This year has seen a flurry of activity in areas around machine learning and artificial intelligence, and those two trends are expected to continue strong in 2017. But what else will be the dominant trends in data management and information technology in the New Year?

Tuval Chomut, chief information officer at Clicktale, a leader in digital customer experience, offers his thoughts on what will be the top five trends to watch.

Machine learning

“Machine learning features are now being added by an increasing number of tech vendors, and by the end of 2017, we foresee machine learning-based personalization being a ubiquitous part of any digital experience,” Chomut predicts.

“Vendors are starting to provide platforms to personalize every experience on the web, but it’s not yet mainstream, and we have a long way to go because people are still struggling with the basics,” Chomut says. “Instead, enterprises will look towards creating customer segments and then adapting offers to specific segments. A segment can be as small as ‘people who scrolled to 50% of the screen but then did not purchase’ or ‘people who left feedback on this product page’.”

Unified mobile experience

“In 2017, we will see more companies moving away from websites designed for tablets into one unified mobile experience for smartphones and tablets,” Chomut says. “Companies have found it challenging to maintain four different platforms for desktop, mobile, tablet and apps, and in many cases, there is no need for this differentiation. The line between a smartphone and a tablet is fading, both in terms of screen size, functionality and user expectations.”

Consolidation of data

“Today’s marketing economy exhibits massive fragmentation in terms of where companies are getting all of their customer experience data – from analytics to voice of customer, digital customer experience management, chat, and so on,” Chomut explains.

“In 2017, enterprises will transition to consolidated systems that can unify all of the data they collect on customer experience, so they can understand what’s happening with their customers and measure the business impact of every issue,” Chomut says. “In addition, CEOs and CMOs will place a greater emphasis on (and will invest in) solutions that can show inflection points and quantify the overall effect of being a customer-led or experience-led organization.”

Total view of the customer

“In the coming year, companies will need to get a comprehensive picture of their customers on multiple channels, thus the ability to do ‘experience session stitching’ will grow in importance,” Chomut says. “In other words, while basic session stitching (grouping the website or app visits/sessions of one user) through analytics tools is already available, enterprises will seek the big picture meaning behind their customers’ behavior on every channel and device.”

“Vendors are now able to track users across channels, however this is still at the high level,” Chomut explains. “What’s lacking – and this is where experience-led organizations will want to move – is the ability to track rich customer data: the millisecond interactions that a visitor to a website or app makes. This can include the way a visitor hovers over certain elements, the curve of the mouse or finger as it scrolls through a screen, the pace of the scrolling, etc. All of these things can be synthesized to derive a deep, comprehensive understanding of customers, no matter the device.”

Testing, testing, testing

“In the coming year, companies will continue to rely on A/B testing, as their predictions aren’t quite good enough yet,” Chomut says. “We’ll see more investment in solutions that can derive a deep, comprehensive understanding of their customers' personalities and preferences.”

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