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Lines of business buyers can spark channel opportunities

The purchasing power might be shifting away from the IT department but as WatchGuard has found that can be a positive for the channel

The growth in the buying power of lines of business has been identified as a challenge that the channel needs to deal with to avoid losing IT budget that has shifted from their traditional contacts.

As well as making life more difficult for some resellers that have worked hard to shore up long term relationships with those working in the IT department, the shift of power could provide some opportunities for the channel.

Recent research from CompTIA revealed that the 45% of the ideas were now coming from outside the IT department and more than half of those firms that were quizzed had used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.

More than a quarter of final decisions about which projects got the final sign off were now being taken without the final nod from  the IT department. Some of the places that were now exerting influence were finance, marketing, sales and logistics.

That development is not all bad news for the channel and examples are starting to emerge of opportunities that have grown out of the changing buying patterns.

Jonathan Whitley, area sales director Northern Europe at WatchGuard Technologies, said the vendor had seen the demand for its wireless security products surge in retail with non-IT buyers taking the decisions themselves to bring in protection for stores and customers.

“One hundred percent of the time up until a few months ago we always engaged with IT people. We now have wifi solutions that are more than just the wifi but also provide analytics and intrusion prevention and that tends to fall into the realms of marketing,” he said.

“With retail we have been to meetings where IT haven’t been present and its being dictated by marketing, which is a new approach for us,  but also a massive new opportunity,” he added.

He said that although the wifi was an element the main thing it was providing was information about footfall in stores and that appealed to those in the marketing teams. The firm has witnessed such growth in the demand from retail that it attended a recent show specifically targeting that vertical to get the brand in front of more customers.

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