The channel has understood for a while now the shifting purchasing power in their customers with lines of business becoming as important as their traditional IT department buyers.
The extent of the changes have become clear in a CompTIA report that has revealed that not only are lines of business buying technology but ideas about investments are coming from a wider source of participants.
The industry lobby group found that 45% said that ideas were coming from outside the IT department and more than half used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.
More than a quarter (27%) of final decisions about which projects and investments get sign off are now made by somebody other than the IT department.
The power is shifting to those working in finance, marketing, sales and logistics forcing resellers to have multiple contacts at any single customer.
“CIOs and information technology (IT) teams remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience is valued,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA.
“But business lines are clearly flexing their muscles. It’s another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset,” she added.
A lot of the expenditure by lines of business is going towards cloud based investments that are quick to spin up and can often be paid for in relatively small installments on a company credit card.
The advice from CompTIA is to recognise the changes and approach the sales pitch from a slightly different direction.
“[Partners] need to speak the language of business because this new generation of buyers doesn’t want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases,” April added “Channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help customers make informed decisions about what they buy.”
The CompTIA research, Considering the New IT Buyer, was based on a survey of customers that happened in the US but the same pattern is happening here and the same lessons can be learnt.
“The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge,” April said “But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the channel. It’s incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders.”