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Global tech spending predicted to surpass $4.8 trillion in 2023

Global tech spending will reach more than $4.8 trillion in 2023 as two-thirds of technology decision-makers increase their tech budgets, despite increasing economic uncertainty.

Additionally, boffins at Forrester says that in the coming year, to stay competitive, future fit tech leaders will take a more practical approach to innovation experiments to prioritise customer needs — 80% of companies will pivot their innovation efforts from creativity to resilience.

This is all according to Forrester’s 2023 Tech Leadership Predictions, which offers research and frameworks designed to help tech leaders take charge in fueling their organisations’ future growth through the creation and execution of adaptive and resilient technology strategies. This new research includes:

  • Predictions 2023: Tech Leadership. Technology companies are under distress due to capital flow reductions, higher interest rates, and fears of reduced customer demand. In 2023, tech leaders should review their vendors well in advance of upcoming renewal cycles and build contingency plans accounting for software-as-a-service (SaaS) failures, spinouts, and product retirements. There will also be an anticipated uptick of whistleblowers stepping up to hold tech leaders accountable, forcing CIOs to act. Join this keynote to discover what the future holds for tech leaders in 2023.
  • The State Of Future Fit Technology Strategy, 2022. According to Forrester’s latest research, companies that met customers’ needs by being future fit, even in uncertain times, grew revenue 1.8 times faster than their peers. With more than 75% of business and tech professionals at future fit organizations strongly agreeing that their organizations can easily absorb major business changes, tech platforms are key to accelerating organizations’ transformation and innovation journeys. Join this session to learn best practices for creating a future fit platform strategy that powers business outcomes.
  • A Skills-Based Talent Strategy Is Central To An Adaptive Organization. As tech leaders struggle to attract the right talent, they will need to create an adaptive organization that continuously develops and applies knowledge and skills to drive resilience. Join this session to learn how to rethink tech skills and competencies in order to build a future fit strategy that broadens the talent roster.
  • The Top 10 Emerging Technologies In 2022. According to Forrester, 65% of tech professionals say their firm will increase spending on emerging technologies over the next 12 months. Future fit tech organizations are poised to see positive near-term ROI in four emerging tech categories: extended reality (XR), AI-powered TuringBots, Web3, and Zero Trust edge. Join this keynote to learn more about which emerging technologies are ready now, which are going to take some time, and which have a long way to go.

“Looking ahead, future fit tech leaders will take a pragmatic but opportunistic approach to enhance their organizations’ operational resilience despite any uncertainty to outpace the long shadow of the pandemic,” said Matthew Guarini, event host and VP and senior research director at Forrester. “At Technology & Innovation North America, we will unveil research and insights for tech leaders to overcome this complex landscape — turning lessons learned from difficult times into capabilities that will ensure that their organizations are more adaptive and successful long term.”

Economy will make digital planning difficult to navigate in 2023

Business leaders who plan for “business as usual” modest spending increases in the year ahead will fall short, due to an unpredictable and turbulent economy, so will need to tackle planning with discipline and precision in order to trim waste, experiment, and make bold, smart investments.

That’s the conclusion of Forrester’s latest Planning Guides, which provide benchmark data and insights to help technology, marketing, digital, CX, product and sales leaders prioritise 2023 budget investments.

The reports highlight where to increase investment and cut spending, as well as which emerging technologies to experiment with in 2023. Key insights from Forrester’s 2023 Planning Guides include:

Areas to increase investment in 2023:

  • Customer insights and engagement. With 2023 unlikely to look like any past recession, many assumptions about customers and their behavior will be rendered useless. Leaders should invest in new customer data and analytics tools, such as experience research platforms (XPRs), to sharpen audience targeting strategies.
  • Technologies that improve CX and reduce costs. Current economic headwinds will require focusing on technology tuned for optimization and resilience. Leaders should invest in tools that drive loyalty and reduce operational costs, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and agent-assist apps.

Areas to decrease investment in 2023:

  • Technical debt — including cloud. Many thought the cloud would be the antidote to technical debt, but yesterday’s lifted-and-shifted workloads are now debt themselves given how inefficient to operate and difficult to upgrade they are. In 2023, leaders should consider early cloud deployments as candidates for technical debt reductions.
  • Low-quality data partners and innovation outsourcing. Partners will continue to play an important role in growth, but two key areas are ripe for cuts. As the quality of third-party data continues to drop, leaders should streamline these partnerships to only those that add value to customer relationships. Second, firms that relied too heavily on partners for digital innovation during the pandemic-induced digital sprint should bring more innovation in house.

