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Communities & AI / Agents / Automation - 2018 Research

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We (Stucture3C) are in the midst of a year-long research project, C3/A3, studying how organizations are using / planning to use advanced technologies in their online communities.

Our hypothesis is that this combination of social technologies with human augmentation technologies will usher in a new age of digital community experiences. These new experiences will present unprecedented opportunities and challenges for organizations and individuals, and complex policy issues for society. The C3/A3 project will explore the technological, business and societal implications of this next wave of change and offer a helpful path forward.

This report contains a summary of our first wave of research with 40 Community Professionals at large commercial, nonprofit and NGO organizations, including:
Alteryx, B Lab, Fidelity, Fitbit, Fiverr, Genesys, IBM, Magento, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sephora, Spotify, Swisscom, UN, WHO and Woolworths.

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Communities & AI / Agents / Automation - 2018 Research

  1. 1. Communities & AI / Agents / Automation Wave 1 of the C3/A3 Project Q2 2018 Bill Johnston Chief Community Officer CC Mastermind Summary: Not For Distribution © 2018 Structure3C
  2. 2. Global Online Population Projection Humans instinctively seek meaning, connection and resources through community. Driven by near ubiquitous access to broadband and the rapid adoption of smartphones, our new and ever-expanding digital world offers instant access to a rich tapestry of social experiences, fundamentally changing the way we seek, find and participate in community. Currently, individuals and organizations are struggling to adapt to our evolving digital world, particularly the social technologies we use to connect and communicate with each other. Complex human networks are springing up on and across myriad social media, social network and topic-based communities, forming community ecosystems that transcend technological, geographical and organizational boundaries. Looking forward, it seems things are about to get even more complicated. A new set of technologies is emerging to augment human cognition (AI), enhance human agency (Agents) and shape digital experiences and outcomes by taking advantage of a rich set of tools and APIs (Automation). We see these three technological forces (AI, Agents and Automation) as the next immediate wave of disruption in digital experience, and we see Community, Crowd and Collaboration as the social contexts in which technology and humanity will interact for the betterment (or detriment) of humankind. 30% Online 2010 6.9 Billion 50% Online 2018 7.6 Billion 100% Online 2025 8 Billion © 2018 Structure3C
  3. 3. We (Stucture3C) are in the midst of a year-long research project, C3/A3, studying how organizations are using / planning to use advanced technologies in their online communities. X Our hypothesis is that this combination of social technologies with human augmentation technologies will usher in a new age of digital community experiences. These new experiences will present unprecedented opportunities and challenges for organizations and individuals, and complex policy issues for society. The C3/A3 project will explore the technological, business and societal implications of this next wave of change and offer a helpful path forward. X This report contains a summary of our first wave of research with 40 Community Professionals at large commercial, nonprofit and NGO organizations, including: Alteryx, B Lab, Fidelity, Fitbit, Fiverr, Genesys, IBM, Magento, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sephora, Spotify, Swisscom, UN, WHO and Woolworths. Summary Key Findings & Observations ▪ The majority of respondents (86%) intend to expand community investment in the next 12 months ▪ Respondents are most satisfied with their Community Teams, Strategy & Platforms, and least satisfied with their Mobile Community Experience, Analytics and Community Integration into CX ▪ The most commonly used advanced technologies are Messaging Mutomation, Community Management Automation and Personalization; ▪ The advanced technologies under highest consideration are Recommendations, Chatbots, AI-Enhanced Analytics and AI-Enhanced Predictive Modeling ▪ The most current & critical technical gaps were tools and interfaces that don’t require development resources to experiment with and/or impliment. Note: It is important to interpret the following results as directional and contextual to the relatively small sample size. © 2018 Structure3C
  4. 4. Current State Observations © 2018 Structure3C
  5. 5. Satisfaction With Key Components of Community It is important to interpret the following results as directional and contextual to the relatively small sample size. With that said, it is interesting to note that respondents: ● Skewed towards “Neutral” in all responses; ● Ranked satisfaction with team, strategy & platform relatively high; ● Ranked satisfaction with Customer Experience, Community Analytics and Mobile Experience relatively low © 2018 Structure3C
