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Forrester Research Predictions for 2017: Speed Amid Volatility
This year has seen a whirlwind of change in the areas of information technology and data management. Expect 2017 to be no different, according to the new predictions from Forrester Research.
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Empowered Customers Will Accelerate Change
“Get used to it. Gone are the days of stability and predictability,” notes the new Predictions for 2017 from Forrester Research. “The business environment you operate in will change faster than ever in 2017. Many of these changes will be outside of your control, but your ability to anticipate and respond will make or break your success. At the heart of this change is the evermore empowered customer — acting as both an individual consumer and a business buyer — which will spur a domino effect of changes in your business environment.” The predictions report was authored by Matthew Guarini, Pascal Matzke and Sharyn Leaver, with Carrie Johnson, Annika Gunderson, and Ian McPherson. Here’s what they see in store for 2017.
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Insatiable customers will spur firm-wide transformations.
“Empowered customers are driven by today’s culture of experimentation, a lust for recognition, and an ever-growing number of devices and information streams,” the authors note. “This evolution will accelerate through 2017 as the expectations of people — both as individual consumers and business buyers — become even more insatiable, putting pressure on all of your firm’s operations. In 2017, expect firm-wide operational changes to focus on customer experience — and an increasing number of wholesale business model changes to focus on specific customer journeys.”
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Executive leadership turnover will accelerate.
“With business and operational model changes comes new leadership,” the authors stress. “And the skills that got many leaders where they are today won’t cut it because they aren’t optimized to encourage customer obsession. In 2017, CIOs will see many of their business partners change as turnover rates for executives with P&L responsibilities increase up to 30% or more. Similarly, many CIO/CMO partnerships that have been a big focus over the past few years will need to be rebuilt, as CMO turnover will also hover around 30 percent.”
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Emerging tech will become real — fast.
“These empowered consumers use emerging technologies and try new experiences more rapidly than before,” the authors explain. “In fact, their year-0 intention to buy a new product or service when it first launches is already as much as five times greater than it was just a decade ago.3 That translates into faster uptake in each subsequent year. In 2017, expect that rapid tech adoption to center on new technologies that bridge the digital/physical divide like AR, the IoT, and AI.”
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CIOs Will Shift Operations To Drive Speed
“CIOs in B2C companies have been dealing with this accelerated pace of change for a while — withvarying success,” the authors say. “In 2017, CIOs of even the most conservative and traditional B2B firms — firms filled with legacy systems and entrenched staff — will need to dive headfirst into the age of the customer and make operational changes that drive speed.”
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Slow-growing budgets will get reallocated.
“Declining economic prospects and increasing uncertainties will result in a 2.9 percent increase in tech spending (in local currencies; 1.4 percent in US dollars) in 2017,” the authors predict. “So don’t expect big budget boosts. Smart CIOs make the most of what they have by: 1) focusing new projects on business technology that helps win, serve, and retain customers; 2) identifying MOOSE savings to fund investment elsewhere; and 3) leveraging the cloud to provide access to new technologies and short-term cost benefits.”
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Agile and DevOps will dominate; design thinking will percolate.
“With enough experience now under their belts, CIOs will embrace Agile and DevOps methodologies for faster delivery of the vast majority of their new projects,” the authors say. “CIOs at more progressive and customer-obsessed firms will push further, plugging their teams into firm-wide design-thinking processes. This cross-functional iterative approach to experience design and delivery will be a big shift — fraught with false starts and missteps along the way — but will successfully lay the groundwork for sustainable customer-led innovation.”
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New talent sourcing methods will emerge.
“Talent shortages will continue in software development, cybersecurity, and data science and pick up steam in emerging technology-related areas like blockchain and AI,” the authors stress. “These challenges will drive CIOs to augment existing recruiting strategies with promiscuous partnering, more freelancers, and even experiments with the technology-based gig economy. And expect more CIOs to pick up and move their teams to geographic metropolitan markets that have better supply/demand fundamentals and are more likely to attract talent.”
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CIOs will correct bimodal missteps.
“In early 2016, many CIOs fell for the false promise of a bimodal strategy,” the authors note. “They only pushed part of their team to adopt an accelerated pace — and left others unchanged. But those CIOs are already experiencing the shortcomings of operating at two speeds. Business peer frustration, polarizing and deteriorating cultures, and unsustainable operational complexities will continue, ultimately spurring most of these CIOs to course correct in 2017. Will it be too late? Yes, for CIOs in industries like financial services which are ripe for disruption. Others can catch up by quickly embracing a comprehensive business technology strategy built to be customer-led, insights-driven, connected, and most importantly, fast.”
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Leading CIOs Will Accelerate Adoption of Five Key Technologies
“CEOs will expect their CIOs to become obsessed about serving customers and steer the firm towardkey business technologies that drive speed and agility,” the authors stress. “As a result, leading CIOs will accelerate their firm’s adoption of five key technologies.”
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Cloud will become central to your changing customer and product ecosystem.
“Most CIOs are already leveraging the cloud to help reduce the complexity of their back-end systems, and a growing number of firms have embraced cloud as a strategic enabler for the digital business,” the authors explain. “In 2017, CIOs will step up to orchestrate cloud ecosystems, connecting employees, customers, partners, vendors, and devices to serve rising customer expectations. Developments such as containers and DevOps will help in that transition. Some will push further as they transition frombeing cloud adopters to becoming cloud companies themselves. Following early examples like GEand Robert Bosch, they will become stewards of their own client and product ecosystems.”
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Open source will drive speed of innovation and faster time-to-market.
“Backed by OpenStack, the rapidly evolving open source cloud platform, open source tools, technologies, and approaches already play an important role in most areas of technology development., the authors say. “These sound technologies offer scalability, access to vibrant communities that manage core talent, and the opportunity to tap into new ways of working that speed up innovation. In 2017, we will see the vast majority of development organizations embrace open source/OpenStack — in particular for the development of product-related software, customer experience, and process solutions that need to cut across business and technology silos.”
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IoT adoption will evolve beyond the experimental stage.
“Although the hype around the IoT dominated the headlines in 2016, actual adoption of IoT solutions and services has yet to evolve beyond industrial, automotive, and B2B projects,” the authors explain. “The IoT’s ability to create and deepen relationships with customers (B2C and B2B) and create the linkage between new customer front ends and operational back-end systems has largely gone untapped. But as CIOs shift their attention to crafting differentiated experiences in 2017, they will create structured IoT approaches for more diverse use cases, create business insights at multiple levels of their organization, and, ultimately, start to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds.”
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Augmented reality and artificial intelligence will take hold.
“In 2016, the app-based game Pokémon Go inspired consumers to adopt AR experiences on their smartphones, and Alexa and Siri became pseudo personal assistants that put AI into everybody’s pocket,” the authors note. “But for both of these technologies, the vendor landscape remains heterogeneous and fragmented and the use cases are scarce. In 2017, CIOs will partner with their marketing and CX colleagues to reap the benefits of these technologies. By weaving AR into more of their mobile apps, companies will offer customers more personalized shopping and enhanced ownership experiences. Meanwhile, AI and cognitive computing will increasingly be integrated into existing architectures and applications as a way to drive innovation throughout 2017.”