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Digitally Advanced Firms to Outwit Their Competitors in 2021 Predicts Forrester

According to Forrester’s 2021 Predictions, released recently, the success of organizations will depend on how quickly and how well they harness technology to both enable their workforce in the new normal and build platforms that differentiate them. This will not restrict to only 15% of firms that were already digitally savvy. Instead this will double down on technology-fuelled experiences, operations, products, and ecosystems.

Forrester’s Predictions reports analyze the dynamics impacting different industries and disciplines, including changing consumer behaviors, customer experience (CX), employee experience, marketing, privacy, and technology. The reports help global business and technology leaders craft a clear vision and gain a competitive edge to thrive in the year ahead. Key highlights from Forrester’s 2021 Predictions include:

  • CIOs will embrace cloud-first and platform strategies for speed and adaptiveness. In 2021, 30% of firms will continue to accelerate their spend on cloud, security and risk, networks, and mobility. CIOs who are slow to adapt will have massive attrition and will get mired in short-term fixes.
  • CMOs will drive customer obsession at their firms. CMOs will put the customer at the center of everything and will integrate marketing and customer experience in the coming months. Spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30% as these CMOs assert control over the full customer lifecycle in 2021.
  • Firms will cut CX technology spend in 2021 but will improve CX. As organizations tune their CX efforts for bigger impact, one voice-of-the-customer program will come to fruition, leading to consolidation of CX tools and technologies. 25% of brands will achieve statistically significant advances in CX quality in 2021.
  • Remote work will rise to 300% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Most companies will employ a hybrid work model, with fewer people in the office and more full-time, remote employees. As a major portion of the workforce develops the skills and preference for effective remote work, they will come to expect a work-from-anywhere strategy from their company rather than an exception-driven remote-work policy.
  • Regulatory and legal activity related to employee privacy infringements will double. The pandemic is igniting employers’ desire to collect, analyze, and share employee personal data. While European regulators are already enforcing privacy rules to protect employees’ personal data, countries such as Brazil, India, and Thailand will soon do the same. And in the US, given the corporate practices and policies that often limit or deny employees a right to privacy.

Sharyn Leaver, SVP of research at Forrester. “Shifting to remote work, standing up e-commerce platforms to sell online, and organizing events virtually to stay connected to their communities are just some examples of pivots that organizations had to make quickly. The pandemic affirmed the need for digital transformation only digitally advanced organizations were able to adapt and transform their businesses quickly. The current economic climate has only increased the urgency for every enterprise, not just digital experts, to embrace technology as a strategic asset. Our 2021 Predictions clearly indicate a trend toward technology acceleration.”

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