The Aspire Leaderboard is a one-of-a-kind tool designed to help stakeholders in every part of the customer communications ecosystem evaluate and compare Customer Communications Management (CCM) and Customer Experience Management (CXM) offerings. It enables corporate buyers to find the technology vendor or service provider best equipped to help them realize their unique strategic customer communications goals. At the same time, service providers leverage it to scope out potential partners, tech vendors rely on it as a barometer of the market’s trajectory, and M&A professionals use it to plan out their next acquisitions. We even sometimes hear from new employees that they use our Leaderboard Profiles to better understand their employers’ offering in the space!

    Over the last year, Aspire has overhauled the Leaderboard to better reflect the rapidly changing nature of the customer communications market. As the evolution from CCM to CXM continues to gather steam, numerous acquisitions, consolidations, changes in strategy and new product introductions — especially those involving the use of generative artificial intelligence — have altered the provider landscape. Believing accurate analysis requires a more agile approach, we’ve shifted away from releasing a single market overview annually and have adopted a continuous update model that allows us to provide a growing number of visitors with the latest, up-to-date information on this ever-changing industry. As a result, the Aspire Leaderboard continues to be the definitive tool for vendor and service provider selection in the CCM-CXM industry.

    Throughout the year, we’ve introduced new players to the Leaderboard, particularly in the Implementation Services segment. We’ve also further embraced the continuous update model by enabling vendors and providers to schedule briefings whenever they have significant updates to share, giving us the information we need to maintain meaningful dialogue while closely following every key product and services development.    

    To celebrate and recognize individual vendor and provider achievements, we’ve introduced badges that reflect their positioning in our various grids. You will see these badges displayed on their websites, communications and email signatures, signifying our analyst team’s evaluation and the participant’s place as a member of the Aspire community.   

    As always, we continue to explore new trends in the Customer Experience space, and to that end, Aspire is introducing a new market segment we call, Interaction eXperience Management, or IXM, for short. IXM represents the naturally evolved state of the long-established area of Forms Management updated to encompass new developments in digital data collection and forms automation. Similar to how CCM has evolved into CXM, the forms automation space is shifting to multi-channel customer engagement, alternative interaction channels, real-time customer data gathering and inbound processing, as well as non-text-based interaction platforms like personalized video, augmented reality, graphical product configuration, and interactive voice assistants. In future blogs and analysis pieces, Aspire will continue to develop this new market category and identify its key players while also exploring its co-existence with and inter-dependency on traditional CCM elements so we can fully understand how these two concepts complement one another to create a unified and coherent Customer Experience Management.

    Finally, we of course cannot ignore the monumental implications recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning hold for the CX market. A growing list of vendors and providers are adopting AI capabilities into their offerings to inform various aspects of both customer and employee journeys. For instance, companies like Messagepoint have invested in content intelligence for many years and were quick to implement OpenAI/ChatGPT integration into their products so they could assist in rewriting content where their systems flagged issues. Smart Communications and other vendors have implemented AI capabilities that can grasp the complexities of grammar and readability. OpenText recently launched Aviator, an AI-agnostic integration framework providing content intelligence capabilities based on various AI engines. At its Spring 2023 Summit, Adobe showcased an AI engine creating and altering images through text prompts and then drafting an email to accompany them. Furthermore, several vendors have privately briefed us on their development of AI coded CCM templates. Integrators like Tata Consultancy Services and service providers like O’Neil Digital Solutions have demonstrated similar technologies as well in their roadmap.

    We expect communications creation and approval to be a major area of AI investment as businesses work to secure the ability to automatically improve messages and interactions or find the best approver for a given use case. Companies like Isis Papyrus have been promoting this kind of functionality for quite a while, but generative AI has the potential to apply even deeper cognitive understanding. Of course, CCM typically sits at the end of a business process, so AI will also have tremendous benefits there (through fraud detection, for example), but typically these applications fall outside of CCM’s scope.

    This year, we’ve focused a significant segment of our primary research in all areas of AI, collecting industry data that measure both its adoption and its effect to businesses. Aspire is surveying hundreds of businesses across the globe to get their perspectives on this new technology. Insights from the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific will help us to deliver fact-based recommendations that will help subscribers decide where to invest, what to develop, how to overcome barriers, and what messaging to use. Since this technology is developing at such a rapid pace, we continue to complement our quantitative research with a set of qualitative interviews to provide even better context and gain additional insights from experts on, for example, generative AI’s impact on the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

    If you’re a supplier in the customer engagement, customer communications, journey management, or customer experience management space, we invite you to join us on this exciting journey exploring the possibilities and impact of both IXM and generative AI in customer communications. As we unlock new avenues for growth, innovation, and enhanced customer experiences in the digital era, we can work collaboratively to stay ahead of the curve and pave the way for a prosperous future by embracing the power of new technological developments.

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