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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Indian Banking CIOs Must Take The Lead In Transforming Their Bank’s Marketing Technology

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.
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India’s 2014-2015 Budget: A Gold Rush For Tech Vendors

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.
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Key Takeaways From A Discussion With Wipro’s CEO

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.
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Nearly Half Of Indian CMOs Are In Search Of New Digital Vendors

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.
  • Major Indian tech services firms are also gearing up to target digital opportunities.
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In Spite Of Similar Business Priorities, CIO-CMO Collaboration Is A Long Way Off In India

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.
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62% Of Indian CMOs Will Increase Their Tech Budget In 2014

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.
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Bharti Airtel Finally Says “Yes” To IBM — But With Caveats

All the speculations on whether IBM will get a renewal of its landmark contract with Bharti Airtel, largest telecom operator in India, have finally come to an end. Yesterday, IBM announced that Bharti Airtel has extended the agreement to manage latter’s infrastructure and application services over the next five years. The key highlights:

  • Although the deal value was not disclosed, Forrester estimates it at between $600 million and $700 million spread across five years.
  • The tenure of the contract has been reduced from 10 years to five.
  • Bharti Airtel plans to build in-house tech capabilities and expand its partner ecosystem as part of its new IT vision.
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India's Tech Market Will Grow 8% In 2014

Forrester just published its “India Tech Market Outlook: 2014” report; here’s a summary. We expect the Indian economy to start recovering from the tough situation it faced in 2013. It will start picking up (albeit at a slower rate) in 2014 thanks to good monsoons, an uptick in exports due to the weakening of the rupee, and huge infrastructure projects in public transportation, housing, agriculture, and farming  that we expect to take off once a new central government is in place. As a result, we’ve marginally increased our 2014 forecast from 7.4% to 8% in local currency. But the biggest threat to India’s economic outlook is political instability after the national elections, which could have a long-term economic impact.

The three most important highlights from the report:

  • Customer obsession will take center stage for technology spending. The increasing demands of digital customers are redefining business. Recent Forrsights data indicates that Indian CIOs’ top business priority is to address the rising expectations of customers and improve customer satisfaction; 87% consider it a high or critical priority. Business leaders want to leverage technology to better engage digitally enabled constituents, fundamentally shifting how firms interact with customers.
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What Indian CIOs Can Learn From The Delhi Assembly Elections

Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst, and this post is not intended to promote any political party.

December 8 was an historic day for Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which arose from the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare a year ago, achieved a spectacular result in Delhi’s assembly elections — one far beyond anyone’s expectations. The party won 39% of the total assembly seats, sending Congress (which is India’s oldest party and had ruled Delhi for the past 15 years) plummeting to third place.

AAP’s rapid rise and strong showing highlight a fundamental shift in India’s political system toward citizen engagement and empowerment, especially in urban and semiurban areas. In particular, India’s youth are ready to take risks to realize their hopes and aspirations. About 350,000 18- and 19-year-olds have recently joined the voter rolls and saw in AAP the possibility to change the existing political system. And AAP was in tune with them, putting volunteers to work on social media platforms to connect with citizens on issues like corruption.

Indian CIOs should sit up and take heed, because just as empowered citizens can disrupt traditional politics, digitally empowered customers will disrupt businesses in every industry. Forrester calls this the age of the customer, and we define it as:

A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

You must prepare to deal with this disruption and understand what you must do to make your organization customer-obsessed:

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