Customer focus to drive India tech market in 2014

Forrester predicts India's tech spending next year will be driven by a strong customer focus.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

India has faced quite a difficult year with various factors such as policy reforms, fluctuating rupee value against major currencies and political uncertainty stirring up headwinds.

Going into 2014, Forrester's Asia Pacific (AP) analyst team has just published its technology predictions for next year. What top trends will be critical to the Indian market?

There are some interesting insights that come out of this article by Sudhanshu Bhandari and Manish Bahl on the Forrester blog that are based on the research they published.

  • India's IT purchases grows by 8 percent: 
    "Despite broader challenges in the country's economy, Forrester expects Indian IT purchases to grow by 8 percent in local currency in 2014." Specifically focusing on the political instability after the April 2014 national elections they cite it as the biggest threat to the economy. Not surprisingly, to be able to return to greater economic growth there needs a requirement of strong government with some really strong and tough decisions on the IT purchases bit. 
  • They expect CIOs' IT spending to decline with business clout growth: 
    A majority of business stakeholders are making large IT purchases from the budgets allocated to the business, subsequently resulting the shrinking of CIO's tech budgets. CIOs now have just 51 percent of enterprise IT procurement decisions down from 58 percent in 2012, according to their findings. "We expect this to accelerate further as businesses prioritize acquiring systems that can help them achieve growth objectives," said Forrester.
  • Customer experience will advance thanks to CIO priority: 
    Of course, customer is always the king, more so in today's era. Lot of customers are driving firms to reshape the way they engaged with digitally empowered customers. "87 percent of Indian CIOs say that addressing customers' rising expectations and improving satisfaction is a high or critical priority," pointed out Forrester. It's a given that CIOs must adopt newer ways to deal with such a change and focus on prioritizing organizations to target customer experience.
  • BI and Analytics investments will be driven by customer engagements: 
    According to the report, two-thirds of Indian CIOs plan to drive an increase in spending on business intelligence and real-time customer. They lay stress on the fact that Indian companies must understand rapidly changing customer behaviour to better win, serve, and retain customers. At the same time they encourage CIOs to focus on ROI and link spending to clearly defined business outcomes.
  • Despite growth in public cloud usage managing hybrid approaches will be tough: 
    Cloud is everywhere. We all know how important cloud computing has been for the last few years. India will see a faster and further adoption to create a strong cloud strategy and implementation predicted Forrester. "Legacy systems, unvirtualized infrastructure, inconsistent download speeds, and latency issues will hinder the widespread migration of enterprise applications to the cloud in India," they added. 

Taking a look at these predictions, my take is that they are certainly some attributes that are always there for the talking and this research proves a point or two. As rightly highlighted no matter how well the CIOs used to be able to focus narrowly on internally oriented back-end IT, come 2014, times they are a changing. As rightly mentioned the growing power of the customer and business leaders' increasing involvement in tech investments has changed a lot of aspects. And specifically if your focus is on the customer, your IT systems and resources should be well directed towards empowerment of your customers. What do you think?

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