Digital technologies are ubiquitous, and their pervasiveness has risen dramatically over the past 12 months, with businesses striving to stay connected and engaged with their employees and customers due to lockdowns and other restrictions. This is the reality we live in today: Technology helps understand and anticipate the needs of customers; augment the value of products and services; and drive experiences that make customers buy again, buy more, and become advocates for the business. Increasingly, technology is critical to the value that your firm creates for and delivers to your customers.

Technology executives at customer-obsessed companies understand this very well and use customer value to drive the strategy, delivery, and communication of their technology investments. This is part of a future fit technology strategy that can help businesses grow three times faster than their peers and that enables them to champion customer obsession for their firm now and in the future. Our research shows that these future fit tech executives:

  • Place the customer at the center of strategic planning processes. Future fit tech execs apply the four principles of customer obsession (customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected) to their strategic planning to drive real change. This customer-obsessed strategic planning, with both investments and operations, is then linked to portfolio management practices that help tech execs achieve the greatest customer value within the constraints of capacity and time. And increasingly, we see more future fit tech execs organize outcome planning, delivery, and operations using value streams that represent the end-to-end flow of interactions required to produce meaningful value for customers through their journey.
  • Fund persistent delivery teams aligned to outcomes. Future fit tech execs fund persistent teams, not projects, designed to deliver customer outcomes. For instance, Standard Chartered operates its strategy under a fixed capacity model, with the investment budget unlocked every quarter based on the product teams’ progress against planned and upcoming backlog that delivers the teams’ target outcomes. This model enables the bank to keep costs in check while being flexible enough to adapt to fast-changing customer needs. Such outcome-based funding mechanisms drive a continuous stream of value creation, for both application delivery and infrastructure operations.
  • Continuously communicate technology’s value. Customers (internal or external) are the ultimate validators of the value that they receive from your organization. Future fit tech execs consider their feedback, observe their behaviors, and measure their engagement, as they communicate the value of technology investments. Customer value serves as an input to regular priority reviews at the portfolio management and strategic planning levels. To drive consensus around the business value of technology, future fit tech executives also craft customer stories that communicate this value through compelling narratives and engaging formats such as video.

Forrester has developed a set of reports for its clients that provide resources for tech execs to draw on when they need to drive the business value of technology across three stages: plan, deliver, and communicate. These reports will be available as part of Forrester Decisions, a new approach and brand-new platform focusing our research, insights, and collaborative resources on helping you solve the most challenging technology issues you face.