The war in Ukraine, soaring inflation, and worries about energy supplies for the coming winter dominate European headlines — and point to an economic slowdown. The IMF projects that European economic growth will slow to just 2,6% in 2022 and to a meagre 1,0% in 2023 (compared with 5,4% in 2021). Hiring freezes and redundancies have hit the European tech sector in earnest, with former darlings like Bitpanda, Gorillas, and Klarna laying off staff. Sky-high energy prices, continuing supply-chain challenges, and turbulent employment markets will make it difficult to navigate 2023 planning and budgeting. To come out on top, you’ll need discipline and precision to trim waste, prioritise current investments, and place bold bets.

Forrester’s 2023 Planning Guides provide detailed guidance for technology, customer experience, digital, marketing, sales, and product leaders on where to invest, where to pull back, and where targeted experiments might pay off. (Forrester clients can access all of the guides here; non-clients can access select guides on our resources hub.) The common thread? European businesses should prioritise investments that maximise revenue growth, profitability, and resilience. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

  • Double down on customer insights. The coming year won’t look like the 2020 shutdown or any recession in recent memory. That means many of your assumptions about your customers and their behaviour won’t apply. Success in 2023 will require relevant, reliable customer data to help sharpen audience targeting.
  • Look to cut technical debt — including cloud. Yesterday’s lifted-and-shifted workloads have become debt themselves, given that they’re inefficient to operate and difficult to upgrade. As part of 2023 planning, companies should reduce legacy investments and prune duplicative or underused tools across the entire tech stack. (And yes, early cloud deployments are candidates for technical debt reduction.)
  • Dial up security investments. Geopolitical turmoil and technology disruption will continue to fuel a sophisticated, fast-evolving threat landscape. Prioritising security controls and solutions that protect customer-facing and revenue-generating workloads will be key. Defend investments that support cloud modernisation and your organisation’s evolution to Zero Trust.

Our 2023 Planning Guides explores these takeaways in greater depth and provides additional insights to inform your 2023 planning and budgeting. Review our client and public resources to help you tackle 2023 budget pressures with discipline and precision.