We’ve just come back from this year’s autumn European Technology Summit event, which was held in the Hague and Amsterdam. The quality of presenters and companies was excellent, and we uncovered several thematic insights across the two days. Here are my top three.
Several of our speakers credibly addressed the hyperbole around the proliferation and impact of AI and set our expectations on its capabilities and potential reach. It was refreshing to have such candid discussions on the topic!
Nonetheless, the message was still that enterprises need to take advantage of the technology or risk falling behind. Linked to this (both technically and topically) was the message that Analytics was no longer nice to have – if you’re not doing it, you’ll be ‘dead in 5 years’. Both of these strategic aspects are required to build a platform-based business model. While monopolised by the big 4 GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) technology companies, we can witness others with rich datasets in industry reinventing themselves as IT companies who ‘happen to operate a service’.
We saw how deep learning techniques could determine the features of the data itself, without the human analyst supplying the features. With this in mind, we learned that organisations such as Google train all of their managers in Automated Machine Learning – a technique for automating the steps to apply ML with no programming required. Empowering managers with this knowledge and the ability to build AI models without development demonstrates how agile organisations can exploit these technologies, and perhaps an excellent example of modern CPD (Continuing Professional Development) which we should consider for our own businesses.
Our next insight was that while business agility has universal appeal, businesses are at dramatically different stages of conception, not just adoption of this ‘movement’. Some companies require a larger cultural leap and mindset change for their journeys, and tooling is only one small part of the puzzle. Given the degree of the mindset change required and complexity of transformation, we learned that Devops can often become the front of mind concept and mission that companies latch onto, and can often overshadow the original intent.
Another fascinating insight to share was that with improvements in features such as Voice UI, Automation, Natural Language Processing and AI-driven search features, web and chat interfaces were becoming much more powerful and convenient. The plethora of separate mobile apps are becoming redundant as Chatbots, for example, start to handle interactions with near-time convenience for the end-users. Consider that contact centre calls require exclusivity of attention, emails are fire and forget and too slow, but that chat is asynchronous and near real-time, allowing users to multi-task. You can understand the convenience and appeal.
Is wasn’t long ago that we observed the disaggregation of functionality into separate apps, so I think the recent success of messaging apps and chatbot functionality has had a significant impact.
I have several more topics too lengthy to list out here. Feel free to get in contact here to hear how we use Innovation research tours to surface these insights and leading technology startups, and how you can benefit from these European Technology Summit tours and join our alumni by subscribing to our innovation programme.