Who really makes IT buying decisions?

Purchasing new IT products and services for any organization can sometimes be a long and arduous process, involving many stakeholders and requiring buy-in and approval from many different people. In some shops, the IT staff owns the process, with little input from management. In others, non-IT staff may have more influence. Undoubtedly the best approach is one where IT and all the relevant stakeholders work together to meet the needs of all parties, while delivering solutions that are cost-effective and advance the needs of the organization.

Two recent trends are helping drive the involvement of more non-IT staff in the purchasing process: the onset of cloud computing and the increasing consumerization of IT. In the former case, cloud-based services like Salesforce.com, Windows Azure, and cloud-based BI solutions from TIBCO, and GoodData are being pushed and advocated for by non-IT stakeholders for the benefits these solutions can potentially bring to their respective departments.

So what is the consumerization of IT? Here’s one example: Over the last few years, the arrival of powerful (and ubiquitous) mobile devices like the iPhone and Android-based smart phones in the consumer space has lead to employees and executives to push IT staff to adopt and support those devices.

All of these developments coincide with the increasing influence non-IT managers and executives are having on the IT purchasing process. While being responsive to the needs of various groups within an organization is a must for any IT department, how can IT balance the desires of all these disparate groups with the ever-present needs for security, compliance, management, and maintaining SLAs?

That’s what I’ll be focusing on here in IT Business Perspectives, a new blog focused on providing non-IT executives with the information they need to make informed IT decisions, as well as helping IT leaders work more effectively with business stakeholders to get their needs met as well.

So I’d like to hear from you about how your organization makes IT purchasing decisions, and I’d also like to find out what topics you’d like covered in IT Business Perspectives.  Feel free to add a comment to this blog post, or take part in our IT Business Perspectives survey and get a chance to win a $150 Amazon gift card for sharing with your thoughts with us.

Follow Jeff James on Twitter at @jeffjames3

Follow Windows IT Pro on Twitter at @windowsitpro

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