The increasing sway held by line of business executives when it comes to technology decision making and buying is a double-edged sword for the IT reseller channel, CompTIA says.
The industry body says while the CIO’s office or internal IT departments still hold significant power in IT decision-making, for many channel firms a new potential buyer is emerging in the non-IT line of business executive.
CompTIA says line of business use of third parties to manage their technology is ‘sparing’.
Moheb Moses, CompTIA ANZ community director, says this is both good news and bad news for the channel.
“First, the bad news: These IT buyers lack familiarity with outside providers, perhaps because they are simply new to the IT buying and management process, or they have had a negative prior experience,” Moses says.
“Internal IT staff naturally have a much keener understanding of the ecosystem of resellers, solution providers, managed service providers and IT consultants that exist to serve them, so are more likely to consider hiring them.”
However, Moses says there’s also good news: the unknown opportunity.
“Channel firms can acquaint themselves with non-IT buyers, educate them to the benefits of using a third party and in turn learn about their business,” he says.
“The result should build a new pipeline of business for channel firms.
Moses’ comments follow a recent CompTIA study which examined the habits of new buyers, ranging from marketing, finance and logistics, through to sales.
Carolyn April CompTIA senior director, industry analysis, says the study found that business units are increasingly adding technology experts to their staff independent of the traditional IT department.
Moses says there are a myriad of reasons to account for changing norms related to IT decision-making and purchasing power.
“The aggressive push toward digitisation and cloud computing, for one, has greatly emboldened business unit executives and staff to vet, choose and implement their own solutions,” he says.
“In addition, a tech-savvier workforce now populates all business units and job roles. As a result, many employees are doing their own research into the latest technology solutions to address their specific initiatives and projects.”
CompTIA says there are four key changes in IT purchasing habits:
LoB buyers are flexing their muscles, with the decisions on what technologies or services are purchase expanding beyond the IT department reflecting a shift from IT as a support function to IT as a strategic asset.
Collaboration with internal IT is still a major factor, with business units and IT staff collaborating around technology choised, suggesting incidences of purely rogue IT behaviour by LoB managers may have diminished.
LoB buyers are not so familiar with the channel, with the vast majority not tapping resources of an outside firm to implement, integrate or manage IT post-purchase.
Business units are staffing their own tech experts, adding staff in IT-oriented job roles to their own departments.