To succeed in today's business environment, the complexity around products and services needs to be taken out.

That is according to Forrester Research CIO professionals advisor vice president, John Brand, who spoke about the transformation of digital businesses at the analyst firm's CIO Summit in Sydney.

"Simplicity is the only thing that makes a difference to customer," he said.

"They don't care about your internal structures or the way you account for things."

Instead, Brand said consumers view a product as being an "elegant item or service," as well as whether the experience is good.

One example Brand uses to illustrate his point in the Nike+ FuelBand, a wearable piece of technology that he said provides a "very seamless experience."

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"There is not many buttons or flashing lights to make users feel warm and fuzzy about it being a smart piece of technology," he said.

Brand adds products such as the FuelBand demonstrates how our expectations of technology have changed, where smart technology is "not about flashing light and lots of buttons."

"It's about not much at all, and that's considered good technology now," he said.

Keeping it simple

The customer experience has been a strong focus for businesses, though Brand said many have responded with only a "digital bolt-on strategy."

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Brand highlight one large organisation that has 150 mobile applications available to customers.

"Most of us have to update two or three applications, but imagine receiving 150 application updates from one company," he said.

To succeed in today's digital environment, Brand recommends organisations move away from this idea of a digital bolt-on.

"It can't be just something we can tack onto the business with someone behind the curtain doing a little bit of smoke and mirrors," he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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