IDG’s latest research reveals the affects business transformation adoption is making to the tech customer journey

Boston, Mass. – May 7, 2019IDG Communications, Inc. – the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company – explores the evolving technology purchase process as 93% of organizations plan to pursue digital business transformation. The 2019 IDG Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Survey [click to tweet] further reveals that 45% of organizations are currently in the research or development phase of digital transformation, opening up opportunity for tech vendors to assist them. To bring digital transformation from concept to adoption, IT executives are leading the charge from identifying the need for strategy (58%), to evaluating products and services (61%), and authorizing purchases (41%). However, as they plan to invest in various types of technologies, IT executives are not in this journey alone.

Deconstructing the Tech Buying Committee

Since 2017, the tech buying committee has grown from a total 16 individuals across both the tech and line of business (LOB) functions to 21 individuals in 2019, showing the complexity that digital transformation brings. When organizations are working toward their digital-first strategy, IT is the primary team that researches vendors and creates the short list. This is particularly true for areas where IT is the primary budget holder, such as servers/storage, security, and networking. Some newer technologies have a more even split on budget allocation between IT and LOB, including mobile applications, web applications, data/analytics, and IoT devices.

“This research affirms data from our 2019 State of the CIO research, where CEOs listed digital transformation as a top business priority,” said Julie Ekstrom, SVP, IDG Communications, Inc. “It is encouraging to see collaboration across the business as new technologies infuse a digital-first focus, and the value and expertise of the IT team continues to play a front and center role.”

Integrating Your Message in the Right Channels

When IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are looking to stay up-to-date with technologies, they are using an average of eight to nine information sources at the beginning of the purchase process, which means that tech marketers should be working to build their top of funnel content. As they narrow down the short list and get ready to authorize a sale, ITDMs are using four to five sources. These sources include: technology content sites (53%), white papers (48%), technology vendors (in-person 40%), technology vendors (vendor website 39%), and peers outside their company (via phone or email 39%).

Incumbent Vendors No Longer Have Monopoly on Future Purchases

The tech product and solution playing field is vast, and established vendors need to protect their installed base because existing vendors no longer have a measurable advantage. Based on technology purchases over the past 24 months, 53% of the time existing vendors won the business. However, a new vendor was selected 47% of the time. The number one reason a new vendor was selected was the purchase of a new type of product or service. However, 31% of ITDMs did switch vendors because current products/services no longer met business needs, and 26% did not meet security requirements.

The majority of technologies (37%) were purchased as additions to the tech stack—they were not replacing an existing technology—a third (32%) were upgrades, and 31% were replacements.  The top tech categories for each purchase type were:


ITDMs are not shy when they are interested in learning more. Half of the respondents will contact a vendor early on, either once the need has been established or after determining requirements. They are also willing to open vendor emails, particularly if it is from a vendor they have previously worked with, or is known, making those top of funnel content assets so valuable. When a meeting is accepted, ITDMs are looking for more information based on their business use case, insight to help make the final purchase decision, as well as a demo or case study of the solution.

“Over the past 12 years, this study has shed light on the evolution of the tech purchase process, but one thing has remained true, tech leaders have their finger on the pulse of new technologies and play a leading role in their organizations competitive advantage,” continues Ekstrom. “Being a partner that can educate them and help them be the hero, makes both parties win.”

About the 2019 IDG Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Research

IDG’s 2019 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Research was conducted among the audiences of seven IDG brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World and PCWorld) representing IT and security decision-makers involved in the IT purchase process for their organization. The survey was fielded online with the objective of understanding the technology decision-makers’ role, who they partner with during the technology purchase process, and the information sources used to help tech marketers engage them through the right channels. Results in this release are based on 741 respondents across multiple industries.

View additional information from the 2019 IDG Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker.

About IDG Communications, Inc.

IDG Communications connects the world of tech buyers with insights, intent and engagement. We are the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. Our premium brands, including CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, and PCWorld® engage a quality audience of the most powerful audience of technology buyers providing essential guidance on the evolving technology landscape.

Our global data intelligence platform activates purchasing intent, powering our clients’ success. IDG Marketing Services creates custom content with marketing impact across video, mobile, social and digital. We execute complex campaigns that fulfill marketers’ global ambitions seamlessly with consistency that delivers quality results.


Lynn Holmlund
Marketing Director
IDG Communications, Inc.