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IDG Enterprise’s 2011 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision Maker Survey Details

Involvement in IT Purchase Process and Information Sources Used
IDG Enterprise news release

IDG Enterprise—the media company comprising CFOworld, CIO, CIO Executive Council, Computerworld, CSO, DEMO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World—releases the results from the annual 2011 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision Maker survey, examining the involvement of IT decision-makers at each stage of the IT purchase process, IT vendor/customer relationship, and the information sources these professionals rely upon during the purchase process.

The study, completed by more than 1,400 IT and business respondents, from a range of industries, shows that while the IT organization overall leads the purchase process, different levels within IT lead at different stages. The study also shows that IT is much more involved in every stage of the IT purchase process than their business management colleagues. At enterprise companies, the decision making is more segmented, and the number of stakeholders increases, with an average of 11.5 people influencing major IT purchases.

“IT marketers recognize that traditional IT decisions have been elevated to business decisions as transformative technologies are increasingly being applied to generate business opportunity and revenue growth.  This development has increasingly engaged business leaders within the purchase process, but survey results demonstrate a distributed decision making process with IT organizations leading each stage,” said Bob Melk, SVP/Group Publisher, IDG Enterprise.  “The Role & Influence of the Technology Decision Maker results indicate that the still growing complexity of enterprise IT architectures requires savvy marketers to target their communications at all levels within the IT organization, with perspective oriented messaging.”

The study, now in its 7th year, provides new data on the relationship between IT vendors and their customers, including critical attributes of customer-selected strategic partners and the effect of familiarity/existing relationships on the sales cycle. Approximately one-third of vendors currently doing business with a company are considered strategic partners. To be considered a strategic partner, IT respondents look for vendors that have the ability to understand business with the top three attributes being: understand goals and objectives (75%); customer service and response time (75%); and knowledge of business/vertical industry (71%). The study found that on average the length of the sales cycle, given familiarity with a vendor, decreased by 3 months.

The study also finds that the top information sources used throughout the purchase process have remained consistent, with Technology Publications (75%), Technology Content Sites (74%), White Papers (69%), Peers (69%), and Webcasts/Webinars (60%) as the top five. Online Communities/Discussion Forums showed the largest shift with an increase from 39% in 2010, to 46% in 2011.

Key findings include:

  • IT is significantly more involved in every stage of the IT purchase process than business management (chart 1).
  • IT executives bookend the IT purchase process by determining the business need and authorizing/ approving investments.
  • IT management controls the middle stages of the purchase process: determining requirements, evaluating solutions, and recommending and selecting vendors.
  • Top resources used throughout the purchase process remain consistent: Technology Publications (75%), Technology Content Sites (74%), Peers (69%) and White Papers (69%).
  • IT purchase cycle is reduced by 3 months when organizations are working with vendors they already have a relationship with.
  • Organizations use many vendors; however only one-third are considered strategic partners (chart 2).

“Two challenges vendors face are reducing the sales cycle and being considered a strategic partner, which enhances future discussions and purchases,” said Michael Friedenberg, president and CEO, IDG Enterprise.  “A consistent message from this survey is that sales cycles are shorter for familiar vendors and vendors need to understand business goals and objectives in order to gain a strategic position. IDG Enterprise’s marketing and promotional services foster familiarity between IT decision-makers and IT vendors with targeted, consistent programs well suited to their prospects pain-points.”

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

About IDG Enterprise

IDG Enterprise, an International Data Group (IDG) company, brings together unique editorial brands (CFOworld, CIO, CIO Executive Council, Computerworld, CSO, DEMO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World) to serve the information needs of our technology and security-focused audiences.  As a digital-centric media company we serve our reader and advertiser audiences with award-winning content and community, driving conversation and conversion, across our entire portfolio of awarding-winning, websites, events, magazines, products and services. In addition, the CIO Executive Council, a peer advisory service, brings together the nation’s top CIOs, as well as provides community and leadership development tools for their staffs.

Company information is available at www.idgenterprise.com.