Overlooking a Critical IT Role? Better Think Again.

CMO: Numbers that Count

Sixteen. That is the total number of people influencing enterprise technology purchases at large organizations (more than 1,000 employees).* That may seem like a big number when it means that your message needs to reach not only your initial contact, but sometimes individuals across the organization and up the chain to top IT and LOB leaders. So, who are the influencers that may be playing a more strategic role in the buying process? One role that is increasing as a strategic partner is the network professional, a role that is most frequently viewed as centered on the nuts and bolts of the enterprise. But as emerging technologies continue to blur the lines of the network, their role is being propelled into the area of IT strategy helping their business focus on digital transformation. This is clear from the results of Network World’s 2016 State of the Network Study that explores the evolving role of the network professional as well as how core and emerging technologies are changing the enterprise network.

Enterprise networks are becoming increasingly complex no doubt due to new data demands, geographically distributed businesses, security requirements, and more. It’s not surprising that the overwhelming majority (91%, enterprise respondents) agree that the role is becoming more challenging than ever. They are being asked to balance multiple enterprise IT initiatives, while also ensuring the foundation of the enterprise supports an agile, innovative business. Networking capabilities are increasingly critical to supporting these innovation efforts, and in this era, speed can be a deciding factor for growth. According to the study, the top three areas that are the primary drivers of an organization’s networking investment include improving network speed and performance, improving data security, and ensuring availability. With all of the focus around digital innovation, its projected budgets will remain strong in the coming year. In fact, the majority (51%) of enterprise organizations anticipate an increase in budget allocation. The biggest spike in spending will be on cloud services with 63% anticipating an increase in total IT budget dedicated to it. This is followed by network security (53%) and data storage (43%).

The networking team is a key collaborator on critical IT decisions. More than two-thirds of IT and business professionals at enterprise organizations say the networking management team is communicating with the CIO more often than in the past. It’s not only that the role is becoming more important to strategic direction, the networking team is also collaborating with both business and other IT functions, which is especially key in the age of digitally-enabled businesses. Networking executives, managers, and leaders are working closely with groups such as:


Considering the collaborative nature and evolving role of those in different areas of IT, getting your marketing message to the various levels of the enterprise IT organization could help build conversations enterprise-wide. Knowing who to reach is one thing, but how to reach them can be an entirely different thing altogether. For those working in enterprise IT and focused on the network, we know that they are most involved in two stages of the purchase process: evaluating products and solutions and in recommending and selecting vendors. Taking it a step further from our Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research* we also know what types of content they find valuable to aid in those stages of the purchase process:

Evaluate Products/Services:

  • Tech, Content Sites
  • White Papers
  • Webcast/Webinars/Web Video
  • Tech, Vendors (via Website)
  • Peers (Outside Company via Phone/Email/In-Person)

Recommending/Selecting Vendors

  • Peers (Outside Company via Phone/Email/In-Person)
  • Peers (Inside Company)
  • Tech, Content Sites
  • Tech, Vendors (via Phone, Email, In-Person)
  • Tech, Vendors (via Website)

How are you reaching your target audience?

Get more key insights from the 2016 State of the Network Study in the Network IT: The Beating Heart of Digital Transformation white paper.

Sources: 2016 State of the Network Study, Network World; *IDG Enterprise Role & influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Study, 2015

I want to learn more about IDG

Please complete all fields below.

More From the Blog