Announcing Forrester’s Inaugural Wave Evaluation of Subscription Billing Platforms

Lily Varon

Few industries are immune from the digitization of experiences, content, services, and products. In this era of cloud computing, IOT and mobile devices, firms are increasingly testing new product offerings that combine elements of content, software, services, and hardware together. Like the evolution of the products themselves, the rulebook on monetizing them is also evolving: firms are replacing the simple one-time sales models of yore with subscription and consumption-based business models that better sustain a continuous relationship with their customers. But unfortunately, in most cases, firms’ existing technology ecosystem doesn’t support the complex requirements of supporting a subscription business model- from customer lifecycle management to finance management.  Enter: subscription billing platforms.

Forrester has identified the eight leading vendors in the space and spent the last four months putting them through a grueling process of due diligence, product demos, capability assessments and customer reference checks. Here’s what we found.

■  Aria Systems, SAP hybris billing, and Zuora lead the pack. These three vendors represent thought leadership and the associated market innovation. All three commonly go head-to-head in opportunities at both midmarket and enterprise firms and in both B2C and B2B monetization scenarios. Each of the three has developed core industry vertical expertise in sectors such as IOT, healthcare, and telco and has established mature partnerships with global management consultancy and system integration firms.

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Predictions 2016: The Digital Store Engagement Surprise

Adam Silverman

We’ve all been told time again that the in-store shopping experience is undergoing seismic change. Technologies such as beacons, omnichannel fulfillment and in-store analytics have promised to change the definition of how a retail store engages with customers. And although iron-clad digital store success stories are few and far between, stores will continue to chase the digital store dream despite not knowing the precise endgame. A handful of market leaders are implementing digital store initiatives that will act as lighthouses to the rest of the industry, showing a glimpse of what's possible with the right strategy.

In 2016, Forrester believes that:

Digital operational improvements will emerge as the golden child of store digitization. Trying to engage shoppers with shiny new technologies makes for some pretty flashy headlines, but does little to boost the retailer’s bottom line. On the other hand, store operations-focused technologies have shown early, but real, results. Tools such as in-store analytics and associate task management are ushering in a new era of store efficiency, using real-time insights to help associates understand what needs to get done and when.  The smartest retailers will start combining data from sources like online behavior, in-store analytics, supply chain, and labor planning to make operational decisions in real time. 

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2016: CX Leaders Will Adopt Agile, Insight-Led Innovation To Fuel Customer Obsession

Deanna Laufer

In 2015, customer experience (CX) rose to the No. 1 priority for business and technology leaders. In 2016, it will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer. And for good reason: Better customer experience correlates with stronger revenue growth. But this is only true when competitors provide meaningful differences in the experiences they offer and unsatisfied customers have the freedom to jump ship when treated poorly. So in order to reap the benefits that better CX can provide, in 2016, companies will need to get down to the real business of not only providing good experiences but also breaking away from the pack with meaningful internal operational changes.

This won’t be easy, because success in the age of the customer requires shifting to a customer-obsessed operating model that puts customers at the center of all strategic decision-making. In 2016, leaders will tackle the challenge of making this shift; laggards will underestimate the magnitude and speed of change required and will instead push forward with uncoordinated digital efforts and flawed business priorities.

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In 2016, Financial Services Executives Will Bet Big On APIs

Peter Wannemacher

We’ve just published our Predictions 2016 report, outlining eight shifts that banks and their partners can expect by December 31 of next year. I encourage you to read the full report with all of our predictions here.

As a preview of the report, here are two of our predictions for 2016:

  • APIs and open platforms will take center stage. APIs are becoming the most powerful technology in digital business design. Done right, APIs open new angles for business strategy. Financial services providers have been relatively slow to recognize and act on APIs as an opportunity to transform their businesses and, ultimately, better win, serve, and retain customers.* This will change in 2016, as digital executives collaborate with CIOs to champion big investments in internal, B2B, and product APIs. APIs won’t only help firms increase agility and provide services to clients and partners: They will enable financial firms to build dynamic ecosystems of value, reconnecting a fragmented value chain. They will be part of a wider, and longer-term, shift to open platforms as the foundation of digital financial services strategy.
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The Race To Digital Mastery Is On In 2016

Martin Gill

When it comes to digital, we are at a pivot point. Digitizing your business isn’t about technology: it’s about customer obsession - and in 2016, it will be among your ten critical business success factors helping position your firm for success in the Age of the Customer. In fact, next year will be a year of consequence: those firms that “get digital” will begin to pull ahead, and those firms that don’t will begin to look increasingly archaic, facing the risk of extinction.

