Executives from finance, marketing, sales, logistics, and other departments and business lines play an increasingly central role in the evaluation, purchase and use of technology solutions, according to a new report released by CompTIA, a suburban Chicago-based technology association.
“CIOs and information technology (IT) teams remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience are valued,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “But business lines are clearly flexing their muscles. It’s another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset.”
Among the 675 U.S. businesses surveyed for the report entitled, “Considering the New IT Buyer”, 45 percent said that ideas about technology come from different areas of the organization; and 36 percent said more executives are involved in the decision process. In addition, more than half of respondents used business unit budgets to pay for technology purchases in the last year.
Lines of business are also staffing their departments with technology-oriented job roles, from data scientists and business analysts to software developers and social media managers.
This shift is impacting the entire IT channel – vendors, distributors and solution providers, according to April.
“The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge,” April continued. “But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the channel. It’s incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders.”
In addition, cloud-based solutions can often be self-provisioned by the end customers, thereby forcing channel partners to demonstrate value, and also to reach and effectively communicate with specifically targeted roles within those organizations.
The study supports what many solution providers are consistently learning: that technology sales are becoming increasingly reliant on the decisions of actual users, and less dependent on choices made by separate IT departments.