Gartner Business Quarterly

Proven guidance for C-suite action

2022 Q4

Winning in the Weird Economy

Discover 3 key principles to navigate uncertainty

This edition of Gartner Business Quarterly provides actionable insights and uncovers three new realities to guide 2023 planning as the world continues to shift. It includes:

  • Articles to better support customers and employees in recessionary times
  • Insights from real-world experiences shared by organizations spanning the globe.
  • Cutting-edge data to help with smarter planning and spending, talent, culture and technology.

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    In this issue

    Winning in the Weird Economy

    Letter From The Editor

    The world economy has been through a lot recently. We’ve seen just about every phase in the cycle crammed into the last three years: a long expansion that was breaking records, a pandemicdriven shock, an overheated roaring-back. And now we come to the most peculiar stage of all. A triple squeeze — of sustained inflation, a still-robust talent market and continued supply chain disruption — places new limits on executive leaders as we head into recessionary times.

    Through the cooling and the contradictions, keep an eye on two important constituent groups: customers and employees. You will need them both when the cycle turns again — so be careful how you treat them now.

    This issue of Gartner Business Quarterly will show you how corporate functions together can support customers through a time when more buys less and delivery schedules are unpredictable. For most companies, the window for price increases is shrinking. Instead, apply a different mindset to cost management — a broader definition of productivity and an enterprise view of technology spending. Help customers use digital tools that save them money; enlist supply chains to help customers save time. And prepare for new growth markets you won’t want to miss out on.

    As for employees, use our findings to make the right talent tradeoffs during a downturn. And discover the secret to retention for a group in exceedingly high demand. Of course, we’re talking about data analysts and scientists. Spoiler alert: higher pay is not the answer.

    You’ll learn from the real-world experience of a global group of organizations including Asurion, Eastman, John Lewis & Partners, Lowe’s, Trane Technologies and ZF Group.

    GBQ helps you align with others and reach peak effectiveness, so your enterprise can achieve its goals, be bold and principled, and bring employees, investors, and the public along for the ride.

    Our standing departments keep you up to speed — Cutting Edge is a look at provocative new data; Briefs offer short takes about smarter spending and planning, talent and culture, growth and innovation, and data and technology.

    We welcome your feedback. Please contact me at

    — Judy Pasternak

    3 New Realities to Guide 2023 Planning as Inflation Response Cools Economies
    To prosper as the world continues to shift, keep these principles in mind: The response to high prices can’t be to raise prices. You can’t drive profitable growth without productivity growth. Playing offense on talent doesn’t have to break the bank. 

    Understand How Shoppers Use Digital Tools to Combat Higher Prices
    Many consumers now routinely use digital coupons, loyalty program trackers, price comparison sites and price prediction tools. And, confronted by a soaring cost of living in 2022, they are savvy enough to hunt down the aids that save them the most money and are easiest to employ. Retailers can’t ignore this desire for convenience.

    Lay the Groundwork for a Huge New Market: Machines That Are Customers
    Now is the time to create a path to entry to a business megatrend that will be more significant than the arrival of digital commerce and could be your organization’s key to growth. Welcome to a world where your company’s best customers may not be individual humans or enterprises. They might be machines. Jumping on the opportunity to sell to connected buying agents will not just be a tech thing or a marketing thing. It will be an everyone thing. All C-suite executives must play a role or progress will be partial, ineffectual and inconclusive.

    Supply Chains Can Drive Customer Loyalty
    The supply chain is often first in line for cost cuts when budgets tighten. But a decline in performance negatively affects customer loyalty by nearly three times as much as a price increase. Make sure customers get high-quality products and services delivered on time – and go beyond that to help them use what they buy faster and more easily

    Make the Most of Your Brand-Building Budget
    Businesses are fighting to retain customer and employee commitment while marketing budgets still haven’t fully returned to prepandemic levels and now inflation has hit. Every dollar, pound, rupee or euro counts.

    A Case for Enterprisewide Technology Spend Management
    In the last few years, executive leaders have been willing to increase their risk tolerance and loosen their purse strings in pursuit of the digital dividend – but they aren’t extending a blank check. CFOs and CEOs are asking CIOs and chief digital officers whether their aggressive investments have paid off. When business units are buying software and employees everywhere in the organization are coding, limited visibility gets in the way of an accurate accounting.

    To Keep Data Scientists, Set Them Free
    Believe it or not, it’s possible to prevent poaching and avoid expensive competition for new hires with this highly-sought skill set. Asurion has achieved a 93% retention rate among its data scientists and Eastman has overcome common obstacles to upgrading data skills in the existing workforce. The secret ingredient was freedom — time to learn, recognition for creativity and varied experiences that untethered talent from a particular business unit or a specific type of work.

    How to Weigh Talent Tradeoffs in a Downturn
    Because they can’t control the macroeconomy, executives should devote more time and resources toward the areas they can influence. Namely, they should bolster the resilience of their organization and — in particular — their employees. HR, enterprise risk management and strategic planning leaders will be vital partners in making tough choices.

    The Whiteboard: Big Questions to Ask About the Future Economy
    Keep thinking about tomorrow while you’re navigating the near-term twists of one of the most unusual downturns ever. Let’s head to the whiteboard and sketch out four trends to embed in strategic planning efforts. Can your enterprise gin up opportunity and minimize risks posed by population shifts, digital-based productivity, nationalism on Earth and large-scale business operations in space?

    About Gartner Business Quarterly

    Gartner Business Quarterly provides business executives with insights from best practices research and the real-world experience of practitioners. The journal’s insights especially equip executives to tackle challenges that cut across the C-suite and affect multiple executive teams. Writers, contributors and data analysts are members of Gartner Research & Advisory (R&A) whose teams are led by Senior VP Val Sribar. The Gartner Business Quarterly publication is led by Editor-in-Chief Judy Pasternak with executive sponsorship by Group VP Scott Christofferson.