Last Wednesday saw the gathering of some of the brightest executive brains at Forrester, sharing their technology predictions for 2019 plus offering wary cautions against us taking the foot off the brake on the road to transformation. In a sequence of fast-paced topical sessions targeted at both businesses and customers, Amicus ITS will be sharing these high level digests with you in mini break-out blogs this week.
Our Forrester co-chairs for 2019 were Carrie Johnson, Chief Research Officer and Victor Milligan, Chief Marketing Officer. They started off by taking a look back at the last two years of business globally and summarised that some of the goals of businesses in the last two years technologically had been very bold but not always successful. Forrester’s view for 2019 was that 2019 is the year that ‘transformation goes pragmatic’.
CIO and CMO
In the first session with VP Research Directors Matthew Guarani and Keith Johnston, the Forrester duo looked at how transformation could be ‘translated’ in practical terms to yield the best results from these two perspectives.
Matthew Guarini (middle of picture) commented that whilst transformation presented a great opportunity for business, many organisations are still not prepared to take full advantage of it. He suggested that focusing on the essential elements in 2019 was primary – and choosing the right time to do innovation was key.
The challenge facing the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) according to Keith Johnston (seen on right of picture) was that technology had been massively commoditised in the last two years without much differentiation as digital media matures and finds its place . For him, finding a balance was key to making decisions (ie not technology for technologies sake). With the customer experience largely flattened in 2018 (across the big brands), Johnston felt companies needed to go back to basics to ‘foundation build’ on their core values and brand in 2019 to deliver improvements after the big ‘growth and go’ directive in 2018.
Chair and Chief Research Officer Carrie Johnson asked about the risk of disenfranchisement from fellow Board exec members if the recommendation appeared to be asking companies to look backwards instead of consolidating on the big changes in the last 12-18 months?
Matthew Guarini agreed it carried a risk but pointed out the need for balance to be struck, employing the right focus and reasoning – and yes, with push back if needed. This, he said should be accompanied by a parallel action plan (ie. so as not to have all eggs in one basket). It needed correct development and focus to create momentum and give the marketing the best chance. Keith Johnston added that any transformation takes time and metrics are often used in increasingly tight periods to evaluate hard results. This makes it hard for the CIO to get everything moving at speed to fulfill the demand.
Matthew Guarini added that the Operations side remained fundamental to achieving all these goals. However, it was the change leaders and true business partners who could make the real difference – and this would be channelled by the Head of Sales. The CMO role was ideally positioned to use the right technologies to drive the commercial directives where incremental value had been identified. Using Marketing’s abilities of communication this should deliver the collaboration at C-Level in 2019 to ensure messaging was fully shared and taken on board throughout the organisation – which reflected what the customer needed.
Both felt that the technology disrupters would continue apace globally, challenging business assumptions and business models. This was a good thing though and we should not be distrustful, as these creative business thinkers would continue to bring new technology, talent and ideas to the marketplace.
Whilst much of this is targeted at the big brands, retailers and B2C markets, from our B2B perspective these are still resonant takeaways. It binds together good forward thinking and the need for pragmatism and planning.
For Amicus ITS, 2019 is about continuing to drive our business forwards, keeping our eyes on the horizon seeking out new technologies that we believe could create transformative opportunities for our customer base.
The difference between an MSP doing this versus a reseller is that we have the whole customer’s IT estate in front of us. This makes us their trusted partner and safe pair of hands to offer guidance and deliver the right transformation programme that offers least risks on their journey.