  6. 6. Current Use of Advanced Technologies The most commonly used advanced technologies by respondents are Messaging Automation (Email, text and in-community), Community Management automation and Personalization. It’s interesting to note that AI-Enhanced Analytics, Content Management and Reputation Management are not in broad deployment yet, possibly signaling internal barriers to pilot, or low awareness of / lack of available & integratable systems. © 2018 Structure3C
  7. 7. Near Future State Implications © 2018 Structure3C
  8. 8. Advanced Technologies Under Highest Consideration It is interesting to note that the majority of advanced technologies we explored were not being considered for use in survey respondents’ Communities. The majority of technologies scored 40% or less. The advanced technologies respondents reported under highest consideration are Recommendations, Chatbots, AI-Enhanced Analytics and AI-Enhanced Predictive Modeling. Several technologies that scored higher in Current Use fell lower in Consideration, (ex: Textual Analysis) in part because respondents in pilot / production would move beyond consideration. It was surprising to see Blockchain score the lowest given 1) the level of awareness and hype and 2) emerging use cases related to identity, value stores & exchanges and decentralization. © 2018 Structure3C
  9. 9. Near Future: AI Use Cases Digging deeper into the responses, we wanted to understand the most valuable use cases for AI (and closely related technologies) under consideration: We found that respondents are either piloting or planning to use AI in three key areas: 1. Customer Experience, 2. Community Management, and 3. Analytics / Insights Customer Experience (for Community Members) ▪ Advanced personalization based on profile / activity ▪ Recommendations of people and content ▪ Conversational interfaces, including chatbots ▪ Agents (acting on behalf of a member) ▪ “I want to present our users with timely and relevant content, before they even know they need it in some cases. If we know what you're doing with our products and what your behaviors are in community, we should be able to activate that data into meaningful upgrades to the experience in both places.” Community Management (for Community Managers) ▪ Influencer & Advocate identification ▪ Escalation identification — ID’ing people who need help ▪ “Leveraging machine learning in our peer to peer support community (called 'feed') to predict certain kinds of moderation needs, such as suicidal escalations or harassment etc. Better sentiment/text analysis.” Analytics / Insights (for Executive / Business Stakeholders) Examples include: ▪ Community health ▪ ROI measures & areas for investment ▪ Identifying customer behavior trends ▪ Gleaning insight for product / service enhancement ▪ “I'm excited about the shift that AI could bring - instead of being reactive, let's be proactive. I'd also like to use this tech to identify the things that we can flatly stop doing and redirect those efforts into more valuable activities.” © 2018 Structure3C
  10. 10. A Vision for AI & Online Communities Defining “AI” In the context of Community, AI can be thought of as an agent, or set of agents that ● is / are connected to real time data sources; ● has / have the ability to act in the community (or admin interface); and ● has / have specific goals to make progress towards. AI as a Community Catalyst AI could support a radical transformation of online community management and experience: automation of routine tasks, real-time insight, enhanced personalization and the enhanced agency of an individual in digital ecosystems. For business leaders shaping online community strategy, AI holds promise to help solve two of the biggest challenges with online communities: 1. Quantifying the value of community investment and delivering timely and actionable insight and 2. Managing large networks of relationships at scale. AI Will Evolve to Enhance Individual Agency in Communities © 2018 Structure3C
  11. 11. Select Verbatim Responses © 2018 Structure3C
  12. 12. What technologies or capabilities are currently missing that would make the largest positive impact to your Community? (select verbatim responses) ■ Easy push matchmaking. ■ Native mobile app ■ Tools that democratize use rather than requiring scarce, highly technical professionals. ■ AI text analysis to draw insights from unstructured data feeds (with reduced dependency on tagging) ■ Improved search experience ■ New development on community verticals within the product has recently ceased, thus those areas of the site (mainly an active blogging community) are currently in maintenance mode. But what we clearly needed most was a method of getting more robust community engagement data, which could be used to effectively improve community health and happiness. ■ Ability to collaborate in place - requires connectors or a marketplace of APIs/AI ■ Leveraging machine learning in our peer to peer support community (called 'feed') to predict certain kinds of moderation needs, such as suicidal escalations or harassment etc. Better sentiment/text analysis. ■ Cross communication between communities ■ We need to do more in gamification and portable/ unified reputation. We need to do more with AI to make the humans more effective. ■ Machine Learning that automate personalization for content, news, interaction models. ■ An integrated approach so community members on different channels or platforms could still be reached easily. ■ multi platform analytics social listening & insights ■ Predictive recommendations of content/interests ■ I want to present our users with timely and relevant content, before they even know they need it in some cases. If we know what you're doing with our products and what your behaviors are in community, we should be able to activate that data into meaningful upgrades to the experience in both places. ■ Personalization, predictions, automated recommendations ■ No resources for community management staff ■ Better data sharing across systems, which would make personalization and AI easier. © 2018 Structure3C
