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137% increase in mobile app messages as AI begins to impact conversational brand interactions

Conversational messaging channels are seeing the fastest growth in terms of brand interactions with customers, with Infobip research recording a 137% increase in mobile app messages in 2023 compared to 2022, including a 73% rise in social media messages, and a 63% increase in chat app messages.

Infobip analysed more than 473 billion digital communications interactions on its platform in 2023 between businesses and consumers to identify the latest global business messaging trends, concluding that conversational experiences are increasing throughout the customer journey, whether for marketing, commerce, or support.

Conversational support 

Whether a person is dealing with a human agent, a chatbot, or a combination of the two, conversational support provides an effective, efficient, and positive experience. WhatsApp remains the primary channel brands use for conversational support, where businesses send 90% of support messages over the chat app. However, brands are beginning to diversify their channel mix, leveraging chat apps in specific regions.

For instance, Infobip has recorded increases of 541%, 146%, and 284% in Messenger, Viber, and Line, respectively. Brands are now using conversational AI to provide personalized customer service and support. For instance, Megi Health Platform uses a virtual assistant on WhatsApp to help improve the patient experience. Meanwhile, insurance firm LAQO uses our Azure OpenAI partnership to provide a fast, 24/7 and personal service.

Conversational marketing

The two-way exchange of information is the basis for conversational marketing, and brands are ramping up their efforts to meet customers on the channels they use with their family and friends. Overall, the data shows a 29% increase in mobile app messaging for marketing in 2023 compared to 2022.

WhatsApp remains the top digital channel for conversational marketing in absolute numbers, driven by new features that enable customers to start and complete a purchase in a single WhatsApp chat window.

Infobip is also seeing significant increases in other messaging apps such as Telegram, Line, Viber, and Messenger. More specifically, WhatsApp messages increased by 421% in Asia Pacific in 2023, while mobile app messaging increased by 146% in the Middle East and North Africa and by 18 times in North America. Meanwhile, RCS Business Messaging is an emerging channel for conversational marketing.

Regional difference

With brands adopting conversational experiences globally, there are some regional differences:

  • Africa: conversational channels gain traction with social media messages increasing nearly 2.5 times
  • Asia Pacific: strong growth in mobile app messaging, with WhatsApp increasing by four times
  • Europe: rapid growth for RCS, as interactions increase by 11 times
  • Latin America: strong growth in mobile app messaging, with Viber increasing by more than 2.5 times
  • Middle East North Africa: rapid adoption of conversational channels, as voice and video interactions double
  • North America: exponential growth in rich messaging, with RCS interactions increasing by 50 times

The changing role of SMS

Infobip’s data from 2023 shows that SMS remains an important channel for business communication, but usage is changing where SMS is now being used alongside chat apps. Across all industries, brands most commonly use SMS with WhatsApp, with 25% of businesses choosing this combination. Moreover, where businesses and brands use two channels, SMS is one of the two options in 63% of cases.

Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, said: “Our data shows how conversational experiences are rapidly spreading across the globe as businesses roll out marketing, sales, and support use cases. Where 2022 revealed a spike in omnichannel adoption when brands recognized the importance of connecting with their customers on their preferred channel, 2023 shows how brands are perfecting the end-to-end customer journey. Customers can now seamlessly progress through a journey within a single conversational thread on a chat app or RCS. With the emergence of interactive AI, we expect brands to incorporate a federation of different chatbots and AI algorithms working together to trigger actions at the ideal points during the customer journey. In the next year, we foresee the widespread adoption in customer service, marketing and sale automation, and for operational use cases like scheduling deliveries and managing payments.”

Is email-only outreach a thing of the past?

Lead rates from email-only outreach fell drastically last year, while those from multi-channel continued to climb.

That’s according to new research from Sopro, which noted a 22% drop in success rates for email-only outreach occurred in 2023 vs 2022.

This corresponded to an increase in the number of marketing emails by 49% as businesses battled for attention from prospects.

Three quarters of B2B companies surveyed believe that marketing results are better when email prospecting is combined with other outbound marketing channels, while 68% agree that email prospecting complements inbound marketing channels.

Email still holds a vital role in outreach strategy, however. 67% of buyers said they prefer to be contacted by email than any other channel, while 88% want to hear from suppliers when researching a purchasing decision.

The landscape remains challenging. An average of four stakeholders are now involved in the decision-making process, up from 3.6 in 2023. 11% of companies have between six and nine people involved. When asked to list their main marketing concerns in 2023, respondents cited lead generation (46%), lead quality (38%) and generating quality content (36%).

