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        Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

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        2024 Market Agenda: Innovation in AI and Digital Modernization

        Ventana Research has announced its market agenda for 2024, continuing a 20-year tradition of credibility and trust in our objective efforts to educate and guide the technology industry. Our research and insights are backed by our expertise and independence, and we do not share our Market Agenda or our market research, including analyst and market perspectives, with any external party before it is published. We continuously refine our Market Agenda throughout the year to ensure we offer the expertise and insights enterprises rely on to better assess and navigate the direction of the technology industry.

        Our market agenda for 2024 has expanded dramatically to address the $800 billion software industry with new expertise and focus areas that complement ISG’s consulting, advisory and 2024_VR_Market_Agenda_Logoresearch needs in support of the firm’s client work with enterprises that influenced over $200 billion of technology spend in 2023. This market agenda spans 10 business and technology areas of expertise and 12 vertical industries. We have published over 800 market assertions to provide insights on the future of software across business and IT.

        A common theme throughout the agenda is the use of AI and advancements in generative AI to enhance compute potential and experiences for enterprises and those with whom they interact. The agenda brings forward a new area of software expertise in AI and focuses on platforms and tools coverage of Computer Vision, Deep Learning, Generative AI, Machine Learning Operations, Model Building and Large Language Models, and Natural Language.

        The market agenda also expands dramatically our coverage for CIO and IT with our digital technology expertise software coverage and research across DevOps and Platforms, Intelligent Automation, IT Service Management, ITOps and Observability. The unification of our analytics and data expertise areas has enabled us to extend our coverage to new topics such as Data Intelligence. We are also expanding Digital Business with new coverage and research into Digital Applications, Digital Intelligence and Digital Operations, and broadening our scope in Office of Finance with Order-to-Cash and Procure-to-Pay.

        The market agenda also highlights our expanded 2024 Buyers Guide market research. Our more than 75 topics and market reports will address new software categories as well as expand on existing ones across applications and software for IT and business.

        Ventana Research publicly posts its market agenda on its community with three months of continuous visibility. Membership to the community is free and open to anyone interested in viewing the firm’s market research and education. The Ventana Research community operates with transparency to help enterprises understand how they can utilize technology to meet their unique business requirements.

        We have made substantive advancements in each business and technology expertise and focus area to offer knowledge and insights to guide digital business enhancements. Here is a snapshot of the topics our subject matter experts will explore this year.

        Digital Business: A digital blueprint to assess and prioritize investment of resources and time is essential to determine how to best utilize automation and enabled intelligence technologies for an effective digital workplace. Our areas of focus in Digital Business include: Digital Applications, Digital Communications, Digital Intelligence, Digital Operations, Experience Management, Generative AI, Performance Management, Sustainability and ESG and Work Management. Our additional technological focus on Digital Communication, Digital Payments, Digital Security and Work Management guides decisions about software requirements for processes and the workforce. Enterprises need to further refine the enablement of digital business using software to ensure readiness, responsiveness and agility.

        Many enterprises continue to invest into digital transformation rather than prioritizing effective digitalization of the business, processes and workforce. Lacking sufficient time andVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_DigBusiness_Horrific_UX_GenAI_19_S resources, enterprises rarely go beyond traditional productivity improvements with collaboration and communication technologies. Now, with the advancements in AI, significant improvements are being made to expand the impact of software including the use of generative AI for more effective digital experiences. I assert that by 2027, one-half of enterprises will identify that the horrific user experiences in their existing software will bring focus to experience management and approaches that use GenAI as the primary method for interactions. Business and IT leaders who want to ensure that their enterprises succeed should learn about and engage software that can fundamentally maximize the value of their time and resources and advance processes and the workforce.

        AI: Responding to the need for effective analytics and the nature of operating in real time, our Analytics expertise area, led by the executive director of software research, DavidVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_AI_New_AI_Investments_10_S Menninger, helps enterprises that make a higher proportion of business decisions based on data gain competitive advantage, responding faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. Dave’s areas of focus include: Computer Vision, Deep Learning, Generative AI, Machine Learning Operations, Model Building and Large Language Models, and Natural Language. He asserts that through 2026, more than one-half of enterprises will realize their AI competencies and skills are insufficient and will require new investments to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage.

        The need for enterprises to operate smarter requires insights derived from analytics through process and technology. Enterprises of all sizes and industries are challenged to manage, govern and process an increasing torrent of data generated in many formats by a multitude of disparate sources, while at the same time increasing analytic agility and accelerating business decision-making through the use of discovery, machine learning, predictive analytics and visualization, and now generative AI. Doing so requires cultural and organizational change as well as the adoption of new technologies that enable approaches that increase the value derived from the accumulated data. Dave’s analyst perspectives provide more detail on our exploration of software overall and the use of AI methods and technologies. Look for our new Buyers Guide on AI where we advise enterprises on the potential of software investments.

