As digital business transformation continues to evolve, so does the role of technology decision-makers. While IT decision-makers (ITDMs) have always played an integral role in the tech purchase process, they are taking on additional responsibilities to ensure their organization’s digital-first focus comes to fruition. Since 93% of organizations have plans to pursue digital transformation, it is not surprising that more individuals are involved in the tech purchase process.  According to IDG’s 2019 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker study, on average, 21 individuals are involved in influencing major technology purchase decisions, up from an average of 16 average influencers in 2017. While an overwhelming 90% of ITDMs are involved in digital business transformation at their organization, the collaboration with their tech teams and line of business (LOB) counterparts can cause confusion for tech vendors looking to engage the right influencers at the right time.  Fortunately, we have some insights to help.

When it comes to tech investments, ITDMs hold the role of team captain. In fact, they are the primary budget holder for 69% of tech purchases within their organization. Breaking it down further, ITDMs hold the purse strings in all technology product areas – except for mobile applications, where LOB plays a slightly larger role, at 55%.

In addition to being the primary budget holder, 61% of ITDMs are also the lead when it comes to researching solutions and vendors and creating the short list for tech projects at their organization.

Tech Investments Often Take a Team Approach

Broken down by job title, CIOs/IT executives are the true leaders in digital transformation at their organization across all seven stages of the purchase process. The seven stages we focus on are: determining the business need, determining the technical requirements, evaluating products & services, recommending & selecting vendors, selling internally, approving & authorizing the purchase, and post sales engagement. CIOs also know when to delegate to their team, and their managers and staff are vital to the middle stages of the process, particularly evaluating products and services. To make such decisions, ITDMs must arm themselves with information. That’s why during the buyer’s journey, ITDMs rely on a variety of resources to guide their purchasing decision. In fact, they download an average of five assets during the tech purchase process. This stat increases to six assets for enterprise organizations (1,000+ employees) and decreases to 4 assets for SMBs (<1,000 employees).

Knowledge Fuels Tech Investment Decisions

But where do ITDMs turn for tech related content, and why? More than half (53%) of ITDMs use tech content sites to stay up-to-date and be effective in their roles. Tech content sites are the number one source choice during four stages of the purchase process, including keeping up-to-date with technology, determining the business need, evaluating products and services, and recommending/selecting vendors. When looking at tech content sites, decision-makers value relevancy and credibility.

As for vendor content sites, which are used by 39% of ITDMs, factors like relevancy and credibility are not stand outs for how ITDMS measure value. Rather, a variety of factors all hold fairly equal weight for ITDMS. To catch the attention of influencers, it is pivotal that tech marketers strive for well-rounded sites.

However, keep in mind that ITDMs utilize different resources at different stages of the purchase process. As ITDMs advance through purchasing, their needs evolve, and so do the resources they seek. Once ITDMs begin to evaluate and recommend products & services, they shift their focus towards unbiased industry-specific resources that can offer detailed insight and help guide a purchasing decision. Understanding at what stage and for what need ITDMs are using a specific source is key for tech marketers to make meaningful connections with prospective customers.

For tech marketers, it is critical to be aware of the key role individual ITDMs play throughout the buying process. Use this information to analyze how your marketing team can customize their marketing plan and improve content creation to target decision-makers in the right place and at the right time.

To learn more details about the tech purchase process, read IDG’s 2019 Role of the Technology Decision-Maker white paper and for details on how consumers engage with content types like articles, case studies & more, download IDG’s 2018 Consumer Engagement white paper.