Customers are more empowered, and finicky, than ever before. If you don’t create compelling experiences, the competition will grab them. Operating in this age of the customer has been a key challenge and will be for technology and data executives in particular for at least a decade.

Accordingly, customer obsession — placing the customer at the center of a firm’s leadership, strategy, and operations in the middle of constantly changing economic, regulatory, and risk management requirements — has become an urgent need. To win at customer obsession, leading enterprises must use insights to drive high performance. Forrester data shows that advanced insights-driven businesses (IDBs) are 8.5 (!) times more likely than beginners to report at least 20% revenue growth in 2021. This means that technology and data execs must accelerate their organization’s efforts to become an IDB to uncover valuable business insights locked in data. An IDB harnesses and applies data and analytics at every opportunity to differentiate its products and customer experiences.

Alas, this is easier said than done, and there are multiple reasons why the journey to becoming an advanced IDB remains perilous. Lack of a strong top-down mandate by your business colleagues, backed with commitment to strategic investments, disconnect between technology, data, analytics, and business organizations, and lack of coordinated governance are just a few typical challenges you, as a technology and data executive, face. As a result, we see that companies use less than 20% of all enterprise data available for centralized and governed insights-driven decisions, and fewer than 20% of decision-makers who can and should be using insights applications hands-on are doing so.

Become Future Fit With Insights-Driven Practices

To overcome these challenges, Forrester recommends that technology executives adopt what we call a “future fit” approach to IDB capabilities — an approach that is adaptive, creative, and resilient. Forrester’s research helps firms accelerate this journey — with particular focus on the insights-to-action cycle. Our current research portfolio helps technology and data executives:

  • Craft a vision by addressing key principles (such as strategic investments and others), competencies (strategy, internal partners, practices, data, platforms) and capabilities (see graphic below).
  • Understand the benefits of becoming an advanced IDB in terms of translating data and analytics investments into higher business growth and leapfrogging competition.
  • Build a methodical business plan to improve your IDB maturity based on your current levels of strategy, internal partners, practices, data, and platform maturity.
  • Generate urgency with an actionable roadmap for each IDB competency.
  • Create organizational alignment by mapping data and analytics activities to the responsibilities of C-level roles using our RASCI model.
  • Invest in data literacy programs — a key success factor for an advanced IDB.

What’s Next? Improving Adoption And Effectiveness

We are continuing to grow our IDB advice and research over the next few months and are planning to provide technology and data executives with specific guidance on:

  • Effectiveness. Assess not only the enterprise’s overall IDB maturity but also the effectiveness of IDB applications. Maturity may, but does not necessarily, translate into effectiveness. Can you measure the tangible business impact of insights-driven decisions? How personalized are insights applications? Are insights seamlessly integrated, embedded into all critical digital workspaces and systems of work? These are some of the IDB effectiveness measures based on a recently fielded survey of data and analytics decisions-makers that we plan to analyze shortly.
  • The future of insights applications. Envision the future of insights applications and the characteristics of how insights applications (business intelligence, analytics, etc.) should evolve for better adoption and improved effectiveness.
  • Roles and responsibilities. Define key roles, responsibilities, and skills necessary to support IDB capabilities.
  • User personalization. Personalize insights applications to different personas to increase adoption and improve effectiveness.

We’d love to help you with this journey. If you are an existing Forrester client, please reach out to your account manager. If you are not, we’d love to show you how we can help — please reach out via this link, and we’ll get in touch with you right away. Or as always, I welcome direct inquiries to me personally via

(Fayzan Sabri, research associate, contributed to this blog.)
Note: Forrester client access required for research featured in this blog.