Who Are the Tech Purchase Decision-Makers?
October 02, 2015

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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IDG Enterprise's 2015 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research reveals how organizations set technology strategy, the individuals involved in technology purchase decisions and the resources used to stay in the know on technology transformation. Collaboration continues to be a key theme as business executives set the organizational strategy and IT executives lead teams to build and execute plans to help advance the organization.

Who is Leading Tech Purchase Decisions?

Technology is a driving force for organizational advancement. While the majority of organizations (55%) maintain a centralized model where the CIO oversees technology purchases, the widespread use of technology is opening the door for a federated model where some budgets and decisions are centralized but others are distributed within the organization (37%). Enterprise organizations (1,000+ employees) are divided between centralized (42%) and federated (50%) approaches. Additionally, a handful of organizations are decentralized (8%), allowing IT business units to manage their technology projects and spending independently.

No matter which organizational model is adopted, collaboration continues to be a key theme, and technology executives continue to take the lead on authorizing purchases. On average, technology decision-makers collaborate with 3.4 title sets on a regular basis. Throughout the purchase process involvement varies as multiple groups share responsibility for finding and selecting the right solution to align with business needs.

Spending Time with Tech-Based Resources & Video

As technology shifts, understanding what is new is vital to business advancement. Technology decision-makers have embraced self-education when staying up-to-date on technology, from visiting tech content sites (74%), reading white papers (62%), talking with peers outside their organization (60%), and watching webcast/webinars/web videos (60%). The sources used vary throughout the purchase process, but technology content sites and peers (through a variety of channels) remain consistent resources.

Technology can often be complex and video is a great tool for explaining solutions. It is not surprising that 93% of technology decision-makers have watched a tech-related video in the last 3 months. Video also encourages additional action from researching a product (67%), visiting a vendor website (56%), or sharing the video with colleagues (40%). While half of technology decision-makers (47%) feel that video quality is important, numerous video options allow technology vendors to test the waters.

Emerging Vendors and Strategic Partners

Technology advancements have built efficiencies within technology environments, sometimes with resulting budget savings. The majority (58%) of technology decision-makers can reallocate those savings which opens the door for both emerging vendors and strategic partners to make a play for those dollars. On average technology decision-makers spend 4.11 hours/week with current vendors and 2.14 hours/week with prospective vendors. The majority (68%) spend one hour or less with prospective vendors. Emerging vendors are receiving about a quarter (28%) of the time spent with prospective vendors, showcasing the importance of content marketing to help build a case with self-educating decision-makers.

Tech decision-makers use multiple resources to learn about emerging vendors. Reading about emerging vendors during research, discussions with peers and attending conferences lead this education process, showcasing where emerging vendors should focus their promotions.

On the flip side, since 2011 the number of strategic partners that enterprise organizations rely on has dropped from 6 to 3. Strategic partners are vendors that go beyond effective delivery of systems and services to become a consistently responsive, agile, and trusted collaborator in creating value for your organization. There are many critical factors that play a role in joining this exclusive group, particularly customer service/response time (70%), understanding of business goals (66%), post-sales support (63%), long-term viability of the company (63%), and knowledge of their product portfolio (55%).

Methodology: IDG Enterprise conducted its 2015 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker survey to gain insight into the evolving structure of IT organizations and the role and influence of tech decision-makers in the purchase process. Results in this report are based on more than 1,200 respondents involved in the technology purchase process. Respondents are IT and security decision-makers across multiple industries that engage with IDG Enterprise brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World).

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