Forrester’s CIO Report Predicts Higher Focus on the Customer in 2017

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By: Kelley Katsanos|

A newly CIO report released by Forrester Research showed increased volatility for enterprise IT organizations in 2017, according to an article featured in InformationWeek. CIOs will need to induce rapid change to meet customer demands in the coming year.

It’s All About the Customer

The Forrester report, titled “Predictions 2017: CIOs Push For Speed Amid Volatility,” emphasized customers’ potential influence on business outcomes, according to the source. In fact, the CIO report described customers as “insatiable, putting pressure on all your firm’s operations.” Moreover, in the coming year, Forrester has predicted that the customer experience will be of the utmost importance, and customer-focused initiatives will require company-wide, operational changes.

And as business needs evolve, the role of the CIO will need to change as well.

“If you are a CIO and you are out there delivering business outcomes, that’s the thing that will help you be successful,” said report author Matthew Guarini in an interview with InformationWeek. “If you stay within the realm of what IT looked like five or ten years ago, there’s a risk that your IT organization will be marginalized.”

Therefore, instead of having IT infrastructure concerns at the forefront, CIOs should have end users or customers at the center of its focus, as business and IT alignment will become increasingly critical. And although tech spending will only increase by 2.9 percent in 2017 according to sources, CIOs will need to team up with senior-level executives to drive rapid change and transform the customer experience.

“Firms need to be customer-led and insights-driven,” Guarini said. “They need to move fast, and they need to be connected.”

Forrester suggested that CIOs are ready to embrace Agile and DevOps methodologies, as well as design-thinking processes, for the speedier delivery of new projects. Cloud computing, a key business technology identified by Forrester, can also drive speed and agility and help meet customer demands in 2017. However, the customer transformation effort will require changes to operational and business models, and changes to leadership skills and business partners will become necessary.

According to Forrester’s CIO report, “Many CIO/CMO partnerships that have been a big focus over the past few years will need to be rebuilt, as CMO turnover will also hover around 30%.”

Other Forrester Predictions Within the CIO Report

Consumers will also be looking for the newest technology in 2017, requiring IT organizations to adapt their strategy. “In 2017, expect that rapid tech adoption to center on new technologies that bridge the digital/physical divide like AR [augmented reality], the IoT [Internet of Things], and AI [Artificial Intelligence],” according to InformationWeek.

Forrester also found that enterprises will need to correct bimodal IT strategies, as CIOs who pursued them are experiencing deficiencies on various levels as a result. However, organizations will embrace open-source tools and technologies as part of their strategy to improve the customer experience and help break down technology and business silos.

IoT adoption will accelerate in 2017 to create a differentiated customer experience. Use-cases for AR and AI will also increase. “In 2017, CIOs will partner with their marketing and CX colleagues to reap the benefits of these technologies,” the CIO report said.

But to transform the customer experience in the year ahead, enterprises will require new skill sets and new strategies that can meet higher customer expectations — perhaps their most challenging task.

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About The Author

Kelley Katsanos

News Writer

Kelley Katsanos is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has previously worked in business roles involving marketing analysis and competitive intelligence. Her freelance work appears at IBM Midsize Insider, Houston Chronicle's chron.com, and AZ Central Small Business. Katsanos earned a Master of Science in Information Management from Arizona State University as well as a bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing. Her interests include information security, marketing strategy, and business process improvement.