Sopro analysed data from more than 75.2 million emails and combined them with insights from over 350 sales and marketing professionals, outlined in the State of Prospecting 2024 whitepaper.

The study comes as businesses prepare for new regulations by Google and Yahoo, which are due to be enforced from February 2024. These will apply to anyone who sends more than 5,000 emails per day, in a bid to clamp down on spam.

Ryan Welmans, CEO and co-founder at Sopro said: “It is clearly a tough environment for businesses and marketing professionals, with increased competition and stricter regulations on the way, against a constantly evolving economic backdrop. But this also presents an opportunity for those who have the knowledge and tools to follow best practice and stand out from the crowd.

“The new regulations echo a belief that we have always held at Sopro – that emails should be personalised, relevant and value-driven. When combining expertise with new tools – in particular AI – businesses can offer recipients real personalisation that goes beyond email and that can be maximised across all relevant channels. We hope that the information in this new whitepaper will act as a practical guide for sales and marketing professionals, prompting them to set strong multi-channel strategies for 2024 and beyond.”

Another new development is that 18% of people are happy to be contacted by post, which is more than double the number in the previous year. This suggests that personalised direct mail could be highly valuable for intelligent prospecting.

The research indicated that gifting can increase lead quality by 36.1%. Branded merchandise was reported to be the next most successful gift (49%), with beers, wine, or spirits at 44%. Disappointingly for the planet, tree planting was the least used gift option, with 45% of survey respondents failing to redeem the gift.

Immersive technologies set for ‘transformative impact’ across sectors

The growing demand for immersive experiences is transforming how people engage with content and their environment, offering captivating virtual worlds and enhancing education, training, and various sectors like healthcare, consumer, retail, automotive, travel & tourism and games.

That’s according to Saurabh Daga, Associate Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, who summarised the firm’s latest report by saying: “The demand for platforms infused with technologies like AR, VR, and mixed reality has been growing across sectors due to their ability to enhance training, consumer experiences, and operational efficiency. In healthcare, they enable realistic medical simulations, boosting skills and safety. E-commerce benefits from interactive product visuals, enhancing decision-making. The automotive sector uses them for design, manufacturing, and customer engagement. In travel & tourism, they enrich tourist experiences. Moreover, immersive platforms are finding greater use in industrial sectors bridging the divide between physical and digital for enterprises.”

GlobalData’s “Immersive enterprise: the sector impact of alternative reality technologies” report delves into over 60 real-life implementations of immersive technologies. The report categorizes these implementations based on the end-use sectors and use cases.

GE Healthcare partnered with medtech company MediView XR to create the OmnifyXRTM Interventional Suite System, which will integrate mixed reality solutions into medical imaging. The resultant platform combines augmented reality visualization, remote collaboration, and clinical insights with medical imaging using spatial computing and mixed reality. This collaboration aims to advance the use of augmented reality in clinical settings for improved patient care and medical interventions.

Nestle uses VR for product development, creating and testing virtual prototypes in the metaverse. This streamlines the process, tracks key metrics, and gauges consumer reactions. The consumer goods company has also applied VR to optimize Purina’s pet food division’s shelving and merchandising.

Mercedes-Benz has integrated AR glasses into its Vision One-Eleven concept car. These AR glasses enhance the driving experience by overlaying real-time information, navigation, and contextual data onto the driver’s field of view, creating an immersive heads-up display. This technology aims to improve situational awareness, offer dynamic navigation guidance, and introduce greater interactivity in the vehicle.

Daga concluded: “Advanced immersive platforms are poised to revolutionize various sectors. While these technologies offer substantial benefits in training, consumer engagement, and operation streamlining, challenges like high costs, hardware limitations, and data security need to be addressed. Nonetheless, by combining with emerging technologies like AI, enterprises can overcome these challenges, leading to a more engaging and efficient future.”

Half of consumers to ‘significantly limit’ their social media interactions

A perceived decay in the quality of social media platforms will drive 50% of consumers to abandon or significantly limit their interactions with social media by 2025.

A Gartner survey of 263 consumers between July and August of 2023 found 53% of consumers believe the current state of social media has decayed compared to either the prior year or to five years ago. The top reasons for this perceived decline were the spread of misinformation, toxic user bases, and the prevalence of bots. Concern about the impact of anticipated GenAI use in social media is high: over 7 in 10 consumers agree that greater integration of GenAI into social media will harm user experience.

