After a year struggling to implement digital transformation and create successful customer experience strategies, 2019 will bring a year of refocusing on realistic change that will provide companies with short-term gains, according to a report from Forrester Research.

According to Forrester’s 2019 predictions report that was published Monday, “in 2018, leaders set their sights on large-scale initiatives such as digital transformation and customer experience. But many faced the reality that these strategies are hard, costly, and challenge the way leaders run their businesses,” found the report, noting that customer performance was flat and more than 50 per cent of digital transformation efforts stalled.

There were many reasons that executives and leaders were not able to achieve these goals, including a lack of organizational readiness, underestimating the work needed to overcome technical debt and poor data governance, and fear that it would interrupt or destroy quarterly performance.

With this in mind, Forrester qualified its predictions for 2019 and finds that “leaders will turn their attention to pragmatic, surgical efforts.”

Branding

While digital transformation and customer experience will continue to be top concerns for leaders, companies will “resort to old-school methods for short-term gains” and digital transformation will be achieved in more realistic and achievable ways.

Forrester also predicts that chief information officers (CIOs) will “take the reins” and put technology-led innovation at the heart of strategies and customer value; while chief marketing officers (CMOs) will “bring back brand as their top priority.”

When it comes to marketing the report predicts that more consumer brands will participate in the practice of market-baiting but “most will misjudge the mechanics and make minimal impact.”

Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI), which has been a topic of interest over the past couple of years will also become more popular, as companies look to adopt AI into everyday business practices. Another hot topic, blockchain will expose advertising, claims Forrester, and allow advertisers to see how money is spent in the media-buying supply chain.

B2B & Security

When it comes to B2B relations, marketers will shift away from blunt outbound methods, like TV ads, telemarketing and email marketing and start focusing more on customer outcomes, states the release. And the Internet of Things (IoT) will move into the B2B space as well as continue to grow in B2C.

Forrester states that in the coming year companies around the world will adopt the Zero Trust security model. A network security strategy that assumes ‘untrusted’ actors already exist inside and outside of the network and therefore its best to limit access to sensitive data to only those that need it, as has been previously reported by our sister site IT World Canada. 

Workplace & Hiring

Even with customer experience in mind, employee experience will still play an important role in the coming year, taking centre stage in fact, says the report, thanks to low unemployment and high quit rates. However, while this past year was focused on large-scale cultural change within the workplace, 2019 will see leaders working on smaller more targeted initiatives to improve the employee experience. For example, addressing workplace distractions and productivity.

Robots will also play a role in the HR landscape, as “talent leaders will use automation to address the talent scarcity squeeze,” finds Forrester.

Overall Forrester sees 2019 as a year of shifting ambitions with a strong focus on realistic strategies that will “create durable building blocks for more far-reaching strategies in 2020.”

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