According to Forrester's 2024 Planning Guides, leaders should maintain realistic budget expectations for 2024 but should not adopt a conservative approach, as stakeholder demands for growth remain strong. To accelerate their growth and meet the changing expectations of digitally empowered customers, leaders should invest in AI and enhance their internal digital capabilities instead of relying heavily on external service providers.
In the coming year, European digital leaders anticipate allocating a significant average of 28% of their organization's digital budget to external services. A versatile AI strategy can provide various solutions across operational areas, leading to increased customer value, streamlined processes, reduced complexity, and enhanced innovation.
“European economic indicators are pointing in ambiguous, counterintuitive, and contradictory directions — making it difficult for business leaders to plan their budget investments for the year ahead. Despite the continued economic volatility, European leaders who prioritise investments that create customer value, improve efficiencies, and create differentiation will see significant gains. Forrester’s Planning Guides provide detailed guidance to business leaders on where to invest, pull back, and strategically experiment to grow and succeed in the coming year,” said Laura Koetzle, VP and group research director at Forrester.
Forrester's Planning Guides are valuable resources for leaders in technology, marketing, digital, and customer experience (CX) roles as they go through their annual budgeting and prioritization processes. These guides offer suggestions on where to consider adjusting budget allocations for the upcoming year, whether it's through experimentation, deeper investment, or divestment.
Where to increase investment in 2024?
To enhance customer value, leaders should harness AI strategies and tools that prioritize efficiency and effectiveness. This involves leveraging synthetic data for training and improving AI models and employing AI-driven TuringBots to expedite development and deliver top-quality customer software at a lower cost.
The landscape of B2B buyer interactions and practices has evolved, showing a need for shifting to go-to-market strategies. In 2024, companies should focus on establishing effortless digital experiences that help buyers make product purchases autonomously via websites, marketplaces, and app stores. Additionally, appointing a revenue operations leader who can foster closer alignment among organizational functions to optimize customer value is advisable.
Where to decrease investment in 2024?
Leaders should assess whether introducing additional cloud environments will smoothly transition workloads and enhance their overall IT architecture, considering that the cloud remains the central area for advancements in development and AI to avoid duplicating cloud environments and tools across different functions.
Digital leaders should carefully assess their relationships with service providers to ensure that these partnerships contribute to developing customer-centric solutions aligned with their organization's overall business strategy.
Where to experiment in 2024?
As generative AI technology advances swiftly, organizations will be inclined to explore using autonomous workplace assistants (AWAs) to boost productivity and drive innovation in the workplace. These AWAs represent a significant evolution in AI capabilities. Security leaders should investigate fresh approaches and consider new providers in AI and machine learning security. This is essential to fully harness the potential of generative AI while simultaneously implementing safeguards to mitigate associated risks.