“Social media remains the top investment channel for digital marketing, but consumers are actively trying to limit their use,” said Emily Weiss, Senior Principal Researcher in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “A significant slice says that, compared to a few years ago, they are sharing less of their own lives and content. As the nature of social media use and the experience of the platforms changes, CMOs must refocus their customer acquisition and loyalty retention strategies in response.”

Other Gartner predictions to help marketers respond to the changing landscape in 2024 and beyond include:

A Gartner survey of 305 consumers in May 2023 found 72% of consumers believe AI-based content generators could spread false or misleading information. In addition, a Gartner survey of 320 consumers in February 2023 found consumers’ perception that AI-powered experiences and capabilities are better than humans is eroding.

“Mistrust and lack of confidence in AI’s abilities will drive some consumers to seek out AI-free brands and interactions,” said Weiss. “A subsection of brands will shun AI and prioritize more human positioning. This ‘acoustic’ concept will be leveraged to distance brands from perceptions of AI-powered businesses as impersonal and homogeneous.”

As CMOs try to “do more with less”, GenAI promises increased productivity and cost savings. Much of the attraction of GenAI for CMOs revolves around productivity and cost savings, especially for creative services. However, the enhanced productivity will enable senior creative roles to redirect their skills and time to more advanced strategic creative endeavors, such as leveraging GenAI product and service innovation.

“The use of GenAI in a creative team’s routine daily work frees them up to do higher level, more impactful creative ideation, testing, and analysis,” said Weiss. “As a result, creative will play a more important and measurable role in driving business results, and CMOs will actually increase their spending on creative and content.”

The rapid adoption of GenAI in search engines will significantly disrupt CMOs’ ability to harness organic search to drive sales. A Gartner survey of 299 consumers in August 2023 found consumers are ready for AI-enhanced search, with 79% of respondents expecting to use it within the next year. Furthermore, 70% of consumers expressed at least some trust in GenAI-backed search results.

“CMOs must prepare for the disruption that GenAI-backed search will bring to their organic search strategies,” said Weiss. “Marketing leaders whose brands rely on SEO should consider allocating resources to testing other channels in order to diversify.”

Rapid advances in GenAI have left organizations without the frameworks and best practices to ensure responsible use and mitigate risk. A dedicated content authenticity function and development of guardrails for brand will be an organizational imperative.

“As content created with GenAI tools balloons throughout marketing channels, transparency around its use will become increasingly necessary to maintain trust with customers,” added Weiss.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

UEFA Champions League still one of sport’s biggest sponsorship draws

Sponsorship plays a crucial role in supporting the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in maintaining its ambition of hosting the best professional soccer tournaments in the world, including the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.

It contributes to the smooth operation of each competition, as exemplified by its top associations with Heineken, Turkish Airlines, and PlayStation. UEFA is estimated to generate $606.33 million through central sponsorship deals for the Champions League for the 2023-24 season, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, “The Business of UEFA Club Competitions 2023-24,” reveals that in 2023, the UEFA Champions League had 12 teams, which generated more than $60 million in annual sponsorship revenue. Barcelona and Real Madrid are expected to generate a significant amount in the 2023-24 season, with approximately $169 million and $143 million, respectively, adding to their esteemed reputation in the sport and immense popularity globally.

Joe Pacinella, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “The UEFA Champions League clubs are known to be some of the most valuable soccer properties on the planet, as seen with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Manchester United’s $96 million-a-year sponsorship revenue is also very impressive and illustrates its commercial pull, along with that of Paris Saint-Germain, which collects $87 million annually, slightly more than Manchester City’s just over $83 million-a-year.”

UEFA’s deals with Heineken, PlayStation, and Turkish Airlines offer a huge source of revenue for the federation and provide diversity within UEFA’s sponsorship portfolio, further enhancing their global exposure and cementing their pristine status.

Heineken is the biggest spender on the Champions League roster and promotes the competition worldwide through exclusive rights surrounding the deal. The Dutch brand has been partnered with UEFA since 1994, continuously engaging with soccer fans around the world and using the Champions League as the focus of their marketing campaigns, in a deal worth $65 million annually, as per GlobalData. The brand sponsors all three UEFA club competitions, including the Champions League, Europa League, and the Conference League.

Pacinella added: “Heineken has focused on UEFA’s three club competitions for a number of years, making it the center of their sports sponsorship portfolio. The brand aims to assert itself as a market leader for soccer in the beer scene, being UEFA’s top sponsor.”

