I was lucky enough to spend a week in India earlier in the month and had some interesting conversations with services firms about how the expectations from their customers and the nature of their engagements are changing. Aside from experiencing the wonderful cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune and sampling delicious samosas and paneer dishes, I also managed to have some great conversations with Forrester clients on how technology services are shifting. The interactions I had mostly centered on product engineering themes like IoT, digital twin, and product lifecycle management (PLM) as well as some higher-level conversations around the digital services buyer.
Here are some key points and themes I picked up during my trip:
- Make IoT about business results, not technology. One Forrester client who helped to run his firm’s internet of things practice made an interesting observation about which types of connected product initiatives tended to be successful. He noted that their best engagements didn’t start with a request for IoT; they started with a problem that the client was trying to solve, and the solution ended up being an IoT initiative. It feeds to the recurring theme I’ve been seeing in the technology services market: These initiatives are about more than technology — they’re about adjusting business strategy, processes, and company culture.
- PLM should be viewed as a business system. Firms mentioned seeing their clients approach PLM as less of a system of record for the design team and more of a business system that’s core to cross-organization digital initiatives. This trend aligns with our observations of the market that show that data from within the PLM system is relevant and driving value to stakeholders across the business. Services firms were responding to this shift by building out their PLM practices to reach earlier in the project lifecycle than implementation and system management. This was catalyzed in building out vertical- and domain-specific consulting capabilities that help clients strategize more effectively around their PLM goals and road map.
- Digital services buyers expect more flexible and creative deals. Services firms repeatedly indicated that their customers’ expectations around RFPs and contracts were shifting to cater to more flexible and agile projects. One firm mentioned using catalogs of services offerings, estimated costs, and allowance for shifting project requirements based on early successes and failures. Another firm mentioned that they often were involved in projects with more than one services partner, requiring ecosystem collaboration between business consultants, technology services partners, and digital agencies.
This year’s trip to India was the first of many trips I plan to make in the coming years to work with Forrester’s great client base in that region. I’m looking forward to returning next year for another round of great conversations with Forrester clients.