As we think about America’s Independence Day—and our colleagues in India, Bulgaria and France are looking forward to their country’s celebrations—we’re reminded that revolutionary ideas make things happen.
They change us and our world in ways we couldn’t have imagined. They’re everywhere, including in the technology industry—and thanks to COVID-19, many of them are gaining traction faster than ever.
In the spirit of revolutionary ideas in tech, we asked five Progress’ own big-picture thinkers to talk about the kinds of game-changers they see on the horizon. Here’s what they had to say.
“I believe that COVID has shown how important it is that companies be able to pivot management styles. Companies that are embracing work from home and can adjust their operations without too much impact on their bottom line are succeeding, but we’re seeing some big tech companies that aren’t doing it well. And this leads to something that no one is really talking about—the fact that we’re going to have to change our ideals and measurements when it comes to collecting leads.
Looking at the regulation that’s happening now—GDPR, CCPA, federalizing personally identifiable information (PII)—as brands we will have to determine how we conduct demand generation without collecting PII? We will have to fundamentally change the way we rate the success of sales and marketing because we won’t be able to point to leads—but the issue is going to be as organizations, how do we manage that? If a company can’t pivot to something as simple as working from home, what will it look like when they have to measure their business differently?
We’re starting to see the acceleration of those who are adapting to new expectations and those who aren’t—and as we know the world is moving faster than ever. Trying to keep up with immense change is painful, and it takes investment, courage, agility, foresight and vision. Those who don’t have or aren’t participating in vision discussions are going to start struggling.
We as consumers have changed the way we want businesses to approach us, and this has translated into the B2B world as well. Consumers demand better experiences that allow them to accomplish their goal on their own. That’s where personalization comes in; by segmenting groups of audiences into like-minded sessions, we can tailor-make experiences that will allow consumers to complete what they’ve set out to accomplish.”
“Leading Telerik’s developer relations team, I’ve been thinking a lot about community and how the pandemic has changed things. How do we effectively engage as communities? In the past, we’ve done a lot of third-party events—speaking or sponsoring—and we’ve already seen that you can get a lot of that content online. But what’s missing are the interpersonal communication, those ever-important hallway conversations that are a major part of the experience.
With this in mind, our team has started playing with augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) to see if we can replicate a kind of ‘hallway track.’ If there was ever a time for AR/VR to go mainstream, I can see it happening now; there’s a lot of room to grow there, and to create opportunities to have conversations you would normally have with speakers, sponsors and industry influences.
I believe we’re at a pivotal point in AR/VR and that it doesn’t need to fall onto the back burner again. People, by nature, still want to have one-on-one ‘in-person’ conversations. The longer the pandemic crisis lasts, the more we can build it out, which will give it a better chance of having longevity once social distancing and stay-at-home orders are a thing of the past.”
“As cloud computing has become ubiquitous, companies have begun to realize that to survive (and thrive) they must embrace the cloud, and they must modernize their systems to make it happen. Their legacy sources and cloud sources have to play nicely.
At this point, many companies may have dipped their toes in the water by cobbling together data sources, but the vision—the ultimate goal—is to create a situation where they can connect to any data source under the sun. Think about it; Scott Brinker’s MarTech ecosystem chart gets bigger every year, so having a perfected system that has the ability to connect to anything you can throw at it is the way I see things moving.”
“We’ve seen a lot of iterative progress in chatbots over the last couple of years, but the reality that COVID has created is that these trends are accelerating. Companies are realizing they must quickly become more efficient while still being authentic and providing a guided experience for people.
Thinking about a recent experience I had with a chatbot on my credit card provider’s site, I went into the experience anticipating that I’d need to get through the chatbot to be connected to an agent. However, to my surprise and delight, it worked from beginning to end and I was able to take care of my specific issue.
I believe we’re on the cusp of a new era where chatbots aren’t considered a ‘gatekeeper,’ but will be able to provide true, authentic value. As companies look to save money on staffing and support, chatbots can actually help triage requests and let support staff focus on big-picture issues.”
“Currently, as a developer you have to take an imperative approach to programming chatbots, which requires you to be very specific, spelling out questions and answers. But there’s another option—a declarative programming approach that will tell the chatbot what to do but not how to do it—and this approach works everywhere, regardless of the platform.
I anticipate chatbots will become more intuitive, with greater collaboration between the subject matter expert and the developer working on the chatbot. The SME’s involvement would help improve the chatbot’s accuracy in addition to making it more human-like. Additionally, I anticipate we’ll see more evolution when it comes to chatbots being able to sense human emotions—and to be able to provide different reactions based on whether someone seems distressed, happy, relaxed or something else."
To read more from these Progress blog authors, click on their names in the headers above or on their photos.
Dave Pierce strives to be a writer’s writer, an editor’s editor, and a marketer’s marketer. An award-winning journalist formerly of The Boston Globe, Dave combines his love of SEO, content management and social media with his passion for storytelling. At Progress, he manages, writes and optimizes content. Dave lives in New Hampshire with his wife and teenage daughters. You may find him at Northeastern University hockey games on the weekends from October to March. You can find him on LinkedIn every day.
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