  13. 13. What excites you the most about the next 12-24 months?(select verbatim responses) ▪ “Ability to apply AI/Einstein in an out of the box way to our community. Branded App for Community.” ▪ “Blockchain, chatbots for sales and service, platform prediction builders” ▪ “Demonstrating to our business the value of community and the relationships we have with customers beyond a pure sales uplift metric” ▪ “Blending online experiences with offline. We've made a lot of forward progress with online experiences, but have a lot farther to go on the offline side.” ▪ “I have been shopping around the vision of a modernized community and collaboration experience, but if I do not have sustained support from executive leaders, there will be nothing in 12-24 months” ▪ “AI being used to augment support agent and and improve customer experience” ▪ “More community co-development: A more asset based community development approach Increased data, particularly around RoI of innovation communities” ▪ “Being able to connect communities across different platforms.” ▪ “Re-organizing our community team structure, clarifying roles/responsibilities, and increasing investment in community management tools and resources. Evaluating new platforms and integrations/capabilities.” ▪ “Bots making it into the business mainstream” ▪ “Making community a one-stop shop for all customer needs.” ▪ “Paying the crowd to answer questions in community. And, the ability to use AI in community to make faster replies, create personalized feeds for community members, and doing enhanced community management. We have created a customized support experience in our virtual agent on our support portal and have piloted it in our community. We are evaluating other opportunities to use AI in community.” ▪ “New content types, smart automation, analytics and growth.” ▪ “The possibility of using automated (AI-assisted) response system for customers.” ▪ “Connecting customers with each other and with us so we can all learn and grow together.” ▪ “Automation rules to display content based on security groups and licensing. Integration with community into digital learning offerings ▪ We recently launched an innovation lab to highlight projects like this that our community has created to further our product platform. I'm excited to see where this is going and how they apply AI, etc to eCommerce as a whole.” ▪ “I'm excited about the shift that AI could bring - instead of being reactive, let's be proactive. I'd also like to use this tech to identify the things that we can flatly stop doing and redirect those efforts into more valuable activities.” © 2018 Structure3C
  14. 14. Additional Comments (select verbatim responses) ▪ “I'm really excited to see how AI & ML augment and enhance a community member's experience rather than replace any of the human aspects!” ▪ “Executives are looking for a simple image or explanation - not to truly understand what makes a modern community complex...or the actions that increase such complexity.” ▪ “Excited to see the report and glad to see some really forward-looking efforts at upcoming trends in the community sector.” ▪ “It's hard building a community. It's even harder to drive engagement. And it's the hardest to monetize from it without alienating the very thing you worked so hard to build.” ▪ “I'm really curious to hear more about how others are using AI in their communities. I might be missing out without even knowing it! I've seen integrations with chatbots and community platforms, but that's about as far as I've looked as of now.” © 2018 Structure3C
  15. 15. Participating Organizations Include ▪ Alteryx ▪ Autodesk ▪ B Lab ▪ Cornell University ▪ CrowdSmart ▪ Fidelity ▪ FinancialForce ▪ Fitbit ▪ Fiverr ▪ Genesys ▪ GoDaddy ▪ Hackster.io ▪ IBM ▪ Intuit ▪ Jovoto ▪ Magento ▪ Maryville University ▪ Microsoft ▪ Salesforce ▪ Sephora ▪ Spotify ▪ Swisscom ▪ TargetX ▪ United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction ▪ World Health Organization ▪ Woolworths © 2018 Structure3C
  16. 16. Next Steps for the C3/A3 Project ▪ Participant Webinar October 1 ▪ Mastermind Kickoff October 1 ▪ Wave 2 Survey & Interviews Launching on October 15 Interested in hosting an inhouse workshop or strategy session? We have availability in November & December. Reach out to lexi@structure3c.com for further details. © 2018 Structure3C
  17. 17. Structure3C helps organizations unlock the full value of community. Founded by Bill Johnston and staffed by a network of experienced community builders from the public and private sectors, Structure3C helps clients transform existing programs, launch new communities, and develop forward-looking strategies for community-based growth and innovation. Community Crowd Collaborative Organization

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