There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation initiatives that were—at one phase or another—already underway across most industries. Business priorities and information needs of organizations have shifted, and organizations are striving to become more digitally resilient — having the ability to quickly adapt to a disruption and accelerate under the new market conditions.

At this year’s IDC Directions Conference, Meredith Whalen, IDC’s Chief Research Officer, presented on “Adapting to the New Competitive Forces in a Post-Pandemic World” and outlined how technology vendors must adapt in order to stay relevant and in turn, help their customers overcome the new competitive forces they are experiencing in the marketplace (be it the threat of digital startups, the new buyer experience, digital substitutes, etc.). Vendors who address these new influences on the purchase process or provide ITDMs with the resources to educate their peers can earn the trust that is so important in today’s business climate.

Below we outline some key points from Meredith’s session as she explained how tech suppliers must adapt to new customer needs to ensure future business growth as they relate to new 1) Business Objectives, 2) Technology Objectives, and 3) Terms and Conditions.

New Business Objectives

As organizations make the initial steps to become future digital enterprises, they will begin to roll out new KPIs to their investors and employees on how they are doing it. So, what are they? Highlighting results from IDC’s COVID-19 Impact on IT Spending Survey, Meredith shared that 45% of respondents expressed interest in adding digital-risk related KPIs throughout the organization. Additional KPIs include:

  • Sustainability related KPIs (55%)
  • Volume of services provided via digital channels (54%)
  • Employee satisfaction (51%)
  • Employees’ usage of digital tools and services (49%)
  • Automation of end-to-end processes (48%)
  • ROI from digital services or products (48%)

Whatever they may be, it is the job of technology vendors to link their technology to these newly updated KPIs, proving their continued worth. We know from IDG’s 2021 Customer Engagement research that ITDMs are likely to respond to vendor outreach when they are knowledgeable about their specific business challenges. It’s essential that tech vendors understand their customers’ business objectives and share valuable information with them along their buyer’s journey.

New Technology Objectives

This past year was a big wake up call for a lot of organizations. They quickly realized to what extent their business had to be digital in order to succeed and continue operating. Further, a lot of organizations are in catch up mode, after realizing just how far they had fallen behind. It does not come as a surprise then that the majority centered their new technology objectives around prioritizing Time to Value. In fact, IDC’s 2021 Future Enterprise Resiliency & Spending Survey found that 68% of organizations say it is imperative for tech vendors to reduce the time it takes to recognize the business value from technology advances.

Organizations are looking for:

  1. The broad ability to address multiple use cases
  2. Technology that is easily integrated within existing applications
  3. Something that is implemented quickly

The good news for emerging vendors is that if there is a business need and recognizable vale, tech buyers are open to considering their technology. Our 2021 Customer Engagement Research also found that the best way for emerging tech vendors to introduce a new technology is to provide case studies/proof of concept (51%), show evidence that the product/service stands out from the competition with direct comparisons (48%), and provide insight into the product roadmap (46%). This proves that ITDMs need to firmly understand the business direction and viability of the technology before integrating when evaluating from an emerging vendor. For well-established vendors, the criteria required when introducing a new technology differs. ITDMs look for detailed product information (69%), reassurance/proof that the new product easily integrates with existing technology (57%), and an exclusive preview for current/loyal customers (49%).

New Terms and Conditions

Lastly, Meredith outlined the importance for technology vendors to support the new terms and conditions stated in upcoming contracts. IDC’s COVID-19 Impact on IT Spending Survey also found that the most important terms and conditions to businesses moving forward will be:

  • Requirement around securing data (40%)
  • Requirement around maintaining privacy of data (37%)
  • Diversity and inclusion requirements (36%)
  • Requirements around how vendors will address a disaster recovery (34%) or maintain business continuity (32%)

While not all of these will rank high this next fiscal year, technology vendors must keep a very close eye on adapting T&Cs to ensure they are able to appropriately support them prior to securing new business. In other words, it is the responsibility of the technology supplier to make guarantees around achieving these new terms and conditions and thus, adapting to the new buying criteria. Given the increased focus and resources around diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it is no surprise that our latest Customer Engagement research found that 52% of tech buyers say that understanding a company’s D&I posture is an important factor in their decision-making process.

In a constantly evolving marketplace, it is imperative organizations become digitally resilient. To continue to excel, tech vendors must recognize their customers new business objectives, align their offerings to support new KPIs, and demonstrate how well their technology supports the creation of new digital revenue streams and/or mitigates digital risk. As digital initiatives continue to expand, be ready to support changing terms and conditions of future enterprises and in doing so, tech vendors will have a better understanding of the headwinds they are walking into prior to gaining new business.

These accelerated digital initiatives are reinforcing the need for relevant tech content. Explore the content types that tech buyers rely on throughout the tech purchase process and how to properly engage with them in our 2021 Customer Engagement Research.