IBM Study: 61 Percent of Surveyed CMOs and Sales Leaders Say Cognitive Computing Will Be a Disruptive Force in Their Industries

    IBM Study: 61 Percent of Surveyed CMOs and Sales Leaders Say Cognitive
Computing Will Be a Disruptive Force in Their Industries -- But Are They Ready
                             for the Disruption?

Nearly Two-Thirds of Surveyed CMOs and Sales Leaders Believe Their Industries
Will Be Ready to Adopt Cognitive Solutions by 2020

PR Newswire

ARMONK, N.Y., Aug. 8, 2017

ARMONK, N.Y., Aug. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While marketing and sales
professionals increasingly find themselves drowning in data, a new IBM (NYSE:
IBM) study finds that nearly two thirds--64 percent--of surveyed CMOs and
sales leaders believe their industries will be ready to adopt cognitive
technologies in the next three years. However despite this stated readiness,
the study finds that only 24 percent of those surveyed believe they have
strategy in place to implement these technologies today.

Surveyed executives from businesses that have outperformed their competition
for the past three years in revenue growth, profitability, or other factors
made up 13 percent of the study. Of these surveyed Outperformers, 93 percent
believe cognitive computing is mature and market ready; and 91 percent assert
that cognitive computing is good for their organizations.

According to the new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, "From data
deluge to intelligent insights: Adopting cognitive computing to unlock value
for marketing and sales," while both CMOs and heads of sales agreed that
"customer satisfaction" is the number one value driver for adopting cognitive
solutions, practically speaking, many of those surveyed say they aren't sure
their organizations are currently set up to make a successful transition. The
study, conducted in cooperation with Oxford Economics, is based on a global
survey with 525 CMOs and 389 heads of sales across industries to determine the
extent by which marketers and sellers aim to embrace cognitive.

Cognitive computing, such as IBM Watson, is a next generation technology that
can quickly understand and reason vast amounts of structured and unstructured
data, like sounds and images, in the same way humans do—by reasoning,
learning, and interacting to improve accuracy overtime. While traditional
analytics can provide data for businesses to draw insights from, cognitive can
more easily predict outcomes and turns those insights into actionable
recommendations, which can impact real business decisions.

For surveyed CMOs, they expect the real advantage of cognitive lies in two key
areas: improved customer experience and financial results—including increased
financial yields and improved ability to identify marketing ROI. For sales
leaders in the study, it's all about finally achieving a 360-degree
understanding of customers so they may better predict their customers' needs
and improve prospecting, lead strategy, customer service and experience. For
example, HSN is using cognitive to help its stories reach the right audience
on their preferred channel—which encourages more viewers to become customers
and drives HSN's business growth.

Surveyed executives from businesses that have outperformed their competition
for the past three years in revenue growth, profitability, or other factors,
made up 13 percent of the study. Of these surveyed Outperformers, 93 percent
believe cognitive computing is mature and market ready, and 91 percent assert
that cognitive computing is good for their organizations. Nearly a quarter—or
24 percent--of surveyed Outperformers report cognitive is already operational
at their organizations, only 3 percent of other CMOs and sales executives
claim the same. These Outperformers are ahead of the cognitive game with 73
percent already collecting and analyzing external market data.

To realize the full potential of cognitive computing for marketing and sales
functions, the IBV recommends the following actions to CMOs and sales
executives:

  o Make room for cognitive solutions in your businesses' Digital
    Reinvention^™ strategy—companies across multiple industries are in the
    midst of reinventing the customer experience with a variety of digital
    technologies, from mobile apps to Internet of Things (IoT) to virtual
    reality. These digital customer touchpoints are producing new sources of
    structured and unstructured data well suited for cognitive to inform
    companies about customers' individual preferences, behaviors and
    attitudes. In fact, marketing executives listed "customer insights" as the
    primary way they could use cognitive to enhance their customer experience.
    Instead of seeing cognitive as a wholly separate initiative, CMOs and
    heads of sales should consider it a component of their Digital
    Reinvention^™ strategy.
  o Enhance employees' business skills, not just their data analytics
    skills—people with analytical skill sets are in high demand. But because
    cognitive technologies do the analytical heavy lifting, what marketing and
    sales may need the most are people with a broad perspective of both
    company strategy and the nuts and bolts of the business. These employees
    can more easily discern business implications from cognitive insights and
    need strong decision-making skills, as well as an empathetic understanding
    of their customers to consistently deliver their companies' brand promise.
     
  o Make cognitive your golden opportunity for collaboration and
    innovation—implementing cognitive solutions for marketing and sales calls
    for close alignment among the CMO, head of sales, Chief Information
    Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Data Officer or Chief
    Digital Officer. This will ensure that the necessary technical
    requirements are met and the implications for cognitive maps to the
    business's strategic goals. Cognitive used by marketing and sales
    professionals could also align to customer service, supply chain, product
    development, human resources and training, as well as operations and
    finance.  This could help introduce new processes in traditionally siloed
    organizations for data sharing and ideation.
  o Start small, if necessary — but do start — many marketing and sales
    executives fear the shift to cognitive will require them to "rip and
    replace" the tools and processes they use to analyze customer data and
    create customer experiences. Instead, there are numerous types of
    cognitive solutions — from improved capabilities for personalization to
    content tagging — that marketers and sellers can implement in stages to
    target specific challenges and often can be integrated into companies'
    existing cloud platforms and data management systems. By starting small,
    companies can begin to enjoy the benefits of cognitive computing and
    determine how best to expand over time. More than half of Outperformers
    have already started their shift to cognitive. The real risk would be to
    wait too long on the sidelines while the competition forges ahead.

About IBM Watson Customer Engagement
IBM Watson Customer Engagement powers a full spectrum of solutions including
cognitive engagement offerings delivered as a service and on premise. Today
IBM is the only vendor that helps companies infuse cognitive technologies into
their marketing, commerce and supply chain capabilities on their terms, when
and how they need.

IBM currently is working with more 17,000 companies around the world including
Amadori Group, American Eagle Outfitters, Boots, Ermes, Luxottica, Moosejaw
Mountaineering, Office Brands, Performance Bicycle, and REI.

For more information follow us at #WatsonCE.

About IBM iX
For more information on IBM iX, visit ibm.com/ibmix or @IBM_iX.

About IBM's Institute for Business Value
For more information about the IBM Institute for Business Value visit
www.ibm.com/iibv or @IBMIBV.

Download the IBM IBV app on your Android device or iOS tablet.

IBM iX, visit ibm.com/ibmix

Contact:
Katie Leasor
IBM Media Relations
kleasor@us.ibm.com 
212-671-9356

IBM Corporation logo. (PRNewsFoto/IBM Corporation) (PRNewsFoto/)

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SOURCE IBM

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