April 13, 2022
GIF: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol
Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: how companies are selling AI-powered “emotional intelligence” detectors to thirsty salespeople, why Atlassian is still struggling to get hundreds of customers back online, and a potential breakthrough for quantum machine learning.
There’s arguably never been a better time to be a software developer, and while that’s great for the developers themselves it’s making life really hard for companies that need to hire developers. According to new research from Salesforce’s Mulesoft, 93% of companies are having trouble retaining their good developers over the last two years, and 86% are having trouble hiring them in the first place.
Virtual sales meetings have made it tougher than ever for salespeople to read the room. So, some well funded tech providers are stepping in with a bold sales pitch of their own: that AI can not only help sellers communicate better, but detect the “emotional state” of a deal — and the people they’re selling to.
Sales and customer service software companies including Uniphore and Sybill are building products that use AI in an attempt to help humans understand and respond to human emotion. Virtual meeting powerhouse Zoom also plans to provide similar features in the future.
But the mere request to record a virtual conversation can alter a customer’s attitude, said Grace Briscoe, senior vice president of Client Development at digital ad company Basis Technologies.
Zoom, the king of virtual meetings, said Wednesday it is introducing new features called Zoom IQ for Sales that provide sales meeting hosts with post-meeting conversation transcriptions and sentiment analysis.
What companies such as Uniphore and Sybill are doing goes further than customer service prompts.
Even if emotional AI guidance is appealing to some sales teams, its validity is in question.
M&A and workforce reorganization can create a wealth of opportunities for companies seeking rapid growth, transformation and market expansion. In fact, 47% of executives say pursuing corporate M&As, joint ventures and alliances is their top growth driver in 2022. Unfortunately, nearly half of executives say talent acquisition and retention challenges are the biggest obstacle.
Atlassian’s Jira outage, which we wrote about last week in this section, is somehow still affecting hundreds of the company’s customers and potentially thousands of developers around the world. Late Tuesday the company finally released more details about the cause and scope of the outage, proving once again that delaying the release of bad news to enterprise customers is worse than the bad news itself.
“Let me start by saying that this incident and our response time are not up to our standard, and I apologize on behalf of Atlassian,” said CTO Sri Viswanath in a blog post Tuesday.
He explained that last week Atlassian engineers attempted to deactivate an old app that worked with Jira Service Management and Jira Software that is now fully integrated into its current services, but internal communication problems and a bad deactivation script actually caused “sites for approximately 400 customers [to be] improperly deleted.” The incident also took out Confluence and Opsgenie, two Atlassian products that customers use to manage their own internal incident response systems.
Compounding the mistake was a lack of automated backup and recovery tools for an incident of this nature, which is forcing Atlassian engineers to manually restore affected customers’ data in order to make sure nothing happens to the data of customers who were not affected by the initial incident. Expect that to change later this year.
Gergely Orosz, a former Uber and Microsoft engineer, might have summed it up best:
“Outages happened, happen, and will happen. The root cause is less important in this case. What is important is how companies respond when things go wrong, and how quickly they do this. And speed is where the company failed first and foremost.”
European researchers think they have found a way to advance two futuristic computing concepts — quantum computing and artificial intelligence — through the use of memristors that can simulate the neural networks used in machine learning. As detailed in IEEE Spectrum, they’ve developed a “quantum memristor” that works under relatively normal conditions, unlike the vacuum that is required for a lot of quantum computers to hold their state.
Memristors are electrical components that combine characteristics of memory chips and resistors, and they can therefore both store and process data. The researchers demonstrated how a quantum memristor could achieve the superpositional states required to combine neural networks with quantum computing, although the experiment won’t be a true success until they can prove such a system works with several quantum memristors chained together.— Tom Krazit (email | twitter)
Several cybersecurity companies that work on national infrastructure systems like pipelines and electrical grids, such as Claroty and Honeywell, are urging the federal government to develop standards to better protect those assets from future hacking attempts.
Sales of chipmaking equipment soared 44% last year to $102.6 billion, according to Semi, with sales of equipment to China outpacing the rest of the world.
Intel has tried and failed several times over the last few years to dent Nvidia’s lead in the market for AI chips, and The Wall Street Journal examined its latest plan.
Google developed a new data center networking technology that it believes will achieve lower-latency connections than current technologies can provide, which could be huge for real-time applications currently bottlenecked by the network.
ProEdge can help you conduct a skill gap analysis across your organization and gain insights you can leverage to develop forward-looking plans while taking into account the needs of the entire enterprise, including individuals, teams and functions. In an M&A scenario, an upskilling program like ProEdge can also be used to uncover employees’ skills that weren’t utilized before
Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!