Hankook Tire primarily focuses on the Europa League and Conference League, giving both competitions worldwide exposure. The automotive brand stands as both competitions’ top sponsor, ranking as the most lucrative deal that is not affiliated with the Champions League. The Korean brand has been promoting the competitions across Asia and engaging with fans across the globe, offering matchday experiences and online social media content. Hankook Tire’s deal with UEFA is worth $17.5 million annually on a one-year deal.

Pacinella concluded: “The Europa League is Europe’s second-tier competition but still ranks as the second most popular soccer club competition in the world after the Champions League, emphasising the power of European soccer relative to other continents. Despite the huge appeal and success of UEFA’s club competitions, the newly instated UEFA Conference League certainly lags behind the rest and has less social media followers than the Copa Libertadores, CAF Champions League, and the AFC Champions League, but given time to grow, it will no doubt surpass these competitions.”

Photo by Mario Klassen on Unsplash

What does the notion of ‘sustainability’ mean in the minds of consumers?

When a company claims to be ‘sustainable’ consumers feels this relates to ‘circularity’ and ‘naturalness’ and/or ‘social equality’ commitments, according to new research by Vlerick Business School.

Companies can benefit from actively including the operational indicators behind these associative concepts in brand positioning & marketing communication efforts towards consumers. The research reveals 19 elements that consumers associate with sustainability. These are bundled under three factor components based on the results of an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis on the data collected.

‘Circularity’ bundles the associative elements in consumer minds that relate to avoiding exhausting natural resources and re-using materials (e.g., ‘circular economy initiatives’, ‘recycling programs’, ‘restoration/replenishment of natural resources’).

‘Naturalness’ bundles elements related to the use of non-artificial production methods and resulting products. Examples are ‘no chemicals in production’, ‘no pesticides for vegetables’, ‘no production of GMOs’.

‘Social equality’, finally, bundles elements that relate to the need to ‘care for people’. Examples are ‘gender equality’, ‘fair wages’ or ‘good labour conditions’.

These findings come from research conducted by Frank Goedertier, Professor of Marketing at Vlerick Business School, together with his co-authors, Joeri Van den Bergh, from Human8 and Vlerick Business School, and Bert Weijters and Ole Schacht, both from Ghent University. The researchers wanted to understand what operational associations (in terms of hands-on practices) are triggered in the minds of consumers when a brand claims to be ‘sustainable’.

To do so, the researchers surveyed over 5,500 consumers, across seven different developed countries: France, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia in two data collection waves. 19 separate hands-on practices were identified, as well as the extent to which consumers associate these with the ‘sustainability’ notion. The researchers grouped these into three categories (social equality, circularity and naturalness). An extensive literature analysis preceded the survey data collections.

“Sustainability is being increasingly proposed as an overarching goal for transforming the way we live, work, and consume, and more and more consumers want to purchase from brands that they know are sustainable in their practices”, said Goedertier. “However, it is unclear what hands-on practices consumers actually associate with (or expect from) a brand that claims to be ‘sustainable’. Our findings reveal specific notions that can allow companies to position their brands on sustainability in a way that reflects the hands-on practices and aspects consumers associate with it.”.

The researchers say that the findings are particularly interesting as previous literature focuses on separating both social and environmental factors when it comes to sustainability. In this study, consumers clearly group both together when it comes to identifying a sustainable brand.

By shedding light on how consumers view sustainability, the researchers hope that the findings will help companies generate more impactful and consumer-relevant sustainability communication and actions – highlighting the key areas consumers view as sustainable indicators.

Marketers experimenting more to fight economic downturn

Almost half of marketers (44%) are actively investing in experimentation as a direct response to the UK’s current economic slump.

That’s according to new research from Optimizely, which reveals marketers are using experimentation in the face of cutbacks as a way to deliver personal experiences that drive revenue, boost customer retention and deliver growth.

The Personalised to Personal report, based on a study of 100 UK marketing leaders and 1,000 UK consumers, explores the financial benefit of delivering targeted experiences that are “truly personal.” The research shows that an overwhelming majority of marketers (75%) believe it’s “more important than ever” to find new ways to optimise their personalisation strategy during tough economic times.

70% of marketers say they are marrying personalisation with experimentation to get ahead of the competition and deliver content that will stand out. Optimizely’s report argues that this is a smart move, at a time when 65% of consumers are more loyal to brands that get to know them at a personal level.

