2021 IT Ops Prediction: Cloud - Part 2
March 04, 2021
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User experience is a big deal. For public-facing interfaces, the friction of a bad customer experience can send potential business to your competitors. For IT services delivered within your organization, bad UX is one of the main drivers of shadow IT.

Start with 2021 IT Ops Prediction: Cloud - Part 1

Prediction: The combination of AI/ML and cloud will significantly enhance customer experience for heretofore less sophisticated businesses

A May analysis from IDCpredicts that the incorporation of AI/ML to modern, cloud-native applications will have a powerful effect on customer experience: "The most important enhancements to these modern applications in the next several years will be the deep integration of AI and machine learning into cloud infrastructure, platform, and applications to improve efficiencies and accelerate digital delivery of services to customers/patients/constituents."

The companies that are most attentive to customer experience are already cloud-native, and they're already applying machine learning to their customer interactions. A Deloitte article that ran in The Wall Street Journal in March pointed out several ways in which AI improves customer experience:

■ There's the direct interaction of the customer with recommendation engines designed to present more attractive content/offers.

■ There are operational analytics that improve customer-facing performance.

■ For industries such as auto sales (or auto insurance), where prices are competitive and variable, there are market analytics that look at competitors and other factors to identify the best pricing.

■ And with the acceleration of digital transformation, and cloud adoption in particular, expect more companies to modernize their customer experience.

With the acceleration of digital transformation, and cloud adoption in particular, expect more companies to modernize their customer experience

"The cloud has enabled more companies to take advantage of AI/ML, which is a means to an end," says Sendur Sellakumar, Splunk's CPO and SVP of Cloud. "Look at Facebook, Netflix, Amazon: They use a ton of ML underneath the covers. But none of us get exposed to that ML. We just get a better experience."

And he notes that it's easier to achieve now that public cloud providers offer out-of-the-box ML tools.

"If I'm a regional retailer for auto parts, I may not have a data science team that is on the scale of Amazon or Splunk," Sellakumar says. "But I can now leverage the data science capabilities that vendors provide to enhance CX on my website. This democratization of machine learning is critical to truly capture the value proposition this technology can offer."

Strategy: Cloud transformation takes talent

Digital transformation is hard enough when your only pressure is keeping up with the industry Joneses. When you're responding to a global disruption, or as we come out of that crisis to find everyone moving faster as a rule, it's much harder.

Sendur Sellakumar says the first thing leaders need to do is make sure they have the right talent on their teams: "First, make sure you have the right DNA in your organization to understand the digital experience you need to deliver," he says … That means changing the skills you hire for (and hiring faster, perhaps). It means engaging your current staff and retraining them to expand their skill sets. It also means not over-engineering the solution. Get something out to customers as fast as possible, and iterate from there."

And even when you think that first rush of iterative transformation is finished — it's not. Just because organizations move quickly to accelerate digital transformation doesn't mean that the work is done once those new cloud resources are online. Change management, the development of new processes, training and hiring for new skill sets, and ongoing attention to the security implications of each infrastructure change are ongoing efforts.

"The timing of the transformation accelerates, the launch date moves up, but you're not going to be done in three months," Sellakumar says. "It's going to take years to make sure you convert all those processes where it makes sense, and you're going to focus on the processes that drive the most revenue from day one."

This is an excerpt from the ebook: Splunk IT Operations Predictions 2021

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