Forrester’s Consumer Benchmark Survey, 2022, identified that 52% of US online adults are now using six digital channels. This steady rise in the proliferation of digital touchpoints is pushing technology vendors to enhance their product’s foundational capabilities through emerging features and flooding the market with feature-focused marketing messaging. It is only natural that this can complicate product selection, not to mention digital agency or system integrator recommendations and biases. Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing a series designed to guide leaders on making strategic product selections, targeted at reducing technical debt and streamlining enterprise technology systems. This series helps technology and digital business leaders think beyond traditional software selection methods and master the fundamentals.

  1. Capabilities versus emerging features. Each technology category has a set of foundational capabilities and a list of emerging features. The foundational capabilities are depicted in detail and demonstrate how the category solution converts business value for organizations. The current set of emerging features for each category solution is unique to each software vendor and can enhance customer experience and competitive positioning in the market. Understanding the nuances between technology capabilities and emerging features is the first step toward making the right selection.
  2. Category versus embedded solutions. Software vendors are continuously innovating to keep their product competitive and are offering different sets of emerging features. Some technology solutions also capture capabilities and features from adjacent solutions and “embed” their features into their own category. To help you effectively evaluate the level of fidelity required for each category solution, this series goes the extra mile and captures the current state of observed trends, as well.
  3. Value-based gap analysis matrix for strategic selection. Understanding capabilities versus emerging features and category versus embedded solutions is not enough to help you select the right types of solutions and advance your business goals. The series includes a matrix that can be leveraged to map your strategic objectives to individual capabilities and emerging features. This allows technology and digital business teams to evaluate software vendors accurately while driving business value.

Figure: Strategic Technology Selection Process

Sequential boxes showing the five foundational principles of a strategic technology selection process: 1) build your business case 2) capabilities and emerging features 3) category vs. embedded solutions 4) value-based capability gap analysis 5) develop a plan before RFP

Keep an eye out for Forrester’s strategic technology selection guides for digital asset management, product information management, and content management systems. To explore more, Forrester clients can schedule an inquiry or guidance session with me. I look forward to connecting with you.