According to Forrester’s 2024 Planning Guides, more realistic budget expectations will serve leaders well as they enter 2024, but now is not the time to hunker down as stakeholder expectations for growth remain steadfast.
Additionally, to accelerate growth and keep pace with the evolving expectations of empowered digital customers, leaders should consider investing in and experimenting with AI. A versatile AI approach can deliver a broad range of solutions across operations that create customer value, cut inefficient complexity, and drive innovation.
Forrester’s Planning Guides help leaders across technology, marketing, digital and customer experience (CX) functions during annual budgeting and prioritization cycles. They provide relevant benchmark operational data and recommendations for areas to experiment, deepen, or divest budget allocations for the coming year. Key insights from Forrester’s 2024 Planning Guides include:
Areas to increase investment in 2024:
- AI strategies and tools that deliver customer value. To deliver greater customer value, leaders must leverage AI for efficiency and effectiveness. This includes using synthetic data for training and refining AI models and AI-powered TuringBots to build and deliver higher quality customer software faster and cheaper.
- Digital B2B buyer interactions and self-serve routes to market. B2B buyer composition and practices have changed. As such, go-to-market strategies must change as well. In 2024, businesses should create seamless digital experiences that enable buyers to make product purchases independently through websites, marketplaces, and app stores.
Areas to decrease investment in 2024:
- Redundant cloud environments and tools across functions. While 78% of enterprise technology decision-makers anticipate their organization’s cloud investment will increase over the next 12 months, leaders should gauge whether adding new cloud environments will shift workloads seamlessly and help their broader IT design.
- Digital service providers. Digital leaders should evaluate each provider they work with to determine whether the partnership is helping them create customer-focused solutions that advance their organization’s business strategy.
Areas for experimentation in 2024:
- Advanced AI capabilities — including autonomous workplace assistants (AWAs). Generative AI’s rapid business progression will prompt organizations to experiment with AWAs to accelerate workplace productivity and innovation.
- AI and machine learning security. Security leaders should explore new frameworks and vendors in the AI and machine learning (ML) security space to both maximize generative AI’s potential and put guardrails in place to minimize its risks.
“Looking ahead to 2024, while the macroeconomic conditions look more promising than the year before, budgets are likely to remain tight,” said Dane Anderson, senior vice president of international research and product at Forrester. “Given the continued economic volatility, leaders need to prioritize investments that create customer value, improve efficiencies, and create differentiation.”