Research finds IT buyers turning to vendors and analysts for use case support, especially amongst skill shortages 

June 20, 2024 (BOSTON)—Foundry, the media, data, and martech division of IDG released today the 2024 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker study. In its sixteenth year, the study provides in-depth information about the evolving role and influence of the IT buying committee in today’s corporations, especially as technology’s role in business continues to increase. The research looks at who’s involved across the many stages of the tech purchase process, how they prefer to source and consume content, and where they need help from technology vendors along the way. 

“Foundry’s Role and Influence of the IT Decision-Maker study expertly highlights the growing complexity of the tech purchase process—from increases in stakeholders to myriad internal headwinds driving decisions,” says Laura Nespoli, Group Strategy Director who leads the Google and Salesforce accounts at Article Group, an agency designed to meet the needs of the modern tech marketer. 

With 65% of respondents affirming that the technology purchase process is growing increasingly complex (up from 61% in 2023), much of the data in the study finds that technology buyers are looking to vendors to ease the process across multiple buying stages, especially in demonstrating support for ITDM’s unique roadmaps and customer requests. 

“As the role and influence of IT grows, so does the responsibility of product marketers to lead with simplicity in helping their customers through the process,” continued Nespoli. “This research shows that today’s approach requires a greater level of sophistication to satisfy buyers’ expectations for a tailored content experience, buying team collaboration, and strategic vendor support at scale.”   

Buyers need individualized use case support at key stages to overcome purchase stall 

As companies’ technology infrastructure grows to support more key areas across the business, IT decision makers are requiring vendor assistance across multiple stages of the purchase process. In fact, 94% say they need additional resources or assistance from vendors, with 65% saying they work with vendors to help develop the business case around their investment in the technology.As purchase complexity grows, this year’s research highlights key barriers and motivating factors across the purchase process, as well as the stages buyers say they require the greatest level of external support.  

Asked about obstacles to tech buying, respondents cited skill shortages as the top internal factor (41%) creating a barrier to purchase decisions, and cited determining the business need (37%), evaluating products/services (37%), and determining technical requirements (33%) as the stages most likely to see process stall. Notably, product/service evaluation (46%) and determining technical requirements (43%) were also the top two stages IT buyers said they needed the most vendor assistance—the same two stages being owned internally by IT/networking management staff. 

With regards to what’s motivating technology purchases, this year’s study found customer requests as the number one external area accelerating the process (49%), affirming findings in the 2024 State of the CIO study that improving customer experience is a top initiative driving IT investment this year. These findings signal that ITDMs are becoming more hands-on in understanding and implementing their customers’ unique needs and, for vendors, present an opportunity to offer information aligned to these bespoke use cases. 

ITDMs are weighing trust and reputation against innovation and competitive pricing  

As buying committees become larger and require increased vendor assistance, trust and reputation continue to play key roles throughout the purchase process. When it comes to securing buy-in across the committee, 68% of respondents agree that this is easier when all stakeholders are aware of a brand. Further, 74% of ITDMs are more likely to consume content from trusted brands, and 63% are more likely to trust information recommended from a peer. Finally, credibility is cited as the top value measure (41%) for tech content sites, and 72% agree that vendor reputation is one of the top factors they consider when making purchase decisions.  

However, IT buyers are willing to consider new vendors if they meet certain criteria. Of the 48% of ITDMs that say they’ll be seeking new vendors this year, most cite innovation (39%), business need (34%), and competitive pricing (29%) as catalyzing their search. For new vendors looking to break into the running, IT buyers say that clarity of information (35%) and easily searchable, accessible information (34%) are the top ways they can provide value during the content consumption stages.  

Generational preferences aside, video content and third-party information sources align the full committee 

As buying committees continue to expand, reaching an average of 28 members in 2024, up from 25 last year and 20 in 2022, and with executive leadership becoming increasingly involved in the decision-making process, it’s clear that vendors face the challenge of engaging with a diverse array of stakeholders across what is now a 6.1-month purchase journey. To add to this task, ITDMs are consuming an average of 7 pieces of content each throughout the entire purchase process. 

To navigate these evolving dynamics, businesses must prioritize identifying their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and addressing internal barriers to purchase, ensuring that key stakeholders are equipped with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions. As 41% of ITDMs anticipate internal skill shortages as a potential hurdle to tech acquisitions in the coming year, proactive education and strategic alignment will be essential in overcoming these challenges and driving successful outcomes.  

Despite these complexities, one consistent strategy emerges: video content remains highly effective, with a staggering 95% of IT decision-makers (consistent across all generations) relying on technology-related videos for business insights. 

Finally, buyers ranked the most helpful information sources throughout the decision-making process, with analyst firms topping the list, followed by technology content sites. In-person vendor meetings and third-party market research were both rated as the third-most helpful. In today’s landscape, neutral, information-rich content is reigning supreme, helping align buyers across the committee through their decision-making journey with clarity and authenticity. 


About the 2024 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Study

Foundry’s 2024 Role and Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research was conducted online among the audiences of Foundry’s B2B brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World) representing IT decision-makers involved in the technology purchase process for their organization. Results in this study are based on 938 respondents, all involved in the purchase process for major IT or security products and services, to the 30-question survey across multiple industries and countries.  

About Foundry, an IDG company 

Foundry has played a key role in every major milestone, announcement, and development in modern technology since 1964. We engage and activate the world’s most influential tech buyers and early adopters via the award-winning journalism and trusted media brands they’ve turned to for decades. Our integrated ecosystem of owned and operated editorial sites, awards, events, and tech communities is engineered to enable global audience activation through innovative marketing campaigns. Backed by robust audience insights and data from across our network, Foundry sets the standard for delivering business results to help companies grow.  

With 38 offices in markets around the globe, Foundry is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group, Inc. (IDG), the world’s leading tech media, data, research and marketing services company.