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2022 Predictions Intelligent systems, remote relationships and Experience as a service

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It’s February, and a year and a month has passed since my last predictions blog, and what a year we have had. Like with everything in life, things have taken longer than expected to finish. This is very true with the pandemic and the aftermath it is leaving behind.  

I concluded my last predictions with a quote from my hero David Attenborough “Our planet is unique, a living world of diversity and wonder; it is also fragile. With a new year comes an opportunity for change and if we act in 2021, we can make a world of difference. Together we can turn things around, together we can restore our fragile home and make it a happy new year for all the inhabitants of planet earth”.  

Last year we saw a huge movement on this with COP26, the protests and the dramas. The positive of this has been governments and organisations focusing on sustainability across social and the environment. I think this year we will see further shifts from customers towards ethical products and services. As ethical investment evolves, organisations will build capabilities with a measure on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) impact in mind.  

Let's look back to my 2021 predictions, how did I do? I got one out of three right, so my crystal ball needs an upgrade! We saw a number of mergers and acquisitions in 2021 including Paypal acquiring Curv, Visa acquiring Currency Cloud, Mastercard acquiring Aiia, and Starling acquiring Mortgage Fleet. I didn’t see much movement in multiplayer finance CX renovation, however – as I said before, some things take longer than expected, so watch out for these this year. Looking forward to the future, I expect there will be many new trends, including the following THREE which we may hear more and more often in 2022.  

Intelligent systems 

A lot has been said about AI (Artificial Intelligence) over the years, promises of android-like life assistance that can organise our lives in many ways. Some of these are already here and are so passive that we do not even know they are there – be it home assistance, or the subtle suggestions you find on your mobile devices. Intelligent systems rely on data-centric AI, with AI based on build-learning models from a continuous stream of quality of data from software, hardware and the user. I think this is going to be an upward trend this year where more and more focus will be put on continuous stream of quality data. From a cautionary perspective: remember Robot Wars from the late 90s? People built remote control robots and the game was all about machines fighting machines. I think this will be true in the cyber security space, where we will see more cybersecurity attacks. 

Last year we saw the Log4j issue that melted the internet – this is a good example of this where we saw toolkits that fraudsters could buy to run a multitude of attacks on this vulnerability. On a positive note, intelligent systems will be used to correctly authenticate and verify customers using the rich telemetry from the user (behaviour), their hardware and software. As I have said before in many blogs, authentication and identity are the cornerstone of customer experience. In world where customers are not seen, heard, touched or smelled in a physical sense, it’s important that the correct intelligence systems are in place to identify and authenticate the customer.  Another important point: privacy and data are forever linked; people are more aware of what data is collected, and how their data is used. People want to retain sovereignty over their personal actions and data. For intelligent systems to be effective and have longevity, organisations will need to ensure a local-first, privacy-first approach, e.g. ethically collecting the right customer data in a transparent way and for specific use. 

Remote Relationships   

The pandemic forced a paradigm shift in thinking and for organisations to survive across all industries, they accelerated their digital transformation. The new normal is blurring digital and physical spaces, moving from digital identity to just identity. At the heart of identity is authentication; at the heart of authentication is trust. Organisations trusting and having that remote relationship is now essential. I have seen more product and services pop up across industries in leisure, remote GPs, remote pharmacists, fast food and recently, I even set up a remote vet! What they have in common is trust. I see a future where identity transcends everything from the digital space and the physical space. Organisations will need to balance the trust paradox of knowing your customer without overly burdening friction points or inflicting digital pain on customers. With strong trust of the customer in place, it will transform all experience. This year we will see more of this as businesses look to unlock the value of knowing their customers and making sure they can do secure transactions with them in a safe way and from a defensive mode. Keeping on-top of fraud. 

EaaS – Experience as a Service  

I have seen across most organisations a strong element of catchup and feature parity, which was accelerated by the pandemic. This year the focus will be in the business of experience, a concept known as Experience as a Service (EaaS), or Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS). Successful organisations will be those that can effectively integrate ecosystems. Ecosystem integration drives a customer experience that is seamless, friction-free, and valuable this year, organisations will become accustomed to disassembling and reassembling themselves and their products and services to meet the needs of the customers. To enable this, they will need to adopt to buying or providing as-a-Service models. Organisations will focus on core competencies and experiences, and double efforts on their USP. 

For experiences outside their domain, they will look to integrate through an ecosystem. The advantages of this approach will be superior experiences to customers with speed-to-delivery and lower operating cost. One such service I see being bought this year is Identity and Authentication as a Service (IDaaS). As I mentioned above, in remote relationships, this is a key enabler for transformational experience. 

Conclusion  

As Yoda said, “The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see, the future is.” That’s very apt for 2022. As the dust settles on the aftermath of Covid, there will be challenges as well as many opportunities. Organisations that adapt quickly to the paradigm shifts will be the ones that are successful this year. 

Thanks for reading here’s to a safer, opportunity-filled 2022! 

 

Bhavesh Vaghela

Digital Craftsman

My views are my own, delightfully dyslexic so please forgive the typos!

 

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