IT Department Still Gatekeeper in Tech Purchasing Decisions

IT Trends

IT pros have more influence on major infrastructure purchases than business decision-makers, says survey

Despite IT purchasing decisions moving from the basement to the boardroom in recent years, the IT department still takes a primary role in the procurement process, according to new research.

The research from Spiceworks explores the role IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) play in technology purchasing. It found that ITDMs serve as organisations’ primary purchase influencers and technology ‘gatekeepers’, while BDMs are more likely to give final approval for technology funds and purchases.

The study shows more than 80 percent of ITDMs evaluate and recommend technology solutions while less than 40 percent of BDMs do the same. In fact, IT decision makers are significantly more involved in determining the technology needs, evaluating solutions and vendors, making the final recommendation, and ultimately implementing and managing new technology.  

IT influencers

“Although IT professionals don’t always hold the purse strings for technology purchases, it’s clear they’re often the most influential people in the decision-making process,” said John Webb, executive director of EMEA at Spiceworks. “B2B marketers must take into consideration their technology category, buyer stage, and product type when deciding where to focus their marketing spend, but their efforts will likely be unsuccessful if they choose to bypass the IT decision maker.”

The study shows BDMs in EMEA are more reliant on insights from IT decision makers than their business partners and peers. While 66 percent of BDMs said they value feedback from ITDMs regarding purchase decisions, only 44 percent of business decisions makers value feedback from their BDM peers. This is likely because ITDMs spend more time conducting labour-intensive research, which often leads to more purchase influence during the decision-making process.

In fact, compared to business decisions makers, IT decision makers have more purchase influence for nearly all technologies, especially major infrastructure purchases like servers, virtualisation, networking, and security solutions. Additionally, 61 percent of ITDMs influence decisions on cloud-based services compared to just 40 percent of BDMs.

When it comes to end-user technology, ITDMs in EMEA also have more purchase influence for computing devices and printers, but business decision makers are slightly more involved in purchases of business applications and mobile devices.


Since ITDMs conduct more research about technology solutions, they require more pieces of content than BDMs and place a higher value on technical content. In fact, ITDMs in EMEA require up to 15 pieces during the entire decision making process while BDMs only require 11.  


When examining the most effective ways for marketers to reach ITDMs and BDMs in EMEA, the results show ITDMs are more receptive to most marketing channels, particularly webinars and online forums where they can find educational content during the technology research phase. Compared to ITDMs, BDMs are less receptive to online marketing channels, conferences, and in-person meetings, but they’re slightly more receptive to physical mail and phone calls.

ITDMs and BDMs in EMEA are largely in sync on what they believe are the most important factors to consider when making a purchase decision. Both agree reliability is the most important factor with 95 percent of ITDMs and 91 percent BDMs saying it’s very important or critical. Eighty-eight percent of ITDMs and BDMs also agree security is an important consideration factor, but ITDMs believe a solution’s ability to address a business need, its compatibility, and its cost is slightly more important. 

The results also show ITDMs in EMEA are much more concerned about a provider’s reputation than BDMs. Conversely, BDMs place a higher value on product innovation than ITDMs.

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