thinking enterprises that want solutions to real-world problems, it will become important for vendors to stop overhyping their AI offerings.

The market will see a shift from individual AI products to a system where all enterprise processes are embedded with AI for “AI-driven” results. Essentially, the technology will be less important than the business insights it delivers, and the need to call every product and solution “AI” will fade.

Focus on solving business outcomes

As AI becomes integral for automating and contextualizing customer engagement activities, vendors along the customer engagement value chain often overhype their products and solutions, labeling everything from predictive analytics to machine learning “AI.” Referring to all products as AI-powered features can resonate with customers in the short term, but it can also yield negative consequences in the long term due to the confusion it creates in the market. The AI talk makes for great marketing buzz, but vendors may be underselling the data science that is optimizing customer engagement solutions.

AI encompasses a more explicit set of functionalities that can quickly automate simple tasks and augment people executing more complex actions. This is achieved by programming computers to carry out cognitive tasks. It largely relies on the transformation of companies’ internal processes and isn’t just a feature that can be turned on to reduce headcount and create efficiencies.

In 2019, enterprises must look past the AI buzz and concentrate on adopting AI applications and projects that offer near-term value to their organizations rather than unspecified insights. To thrive and stand out in the AI landscape, vendors must iterate with a few enterprise customers to really grow their use cases to demonstrate how AI tools are generating real value for companies. The vendors that can effectively communicate the business value the technology will bring to organizations rather than capitalize on the hype will create true change in their customers’ businesses as well as the overall customer engagement category.

Appendix

Further reading

Ovum Market Radar: AI-Powered Marketing and Sales, INT001-000101 (October 2018)

Conversational AI: The Future of Customer Engagement, INT001-000119 (expected to be published in January 2019)

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