Gartner: Government Tech Purchase Decisions Take on Average 22 Months

Published On: September 17, 2022Categories: Buzz, Uncategorized

IT channel partners focused on the government space need to be prepared for long sales cycles, according to Gartner. At 22 months, the public sector has the longest average buying cycle for technology purchases compared to other industries, according to a recent survey.

According to the report, government C-level executives are less involved than private sector counterparts. But more than two-thirds attribute delays to lack of specific information from the technology provider.

Nearly half of respondents reported six or more moderate or significant delays in the buying process. The cumulative impact of delaying factors such as changes in scope added seven months, on average, to the government technology buying cycle.

“Technology acquisition brings challenges to the public sector that do not commonly exist in other industries,” said Dean Lacheca, VP Analyst at Gartner. “Each jurisdiction has its own procurement laws and policies, and within that, each agency or department can have its own interpretation of them. A failure to conform to the rules can have serious consequences, from unwanted publicity to personal risk of prosecution.”

The factors most reported as resulting in significant delays often occur before what would be considered the official procurement process begins. Some of these factors include developing the business case, scope changes requiring additional research and evaluation, and reaching agreement around budgeting.

“While government buying cycles can be long, it is important to note that these time frames are not set,” said Lacheca. “Initial planned timelines can be delayed as a result of a combination of both controllable and uncontrollable factors, especially when no external deadlines exist.”

Chosen providers are much more likely to provide fact-based, actionable content to the buying team, according to the report. Gartner recommends technology providers maintain an easily accessible list of public sector reference clients and build a diverse library of product collateral with a strong focus on value assessment, which can be leveraged across all stages of the buying cycle. Public sector organizations are significantly more likely to value references from existing clients than non-public sector buyers are, partly because public sector organizations are rarely in direct competition and often share common challenges.

In November and December 2021, Gartner surveyed 1,120 executives involved in technology evaluation or selection, including 79 from the public sector, to understand how organizations approach large-scale buying efforts for enterprise technology. Gartner clients can read more in “Insights into the Nature and Behavior of Public-Sector Buyer Teams.”

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Through the years, government IT has often been the domain of channel partners who specify in this particular market segment.

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