Technology has become the foundation for nearly every customer experience, enabling companies to provide new sources of value to customers with each interaction. It’s no surprise, then, that business leaders are shifting their mindset and their approach to technology.
Specifically, tech-empowered customers and their rising expectations have led to changes in:
Business priorities and areas for improvement.
Who is involved in the decision-making process for tech purchases.
Overall budgets for technology investments.
The infographic below dives deeper into these new purchasing trends:
As business leaders begin to play a larger role in tech investments, it’s important to know the kinds of decisions they’re making and what they expect from you along the way. A deep understanding of your changing tech buyers will help you succeed in an era where technology underpins everything we do.
For years, technology purchasing has been moving away from a central IT approach and into the business. Forrester Data shows that in North American enterprises, 73% of technology spending is either business-led or the business provides significant input into IT’s purchase — up from 71% last year.
Clearly times have changed when it comes to technology purchasing, and business decision-makers (BDMs) are more critical to the process than ever. For example, North American enterprise BDMs reserve 41% of their respective budgets for technology purchases and expect to increase their total spend by 5% over the next year.
When asked why they are spending more of their business budget on technology, North American enterprise BDMs cited three critical reasons. First and foremost, technology is too important for the business not to be involved:
Second, the rising expectations of customers require the business to push IT to keep technology current. And finally, business executives’ understanding of technology is increasing; so, they can interact more effectively with IT.
Thirty-nine percent of North American enterprise BDMs believe that “software is the key enabler for their business,” and helps them to engage with customers. This trend is even more prevalent in Europe and Asia Pacific, where 51% and 58% of BDMs, respectively, believe the same thing. This significant attitudinal shift will continue to shape how software is acquired, deployed, and used to drive business success.
So how can you capitalize on the widespread and significant changes to the B2B technology landscape?
We’re all guilty of falling prey to the lure of social media and losing hours to it. But there’s little doubt that social networking also encourages collaboration, creativity, and productivity – especially if it’s used for work. When Microsoft made history this week by announcing its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner argued that such a move will allow both companies to realize their “common mission to empower people and organizations.” And empowerment in the workplace is deeply attractive, particularly for the rising generation of employees: Millennials.
Forrester’s Business Technographics® survey data shows that younger employees leverage social networks at least daily because they believe this enhances productivity. At work, employees tune into social networks across devices, but most do so on tablets:
Next time you find yourself wading through data points, sifting out patterns from the noise, hoping to catch the rare pearl of insight to affix to your business plan, know that you are not alone. Employees worldwide incessantly engage with data, and the companies they work for urgently execute on data-driven strategies in a race for better, faster results. Data pervades the workplace and continues to grow in terms of volume and variety: Research suggests that by 2020, the number of connected devices will more than triple, tens of thousands of data scientist jobs will be in high demand, and the majority of sales decisions will be data-driven.
But using data regularly doesn’t mean that employees truly understand it – or are comfortable with data practices. Specific obstacles prevent individuals – at the top and bottom of the organization – from eliciting effective insight. Forrester’s Business Technographics® and ConsumerVoices MROC data shows that while individuals rely heavily on data for decision-making, they still grapple with key challenges regarding the accuracy, volume, value, and security of the data they use:
In addition to highlighting the importance of the BT agenda, these data also show the difference between BT-Leaders -- companies that embrace a BT agenda -- compared to BT-Laggards – companies that are entrenched in the traditional IT mentality vis-a-vis Business Technology needs.
Specifically, we found that businesses with IT departments that help accelerate business success are more likely to:
Have had double-digit growth in 2014. The bottom line is important. We found that 30% of companies that BT-Leaders grew at 10% or more in 2014 compared to 2013, compared to 26% of BT-Laggards.
Survey data from Forrester Research indicates that Internet of Things (IoT) solutions may finally be ready for ‘prime time.’ Business Decision Makers (BDMs) report that IoT has become a top business priority and they are assessing solution feasibility and, in some cases, already investing. IoT will be driven by the business side of the house, but a close collaboration between business and technology management stakeholders is a prerequisite for success. Forrester believes that IoT will ultimately serve as a driving force for the Business Tehcnology (BT) Agenda by changing processes, skills, and the mindset of technology management organizations.
Forrester Business Technographics® runs a series of annual surveys with business and technology decision-makers measuring technology adoption plans, drivers, barriers and buyer behaviors. Let’s take a closer look at how adoption plans for IoT have evolved over the past year.
Compared with 2014, BDMs surveyed in 2015 were more than twice as likely to report they would begin IoT investment within the next 12 months, 50% more likely to report they were currently implementing or piloting IoT and dramatically less likely to be unfamiliar with IoT adoption plans or report they were not familiar with the technology. In 2015, 49% of BDMs reported that the expansion of IoT initiatives was a “high” or “critical” organizational priority over the coming 12 months.
For CIOs, finding a clear path forward in the Business Technology (BT) Agenda can seem daunting, as you work to balance critical operational requirements with new initiatives designed to help your organization win, serve, and retain customers. But there are trailblazers in your organization. Forrester continues to see spending on technology spread and move out of the CIO’s organization and into the business. In North America companies of more than 250 employees, 70% of technology spending is either business led or heavily influenced by business. That part is not new, but it is increasing.
Specifically 50% of business managers, directors, and vice presidents are increasing their departmental budgets on technology products and services over the next 12 months.1 In fact, 16% of these business leaders are increasing their spend by more than 10%.2 This isn’t shadow IT in action; it’s the new way of doing business. Within your own organization a minority, but important, population of business leaders are aggressively investing in technology products and services to achieve three essential business goals. Over the next 12 months, the 16% of North American business leaders dramatically increasing their spending are focused on:
With evolving bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends and the prevalence of consumer mobility captured by the Mobile Mind Shift Index, the lines between personal and work mobility have blurred. I see this every day that I take the train to work, watching information workers seamlessly shift from Candy Crush Saga to their work email on their mobile devices.
For years, Forrester has measured consumers’ use of technology in their personal lives and their work through its Consumer and Business Technographics® surveys. This year, we began to address the intersection of these spheres, comparing a worker’s relative mobility at home with their mobility at work. Specifically, we analyzed the extent to which information workers across 10 countries use mobile devices at work and at home, leading to four segments based on their relative mobility in each sphere:
This analysis found that nearly one-third of global information workers fall into two segments: the Mobile-Compelled – high mobility at work but not in their personal life; and the Mobile-Ready – high mobility in their personal life but not at home. This highlights how mobility at home does not automatically translate to mobility at work.
Forrester is helping its clients better understand the Age of the Customer, a tectonic business shift characterized by technology innovations that have empowered customers in new and disruptive ways. With computing power we could only have dreamed of just a generation ago now in the hands of well over a billion individuals, businesses are scrambling to keep up with relentlessly growing customer expectations and demands.
A recent Forrester report, called ‘The CIO's Blueprint For Strategy In The Age Of The Customer’, provides CIOs with a strategy to help their companies thrive in these new times. In addition to transforming customer experience with a measurable approach, the authors argue that customer obsessed organizations must: