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11 CX Experts Predict the Future

For the second year running, artificial intelligence (AI) was the hottest topic in the world of customer experience (CX) in 2019.

You don’t have to look far to find major players touting AI-driven CX as the next big thing. For example, IBM recently published a report which predicts that AI will unleash a new approach to CX strategy, design and development. IBM calls the shift a ‘seismic’ one, comparing it to the changes that were ushered in during the 1990s at the advent of the internet.

“[AI systems] not only consume vast amounts of data with far greater speed, they learn from interactions. And because AI systems can see, talk and hear, CX teams are entering a new era: creating AI-powered experiences that feel like natural human engagement,” IBM said.

However, while many acknowledge the rising importance of AI, we’re still in the early days and there is much work to be done before the full potential of this nascent technology will be realised. And as I’ve often heard uttered by our own CX expert, Steve Nuttall, “Artificial Intelligence is neither artificial nor intelligent.”

Approximately three quarters (74%) of executives surveyed by IBM said that the believe AI will fundamentally change how they approach CX. But at the same time, just under half (41%) said they have an AI strategy in place.

Throughout the year, Fifth Quadrant has attended a number of events and also interviewed professionals from leading global companies working within the Australian technology space. Along the way, we have asked the experts to give us their thoughts on where they think CX is going and for their predictions for the years ahead. Not surprisingly, AI figures heavily in these musings. But no one risked venturing too far into the future. After all if you had asked the experts in 2006 what they thought the future help for technology and communications, none would have predicted the meteoric rise of the smartphone and introduction of the Apple iPhone.

(As an example, check out this predictions article from January 2006, aptly entitled Predictions for 2006, by Ed Felton at Freedom to Tinker. Some of these points are still a challenge and a story today, but check out prediction #5 and #22.)

However, AI was by no means the only thing on their minds. Cybersecurity, privacy concerns, cloud computing, regulation, and some of the key challenges the CX industry is facing were also hot topics. What follows is perhaps the most comprehensive list of predictions for CX that we’ve ever put together. So a BIG thanks to all the amazing CX thought leaders who took the time to send over their best guesses for what’s to come and a special BIG thanks to those of you who took the time to chat with us directly.

Carolyn Crandall, Chief Marketing Officer at Attivo Networks

2020 will be the year of API connectivity. Driven by the need for on-demand services and automation, there will be a surge in requirements for the use of technology that interconnects through APIs. Vendors that don’t interconnect may find themselves passed over for selection in favour of others with API access that add value to existing solutions.

DevOps capabilities will continue to increase their significance in moving projects to products, as more organisations fully embrace DevOps each year. This will drive an increased awareness of security risks and put an additional focus on DevSecOps and how open-source software is managed within projects.

We will begin to see more examples of the theft of encrypted data as cybercriminals begin to stockpile information in preparation for the benefits of quantum-computing where traditional encryption will become easy to crack. The advances in quantum computing that Google has recently published bring this possibility closer to becoming reality.

Significant issues will surface around the lack of adequate detection of threats that have bypassed prevention defences. To combat this, in 2020, we will see the addition of deception technology into security framework guidelines, compliance requirements, and as a factor in cyber insurance premiums and coverage.


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