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CIOs will increase spend on understanding the consumer this year

By Heinz Stephan, Director Consumer Solutions at Westcongroup Southern Africa

Any technology or product that assists your business and its people to better understand what your consumer wants and needs, as well as offers up insights into how you can better meet their requirements is money well-spent. It’s should be no surprise then, that leading IT research and advisory company Gartner has predicted that 2016 will see a larger slice of IT budget go towards technologies that help businesses to better understand their customers.

 

To do this businesses will spend more on improving engagement with consumers through multi-channel experience, which in turn will facilitate the buying process. Take for example, location-based services that are designed to make the lives of consumers more convenient and lead them to what they want or need faster than ever before.

 

This is an example of the way in which data, especially about the consumer, can be used to benefit a business and incidentally this is the way that data will be used in the year ahead according to Gartner. Simply obtaining and possessing data is no longer good enough. The value of data for businesses in 2016 will be derived from how they interpret and use it to better their organisations.

 

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium 2015 in Brisbane, Gartner’s global head of research Peter Sondegaard asserted that “data is inherently dumb” and that “It doesn’t actually do anything unless you know how to use it; how to act with it”.

 

So coming back to the example of location-based services, value is drawn from data obtained by a consenting (or at least this should be the case) consumer and used to better their shopping or entertainment experience. Ultimately, any consumer-centric business would benefit from spending more on improving the customer experience because that is what will keep them returning. Which is exactly what you want, is it not?

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