“At a time when UK consumer spending power is at its lowest levels due to high inflation, it’s more important than ever for brands to deliver online experiences that demonstrate they understand consumers, including their preferences and needs,” said Shafqat Islam, Optimizely CMO. “Experimentation is one of the smartest investments a brand can make. It allows companies to properly understand their customers’ behaviours and make decisions based on data, rather than assumptions, in order to provide the tailored experiences that customers love – driving loyalty and boosting brands’ bottom lines.”

Photo by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash

Marketing budgets in the UK remain on the up

Total UK marketing budgets were revised up in Q3 2023, extending the current sequence of upward spending revisions to ten successive quarters, according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, which reveals that this quarter’s overall growth was driven by upward revisions to the main media category.

The report also reveals that there was, however, a moderation of the upturn as persistent inflationary pressures, further increases in borrowing costs and a subsequent deterioration in the UK economic outlook drove some companies to be more cautious with their budgets.

While 21.1% of Bellwether firms increased their total marketing spending in the three months to October, a sizeable 15.8% registered a downgraded budget. This resulted in a net balance of +5.3%, pointing to the weakest quarter of total marketing budget growth since the final quarter of 2022 (down from +6.4% in Q2).

According to panel members that registered growth, marketing activities were deployed both as a defensive and offensive manoeuvre, with some hoping to reinforce their brand’s position in the market ahead of a downturn in the UK economy. Efforts to seize additional market share was seen at companies who were seeing key competitors prioritise short-term cost-savings over long-term business growth.

Supporting this, the main media advertising category was the strongest-performing segment of the Bellwether survey in Q3 as a robust net balance of +7.4% of companies upwardly revised spending in this crucial segment at the strongest rate in a year-and-a-half (-2.5% previously). This contrasted markedly with the Q2 report, where sales promotions budgets drove the upturn as cost-of-living pressures drove companies to provide support to cash-strapped customers. Within main media, other online advertising methods that aren’t captured by the other sub-categories rose sharply (net balance of +9.1%, vs. +8.3% previously) as companies engaged with new innovative tools such as artificial intelligence. Video (+0.9%, from +3.2%) and published brands (+0.8%, from -5.0%) were the other areas of expansion within main media, whereas audio (-10.8%, from -8.0%) and out of home (-12.1%, from -7.1%) saw contractions accelerate.

Events continued to be an area of marketing budget growth in the third quarter, continuing its strong sequence of expansion seen in every Bellwether Report since the opening quarter of 2022. A net balance of +5.9% of companies saw an increase in spending in this area (from +9.8%), with anecdotal evidence indicating a resilient appetite for engagement with clients and prospects face-to-face.

Other areas of budget growth included direct marketing (net balance of +4.3%, from +7.3%) and public relations (+4.0, from -1.9%). In fact, PR spending rose at the strongest pace in five years.

Meanwhile, spending cuts were recorded in the final three segments of the Bellwether survey. Other modes of marketing activity not accounted for continued to see budgets cut in the third quarter (net balance of -7.9%, from -6.8%), as did market research (-1.5%, from -2.9%). Notably, after a record expansion in the previous quarter, the latest data indicated a renewed reduction in sales promotions spending (-1.5%, from +13.4%).

Paul Bainsfair, Director General at the IPA, said: “Against a backdrop of economic stagnation and ongoing elevated levels of inflation in the UK, coupled with increasing global geo-political volatility, the trading environment for companies is unquestionably tough. But instead of seeing a re-run of last quarter’s slightly concerning results where companies revised up their short-term sales promotional activity to record amounts while reducing their main media spend, this time we are buoyed to see a more considered, reverse state of affairs. This quarter, those companies that can are heeding the evidence that in general, investing more in main media will help to steady them through the uncertain times and help to ensure the longer-term health and profitability of their brands.”

Marketers at loggerheads with IT departments over data

Seventy-eight percent of organisations report centralising customer data management within information technology (IT) teams, with marketers bemoaning the fact that use of new tech is often restricted by their cyber overlords.

The Gartner survey of 405 marketing leaders conducted in May and June 2023 found 59% of marketers agreed with the statement that “our IT policies and/or strategy constrains our use of emerging technologies.”

“Collaboration between IT and marketing has traditionally been focused on selecting applications with their own data stores, such as a marketing automation solution which stored contacts, leads, and content,” said Benjamin Bloom, VP Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Diversification of the usage of customer data, beyond marketing, forces marketers to re-evaluate how their applications interact with enterprise-wide data. Successful CMOs should seize the opportunity to re-focus and leverage a new class of cloud-based IT resources, unless they fall short of marketing’s needs.”

