What we got in 2016 and what we expect in 2017


Intelligent business processes, the Internet of Things, and Big Data were among the anticipated markets expected to see significant impact on CRM in 2016. Bpm’online took a critical look at these expectations of 2016 and foresees even more significant technological advances in 2017.

The overarching phenomenon of 2016 was the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is expected to deliver even more headlines in 2017, as industry analysts like BAC expect the Artificial Intelligence solutions market to reach $153 billion by 2020.

The first trend of 2016 to have a significant impact on CRM was intelligent business process. In 2017, companies will continue to expand their use of BPM technology for CRM as it enables them to build better operational efficiencies and streamline communications with customers across various channels. Additionally, this year we’ll also see the emergence of AI-powered BPM-related tech such as smart process analytics, self-educating business processes, automatic bottleneck detection and elimination, just to name a few.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was another growing trend of 2016 with its massive data generation. Gartner estimates more than 21 billion IoT endpoints to be in use by 2020. Moreover, according to a report from Cisco’s fourth annual Global Cloud Index study, data from devices connected to the internet will reach 403 ZB a year by 2018. In 2017, CRM solutions will be expected to become centralized data repositories that aggregate IoT tech data to drive data-driven decisions. Moreover, the AI-powered tools tied to IoT infrastructure will enable businesses to improve service and deliver seamless customer experiences offline as well online.

The third major trend of 2016 was Big Data. Among the most consistent and observed use cases of Big Data were predictive technologies for marketers and business analysts as a way to provide more personalized customer experiences. Research firm International Data Corporation estimated worldwide revenues at nearly $122 billion in 2015 and is expected to hit $187 billion in 2019. The use of Big Data reinforced with AI will provide businesses with the knowledge to yield more accurate and more actionable models that could predict better content, better offers, and more targeted advertising. Practical and high value benefits of Big Data will drive more investments in 2017 (and beyond), especially as the technology gets applied to traditional cost centers like customer service.

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