One of the key changes that businesses will have to become alert to in the current era is a more customer-focused environment – they need to have a close understanding of what consumers desire.
It was noted by Forrester that this customer-centric approach will define business for the next 20 years and only organisations that make this their top priority will thrive in the new landscape.
In order to make a success of this, enterprises will have to prioritise overhauling their IT systems to support this, the market analyst company stated. Aligning departments such as marketing and customer service using the most advanced technology solutions will be one of the best things businesses can do to ensure they have a successful “customer-obsessed” strategy.
Forrester vice-president and research director David Cooperstein stated companies will have to move investments from areas that traditionally created market dominance and focus their resources on new tech-based solutions. The firm highlighted four areas that should be a priority. These are:
- Real-time actionable data sharing.
- Contextualised customer experiences across touchpoints.
- Sales efforts tied to buyers’ processes.
- Content-led marketing and customer interactions.
The role technology plays in attracting, retaining and serving customers will be of vital importance in this environment. Forrester chief executive George Colony said technology managers must embrace two agendas – IT and business technology (BT).
He said: “The CIO and team must continue to manage and improve IT (infrastructure) – the supply chains, financial systems, HR systems and production systems that operate the corporation. But in addition, the team must take on the BT agenda – building technologies, systems and processes to win, retain and serve customers.
These investments in BT need to include capabilities to meet four key imperatives, based on emerging trends and the new expectations of customers. Forrester identified these as:
- Engaging customers using mobile devices.
- Providing a superior customer experience across all channels and interactions.
- Using big data and analytics to better understand customers.
- Adapting to digital disruption – and ideally driving this change.
What this shifting environment will mean for businesses is that IT professionals will be required to work much more closely with departments such as marketing in order to ensure that the firm is being provided with the best tools to thrive in the era of the customer-focused business.
This is something that many firms are not achieving at the moment, Forrester found. Its research revealed that marketers have very little confidence in their technology management personnel, with one in three respondents saying their IT department actually hinders the effective running of the business.
The company also revealed that out of all business units, marketing is also the most aggressive in planning to spend money on technology with or without the approval of the CIO, increasing its ‘private’ technology spending two to three times faster than IT overall.
What this means is it is vital for all parts of a business to work together to ensure the company has the right solutions in place to best serve its customers. Integration and collaboration between different departments and the ability to access the right information easily should play a key role in this.
If you would like to know more about how the latest cloud tools can help you achieve these goals, please contact us for expert advice.