A new study finds that British IT executives rely most of all on colleagues inside and outside their companies for advice on new technologies and vendors
When it comes to deciding how to spend a hard-won portion of the IT budget, who do CIOs trust for advice?
Consultants? Blogs? Whitepapers? Or something else entirely?
According to a survey by industry watchers Pierre Audoin Consultants and the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), CIOs and other business execs most trust their colleagues and peers for advice on which products to buy and suppliers to use.
The research, which queries business and IT professionals, found getting referrals from colleagues was rated the most popular first step for identifying potential new IT services.
More than 40 per cent of respondents said they would turn to colleagues in their own companies for suggestions on technologies, while around 30 per cent said they would go to speak to colleagues at other companies, with a similar percentage preferring to quiz peers in groups they belong to.
While asking colleagues for referrals was voted the most popular way to get advice on new tech, scouring the blogosphere and social networks also proved popular among European execs.
During the IT purchasing process, more than half of execs said they will consult LinkedIn and Facebook to either find out information or talk to colleagues.
Only six per cent of UK execs said they didn't consult any social media while buying a new tech product or service.
Julie Schwartz, SVP of research and thought leadership at ITSMA, said the higher up in the company an exec is, the more likely they are to embrace social media during the IT buying process.
"The companies that are more likely to use social media are the larger companies and the respondents that are more likely to use social media are the more senior respondents – the CEOs and the general managers."
While UK businesses may be social media whizz kids, when they're choosing their supplier for a new product or services, old school is best.
When asked what is the most important factor in choosing between alternative suppliers, UK businesses voted for "previous experience with my company".
However, when choosing between competing bids, CIOs will determine which vendor knows their business best.
Globally, end user organisations said the factor that can truly differentiate between suppliers' bids is when one can show they know it knows the business' needs better than the others – ahead of having a better price or being a safer choice.
"Technology knowledge is not enough. Technology knowledge combined with industry knowledge is also not enough. Buyers want to do business with providers that take the time to do their homework and also learn about the business processes and their unique business issues," Schwartz said.