5 Things That Drive C-Level IT Purchase Decisions

Written by Sean Blanton on August 11, 2021

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Let’s say you’ve established a tech stack to support the business and its employees, and your leadership was cool with the decisions you’ve made to do so. Then, new leadership came in with their own idea of which technology the organization should be using. Or, perhaps you’re new to the organization and you want them to adopt different platforms or solutions you know work better. You want to advocate for your preferred stack, and to do that you need to be able to express the value of these tools in terms top leadership will understand. 

The key here is to really understand what drives IT decision making at the C-level. What do chief technology officers (CTOs), chief information officers (CIOs), or even CEOs really care about? If you can speak their (CXO) language, you’ll be able to present a solid business case for why your preferred tools are the best ones for the organization to use — or advocate for change from the current status quo. 

What do you need to know when it comes to building a case? 

Driving Forces Behind C-Level Prioritization 

Executives in the C-suite typically focus on top-level, long-term strategic plans for the business and the shorter term strategies to achieve those goals. Top of mind in nearly every organization today are these five high-level priorities: 

  1. Modernization. Technology is evolving at record speeds, and today’s organizations are focusing on modernizing their legacy infrastructure, data, and systems to harness the power of cloud-native and hybrid architectures. Bringing the old into the new is paramount, and figuring out the right strategies, platforms, and tools is a high priority.
  2. Automation. Equally as important, companies are automating everything possible to streamline workflows, create smoother processes, improve customer and employee experiences, and ultimately deliver on goods and services as fast as possible.
  3. Speed. Behind the drive for automation is the overarching need to move the business faster. Everything from development to production to go-to-market to iterations needs to happen faster, but without sacrificing quality, discernment, and brand value.
  4. Costefficiency. Spending budget on the right investments that generate a return on investment in terms of improved revenue, customer and employee experience, and achieving the long-term goals of the business is a priority of the C-suite.
  5. Employee experience. In today’s environment with remote work and labor shortages, C-level executives care about making sure the employee experience keeps them attracting, hiring, and retaining the best talent. In fact, in a recent study commissioned by JumpCloud which surveyed over 400 IT professionals, 89% of CTOs said they value the impact on employee experience when making IT purchasing decisions. Providing a great employee experience correlates to improving customer experience. 

These are the big overarching priorities. In the same study, CTOs were asked to respond to questions regarding their planned IT spending, what influences their decision making, and how they choose and approve the IT solutions they do. Let’s take a look at the data and then consider how this impacts the tools you use.

Where do CTOs plan to increase spend over the next year? 

  • 68% cloud services
  • 65% security technologies
  • 65% remote management technologies
  • 57% mobile technologies
  • 46% collaboration tools

What Matters Most: Ease of Use, Integration, and Cloud Accessibility

The areas that CTOs prioritize for spending reveal both their growth plans and the need to fill gaps. Tools that support these goals are up for consideration, particularly if they align with the reasons why CTOs decide to approve purchase decisions: 

Why do CTOs choose the tools they do? 

  • 70% ideal for remote work
  • 62% integrates with my existing technologies
  • 43% cloud native
  • 43% product ease of use
  • 41% compliance/regulatory concerns
  • 41% the vendor was easy to do business with
  • 30% compelling price
  • 27% unified/consolidated platform

It’s interesting to note that less than one-third are driven by price. CTOs invest in tools that demonstrate how they will drive value for the larger priorities. So if your preferred tool is not the cheapest in the market, don’t despair. It’s the value it can offer and how it aligns with what matters to the CTO that counts. 

So What Sways CTOs to Buy?

Here is what influences CTOs the most in their IT purchasing and usage decisions, ranked in order of importance: 

  1. Offers ease of use compared to existing solution
  2. Consolidates functions/tooling solutions
  3. Recommended by other IT admins
  4. Lower cost than existing solution
  5. Internal directive
  6. Experience from previous position
  7. Content from vendors (marketing materials)
  8. Inertia (it’s what the company has always used)

It’s particularly interesting to point out that “ease of use” ranks so highly — No. 1 influence in purchasing decisions and 43% report it as the reason they buy. Ease of use correlates to how highly CTOs value the impact on employee experience, as well as the speed and efficiency that is necessary to propel the business further. It also follows that ease of use translates to a more democratized solution, less cost for expert users, and a more streamlined workflow. 

As you can see, the platforms, tools, and vendors that get chosen are the ones that hit the sweet spot when it comes to meeting CTO priorities. If you’re advocating for a favorite tool, build a case around how it aligns with the priorities outlined here. Speak their language, show the numbers, the business impact, how it will achieve the goals, and conversely, the impact on the business if change is not made. 

Read the Full Report

JumpCloud’s survey of 400 IT professionals delivered significant insights into everything from general demographics to security strategies, biggest challenges, and more. Download the full report for more insights from IT professionals on the state of today’s modern workplace.

Sean Blanton

Sean Blanton is the Director of Content at JumpCloud and has spent the past decade in the wide world of security, networking and IT and Infosec administration. When not at work Sean enjoys spending time with his young kids and geeking out on table top games.

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