Forrester just published its “India Tech Market Outlook: 2014” report; here’s a summary. We expect the Indian economy to start recovering from the tough situation it faced in 2013. It will start picking up (albeit at a slower rate) in 2014 thanks to good monsoons, an uptick in exports due to the weakening of the rupee, and huge infrastructure projects in public transportation, housing, agriculture, and farming  that we expect to take off once a new central government is in place. As a result, we’ve marginally increased our 2014 forecast from 7.4% to 8% in local currency. But the biggest threat to India’s economic outlook is political instability after the national elections, which could have a long-term economic impact.

The three most important highlights from the report:

  • Customer obsession will take center stage for technology spending. The increasing demands of digital customers are redefining business. Recent Forrsights data indicates that Indian CIOs’ top business priority is to address the rising expectations of customers and improve customer satisfaction; 87% consider it a high or critical priority. Business leaders want to leverage technology to better engage digitally enabled constituents, fundamentally shifting how firms interact with customers.
  • The business is more involved in technology decisions. As the business/IT boundary further blurs, business units are getting more directly involved in technology discussions to differentiate their organizations and drive business growth by transforming the customer experience. Given the pace of digital disruption, business-led technology decisions will get further attention from Indian firms in 2014.
  • Software and services will grow the most as Indian firms invest in capabilities to win, serve, and retain these customers. Although computers, peripherals, and communications equipment will continue to dominate overall tech spending in 2014, software and IT services will gain the most from the sharper focus on customers, growing by 11% and 14%, respectively. CIOs must invest in less mature yet rapidly evolving technologies such as social, mobile, customer analytics, and customer experience management for superior customer interactions.

What it means for CIOs

To win in the age of the customer, CIOs must adopt an actionable business technology (BT) agenda. Digitally empowered customers are disrupting every industry and CIOs must make immediate and fundamental changes to avoid disruption. You can’t just hire a business/IT relationship manager and assume that you’ve bridged the customer experience gap. In particular, CIOs should add a BT agenda to their team’s tech management metrics, invest in technologies on the BT agenda, and prioritize BT with their IT service providers.

I will be sharing more details from the report during a complimentary webinar on February 4, 2014. All participants will get a complimentary copy of the report. Please register to join me for a great discussion and share your perspective.