Forrester has written extensively about the Business Technology imperative in the Age of the Customer. While the transformation from IT to BT is challenging, Forrester’s Business Technographics data highlights how business leaders have increased – and plan to continue increasing – their technology spending. This means that the train has left the station and CIOs can either embrace this shift or fight against the BT transformation tide.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the BT agenda, these data also show the difference between BT-Leaders — companies that embrace a BT agenda — compared to BT-Laggards – companies that are entrenched in the traditional IT mentality vis-a-vis Business Technology needs.

Specifically, we found that businesses with IT departments that help accelerate business success are more likely to:

  • Have had double-digit growth in 2014. The bottom line is important. We found that 30% of companies that BT-Leaders grew at 10% or more in 2014 compared to 2013, compared to 26% of BT-Laggards.
  • Invest more in technology. In addition to overall growth, companies that embrace BT transformation also invest more in technology. In fact, these BT-focused companies were more likely to report increased technology spending in 2014 and they are more likely to expect to continue to increase technology spending in 2015.
  • Use technology as a competitive differentiator. Nearly two-thirds of BT-focused firms report that technology is a competitive differentiator compared to only about one-quarter of those who do not focus on BT transformation. This highlights how the aforementioned increases in technology spending are used to advance their position in the market at the expense of their less BT-friendly competition.
  • Prioritize the customer experience. BT-focused firms are also more likely than their less BT-friendly counterparts to prioritize the customer experience as well as addressing customers’ rising expectations. This clearly shows that the technology spending increases and focus on competitive differentiation are aimed at the right audience – customers.

As we move forward in the Customer Experience-focused Age of the Customer, companies that blaze a trail in the IT to BT transformation have positioned themselves well for success. Therefore, it’s time to embrace this shift or you risk losing customers to the BT-friendly competition.