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New Research from Merkle, Conduent, ManageEngine, Airship, and NTT Data

Topics Include B2B, HR and EX, IT and CX, UK Shopper Coupons, and EX Investments

Merkle: New B2B Superpowers Index Report Unveils Findings

Safety, trust, and CX are crucial for achieving success in a competitive business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, reveals the 2023 B2B Superpowers Index, a research report from Merkle that aims to support B2B brands in developing strategies for the future. In its third edition, the report reveals profound shifts in the B2B sector and delivers actionable advice for companies wishing to drive growth and gain competitive advantage in the space.

“Experience is now critical to every business. The pressure is firmly on B2B brands to enter the CX arena and deliver growth in new and innovative ways,” says Rob Gold, UK CEO at Merkle B2B, the division in the company where the report was developed.

The B2B Superpowers Index acts as a resource for B2B teams by revealing the key factors that influence buying decisions and by providing context, key learnings, and recommended applications of findings to ensure that business leaders possess a roadmap for success, says Merkle, the CX management company based in Maryland that is part of Japan’s Dentsu Group.

One finding from the report is that the B2B competitor landscape is growing, with B2B buyers today evaluating a higher number of potential partners when making purchase decisions and taking longer to make their final decisions, creating further obstacles for B2B brands looking to win new business as a result.

Moreover, the B2B performance gap is narrowing, another finding suggests. The gap in performance between leading brands and second-place contenders continues to narrow, underscoring both the increased competition in B2B markets and the critical importance of continuous innovation.

As the B2B industry faces uncertainty, leaders cannot afford to risk losing out, and de-prioritizing B2B relationships could hurt brands in the long run, Merkle declares.

Conduent: HR Must Combine Digital and Human Technology Solutions

Human resources (HR) departments must leverage technologies that deliver a blend of digital and human interaction to drive employee engagement and satisfaction, according to new research from Conduent, the business process outsourcing (BPO) company headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The blending is essential because HR technology solutions must furnish digital experiences that meet the needs of employees while also freeing up time for HR representatives to focus on more complex employee issues that require personal engagement, says Michelle Hernandez, vice president and general manager at Conduent. “The stakes are high for getting HR experiences right because exceptional employee experiences are tied to increased employee engagement and greater loyalty,” Hernandez notes.

Related Article: Uncertainty Confronts the Workplace; Employees and HR Feel Pressure

In Conduent’s survey of 250 HR professionals, the respondents say that the most important features of an HR technology solution should:

  • Leverage cloud-based HR software, applications, and tools that are scalable
  • Measure workforce satisfaction and engagement as an indicator of loyalty
  • Provide a consistent, empathetic omnichannel workforce experience across delivery channels
  • Consolidate data across the enterprise
  • Provide managers with intuitive direct access to information and transactions

More than ever, HR teams are looking to technology to solve the challenge of delivering the right information to employees at exactly the right time, according to the research. For organizations, this means they must close the gap between how employees want to engage with HR on the one hand, and the current HR capabilities operating on legacy systems that silo data on the other.

ManageEngine: IT Teams Must Adopt Unified Observability Solution to Improve CX

To help provide a seamless CX, IT teams must ditch siloed approaches and embrace a unified observability solution powered by AI and machine learning, according to a new study examining the state of IT operations management (ITOM) for 2023. The study is from ManageEngine, the provider of IT management software and a division of India-based software maker Zoho Corporation.

In its State of ITOM for 2023 report, ManageEngine says that IT operations teams hoping to make improvements to CX face several challenges when using commonly held approaches such as observability or AIOps, also known as Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations.

A lack of understanding was the primary challenge with observability, defined as the ability to assess a complex system’s internal state based on external outputs or data being produced without the need for additional testing. According to the study, more than 57% of the IT decision makers serving as the study’s survey respondents state that their organizations were not familiar with the concept of observability. Similarly, more than 65% of respondents say their organizations lacked a proper understanding of AIOps and its use cases.

Without a clear understanding, organizations run the risk of being unable to derive the full value of either observability or AIOps and each approach’s implications on cost, implementation, and return on investment (ROI).

