Customer Experience Spending Surges In India But Lacks Business Alignment

Forrester’s survey data shows that the vast majority of Indian CIOs (87%) consider addressing rising customer expectations and improving customer satisfaction to be their top business priorities. Soaring customer demand is putting pressure on businesses to invest in customer experience (CX) initiatives. For my recently published report, The State Of Customer Experience Management In India, 2014, we surveyed 89 CX professionals in Indian organizations and asked them about their spending plans for 2014. Here's what we found: 60% of them expect to spend more on CX programs this year.

While this increased spending on CX by Indian organizations is encouraging, their initiatives too often lack alignment with business goals. We asked the same set of CX professionals about their key CX practices and found that 44% don’t regularly model the influence of CX metrics on business outcomes, while 49% don’t consistently consider alignment with CX strategy as a criterion for project funding and prioritization decisions.

These findings highlight the disconnect between organizations’ commitment to boosting CX and the impact of these initiatives on business outcomes. In the long run, this disconnect has two implications for organizations and their CX teams:

  • Lack of business alignment with soaring customer demands will result in dissatisfaction and churn. While business investment in CX is growing in India, initiatives that don't align with desired business goals will fail to result in desired business outcomes, thus creating a gap between market demand and the business offering.
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Empower Your Digital Business With Forrester’s India 2014 Summit For CIOs

Every business and industry faces digital disruption today. Digitally empowered customers demand a much higher level of customer obsession to win and keep their business, and they are forcing firms to redefine their business models. Whether you are in banking, insurance, financial services, education, media and entertainment — essentially, in any industry — digital technologies will disrupt your business. Nevertheless, our research shows that firms currently favor a bolt-on digital strategy over digital transformation, but this will drive only limited value from their digital investments. Digital strategy is not about adding a new mobile app or building a social media presence. It requires a fundamental shift in business strategy, responsibilities, technology capabilities, and organizational structure.

Against this backdrop, Forrester is holding its third series of CIO Summits across Asia Pacific in August and September. The India summit is on August 21, 2014 in Mumbai with the theme of: "Beyond IT: Empower Digital Business In The Age Of The Customer." Just like last year, we expect around 150 CIOs to attend the event. The Summit will focus on the significant shift we’ve seen in CIOs' traditional focus — from the design and deployment of internal systems focused on process control to digital products and services for their customers. Of particular importance on the digital journey are three domains:

- Customer experience.

- The mobile mind shift.

- The transformation of big data into actionable business insights.

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Next-Generation Services Create New Sources Of Competitive Advantage

Companies understand the urgency of ramping up their business technology (BT) capabilities to help the business innovate and grow. Increasingly, they realize that they cannot do this alone and firms will require partners that can help deliver agile services that bring fast and predictable outcomes to the business. For instance, Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of the largest clean energy generation companies in India, signed in late 2013, a 10-year engagement with IBM to build a new business capability that aims at nothing short of transforming the utility sector in India. In a few words (more details are available in this report), BLP and IBM are creating an open energy service platform that will help BLP understand how to optimize the utilization of its wind turbines. The really interesting part for me lies in the way the company intends to leverage the information generated by this platform as the basis of its competitive advantage. The energy service platform will indeed act as an expertise repository that BLP can leverage to:

  • Increase the value of its own assets. As the company operates, grows, and optimizes its own asset efficiency, it learns how the climate, power grid, and wind turbines influence a vital business metric for a utility company: the plant load factor (PLF). This will allow the company to generate more revenues from its existing assets.
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