IT Decision-Makers Consider Few Tech Vendors as Strategic Partners

Framingham, Mass. – July 9, 2012 – IDG Enterprise—the media company comprising Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, CIO Executive Council, ITworld and CFOworld—releases the results from the annual 2012 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research, examining the involvement of IT decision-makers at each stage of the IT purchase process, IT vendor/customer relationships, and the information sources these professionals rely upon during the purchase process.

The 8th annual study, completed by more than 1,100 IT and business respondents from a range of industries, shows that the number of influencers for major technology purchases has increased year over year by almost half (48%) in enterprise companies. IT continues to take ownership of the majority of the technology purchase process over line of business employees. However, influence of IT executives, management and staff at each stage of the purchase process varies.

The study has seen a shift in the resources IT decision-makers use to keep up-to-date with technology and be more effective in their role. For the first time technology content sites (i.e. CIO.com, Computerworld.com…) have moved from the number two resource to the top resource (73%), closely followed by peers (72%). Peers are the number one resource used throughout the purchase process from determining the business need, to recommending vendors and authorizing a purchase.

Companies rely on multiple vendors (35 for enterprise organizations and 12 for SMB organizations); however, very few of these vendors are considered strategic partners (7 and 3 respectively). For IT solution providers to strengthen their relationship with customers and become a strategic partner with enterprise companies, there are several critical attributes, including: ability to understand my goals and objectives (75%), customer service/response time (74%), post-sales support and service (66%) and insight & expertise on technology trends and directions (61%).

“The Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research indicates IT’s influence is extending beyond the traditional IT boundaries, and this involvement in business strategy makes it imperative that IT marketers position solutions to meet overall business goals,” said Bob Melk, SVP, group publisher & CMO, IDG Enterprise. “This is demonstrated most vividly when respondents were asked which attributes were critical in the decision making process and the ‘ability to understand my goals and objectives’ was the top response for enterprise companies.”

It pays off for IT vendors to maintain favorable relationships with customers, because IT departments will spend an average of 5 hours a week meeting with current vendors, compared to 2 hours a week with prospective vendors. Familiarity also decreases the purchase cycle in half, from 3.3 months with a familiar compared to 6.6 months with an unfamiliar vendor. Additionally, major IT purchases require more time (6.2 months) compared to minor IT purchases (3.5 months).

Key findings include:

IT is significantly more involved in every stage of the IT purchase process than business management (chart 1).

Eighty-five percent of line of business management views their IT department as a key resource for achieving strategic goals.

The number of influencers for IT purchases at enterprise organizations increased from 11.5 employees in 2011 to 17 employees in 2012, where SMB remained flat at 5 and 6 respectively.

A majority (54%) of IT executives sign-off on all IT expenditures and the average minimum sign-off decreased from $61,816 in 2011 to $58,177 in 2012.

Top resources used throughout the purchase process: Technology Content Sites (73%), Peers (72%) and search engines (66%).

IT purchase cycle is reduced by 3.3 months when organizations are working with vendors they already have a relationship with, which is consistent with 2011.

Organizations use many vendors; however only one-quarter are considered strategic partners.

To receive the complete study results contact Bob Melk at bmelk@idgenterprise.com.

About the IDG Enterprise Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker

IDG Enterprise’s 2012 Role and Influence survey was conducted online among the audiences of five IDG Enterprise brands – CIO, Computerworld, Network World, InfoWorld and ITworld – via online and email invitations, between March 7, 2012, and April 9, 2012 with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the evolving role and influence of technology buyers in today’s corporate enterprise. All respondents are involved in at least one of the following steps in the purchase process of IT products and services: evaluation, recommending/selecting vendors, determining requirements, determining the business need, approval/authorization, or selling internally.

About IDG Enterprise

IDG Enterprise, an International Data Group (IDG) company, brings together the leading editorial brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, DEMO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World) to serve the information needs of our technology and security-focused audiences.  As the premier hi-tech B2B media company, we serve our reader and advertiser audiences by delivering award-winning content, community, conversation, and conversion solutions across our entire portfolio of award-winning websites, events, magazines, products and services. In addition, the CIO Executive Council is a peer advisory service that delivers on the business, technology, and leadership needs for the world’s elite CIOs and their respective staffs.

Company information is available at http://www.idgenterprise.com/.