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.
I have just published a report that builds on Forrester's research on CMOs' technology spending plans, focusing on India's banking industry. The Indian banking industry emerged unscathed from the 2008 and 2009 global financial crises, but it will not be immune to the age of the customer. My report outlines how technology will play an increasingly crucial role in implementing differentiated revenue models, a superior customer experience, and an optimized cost structure for banks. The key findings from the report include:
Digitally enabled customers are demanding customer obsession from their banks. Indian banking CMOs' top three business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers, improving margins, and acquiring and retaining customers — priorities that are similar to those of their peers in other industries. The experience that other industries offer — such as the compelling content, interactions, and features that consumer product companies provide — are shaping customer expectations, and customers want similar experiences from their banks. And the entry of new players and the tough economic situation are driving CMOs to increase their focus on winning, serving, and retaining customers.
The new Indian government announced its maiden 2014-2015 budget yesterday. Forrester views the latest budget as progressive, pragmatic, and a step toward building a “new” India. We expect the aggressive push on infrastructure and manufacturing as well as the focus on reforms to help lift India out of its economic doldrums. Here, in no particular order, are Forrester’s top five takeaways from the budget from an ICT spending perspective:
A thrust toward clean energy will drive technology investments. The Indian government realizes that it will be difficult for the energy sector to meet rising demand without new power generation capacity. We expect the increased focus on clean energy to drive demand for smart grid technologies and industry specific solutions. Clean generation companies are also likely to look for innovative business models from their service providers.
It’s hard to believe almost a year has passed since our last Summits for CIOs in Asia Pacific. Our team is ramping up preparations to this year’s CIO Summit series and I’m looking forward to meet you at the events which will kick off in Sydney on August 14, Singapore on August 19 and Mumbai on August 21. Themed “Beyond IT: Empower Digital Business in the Age of the Customer”, Forrester’s 2014 Summits will focus on the significant shift we’ve seen in CIO’s 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 and the transformation of big data into actionable business insights. Each of these topics will feature prominently at the Summits with select analysts flown in to delve deeper into how CIOs can overcome some of these challenges through Forrester guidance.
I recently had a great discussion with TK Kurien, the CEO of Wipro Technologies, at the company’s campus in Bangalore, India. During the discussion, TK shared his thoughts on Wipro’s future. He sees the following as critical to success:
Addressing segment leadership challenges. There are limits to labor arbitrage, automation overriding cost advantages, and the increasing complexity of client requirements. Wipro knows that it has to move beyond showcasing technology capabilities to focus on addressing the challenges that CMOs, CHROs, and other business leaders face today. The first step in this direction is to ensure that the company’s messaging gets aligned to the different ports of call (CMO, CFO, CHRO, etc.) and how this helps to address the challenges for customers.
Developing a culture of performance. TK aims to develop a culture of performance based on improved employee efficiency and productivity. Within a few days of our discussion, the company announced that it is planning to undertake its biggest-ever restructuring exercise to become learner and make the organization look more like an hourglass than a pyramid. The company will take 12 to 18 months to complete this mammoth restructuring effort.
I have recently published a report and series of blog posts highlighting CMO tech spending trends in India and what these trends mean to CIOs in the country. In this post, I will touch upon the emerging marketing technology landscape as a result of rising CMO tech budgets that both provide opportunities for and pose threats to CIOs.
Our research shows that nearly 50% of Indian CMOs are in search of new suppliers with specialized technologies and processes to build new digital engagement systems, such as mobile apps, social media applications, or customer loyalty management solutions. The marketing technology landscape is rapidly increasing in complexity, which is having multiple effects (figure below):
Software players are now targeting CMOs’ tech budgets with marketing-savvy offerings. For instance, Adobe, IBM, Oracle, and salesforce.com have invested a total of more than $20 billion in marketing technology M&A over the past three years.
I’ve just published a report on CMO tech spending trends in India and what these trends mean for CIOs in the country. We found that Indian CMOs’ top two business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers and acquiring and retaining customers; 87% and 85%, respectively, of those we surveyed indicated that these are a critical or high priority. Interestingly, Indian CMOs’ business priorities echo those of Indian CIOs: 87% of Indian CIOs previously surveyed by Forrester cited addressing rising customer expectations as their organization’s top business priority (figure below).
Despite these common goals, our findings reveal that Indian CMOs are driving their own tech agendas by:
Accelerating the growth of their tech budgets. 62% of the Indian CMOs we surveyed plan to increase their technology budget in 2014, whereas just 41% of them actually managed to do so in 2013.
Establishing their own technology departments. Forrester estimates that 30% to 40% of CMOs in India have no working relationship with their CIOs. About 40% of marketing leaders are gravitating toward establishing a technology department within marketing.
Getting more involved in planning sourcing strategy and selecting marketing technology vendors. About half of the surveyed CMOs get involved in setting the overall sourcing strategy, aggregating demand for technology products or services, and selecting vendors to meet their requirements.
I just published a report on CMO tech spending trends in India and what these trends mean for CIOs in the country. For this report, we surveyed 101 CMOs in India to understand business and marketing priorities, marketing spending on technology, key tech management challenges, and how digital engagement is shaping marketing technology trends in the country. Key highlights from the report:
The age of the customer demands that CMOs become customer-obsessed leaders. Indian CMOs’ top two business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers and acquiring and retaining customers; 87% and 85%, respectively, of those we surveyed indicated that these are a critical or high priority. Focusing on customers is not new for CMOs; what has changed is the pace at which customer expectations are rising.
CMOs are responding by driving their own tech agendas. Today’s customers want faster and better service — and CMOs are looking to technology to make that possible. Sixty-two percent of the Indian CMOs we surveyed plan to increase their technology budget in 2014, whereas just 41% of them actually managed to do so in 2013. About 30% of marketing leaders are gravitating toward establishing a technology department within marketing in order to become self-sufficient. They’re investing in mobile apps, customer analytics, and are looking for new suppliers in winning digital engagement strategy.
My colleague Thomas Husson (Marketing Leadership) and I teamed up again to identify the most impactful and new mobile trends for 2014. (See the full report here.)
You might ask, "how does one decide what are going to be the big trends?" Good question. For me, there are several points of input. In 2013, I had the opportunity to interview close to 200 companies in the course of doing research for Forrester's next book, The Mobile Mind Shift, as well as for my own research. I spoke to some of the best and brightest enterprises (e.g., retailers, hotels), technology companies (e.g., sensors), and vendors in the United States, Europe, China, Australia, India, Japan, Korea, Canada, and beyond. I had the opportunity to do field research in China and Korea - to walk the streets, visit stores, observe consumers and interview executives about one of the most exciting mobile markets in the world. More than 40 of the interviews were in the exciting space of mobile health and wellness. Thomas and I surveyed several hundred mobile executives. I also collaborated with Thomas who has incredible breadth and depth of knowledge of Europe.
At a time when mobile banking and mobile payments dominate the financial news, it is easy to forget about the humble automated teller machine (ATM). Customers take them for granted, until an IT glitch prevents them from withdrawing their money, that is. Only a couple of weeks have passed since the latest media uproar caused by a computer failure at the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. The Daily Mail responded immediately with an alarming title, “'Cyber Monday' computer meltdown EMPTIES customers' accounts and leaves millions unable to access cash.”