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These trends will spur organisations into action in 2017: Forrester

These trends will spur organisations into action in 2017: Forrester

“Empowered customers are forcing the hand of virtually every industry, and business leaders must respond to these changes head-on.”

Inaction presents immediate revenue risk – or much worse – a threat to a company’s existence.

Dane Anderson, Forrester

Expect investments in artificial investment to triple, and more executive roles to be restructured in the next year as CEOs come to terms with what are needed to propel their company forward in a customer-led, digital centric business, reports Forrester.

Customers are the fundamental driver of these changes, which will lead to a customer-led market shift across the board, says the analyst firm as it reveals the top business, customer experience and technology changes in 2017.

CEOs are urged to consider structural and leadership changes to compete in a market where companies win or lose based on singular customer experience, and new technologies are emerging to change the market landscape, says Forrester.

"The consequences of a customer-led, digital-centric market are becoming clearer, and will spur many organisations into action in 2017," says Dane Anderson, vice president, research director and region manager for Asia Pacific at Forrester.

"Empowered customers are forcing the hand of virtually every industry, and business leaders must respond to these changes head-on.”

In Asia Pacific where many markets no longer have the easy growth of years past, “Inaction presents immediate revenue risk – or much worse – a threat to a company’s existence," states Anderson.

2017 will be the year the big data floodgates open, driven by a voracious appetite for deeper contextual insights that drive customer engagement via mobile, wearables, and IoT.

The Forrester research paper 2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer predicts one-third of companies in the B2C space will change their business structure to get closer to the customer and effectively compete on the basis of experiences.


“These companies will move from functional-siloed organisations that prioritise efficiency and control to customer-driven matrix structures that also leverage shared functions to protect margin.”

Forrester says the current business environment calls for three leadership priorities: Understanding and personalising engagement with customers; running a digital business; and knowing what is needed to win in a customer-led digital centric market.

“CEOs must decide whether honoring the past or competing for the future is the best strategy,” says Forrester. “We will see a doubling of business-head turnover as CEOs come to terms with what’s needed to propel their company forward in a customer-led, digital-centric business.”

Next year, Forrester sees more CIOs taking the lead in shaping the digital strategy of their respective organisation to confront competitive risk and address the personal risk of being boxed in by a chief digital officer or chief data officer.

“The key to this strategy is to more aggressively shift budgets from traditional IT spend to those technologies that directly or indirectly connect to customer experiences,” says Forrester.

The demands on the CMO have likewise changed. The report notes that the demand today is for “whole-brained” CMOs - designing experiences to engage customers on one side; and mastering technology and analytics to deliver personalised, contextually rich experiences on the other side.

The analyst firm predicts CEOs will let go of at least 30 per cent of their CMOs for not mustering this blended skill set.

Investment in AI is predicted to triple as firms look to tap into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology.


Forrester says augmented reality/virtual reality “will change the game” and next year will see more experimentation and important niche applications for these two technologies.

Computing power and economics will continue to improve, making AR/VR more accessible and effective, it says.

But there will be no single killer AR/VR app or use case. “This will not be a race-to-the-moon type of acceleration; it will be an evolution where companies factor in customer expectations, competitor threats, and first-market advantage in a systematic manner.”

Forrester notes interest in the Internet of things (IoT) has hit fever pitch, as organisations see big opportunities in expanding its uses.

But IoT also brings dual threats threat, potentially exposing businesses to security breaches and IoT devices themselves being turned into DDoS weapons, it says.

Meanwhile, Forrester says 2017 will be the year the big data floodgates open, driven by a voracious appetite for deeper contextual insights that drive customer engagement via mobile, wearables, and IoT.

Investment in artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to triple as firms look to tap into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology.


The vendors that will prosper already have components of cognitive computing capabilities into their solutions. These are the likes ofAdobe, Google, IBM, Persado, Salesforce, and Squirro, reports Forrester.


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