        Analytics and Data: Responding to the necessity for business and the nature of operating in real time, our Analytics and Data expertise area, led by research director Matt Aslett, establishes a focus on the effective impact of analytics and data across the enterprise. Matt’s area of focus includes: AI and Machine Learning, Analytics, Data Intelligence, Data Operations, Data Platforms, and Streaming and Events.

        Enterprises that make a higher proportion of business decisions based on data stand to gain competitive advantage, responding faster to worker and customer demands for more innovative, data-rich applications and personalized experiences. Artificial intelligence and machine learning assists in using analytics and data in a more intelligent manner and delivers more impactful insights. Being responsive requires enterprises to operate in real time, using streaming analytics that originate from data and events flowing across networks as well as process mining. Analytics methods using augmented intelligence and natural language processing increase accessibility and engagement. Traditional use of analytics in business intelligence is still critical, and use of collaborative, embedded and mobile analytics can ensure availability within the applications and tools the workforce uses. Enterprises of all sizes and industries are challenged to manage, govern and process an increasing torrent of data generated in many formats by a multitude of disparate sources. Modern data intelligence and operations can support these data platforms.

        As Matt asserts, through 2026, analytics and data software providers will prioritize the delivery of automated code and query generation and conversion capabilities based on GenAI. Follow Matt’s analyst perspectives to monitor the evolution of analytics and data methods, along with Buyers Guides for all aspects of Analytics and Data including augmented, collaborative, embedded and mobile; DataOps including observability, orchestration and pipelines; and Data Intelligence covering governance, application integration, data integration, quality and MDM.

        Customer Experience: High-value interactions are necessary to engage — and satisfy — customers. Our research director Keith Dawson asserts that by 2027, most enterprises will provide personalized customer experiences using AI as part of a broad CX platform. To support this transition, we have augmented our Customer Experience focus to include Agent Management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, Contact Center and Intelligent Self-Service, and Voice of the Customer. Under pressure from customer expectations, enterprises are prioritizing investments that automate and improve engagement across channels. In many cases, they are prioritizing systems that support agents as well as digital engagement with machine-based, virtual agents in a more intelligent, self-service approach. The necessity of strong customer experiences is clear. In response, the modernization of CRM to next-generation customer experience management platforms and applications are creating a unified approach to support interactions. Field service, traditionally handled within a business unit, is becoming a focal point of effective operations and the overall customer journey. Follow Keith’s analyst perspectives to monitor the evolution of data methods and technology, along with Buyers Guides in Contact Center Suites including contact center and agent management, and Customer Experience Management which includes knowledge management and journey management.

        Digital Technology: In the expertise of Digital Technology, we renovate our exploration into the digital technologies that are required by CIO and IT leaders in every enterprise. ThisVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_DigiTech_CIO_Transform_Enterprise_18_S expertise area is led by research director Jeff Orr, who examines the specific — and combinations of — software for IT that provide exponential value. Jeff asserts that through 2025, enterprise CIOs will rely on digital technologies to transform operations, enable cost optimization, drive business goals, boost efficiency and achieve strategic objectives.

        Digital technology helps enterprises gain intelligence and launch automation that ensures ongoing levels of effectiveness for the overall business and within specific processes. Our Digital Technology expertise includes nine focus areas: Business Continuity, Cloud Computing, DevOps and Platforms, Digital Security, Intelligent Automation, IoT and Edge Computing, IT Service Management, ITOps and Observability. Each of these software categories is advancing to generate more value for the business and addresses the technology needs of an enterprise. AI-infused software will be a critical part of Jeff’s focus to ensure that modernization of IT includes embracing the next generation of computing.

        Improving the digital effectiveness across processes in IT, enterprise to customers, partners and the overall supply chain has become a business imperative for 2024. Enhancements to the digital workflows of processes and activities can improve organizational readiness to support the objectives and intentions of everyone in the workforce. Optimizing the path forward in 2024 will require not only a heightened sense of purpose for the use of intelligent automation but also the observability of the enterprise to achieve expected benefits and governance of IT. Establishing a priority focus for digital technology investments will ensure appropriate reward for the time and resources dedicated and to include IoT and edge computing. Jeff’s experience and focus on digital security will bring new depth to help CISOs and CIOs ensure the level of protection that is expected.

        Follow Jeff’s analyst perspectives to monitor the revolution in IT and the use of digital methods and technology, along with Buyers Guides focusing on Cloud Computing platforms including hybrid, public and private; Development including applications development (AppDev) and development operations (DevOps); Digital Security including data protection, identity management, email and end point; Intelligent Automation including conversational, process mining and platforms; and IT including observability, operations and service management.