The preliminary results from our recent digital business survey are telling. An increasing number of firms are reporting that they have a coherent and comprehensive digital strategy. While this is good news, these firms are still the minority. The vast majority of firms report that their approach to digital is limited at best, and non-existent at worst. But the consistently bleak picture is that most executives think the wrong people are in charge of their digital activities and few (very few) think they have the capabilities to deliver.

But there are some shining lights.

Leading firms like John Deere are pathing the path to digital mastery, demonstrating revenue and share price growth that outpaces less digitally savvy competitors. Executive committees are taking note. Innovation spend is on the rise, digital skills are in hot demand, and a new breed of digitally savvy senior leaders is finally emerging.

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2016 Predictions: Key Trends Will Transform Mobile Engagement

Julie Ask

2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting to empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.  Today that represents nearly 50% of consumers in the U.S. alone. The consumers pick up their mobile devices 150 to 200 times a day. In aggregate, that adds up to nearly 30 billion mobile moments each day. These mobile moments are the next battleground where companies will win, serve and retain their customers. Tragically, few companies will make the leap. Those that do will reap the rewards.

 

What role does mobile play in customer obsession, and how can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Here are three ways Forrester predicts mobile will change the ways business leaders operate in 2016.

 

1. Mobile will act as a catalyst to transform businesses in the Age of the Customer.

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How mobile will transform business in 2016

Thomas Husson

With my peers Julie A. Ask, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Michael Facemire, Tyler Shields, Christian Kane, Jennifer Wiseand many other analysts, we put together our thoughts in a new 2016 Mobile predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

We believe 2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.

What role does mobile play in customer obsession, and how can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Here are three ways Forrester predicts mobile will change the ways business leaders operate in 2016.

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Forrester’s 2016 Predictions: All That Data Will Finally Drive Business Action

Carlton Doty

Do you consider yourself “data-driven”? If you’re like most business and technology leaders, you do. But the reality is that most businesses have only scratched the surface when it comes to transforming all of that data into insight that drives real business action. In our 2016 predictions report, my colleagues Brian Hopkins, Jennifer Belissent, PhD., and I predict what will happen in the hottest areas of big data, analytics, business intelligence, and systems of insight — and tell you what to do about it. Here’s a sneak at just a few highlights:

  • Chief data officers (CDOs) will gain power, prestige, and presence . . . for now. The trend toward appointing a CDO accelerated in 2015, and will continue in 2016.  CI pros should take advantage of this. How? Extend customer insights beyond marketing to drive a culture of insights-to-execution across the organization.
     
  • Firms will try to come to terms with data science scarcity. Two-thirds of firms will have built predictive systems capability by mid-2016, but will struggle to find data science talent. Customer insights teams must increase analytic yield without waiting for hard-to-find data scientists. How? Some analytics platforms from vendors like AgilOne, Custora, and Origami Logic can empower business users without a rigorous statistical background.
     
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Neustar Acquires MarketShare To Close The Data to Insights Gap

Tina Moffett

Last Thursday, marketing data and analytics company, Neustar, agreed to acquire marketing analytics technology provider MarketShare Partners, for $450 million.  Neustar is an information services company, providing everything from complex registry management to deliver marketing insights. MarketShare Partners provides advanced analytics technology to help c-level executives improve marketing’s impact on revenue.    

The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare means:

A powerful insights engine will come to market.  The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare for $450 million indicates one thing:data is not enough. Neustar needed to expand on its existing data, marketing, and identity solutions and add an analytics technology layer to help CMOs measure, analyze, and optimize marketing initiatives.  The acquistion of MarketShare helps Neustar clients bring all that rich data to life, and will give MarketShare clients access to even more customer based data to enhance its current analytics.

Neustar to gain more access to CMOs .  Neustar’s primary stakeholders sit right below the c-suite. This acquisition will  hopefully change that; MarketShare’s strong experience  as a  trusted advisor Fortune 1000 to clients such as USAA, Hilton, and Neiman Marcus.  MarketShare has a proven track record of guiding executives through marketing planning decisions, changes in prices, and change management decisions.  This acquisition will potentially give Neustar more credibility with C-level executives, if they can speak their language.

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2016 Mobile Predictions: Alternative Ecosystems Beyond Android and iOS Will Emerge

Thomas Husson

Customer-obsessed businesses will take personalization to the next level in 2016. By the end of 2016, Forrester forecasts that 4.8 billion individuals globally will use a mobile phone, and as that number continues to grow, customer-obsessed business leaders have vast opportunities to deliver great customer experiences via mobile.

 

Mobile moments -- a time when consumers picks up their mobile devices to get what they want in that moment of need --  are the next battleground where to win, serve, and retain customers. Many executives believe they should manufacture and own these moments through their native branded iOS or Android apps. While this is, of course, one way to serve their best and most loyal customers Forrester research found that consumers use fewer apps and concentrate the vast majority of their time in just few apps.

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