Even so, organizations are likely to continue investing in technologies related to observability and AIOps because the benefits are clear, concludes Mathivanan Venkatachalam, vice president at ManageEngine.

Airship: UK Shoppers Turn to Mobile Apps for Rewards and Personalized Offers

British consumers are most willing to opt into mobile apps in exchange for rewards, discounts, and personalized offers, with 80% of consumers in the UK using their smartphones to access coupons or loyalty cards while shopping in physical stores, reveals the findings of a survey from mobile app experience company Airship. The UK figure compares to 79% in the US, 73% in France, and 72% in Germany.

The findings on British shoppers are part of a global survey of 11,000 consumers that revealed deal-motivated shopping behavior to be common across different markets. Worldwide, of the 10 ways that consumers use smartphones while shopping in physical stores, the use of retailer apps experienced the greatest growth year over year, up from 65% to 74%.

Related Article: More Consumers Are Using Retailers’ Mobile Apps, New Airship Research Shows

For UK brick-and-mortar shoppers, using mobile devices to compare prices and to access the retailer’s loyalty card and coupons increased the most, up 8 points, followed by use of the retailer’s app, up 7 points. Three-quarters of British shoppers are likely to visit the retailer’s website while shopping in-store, 72% are apt to use the brand’s app, and 77% are liable to compare prices on Amazon or Google before making an in-store purchase.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to mobile apps from their favorite retailers to score deals, gain special access, and improve their overall customer experience, particularly while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores,” says Thomas Butta, chief strategy and marketing officer at Airship. “As marketing budgets are pinched and consumers face economic pressures, retailers need greater agility to create and optimize valuable app experiences that grow customer understanding and reward them individually, making life easier and better for everyone involved.”

The findings are contained in the Airship report, Enhancing Shopper Value in 2023, completed in partnership with London-based market research firm Sapio Research. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Airship is a platform for customer engagement, lifecycle marketing, and analytics and data solutions. Airship also designs and develops custom web or mobile applications and enterprise software solutions.

NTT Data: Investments in EX and Reskilling Are Increasing

Digital business and IT services firm NTT Data released data from its annual Innovation Index research showing that organizations are increasing their investment in employee skills to create a high-quality employee experience (EX) critical to retaining top talent, generating profits, and achieving business goals.

The result of a survey of 1,000 business and IT executives across 16 industries in North America, the data shows that a small but impactful leader group (9%) is more likely to see profit gains of more than 25% through investing in upskilling/reskilling initiatives to build the workforce of the future. These leaders focus on developing a culture centered around innovation, with nearly half of the survey respondents believing that employee satisfaction depends on open communication, flexible work options, and updated technologies.

But even as employers continue to focus on improving EX, a gap still exists in how satisfied employees feel in their roles. Among employers, 45% say their employees continue to feel unfulfilled in their roles, likely due to the complex set of circumstances that have taken place during the past few years. Moreover, 54% of leaders surveyed are aware that communication is a core employee need for satisfaction and engagement, and 48% of these leaders acknowledge the value of flexible working options for a healthier employee work-life balance.

The research also reveals that despite global turbulence and change, executive interest continues to focus on investments that prioritize modern EX, integrating advanced technology and business growth. For instance, 50% focus on new reskilling or upskilling initiatives, 48% on integration of modern technologies into existing processes, 45% on creating new products or incorporating new sustainable practices in internal operations, and 35% on revamping customer service efforts.

Finally, the findings indicate that organizations have realized meaningful value from specific advanced technologies. Among respondents, 46% cite smart wearables and ingestibles, 43% mention robotics and robotic process automation, and 40% name chatbots and virtual assistants as their choice.

The results of the survey, conducted by NTT Data in partnership with independent economic advisory firm Oxford Economics, can be found in the research study, The Innovation Index: Shifting from Disruption to Growth. NTT Data, part of Japan’s NTT Group, is an IT and business services provider with an advanced portfolio of consulting, application, business process, cloud, and infrastructure services to businesses and governments worldwide.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.


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