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Indian CIOs focus on understanding customers as economy picks up

Shaleen Sinha

Spending on business intelligence and analytics technologies will increase as Indian CIOs attempt to better understand their customers in the light of an improving economy.

The Indian economy will start to pick up in 2014 partly due to the increasing involvement of companies in technological investments, improving exports, and huge infrastructure projects, according to Forrester Research.

An 8 % increase in Indian IT purchases in its local currency in 2014 was indicated in a Forrester report released in December 2013.

Technologies to help businesses collect and analyze data will be high on the CIO's shopping lists as the business demands more understanding of what customers want and how they want to receive it.

“In 2014, India will be among the top four [fastest growing economies] for IT purchases. Apps, analytic, and as-a-service are the drivers of market growth. Business-led technology transformation will give better benefit realization which will lead to lower operational expenditures and automation using policy driven approach,” said Sudhanshu Bhandari, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Businesses must adopt a common Business Technology (BT) strategy instead of developing business strategy first and then asking IT to align their strategy with business, added Bhandari.

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Customer experience is predicted to be the top priority in CIOs' BT agenda, regardless of budget. According to Forrester, 87% of Indian CIOs said addressing customers’ rising expectations and improving satisfaction is a high or critical priority.

And two-thirds of Indian CIOs plan to increase spending on business intelligence and real-time customer and business analytics, to better engage with today’s digitally empowered customers.

“Companies need to set up IT systems that conform to 360 degree customer contact eco-system and assume that competition is everywhere and plan their IT strategy accordingly,” said Suhale Kapoor, co-founder of analytics firm AbsolutData.

Kapoor said due to the democratization of IT and tools, IT functions might get slowed down. To stay relevant with the changing Indian technology market IT departments need to enable change and info sharing rather than stick with traditional systems.

Business will use analytics for better customer insights, and based on results develop enterprise apps for the customers to increase customer engagement anywhere anytime.

“Indian companies must understand rapidly changing customer behavior to better win, serve, and retain customers. Large investments in IT should translate into tangible business outcomes. If you want to attract and retain customers — especially your best customers — you must provide an excellent customer experience at each and every moment of engagement. Therefore, CEOs and their CIOs need to bring a fundamental shift in the way technology is leveraged,” said Bhandari at Forrester.