The evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is changing every industry. Leading product vendors are embracing machine learning to deliver new levels of automation and intelligence in products. In fact, vendors that aren’t actively trying to incorporate artificial intelligence technologies into their products will be at a competitive disadvantage. However, there’s a big difference in designing a solution with machine learning at a product’s inception versus a bolted on solution.
Across all markets we’re seeing startups that leverage machine learning gain traction against established incumbents. For example, Mist Systems uses machine learning to reinvent the wireless LAN market. Plenty is changing agriculture by using AI to optimize produce production for multiple harvests in small vertical footprints. And Lunera combines IoT and AI to disrupt the lighting and building automation industry.
The CRM market is no exception to this rule. Clari, a purveyor of Opportunity-to-Close (OTC) sales solutions, uses AI to help its customers drive better sales execution and forecasting. The CRM space, dominated by Salesforce.com, is ripe for disruption. Clari’s CEO, Andy Byrne, said it’s time for a change because incumbent CRM systems have reached their potential and hit a ceiling. He said his clients were generally dismayed by the fact that they’d spent significant money and their CRM solutions aren’t living up to their promise.
CRM needs a reboot
CRM suffers from several problems. First, a CRM system is only as good as the quality and quantity of data that is entered into it. Sadly, a majority of this data is manually entered and error prone. Second, CRM focuses on making sales more efficient by viewing historical reports instead of leading indicators. Third, the data in the CRM system isn’t necessarily connected to the vast amounts of corporate data in the other systems of record. In 2018, it’s amazing that companies are still running their businesses on MicrosoftExcel spreadsheets. However, the use of Excel sheds light on how companies are dealing with the challenge of disconnected systems.
What we need is a new set of enterprise systems that deliver what I call Right-time Experiences for your employees. Right-time Experiences deliver the right information, at the right time. When I first defined the term Right-time Experiences, the technology industry was experiencing tremendous growth in mobile, cloud computing and big data storage/processing solutions. These technologies laid the foundation for building applications and business processes that are adaptive, contextual, learning and predictive. While this isn’t a new concept, advances in the artificial intelligence field make Right-time Experiences possible by aiding in pattern recognition and automation.