Marketing’s autonomy over their own technology choices is also shifting based on the vital role that data and cohesive workflows play in productivity: 78% of respondents said they must select their solutions from pre-approved vendors and platforms.

The survey also found that across key martech activities, IT is on average taking greater ownership, and the frequency of marketing teams with sole ownership is receding. This shift spans both business-centric work such as acquisition of budget for martech, and driving adoption and utilization to support customer journeys, to more technical work such as configuration and deployment of new martech, and managing vendor relationships and contracts; management of all of these shifted toward IT year-over-year.

Overall, while martech teams were open to letting marketing and IT play to each others’ relative strengths, the share of respondents stating IT had sole responsibility or was leading with marketing in support increased across every activity for which there was year-over-year data between 2022 and 2023.

“In a perfect world, marketers lead more business-focused work, and IT leads more technical and integration activities. The focus should be on getting the work done, not a territorial battle,” said Bloom. “Many marketers will welcome this shift given the dependence of many technical activities on underlying data warehouse infrastructure owned by IT, but just as encouraging is the increasing business-savvy from IT teams which can drive the ultimate goal of productive martech stacks.”

Generative AI leads inflated expectations on the 2023 emerging tech ‘hype cycle’

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is positioned on the Peak of Inflated Expectations, projected to reach transformational benefit within two to five years.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023 report encompasses Generative AI within the broader theme of emergent AI, a key trend on this Hype Cycle that is creating new opportunities for innovation.

“The popularity of many new AI techniques will have a profound impact on business and society,” said Arun Chandrasekaran, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “The massive pretraining and scale of AI foundation models, viral adoption of conversational agents and the proliferation of generative AI applications are heralding a new wave of workforce productivity and machine creativity.”

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is unique among Gartner Hype Cycles because it distills key insights from more than 2,000 technologies and applied frameworks that Gartner profiles each year into a succinct set of “must-know” emerging technologies. These technologies have potential to deliver transformational benefits over the next two to 10 years (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023

Source: Gartner (August 2023)

“While all eyes are on AI right now, CIOs and CTOs must also turn their attention to other emerging technologies with transformational potential,” said Melissa Davis, VP Analyst at Gartner. “This includes technologies that are enhancing developer experience, driving innovation through the pervasive cloud and delivering human-centric security and privacy.”

“As the technologies in this Hype Cycle are still at an early stage, there is significant uncertainty about how they will evolve,” added Davis. “Such embryonic technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters.”

Four Themes of Emerging Technology Trends

Emergent AI: In addition to generative AI, several other emerging AI techniques offer immense potential for enhancing digital customer experiences, making better business decisions and building sustainable competitive differentiation. These technologies include AI simulation, causal AI, federated machine learning, graph data science, neuro-symbolic AI and reinforcement learning.

Developer experience (DevX): DevX refers to all aspects of interactions between developers and the tools, platforms, processes and people they work with to develop and deliver software products and services. Enhancing DevX is critical for most enterprises’ digital initiative success. It is also vital for attracting and retaining top engineering talent, keeping team morale high and ensuring that work is motivating and rewarding.

Key technologies that are enhancing DevX include AI-augmented software engineering, API-centric SaaS, GitOps, internal developer portals, open-source program office and value stream management platforms.

Pervasive cloud: Over the next 10 years, cloud computing will evolve from a technology innovation platform to become pervasive and an essential driver of business innovation. To enable this pervasive adoption, cloud computing is becoming more distributed and will be focused on vertical industries. Maximizing value from cloud investments will require automated operational scaling, access to cloud-native platform tools and adequate governance.

Key technologies enabling the pervasive cloud include augmented FinOps, cloud development environments, cloud sustainability, cloud-native, cloud-out to edge, industry cloud platforms and WebAssembly (Wasm).

Human-centric security and privacy: Humans remain the chief cause of security incidents and data breaches. Organizations can become resilient by implementing a human-centric securityand privacy program, which weaves a security and privacy fabric into the organization’s digital design. Numerous emerging technologies are enabling enterprises to create a culture of mutual trust and awareness of shared risks in decision making between many teams.

Key technologies supporting the expansion of human-centric security and privacy include AI TRISM, cybersecurity mesh architecture, generative cybersecurity AI, homomorphic encryption and postquantum cryptography.