        Human Capital Management: In the expertise of Human Capital Management — which, as partner and head of software research, I currently lead — we are continuing our dedicated work and market research in the focus areas of Employee Experience, Learning Management, Payroll Management, Total Compensation Management and Workforce Management as well as the optimal use of Talent Management. Given the flexibility of hybrid and remote work or, in contrast, the return to work and frigidity of enterprises, workforce challenges are more focused on the opportunity to be employed than on the employee experience. Innovating talent development is essential, though enterprises have become rusty in this area. The focus on individual and career skill development is evolving rapidly to support digital learning and maximizing the potential of every worker. Meeting the demand for talent growth from recruiting and hiring to onboarding will require moving beyond antiquated CRM approaches to more effective candidate engagement to ensure organizational growth. A focus on worker and career development requires continued investment in coaching, mentoring and skills that align to performance management. But HCM can evolve the most with the use of AI designed for the employee experience. Human-like interfaces using generative AI are desperately needed in almost every enterprise.

        Maximizing the merits of HCM requires the use of people analytics and workforce planning to help decision-makers and managers, and to support diversity, equity and inclusion improvement. Keys to the success of these initiatives are an effective set of technological requirements and a structured software provider evaluation process to ensure the human capital management platform and applications meet the future requirements of the enterprise. We assert that by 2028, three-quarters of enterprises will abandon their existing recruitment processes as they determine that their antiquated methods and supporting CRM systems detract from gaining quality candidates for the workforce. Look to future Buyers Guides in Compensation Management; Learning Management including Learning Content and LXP; Payroll Management; Workforce Management including domestic and global; and HCM Suites including HRMS and talent management.

        Marketing: Performance-driven marketing requires a focus on outcomes and processes derived from analytics and data. To gain engagement across process, it is essential to have the competencies and skills to be digitally effective in every interaction. Advancing intelligence in marketing processes is not easy given the volume of available data and the skills required to utilize it. By 2028, one-quarter of CMOs will look to scrap their portfolio of marketing technologies for new digital platforms that can engage and interact more intelligently with visitors and customers.

        Research director Keith Dawson and I continue to lead the effort to advance the effectiveness of marketing organizations. Our Marketing expertise covers fundamental and advanced techniques in Digital Marketing and Intelligent Marketing for optimal engagement, but also how to use data more intelligently with Customer Data Platforms (CDP), and Product Experience Management using product information more effectively. Marketing Performance Management and effective scorecards for planning and analytics supports aligning resources and budgets to reach the desired objectives. We will continue our focus in Digital Experience Platforms which ensure information and interactions are updated across processes and systems, and add the use of AI with generative AI to provide modern human digital experiences that are mostly not available in today’s interfaces for website and commerce interactions.

        Assessment of software providers in Buyers Guides will span Digital Experience Suites including platform, digital asset management (DAM), and website with CMS; and Product Experience Management including customers, supply chain, intelligence and analytics, and platform.

        Office of Finance: Prioritizing the operating efficiency of processes can help finance teams achieve desired outcomes and ensure their readiness to respond to market changes and organizational requirements. Our well-established Office of Finance expertise covers focus areas of Business Planning, Consolidate and Close Management, Digital Finance, Enterprise Resource Planning and Continuous Accounting, as well as two new focus areas in Order-to-Cash and Procure-to-Pay. We established intercompany financial management as a discipline for digitizing accounting and reconciliation processes that intersect costs and activities across the enterprise and workforce, and have continued to educate on the merits of a data pantry that can meet the needs of finance and FP&A, along with the application of AI for advancing the automation and intelligence needed by every CFO.

        Our goal is to enable financial planning and analysis teams to use analytics and modeling to guide planning processes. My colleague Robert Kugel, executive director of business softwareVentana_Research_2024_Assertion_OfficeOfFinance_GenAI_Documents_Communication_10_S research and leader for our Office of Finance expertise area, asserts that by 2027, a majority of finance and accounting departments will use GenAI to facilitate the creation of documents and communications to improve productivity. Follow Robert’s analyst perspectives on the Office of Finance technology landscape and Buyers Guides in Business Planning including financial, sales and operations, supply chain and workforce planning; Consolidate and Close; and Procure-to-Pay.

        Office of Revenue: My colleague Stephen Hurrell, research director in the Office of Revenue expertise area, examines the revenue processes and technology required for buying and selling products and services. Whether your enterprise has operations teams focused on commercial, revenue or sales, they need to be more efficient with processes and performance management. Managing revenue performance across channels and departments that support buyer and seller interactions requires sales and revenue performance management systems. The continued need to manage compensation and incentives related to quotas and territories is essential for every sales organization.

