Predictions 2019: The Year Transformation Goes Pragmatic

The Millennium Alliance is proud to partner with Forrester at several of our assemblies each year. With its world-class analysts and research teams providing thought leadership, throughout the year we collaborate to ensure our content is relevant in the world of digital transformation.

At the end of each year, Forrester puts together its prediction guide to help firms see around the corner to where the market is going. This year Forrester identified 14 major dynamics that will impact organizations across multiple sectors in 2019. We sat down with multiple analysts at Forrester to discuss some of the transformational shifts that The Millennium Alliance members will be focusing on for the new year. For the full 2019 Forrester Research Predictions Report Guide, click here.

Digital Transformation

In order to stay ahead of customer demands and competition, how can organizations successfully transform their digital portfolio while increasing profitability and efficiency?

First, digital leaders need to recognize that “big bang” approaches are generally failing. Leaders need to work with individual business areas to identify digital quick wins. They must prioritize investments where there is double-leverage – the opportunity to improve both the customer experience and the cost of delivering that experience, like via a new mobile app or storefront for business customers. Second, organizations need to pair new technology with the training and cultural reinforcement of the need to build for change and embrace an insights-driven, agile mindset. But bottom line, leaders need to ensure the core parts of their portfolio are generating near-term ROI, that allows new innovation to be funded primarily through operational efficiency gains. Allen Bonde, Vice President & Research Director


How can CMOs refocus their company’s marketing strategy towards remaking and revitalizing their brand?

The greatest shift in approach in today’s marketing environment is understanding how to build emotional connections in a world of experiences that are overwhelmingly digital. The power of emotional connections elevates a product or service offering to an inextricable part of a person’s life. Projecting a brand personality is the starting point. Marketers must then navigate a space of emerging technologies like mobile, altered realities, and voice interaction to deliver these brand experiences. CMO’s must entangle their customers in a web of digitally fueled experiences that create meaningful and sustained value – enough value to render the relationship unique and irreplaceable. Keith Johnston, Vice President & Research Director


As digital transformation becomes even more personalized, what technologies do brands need to focus their advertising budget on in order to reach consumers?

This is the age of the customer. Consumers are equipped with a variety of devices which they use to access the content they prefer at the time of their choosing. Successful marketers recognize that customers are in control and invest time, money, and talent in learning about and identifying their customers and best prospects in order to deliver relevant marketing messages that include advertising, email, search, and social engagements, all in support of a consistent brand positioning. To do this, marketers will need to buy and/or partner with a host of companies and technologies to collect, aggregate, and analyze as much data as their customers are willing to share and they are otherwise able to access, including second and third party data for greater precision and scale. This combination of data will inform their abilities to confirm the identities of their customers as well as their media buying through demand-side platforms and exchanges. Because consumers are increasingly informed about advertising, successful marketers will partner with creative ad tech vendors to customize their advertising messages. They will use email vendors that can integrate with their data resources and social engagement vendors that can extend their presence into social platforms in a brand consistent manner. They will require the services of technologies that monitor and verify that they have the appropriate consumer permissions and that their adds are being delivered to and are viewable by human beings. And they will require attribution companies to determine that they are pursuing the proper blend of initiatives to sell their products. Susan Bidel, Senior Analyst


In an environment with regulation changes, nontraditional companies disrupting the industry and an ever-changing landscape, what do healthcare leaders need to do in order to provide more personalized experiences?

Due to the disjointed care delivery landscape in the US, the healthcare industry has struggled to deliver a personalized experience to consumers. To course correct in 2019, HCOs will need to embrace tools to capture the real-time voice of the consumer and voice of the employee metrics, and advanced health analytics tools to blend that data with existing organizational data assets to create personalized insights. In 2019, because of the regulatory environment, Forrester expects HCOs to minimize traditional approaches such as consumer assessment of healthcare providers and systems (CAHPS) and star ratings — and use them differently.  HCOs will leverage VoC and VoE — and take a more data-driven approach — to drive the changes that customers and employees desire. Jeff Becker, Senior Analyst

Digital Enterprise

As organizations become digital-first, how should the CIO navigate the complex technology landscape to transform their business strategy to success in 2019?

We are in a period of constant change and accelerating disruption. This places significant pressure on today’s CIO; however, it also creates a significant opportunity for those CIOs that can successfully navigate these waters. First, CIOs need to ensure that they are making the appropriate investments in their technology foundations (e.g. cloud and big data) and delivery capabilities (e.g. agile) to create the proper environment for accelerating the benefits of future emerging technology investment. Second, CIOs need to be the central source of technology knowledge and teach the rest of the business how technology can drive innovation. At the same time, these CIOs must not fall prey to businesses who want to chase shiny objects or do not understand how to move innovation ideas to production commercial value. Last, they need to help their C-level executives anticipate technology trends, customer changes, and competitor moves so that they are one step ahead of the customer. In this vein, the CIO becomes a true business partner creating value for customers and the enterprise. Brian Hopkins, Vice President & Principal Analyst


Given consumer privacy, data usage concerns and stricter regulations such as GDPR, how will CISOs prepare their cyber defense in order to regain trust and confidence?

There are two major ways of privacy, data usage concerns, and regulations will change security. It comes down to 1) CISOs must take an active role in securing the products and services their company sells and 2) those external forces make cybersecurity a board-level issue which requires CISOs to step up their C-level skillset. The first of those initiatives will help CISOs contribute to gaining customer trust and confidence because building products and services with major security flaws are now seen as a quality issue that can lead to damages to the brand and reputation of a firm with their customers. The second initiative has more to do with the fiduciary responsibility of Board members to protect shareholders. Given the legal and regulatory environment firms operate in, ignoring security issues can result in massive fines and high legal costs which impact revenue and earnings and eventually…share price. This will require CISOs to develop better metrics, better vocabulary, and better communication skills when speaking to the Board of Directors about security, risk, and privacy. Jeff Pollard, Vice President & Principal Analyst

2018 has been a year of meeting the reality of large-scale strategies, increased consumer awareness, adapting to external forces in many industries, and that doesn’t even factor in the internal organizational challenges that executives face each day! We at The Millennium Alliance are excited for 2019 as we continue to provide the highest level of education, transformation, and leadership for all of our members.

Thank you to the Forrester team for sharing its expertise with us and our members. In need of some holiday reading? Click here to download the Forrester 2019 Predictions Guide.

See You in 2019!

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Jenny Schecher is a Client Services Director & Social Media Manager at The Millennium Alliance. Jenny is an avid contributor to our blog, Digital Diary, as well as all social media platforms. When she is not writing about digital transformation and technology, she is working with her team to make visions come to life at our events. (and eating all of NYC's best food.) Follow her on Instagram: @jennyschecs or find her on LinkedIn!

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