Areas for experimentation in 2023:

  • Extended reality, the metaverse, and Web3 that offer immersive experiences. These interlinked — and arguably overhyped — technologies hold the promise of immersive experiences linked to token-based ecosystems that use cryptocurrencies and public blockchains. Leaders in consumer industries should experiment with metaverse precursor platforms such as Roblox and Decentral to open doors to new audiences.
  • Intelligent agents that make experiences more human. An intelligent agent (IA) can make decisions or perform a service based on its environment, user input, and experiences. Leaders should plan to experiment with IAs on an ongoing basis to utilize their full potential.

“Leaders are faced with navigating a tumultuous business landscape defined by global unrest, supply chain instability and soaring inflation, as well as the ongoing aftermath of the pandemic,” said Sharyn Leaver, chief research officer at Forrester. “Tackling 2023 budget planning is a daunting task, but Forrester’s Planning Guides will help leaders make more strategic and disciplined decisions to drive business growth at a time of such uncertainty.”

Brands urged to cash in on ‘social commerce’

B2C ecommerce leaders are fast-tracking social commerce initiatives, but fewer than 30% are prioritising the full customer journey.

The “Cashing In on Social Commerce”  Forrester Opportunity Snapshot study highlights the challenges experienced by early adopters in the social commerce spaces who aim to fast-track revenue expansion efforts and improve overall customer care via social channels.

Social commerce, which encourages the discovery and purchase of products via social media channels, is expected to grow at a 31.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020 and 2027, the global social commerce market is estimated to grow to $604.5 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.

According to the study findings, fewer than 30% of social commerce leaders are prioritising customer engagement, failing to cultivate and nurture customer relationships throughout the social purchase journey, and putting their long-term social commerce growth at risk. This data point underscores how, even as brands are beginning to prioritise social commerce and experience immediate returns, many still have a long way to go in terms of successfully managing the full social purchase journey. Without proper attention to CX, ecommerce leaders risk falling behind in an overly competitive market.

“Consumer demand has forced businesses to pivot online, and we have seen a significant uptick in the number of B2C businesses embracing social commerce,” said Mark Zablan, CEO, Emplifi. “We believe the study confirms much of our internal findings: B2C brands are racing to embrace social media as the means to conduct business from discovery to engagement, and now to shopping, service, and customer care. Social commerce is the new conduit to great CX.”

More than 80% of the social commerce leaders surveyed confirmed they are investing in two or more social shops, with more than a third currently using four or more social shop platforms. Not only are social commerce leaders adopting social shops at a swift pace, 86% of the survey participants expect — or have already achieved — a return on their social commerce investment within a one-year time period.

“Social commerce leaders are seeing major gains but are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to bridge the gap between building brand presence among a growing audience, and then convert that audience into loyal, engaged long term customers,” said Zablan. “The most effective, and efficient, way to do this, and accelerate social commerce efforts, is to utilise best-in-class CX tools with integrated social capabilities. By sharpening their toolset, especially when it comes to customer care and holistic social commerce reporting, brands will get the competitive edge they need in this rapidly growing social commerce market.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  •   B2C goals and strategies not optimally aligned: While goals are documented and understood, the report shows only 26% of teams are aligned on how to reach next-generation consumers across social shops.
  •   Conversational AI basic capabilities are well adopted:  Bot technology that provides basic communication and engagement is heavily used by the brands surveyed, but eight out of ten survey respondents report they are looking to invest further in more sophisticated conversational AI capabilities in order to conduct advanced transactions using virtual bots.
  •   Livestream video shopping shifting beyond early stages:  Of the brands surveyed, 70% plan to invest in personalised and group/friend video shopping capabilities, as well as one-to-many influencer events over video.
  •   Scaling up customer care and service is critical to social commerce and CX.  While the report highlights revenue as the ultimate outcome, over 40% of responses indicate that customer care, service and assistance are critical for social commerce and improve overall CX.

While an astounding 50% of the brands surveyed for the report have realised measurable revenue gains or expect incremental cross-channel revenue, the data shows the most successful social commerce efforts go beyond the immediate purchase to focus on the full customer experience.

To read the full study findings, download: “Cashing In On Social Commerce.