Predictions 2017: A year of action

These are the business, leadership, customer experience and technology dynamics that will shape the future in the age of the customer.

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Your business model is under attack, and it's not by your competitors. It's under attack from your customers.

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Tech Budgets 2017: A CXO's Guide

See where organizations are spending their tech budgets in 2017 and what their top priorities are.

Three years ago, Forrester identified a major shift in the market, ushering in the age of the customer. Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally-savvy, technology-empowered customers. They now decide winners and losers: Our Empowered Customer Segmentation shows that more than a third all US online adults want new and engaging digital experiences. They will switch companies to find these experiences. In this environment, being customer-obsessed can be your only competitive strategy.

In Forrester's 2017 Prediction Reports, we are tracking firms' progress on their customer-obsessed journeys. In our annual collection of predictions, we look at business strategy, leadership, customer experience, and technology dynamics to examine progress and predict the key events, changes, and trends that will occur in 2017.

Here are three key findings from our 16 prediction reports:

  • The next wave of Customer Experience will have a profound impact on firms' P&L: The shift to a customer-led market represents an immediate and prolonged threat to company survival. Our research shows a clear correlation between the quality of customer experiences and revenue growth; it also affirms that emotion is a core driver of customer loyalty and spending. The next wave of CX will connect these dots, blending analytics, technology, and design to evoke emotions to drive affinity and directly impact revenue.
  • CEOs will clean house in search of digital-savvy talent: Most companies and their leadership teams were not designed for a market where customers and technology move fast. As pressures grows to make hard changes and navigate this new market dynamic, boards and CEOs will assemble new leadership teams with customer-centric DNA and digital chops. The fallout? CEOs will fire one third of CMOs and we will see massive turnover in the business unit leaders that can't carry the torch forward on digital business or customer obsession. Traditional CIOs myopically focused on old-school IT systems will be replaced with a new breed of CIO who can manage those systems as well as a new business technology agenda focused on the technologies that help companies win, serve, and retain customers.
  • Catching up with early movers in business technology will spell the end-of-days for at least one traditional firm: Technology like smartphones has played a central role in empowering customers - it will now play a role in empowering companies to serve those customers. AI, virtual reality, and internet of things represent the next revolution that will again change the game. Many firms will experiment, as they should, with conversational interfaces like chatbots in 2017, and Amazon and Google will innovate rapidly to win a place in customers' homes with voice-activated devices. But there will be at least one fatal misstep from a business technology novice trying to keep pace -- In 2017, we predict that a Fortune 1,000 firm will go out of business due to poor resiliency planning following a security breach.

To learn more, download Forrester's predictions guide. This guide is the front-end to 16 unique predictions that executives can use to budget, prioritize, and plan customer-obsessed strategies. Stay tuned.

Cliff Condon is Chief Research and Product Officer at Forrester, serving B2C marketing professionals. Follow Cliff on Twitter: @Cliff_Condon

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