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Forrester Research is a technology and market research company that provides pragmatic advice to global leaders in business and technology.

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Common mistakes in the era of digital disruption

If you're not reaching out to stakeholders in your marketing and product development organisations, you're doing it wrong

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“Yep, we’re doing it wrong.”

That’s what one front office development leader who attended our Digital Disruption Summits and Forums in London and Orlando told us after hearing stories of how to survive and thrive in this age of constant consumer-led, software-fueled digital disruption.

And this front office development leader - whose scope ran the gamut from CRM and customer service to Web and mobile apps - wasn’t alone. In this age of digital disruption, where empowered customers and employees demand new levels of engagement with your firm, what might you be doing wrong?

If you’re not reaching out to stakeholders in your marketing and product development organizations, you’re doing it wrong.

Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst James McQuivey introduced attendees to the innovation objectives and demands of marketers and product leaders seeking to embed digital capability into today’s products for consumers AND business. 

James shared examples of how product strategists from firms in beauty and fashion to durable goods manufacturers plan to add digital capability to existing products. 

More importantly, he shared their desire to take advantage of digital capabilities to introduce new business models, change value streams with customers, and disrupt industries, noting they need the help of CIOs, architects, and delivery leaders to take stock of what’s available now and what adjacent possibilities they can execute on.

James also shared an advance copy of his upcoming book, Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. Look for it in January.

If you’re not building an agile product delivery organization, you’re doing it wrong.

Attendees heard from multiple industry leaders on the importance of shifting to customer-centric product delivery models. 

Toby Wright, CTO for the Telegraph Media Group, talked about how digital has disrupted the publishing industry’s centuries-old business model and shared insight into the Telegraph’s ongoing journey to take advantage of commodity back office services via the cloud. 

His aim - focus scarce technology resources on consumer product development supporting Web, mobile, and new digital product needs. His big learning? Agile development helps, but new product management competencies are needed to manage long product life cycles with demanding business stakeholders.

Fumbi Chima, vice president of internal integrations at Walmart, and Ben Hawksworth, senior vice president of information technology at Vantiv, joined tech leaders from Microsoft, EffectiveUI, and salesforce.com to discuss the future of software development. 

According to both Fumbi and Ben, tomorrow’s industry leaders must treat software design, development, and delivery as a competency - not solely as a commodity. Fumbi believes her firm is competing now with top software vendors for talent and must do so to compete and thrive in a global digital economy.

If you’re not treating software design and delivery as a competency, you’re doing it wrong.

Attendees also gained insight into why design must be treated as a discipline to help address the multichannel and touchpoint journeys customers and employees take when engaging with a firm’s products and services. 

Forrester’s Ron Rogowski and Stephen Powers shared what customer experience design principles development and delivery leaders must embrace. They also pointed out what implications these principles will have on skills and organisation models as firms look to move software teams closer to their customers.

Orlando attendees heard from Dave Sturgis, IT development director for Ingersoll Rand, on how to focus on customers’ customers to deliver more relevant and engaging products. Ingersoll’s challenge was arming its network of resellers with an improved way to sell a very complex and costly home product: HVACs. 

Instead of focusing on the needs of Ingersoll's resellers (its customers), Dave and his team took a step further - with the help of Cynergy - to look more closely at the sales process and the end customer’s journey through that process. The result: a mobile application that helps the reseller but is aimed at the end buyer and that has helped improve productivity by a staggering 60-plus percent.

The digital age has just begun, and we’re witnessing the initial impact digital capability has on industry and society. 

Evidenced by the Telegraph Media Group, Ingersoll Rand, Walmart, Vantiv, and our own research, how firms internalise - not simply adopt - digital capability with new skills, competencies, and organisation models will determine success or failure in the digital age.

Posted by Kyle McNabb

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