This year leaders focused on digital transformation and CX however some came to the realisation these strategies are hard, costly and challenged the way they run their businesses. Despite the effort made, CX performance was flat and more than 50 per cent of digital transformation efforts stalled, according to Forrester.

Forrester predicts 2019 will be the year where firms shift from strategic ambitions to pragmatic, surgical efforts. The analysts outlined their forecasts at an event in Sydney this week.

Michael Barnes, research director at Forrester said in 2019 expect to see firms increasingly pivot from the focus on enterprise-wide strategic transformation to far more focused initiatives.

Forrester predicts CIOs will continue to step up into strategic roles, with 25 per cent of CIOs expanding their remit to take more control over digital business, technology-led business innovation.

Barnes said, “The rest will be relegated to a trusted offering, they’ll continue to keep the lights on and ensure the trains run on time. That is an important function but its not core to driving continuous innovation and seeking out new sources if value which is critical from a competitive standpoint from all of us at firms.”

Digital Business

Next year there will be a number of economic challenges for various sectors in Australia, according to Zhi Ying Barry, analyst – digital business at Forrester.

She said retailers will face tighter margins as costs increasingly rise and, in the financial sector we will see stricter regulations that will result in stricter lending practices.

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Projects with no foreseeable ROI will be the first to go

So local firms will be looking at cutting some of their budgets and they’ll be cautious moving forward into the new year.

Barry said projects with no foreseeable ROI will be the first to go, “If you have a digital initiative that is not linked to any tangible ROI or any tangible business metrics then they will be culled. We have seen in the past year many different firms they have either scaled back on their innovation projects or they have shut down their innovation labs, recently Qantas shut down their innovation centre.

“Even if you have an innovative project, service, experience or product that you want to roll out to your customers. Do not assume your stakeholders will understand the value of what you’re trying to deliver whether or not it is a new business model you are working on or it is a new type of revenue stream.”

One of the forecasts Barry made was globally 40 per cent of firms will create automation centres but in Australia only 20 per cent will do so.

She explained, “It’s very early on in Australia. Automation centres looking at ways to evaluate the application of automation and AI tech to different types of business problems to look at how they can drive those practices and a technical capability and compatibility within the organisation.”

Customer Experience

Customer experience has been stalling for the past three years according to Ricardo Pasto senior analyst – CX at Forrester. At the same time consumer expectations have been rising, he said. 

Pasto forecasts that companies failing to differentiate CX will pull the price lever, meaning they will cut prices to in order to attract and win over new customers.

He said, “This is very dangerous to do. The moment you compete only in price, then you are very likely to start a price war.”

CX professionals are starting to focus on employee experience (EX) as that leads to better performance.

Pasto said, “Better EX leads to better CX. How can you provide CX when employees aren’t happy? Next year in 2019, half of us will run EX improvement methods. Right now, 33 per cent of Australian companies focus on improving EX with 50 per cent in 2019.”

He noted there is no shortcut when it comes to CX or any transformation, CX professionals needs to be thorough.

“It is good to think about the embellishments but it is more than that, CX and transformation is not a one and done activity, it is something that is continuous.

“It takes a lot of time and effort. Requires you to have a goal to achieve. Stop decorating and start renovating,” he added.

Cybersecurity

Jinan Budge, principal analyst – security and risk at Forrester claims nothing in cybersecurity for 2019 is stabilising.

She said, “82 per cent of Australian organisations are planning on increasing their spend on this topic over the next 12-24 months.

Jinan Budge, principal analyst- security and risk at Forrester

“Cybersecurity is not being seen as a luxury item and its definitely not a decoration. This in 2019 is a must have. The cost of cybercrime continues to rise as the cyber threats are expanding ever so rapidly.”

She noted the cost of cybersecurity is going to be increasing to $61 trillion by 2021.

“Cybersecurity attacks have been happening for a long time and in 2019 we are expecting them to be a lot more targeted.”

One of the predictions she made in 2019 was there will be an increase in female chief information security officers rising 20 per cent.

Budge noted Australia will only see a 10 per cent rise.

We are going to see a greater need for diversity and a greater need for different perspectives in order to be able to win this war we haven’t been winning so far.

“Our numbers in this area are quite abysmal for example I stand here one of the 11 per cent of women in cyber security globally.

She added, “We need diversity, we need to expand our talent pool, we need to expand it from all diverse perspectives and also invite people in from other professions.”

All the 2019 Forrester predictions can be found here.

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