You don't have to look far to find 2018 predictions in the areas of digital experience and digital workplace. Forrester's "Predictions 2018: Mobile Evolves Into The Digital Experience Conductor" report released this month predicts 2018 will finally be the year that "mobile becomes core to the digital ecosystem." Forrester also found marketers are desperate to keep up with the trends in mobile tool development. 

In another set of 2018 digital predictions, James Davidson wrote in his CMSWire piece, "9 Big Community and Collaboration Platform Trends for 2018," that collaboration fatigue will drive convergence and we'll see an increase in no-code configuration.

What's On Your 2018 Radar? 

We caught up with members of our CMSWire Reader Advisory Board members to discuss 2018 trends around data, digital workplace, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and augmented and mixed reality.

Linda Saindon: Data Privacy Management Kicks into Gear

Linda Saindon, digital strategist and marketing consultant, said she's looking for organizations in 2018 to ramp up efforts in personal data, privacy management and control.  "It's more important than ever. Especially with the Yahoo breach and the Equifax breach. More and more people are going to get interested in having a say and knowing exactly how their data is being used. And there are some steps toward that but I think it’s going to go to another level," says Saindon. GDPR, the European Union's General Data Protection Rule, going into effect next May will have a big impact on this too.

Headshot of Linda Saindon, CMSWire Reader Advisory Board member
Linda Saindon

Saindon's also watching in 2018 the impact of Russian meddling and the country's reported influence in the 2016 US Presidential Election. How is that issue going to impact social media for companies? Are they going to be changing what they do?

Social media is another area of concern according to Saindon. "Is social going to go the way of traditional media in terms of ad checking and things like that? Advertisers rightly should want to know where it ran and when, and I don't think you always get that with the way online advertising is currently served up," she said.

Carrie Basham Young: Digital Transformation Baby Steps

Carrie Basham Young
Carrie Basham Young

Carrie Basham Young, principal and CEO of Talk Social to Me, said she's expecting 2018 to be the year of more "baby steps."  How so? Organizations will make inroads in digital internally — but for many, it's still the crawl phase. So fear not, young digital crawlers: you are not alone. "It's really the divergence of sort of this breaking into organizations that have never been digital," Basham Young said. 

"It's baby steps: we're going to see companies who are going to be jumping into digital transformation with baby steps. Their experience is going to be everything like what we were doing 10 years ago."

With the more mature organizations, Basham Young is hearing more about the personalization of employee experience.  "Just like we try to market to individuals based on what they do and what they like — the employee experience is starting to be personalized that way," Basham Young said. "And a lot of that comes back to which kinds of data types can be pulled in from different systems. And having internal teams map that and use it to deliver relevant content and information so every employee feels like they're getting a unique and personal experience."

Learning Opportunities

Basham Young has a client who measures click-through rates on individual emails to learn which employees are not engaged with corporate content. Corporate content producers are asking company leaders to help them reassess content and learn why some of it is irrelevant for employees.  "How can we make this relevant to your teams and how can you support your team so they listen to us?" Basham Young said. "It's hyper-personal."

Manel Martorana: Screenless UI, AR/MR

Manel Martorana
Manel Martorana

Manel Martorana, head of digital experience at Everis, said that as a digital experience practitioner he will be working on two main innovative topics:

  • Screenless UI: training AI-powered bots is hard, and specific skills are required, Martorana said. "When people realize this is true, major investments in this area should arrive," he added. 
  • Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality: With the Apple AR Kit as the new player in the market and new version of Hololens to come, Martorana thinks that augmented and mixed reality are getting momentum, and companies will (finally, he said) take a step forward on this topic.

Nancy Goebel: Intelligent Workplace Rises

Nancy Goebel
Nancy Goebel

Nancy Goebel, managing director of memberships and strategic partnerships at the Digital Workplace Group, had two words when asked about 2018 trends in the digital workplace arena, intelligent workplace. Goebel's claim that intelligent workplace is now a priority has support.  According to the IDC Spending Guide from earlier this year, worldwide spending on cognitive and artificial intelligence systems forecast will reach $12.5 billion. Seven of the top 10 cognitive/AI use cases will be industry-focused, totaling 85 percent of priority investments over the next three years. 

Forbes author Shep Hyen wrote this month we are "in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that puts intelligence in the center of everything." The digital world, he wrote, gives us "access to an incredible amount of relevant (and sometimes not so relevant) information about anything and everything."  AI is also disrupting call centers to help augment the intelligence of agents and improve their performance, and chatbot assistants such as Lucy help streamline procurement.

Marco Bailetti: Customer Data Platforms, Data Anxiety

Marco Bailetti
Marco Bailetti

Marco Bailetti, senior vice president of performance marketing at GALE Partners, sees three important trends shaping up in 2018:

  • Customer Data Platforms (CDP). A CDP is configurable platform that is built around a persistent and known customer view that enables marketers to quickly act upon data and meet business demand. Bailetti sees brands moving to invest in acquiring and enriching first party data vs. giving it away or buying third party data. "Third party data focus provides little competitive advantage with broad and non-actionable segments," Bailetti said.
  • Regulation and privacy. 2018 will be ruled by the launch of GDPR and increased scrutiny on social media platforms (e.g. Russian backed Facebook ads). This, he said, impacts how marketers collect and manage data and target audiences.
  • Increased data anxiety with CMO. The CMO tenure is shortening, and they are expected to drive innovation, growth and control more marketing technology budgets. "Marketing technology is confusing and very technical," Bailetti said, "and that is expensive and time consuming to implement. Marketers are looking for simple roadmaps to cut through the noise, assess their ‘data readiness’ and get business value from data."

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