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How can I develop, market, sell and consume new digital engagement, CX, data, and C-AI technologies?

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

These types of questions are consistently being asked by global enterprises. There a tremendous amount of confusion and an overwhelming amount of “Marketectures”, buzzwords and hype floating around as businesses look to become digitally transformed businesses. Terms and concepts such as conversational AI, IoT, omnichannel, virtual agent, chatbot, conversational commerce, RPA, predictive analytics, CCaaS, NLP (Natural Language Processing), Voice as User Interface (VUI), or XaaS, to name a few. These digital interaction, analytics, workflow, and data management technologies are key aspects empowering new subscription-based service models, both in today’s B2B and B2C environments. Consideration and preparation for a successful go-to-market and/or deployment of these new digital technologies begs more questions than answers. How do you make sense of it all? Is there a well-crafted and cohesive strategy I can rely on? How does one put the pieces together to either create and/or bring to market digitally enabled solution offerings? How can a business best utilize this myriad of advanced technologies and applications to the benefit of their organization from an operational perspective?

Digital Engagement Defined:

How does one define “digital engagement”? A basic explanation is generally accepted as the use of digital communication tools and techniques to find, listen, engage, and mobilize a business, brand, or community. Digital customer engagement and resulting journeys impact all aspects of today’s customer service, online sales, and marketing effectiveness. It is having a dramatic impact internally on organizations as well. There is now an enormous swell of internal use cases that are growing by the day impacting a variety of lines of business as well as IT Helpdesk functions (ITSM-related). From a GTM perspective, the end goal is the holistic enablement of a business to digitally promote products, solutions, and campaigns via an omnichannel (multiple customer touchpoints) integrated platform….commonly referred to as a Digital Experience Platform or “DXP”. These new interaction technologies now define how a customer relates and builds rapport with a brand. It includes all of today’s traditional digital touchpoints provided for customers such as email and websites. It now also includes the ever-growing list of newer interaction technologies such as live chat, social media-based messaging/posting, website messaging, “voice bots”, chatbots, and more sophisticated virtual agent C-AI deployments with use case-based trained journeys. Many of these diverse interaction channels can be “stitched” together, resulting in a seamless digital journey across multiple touchpoints to achieve a satisfying resolution.

Conversational communications, sometimes referred to as conversational AI (C-AI), is an umbrella term used to define the broad set of cognitive digital technologies that drive automated messaging and speech-enabled applications for customer service, sales, helpdesk, and queries of collated informational data sources. It offers human-like interactions between computers and humans and enables machines capable of learning, understanding, and responding to human language inquires, be it a speech or text interaction. Think of it as the next evolution of what is referred to as “semantic search”. The true value of this technology is derived from C-AI’s advanced understanding of a query through contextual insight. This enables the swift resolution of issues, accurate information dissemination, and the ability to provide relevant offers and product/service recommendations. The end goal is to engage audiences with a satisfying digital journey culminating in a quality “conversational experience”.

C-AI can recognize the intricacies and nuances of both speech and text, understand sentiment and intent, and respond in a way that mirrors human conversations. While simplified chatbots have gained popularity, C-AI offers a much more precise interaction experience via finely tuned and “trained” responses for informational, sales, and servicing purposes. Using advanced artificial intelligence/natural language understanding and processing (NLU/NLP) can elevate the interaction experience and will one day blur the lines between humans and machine interaction. While we are not there yet from a technological perspective, we are making significant progress in the pursuit of a C-AI-based “Golden Journey”. Conceptually, this is the end-to-end completion of a highly complex interaction with no human intervention whatsoever, enabling a query, task, or transaction performed in a highly efficient, expedient, and satisfying manner. We are making tremendous strides with C-AI semantic and contextual understanding though. As a result, customers no longer feel encumbered by previous primitive chatbot technologies that fall short due to their limited functionality and value. Quality implementation of C-AI allows one to go beyond simple chatbot responses and empowers a host of activities and applications. Soon, C-AI-based interactions will evolve to this fully automated end-to-end customer journey, providing the same level of functionality and satisfaction as human interaction.

How are these new AI and digital engagement technologies deployed for business value? This is where everything/anything as a service (XaaS) models come into play. Many are now becoming familiar with the concept of the “subscriber-based” economy. B2C models such as Netflix and entertainment streaming services have seen unprecedented growth in the last few years. On a global enterprise B2B level, outsourcing software solutions, workflows, and processes are increasingly appealing to modern businesses execs and owners. Much of what we now utilize on a B2C level can now be offered to global enterprises for B2B applications on a subscription basis. C-level decision-makers are taking notice! These new SaaS-related business models shift a capital expenditure approach to more alluring OPEX payment models. Why invest capital in a solution offering that may be operationally outdated/obsolete in an ever-narrowing timeframe? Today’s businesses need to offer their customers/clients customizable services that can be constantly improved while realizing better profit models, market value, and competitive differentiation. Recognizing this, B2B solution providers are growing, having retooled their premise-based solutions to the Cloud via diverse and growing XaaS-based offerings. The global XaaS market is expected to exceed $344 billion by 2024, with market classifications such as collaboration, storage, security, unified communications, customer service, networking, and analytics/data management, all to be offered “as a service”. This is just the beginning of a global shift to a pervasive Cloud and digital subscription-based B2B ecosystem. Businesses and brands that want to grow and thrive in this new digital frontier need to begin planning now or else be left behind.


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