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What Brought Me Back To Forrester: Our Market-Leading Engagement Around Emerging Technologies

James Staten
Vice President and Principal Analyst
April 30, 2018

It is such a pleasure to be back at Forrester, especially now when our firm is actively embracing and helping you, our customers, leverage new technologies to innovate and differentiate your business.

After three years leading technology strategy and market development for Microsoft Azure and Equinix, what brought me back were three things:

  1. The value we bring to customers in helping them drive business strategy change. While I conducted many of these same types of engagements while at Microsoft and Equinix, being vendor-neutral and actively collaborating with the incredible brain trust that forms our analyst community makes the engagement so much more valuable to our customers.
  2. Helping clients succeed with innovation and emerging technologies. Most companies will not achieve success with their digital business transformation strategies. As a McKinsey survey shows, while 90% of companies indicated they are engaged in some form of digitalization, only 16% said their companies have responded with a bold strategy and at scale. And, regrettably, most companies never pull the trigger until a digital disruptor has started to have a significant impact on their revenues and customer retention. Fast followers (assuming you really can be fast, which most cannot) at best achieve a No. 2 position in the market and sacrifice nearly 50% of new digital revenues. Sadly, the more frequent outcome is far worse than second place. What we have evolved toward in the last three years is the realization that, for companies to lead via digital transformation, they must be proactive, forward-looking, and willing to embrace emerging technologies well ahead of their market maturity. If you are waiting for tech to climb through the Hype Cycle, you will fail to lead. Over the last three years, Forrester has taken a proactive position on emerging technologies, which helps us guide your digital strategy to increased customer value and differentiation. This will be one of my core focus areas in my new role.
  3. Forrester’s delivery of new customer engagements. We heard your desire for easier and more flexible ways of consuming our findings and guidance. In the last three years, it’s been exciting to see Forrester introduce so many new and innovative means of engagement:
    • 2–3-page reports — We know it’s harder to find time to consume the long, full-depth reports that have long been an industry standard for research firms. What can often be more useful are shorter, focused, and easy-to-read reports and recommendations that enable immediate action.
    • Infographics — These graphical elements tell a rich story with statistical analysis, workflows, recommendations, and outcomes all on a single page that you can review quickly.
    • Audio/video “docs,” including more webinars and podcasts — If you can get the gist of our advice through a short podcast during your daily commute, or by sharing a 15–30-minute webinar with your peers, then we know you can quickly determine whether the related report can help you drive strategic change. I love that the new What it Means podcast blends CX and IT analysis, as cross-collaboration on these initiatives is key to digital business success.
    • The Forrester mobile apps — While we certainly want to make it easy to consume our research from your phone or tablet, the focus has been on providing an enriched experience. Beyond our iPhone and Android core applications are new behavior-based experiences and even new business initiatives:
      • Forrester bot for Slack — As many of the world’s leading tech innovators rely on Slack for collaboration, inserting our experience into this tool provides a mechanism for greater engagement and collaboration.
      • Forrester browser extensions for Google search — It quickly and easily shows what Forrester content aligns to any search. It’s a fantastic means of exposure to the breadth and volume of Forrester insights. And you don’t have to be a client or possess a login to use it. Feel free to share it with all your colleagues.
      • Tap: A new community CX engagement app — While the rest of the Forrester apps are means of consuming our research, Tap is a new business model for the company: community engagement that gathers customer feedback and ultimately drives better CX for every company evaluated. Want to benefit from it? Create a Mob around your customer engagement mechanisms.

Be a change agent. As is noted in our research, embracing change is tough for most people but can be enabled through C-suite guidance. This means encouraging new ideas and actions, embracing failure (as long as we learn from it), and being flexible with KPIs for those who become agents of change. If you have embraced our guidance and recommendations for digital business transformation, let us know. We would love to share your best practices in future case studies and help increase your visibility and appeal to technology leaders looking to join digital business innovation companies.

If you are ready to embrace and drive business change and take your company to the next level, speak up so we can help you get there. And if you are coming to Forrester’s Digital Transformation conference in Chicago (May 8–9), please book time with me and my colleagues so we can help you drive your own transformation.
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