Gone are the days of the IT department holding all the technology purchasing power. Over the last 12-24 months, the purchasing power in a number of businesses has shifted to the line-of-business executives.
But what is driving this change? A major factor is the power of the customer. A good customer experience can set a company apart, and in order to compete, line-of-business executives are looking for ways to build better and faster customer experiences. This can include new ways of interacting with customers on social, mobile, and possibly even wearable devices. They also need to understand the effectiveness of their actions. But managing the wide range of customer touch points across many channels throughout the buyer’s journey is almost impossible without the aid of technology.
In today’s environment, businesses are becoming tech-focused, aided by employees who are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. They are also becoming data-centric, using big data and predictive analytics to make their business decisions data-driven. There is an extractable link between technology and business results.
Line-of-business executives need to be able to react to changes in customer behavior or to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. Ultimately, they are judged on whether they make their numbers or not – and they need technology tools that will help them achieve their targets. They also want to control their own key performance indicators.
So what does this all mean? Line-of-business executives are the new buyers of technology. For them, it is all about return-on-investment. If they spend a dollar, what will the margin be? Is it the same as the previous dollar, is it more or less? If they can make as much or more margin by spending an additional dollar, they are going to spend it.
This change is also affecting how software vendors sell their products. Software vendors now need to engage with the business executives who control the budget – and it takes a different approach than selling to IT.
The IT group is interested in standards, functionality, and feature lists with a focus on total-cost-of-ownership (TCO). The line-of-business executive is focused on business outcomes and benefits. The software vendor therefore needs an approach that addresses their business problems in the language of their business.
In my next post I’ll discuss how Logi approaches selling to the line-of-business executives.