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Help Your Tech Buying Team Work More Effectively

December 08, 2022

Contributor: Colin Reid

Tech buying is costly, time consuming and can be a fractious process. Make it easier by including the right stakeholders on your buying team and anticipate common hitches.

Digitalization and the increasing democratization of technology mean that enterprise tech is increasingly funded, procured, developed and managed outside of the IT organization. Your next tech purchase, then, is likely to involve a buying team of diverse stakeholders — a team that can be the difference between a tech purchase you’ll regret and one you won’t.

Gartner research shows that buyers who don’t later regret their tech purchases tend to be more thorough in their approach to developing and agreeing on the business case and more disciplined in gaining consensus across a broad set of stakeholders. They don’t just vet technology solutions; they evaluate a range of requirements against specific desired outcomes.

To do that effectively, your organization will most likely assign a tech buying team. Who sits on that team, and what they focus on, is critical to success.

Discover Gartner BuySmart™: Streamline your tech purchase from start to finish.

IT remains essential to your tech buying team

As the number of business technologists — employees who build technology or analytics capabilities for internal and external business use, but exist outside of IT departments — grows, the IT team can no longer be the sole stakeholder in buying technology solutions. Still, IT’s perspective is key: Teams that fail to include or use critical perspectives are most likely headed for purchase regret. 

Buyer teams that avoid purchase regret frequently work proactively to understand and document key requirements for which IT input is needed, from technical and interoperability requirements to security and risk assessments and budget allocations.

Incorporate change enablement

Gartner research shows that 61% of buyer organizations faced employee resistance when deploying new technology, thereby causing deployment delays and, risking low adoption and long-term usage. Identifying tech advocates and incorporating change enablers in the buying team can help you proactively address resistance.

Consider asking tech service providers whether they can help with change enablement materials, such as implementation and migration guides and case studies. These tools will ultimately help your organization to accelerate deployment and may ease concerns among buying team members during the evaluation process.

Beware of ‘occasional’ decision makers

Buying teams include six to seven members on average, but they can include far more. For IT services deals greater than $5 million, for example, the buying team averages 15 stakeholders. That creates enormous complexity, especially given that purchase teams are rarely static anyway. 

Active participation grows and shrinks depending on the size of the purchase or the stage of the purchase process, and then there are so-called “occasional” decision makers — those who do not participate actively throughout the full vetting and purchase process but often have enormous sway. 

Representatives with specific expertise or purchase power are often brought in to advise, for example. And they frequently derail purchase teams and can lead them down a path to high regret. Gartner research shows that 80% of buyers who reported high regret after a technology purchase saw occasional decision makers overrule their team. Only 1% of no-regret buying teams reported such behavior. 

You may not be able to exclude occasional decision makers from the process, but you can lessen the chances that their participation will drag out a purchase or lead to regret by ensuring they align early with the rest of the team on the objectives, requirements, budget and scope of your investment.

Build consensus

On average, 41% of employees are business technologists, who create tech or analytics capabilities for business use outside of their organization’s IT department, according to the 2021 Gartner Reimagining Technology Work Survey and the 2020 Gartner Digital Friction Survey. By including the right perspectives at each stage of the purchase process, your team will reduce the chances that something essential is missed. For example, teams that leave IT out of initial requirements discussions may overlook the critical need for incorporating implementation prep into even the early stages of the purchase process. 

Pay attention to the requirements details for all user groups and make sure those requirements align with key business drivers and objectives.

In short: 

  • Anyone can be a technology buyer today, but understanding how to approach technology purchases successfully requires strong teamwork and coordination. 

  • Include meaningful perspectives on every technology purchasing team to mitigate later purchase problems or regrets. 

  • Beyond functional users, try to recruit team members who can maintain clear focus on the organization’s objectives, which will maintain purchase momentum.

Colin Reid, VP of Product Management, leads Gartner teams in scoping, building, shipping and managing global SaaS applications, including BuySmart. Previously, as a Gartner analyst, he helped clients design, build, integrate, operate and optimize all aspects of marketing and content technology and their operations. Mr. Reid also has experience as a CMO, COO and team leader at client marketing organizations, marketing agencies and global technology providers.

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