        The neglect of customer relationship management investments in the past decade continue to plague revenue efforts as outdated systems lack the ability to interact with advanced,Ventana_Research_2024_Assertion_OfficeOfRevenue_Outdated_CRM_SFA_14_S intelligent applications. Stephen asserts that through 2026, more than one-half of enterprises, due to outdated CRM and SFA processes and system design, will be unable to deploy the latest AI technology to assist sales, partners and customer service, thus limiting revenue growth. Consumer expectations for interactions with goods and services has led to transformation of digital commerce technology that supports web and mobile interactions. Ideally, these systems deliver effective product experiences through dedicated product information and experience management systems that require AI and the application of generative AI to provide human-like digital experiences for consumers to customers.

        The growth of hybrid business models and mixed selling methods elevates the need for effective technology to support sales processes. The recurring billing and monetization aspects of digital and potentially physical services requires effective — and in most cases, dedicated — subscription management software that manages the experiences of subscribers and subscriptions. Selling experiences requires investment in sales engagement applications to ensure optimal interactions throughout the buyers’ journey. The impact of the revenue potential and resulting customer experience from third-party channels requires partner management software to support the indirect channel of revenue and ensure optimal operations and desired outcomes. This will be a continued focus for Office of Revenue. Follow Stephen’s analyst perspectives and Buyers Guides covering CRM including marketing, sales, revenue, commerce, partners, service and platform; Revenue Performance Management including revenue intelligence and analytics, sales performance management and sales compensation management; and Subscription Management including B2B, B2C and platform.

        Operations and Supply Chain: Our Operations and Supply Chain expertise is also led by Robert Kugel. Areas of focus include: Continuous Planning, Continuous Supply Chain and ERP, Product Information Management, Property Technology, Supplier Relationship Management and Sustainability Management. Robert asserts that by 2026, one-half of supply chain teams will adopt natural language processing as a component of improving digital experiences for business professionals who desire conversational methods of interaction. The advancement of AI and renovated automation and intelligence is critical for every supply chain and an essential improvement for efficiency in the accuracy and delivery of products.  

        The digitization every enterprise requires to meet the demand for products and services is necessary, but focus on the outcomes and impact of processes is essential for resilience. This must be established through a continuous supply chain that operates with enterprise resource planning in a unified manner, supported through continuous planning to work toward mutual outcomes. At the core of the supply chain is the interconnected aspect of product life cycle management, contributing to product information management in support of product experiences across the enterprise and for customers, partners and suppliers.

        A continued investment in supplier relationship management addresses the pressure on sourcing, fulfillment, invoice reconciliation and payment terms — activities interconnected with finance teams and processes. The need to focus on assets with property technology is still a substantial opportunity to improve the tenant, landlord and owner relationship with applications designed to not just operate but optimize this tangible asset. A continued focus on sustainability management is part of our research into operations and supply chain, specifically where data and information related to operations and products needs to be part of the continuous processes of enterprises. Assessment of software providers in Buyers Guides will span ESG including operations and analytic and data; ERP including manufacturing and services; Product Experience Management including customers, supply chain, intelligence and analytics, and platform; and Supply Chain Management including Warehouse Management, Transportation Management and Logistics Management.

        Our work in 2023 found that enterprises remain bifurcated in digital transformation. Some enterprises are shifting from cloud computing to hybrid multi-cloud and distributed computing environments, while others use myriad cloud-computing strategies. Our belief is that enterprises are not aligning priorities and resources effectively to achieve business goals and perform essential digital modernization priorities. The lack of curiosity and technological competencies of business leaders contributes to misguided investments. Business and IT leaders must understand technology to ensure innovation, optimize productivity and enable digital experiences that impact everyone from customers to partners using AI and generative AI.

        At Ventana Research, we guide enterprises to digital effectiveness through our subject matter expertise, market research and industry experience with technology to achieve desired outcomes from current and future investments. Enjoy our overall market agenda for 2024 across 10 expertise areas and 12 vertical industries and the in-depth perspectives that facilitate the knowledge from our firm to utilize technology in the most effective manner. Subscribe to our Ventana Research community at no cost and stay up to date on our 2024 research efforts. Unlike other technology analyst firms, we provide our research and insights in mediums that are easy to consume but open to everyone to enable improvement. Check out our market expertise and focus areas and access educational resources available exclusively to members of our community.


        Mark Smith


        Mark Smith
        Partner, Head of Software Research

        Mark Smith is the Partner, Head of Software Research at ISG and Ventana Research leading the global market agenda as a subject matter expert in digital business and enterprise software. Mark is a digital technology enthusiast using market research and insights to educate and inspire enterprises, software and service providers.


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