Sorry, IT, You Don't Have Much Buying Power

(Warning: This article contains lopsided statistics that may cause resentment between IT decision makers and their counterparts in other lines of business. Reader discretion is advised.)

More than $2.9 trillion will be spent globally on business technology purchases in 2017 according to a new report by Spiceworks, Inc. These purchases will include servers, computers, storage and file sharing tools, mobile device management (MDM) technology, and more.

Unfortunately for many of the PCMag diehards reading this article, IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) don't hold as much influence over which items are purchased as their Business Decision Maker (BDM) counterparts, the report states. In fact, ITDMs are disproportionately responsible for doing the legwork of researching, finding, and managing new implementations than their BDM counterparts. However, BDMs are more likely to be the ones to approve the funds for and make final decisions about the technologies that ultimately get implemented.

To make matters worse for ITDMs, BDMs are also more likely to be the sole decision maker about IT purchases. If you don't believe me or if you're interested in how stacked the numbers are against ITDMs, I've broken it down for you in the next (heartbreaking) section.

By The Numbers

ITDMs typically determine if there's a need for new solutions and vendors (probably because everyone keeps telling them something is broken). In fact, 84 percent of ITDMs claim to be responsible for starting new search processes as compared to only 53 percent of BDMs. The ratios are similar in regards to who claims to evaluate solutions and make recommendations.

However, when the time comes to make a final decision, approve funds, and approve purchases, BDMs take the lead. Fifty-two percent of BDMs make the final purchasing decisions in their respective organizations as compared to only 33 percent of ITDMs (otherwise known as the people who really understand what the technology does, but I digress). Half of all BDMs approve the funds for new solutions and services while a miniscule 13 percent of ITDMs are able to sign off on new technology. Forty-seven percent of BDMs give final approval for purchases while only 22 percent of ITDMs share this responsibility.

ITDMs are dramatically less likely to be the sole decision maker on their teams (19 percent) than BDMs (37 percent). They are also much less likely to be a part of the group giving the final approval: 15 percent compared to 32 percent of BDMs. Unfortunately for ITDMs, when the time comes to actually implement and manage the tools and services, the vast majority of the work falls on their teams. In fact, 79 percent of ITDMs say it's their job to make sure the implementation process runs smoothly.

(Image via:Spiceworks)

How Marketers Reach BDMs and ITDMs

ITDMs are much more likely to discover new technologies through webinars than their BDM counterparts. Sixty-one percent of ITDMs watch web videos to research products while only 24 percent of BDMs are fans of the webinar format. A similar ratio exists for those consuming content via online forums and conferences.

BDMs are more likely to attend sponsored events and in-person meetings than they are to watch webinars, read online forums, and attend conferences. Thirty-seven percent of BDMs attend in-person meetings while 35 percent attend sponsored events.

(Image via Spiceworks)

However, those trying to reach BDMs to promote products and services should try email. Of all the communications methods listed in the report, email was the preferred method for BDMs. Forty-one percent of respondents said they are more receptive to email than any other communication channel.

Both BDMs and ITDMs require more than 10 interactions with content to make a purchasing decision. ITDMs require five interactions in the discovery phase, 7.4 interactions in the immersion phase, and 4.2 interactions in the decision-making phase. BDMs require slightly fewer interactions to make a decision: 3.8 interactions in the discovery phase, 4.9 in the immersion phase, and 3.6 in the decision-making phase.

The Spiceworks report includes survey responses from approximately 600 ITDMs and 300 BDMs throughout the world.

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