Tech Buyer's Journey
A technology buyer's journey is the total experience of an individual or group of business decision makers as they purchase technology for their organization. The profile of the technology buyer has changed over the years. In the past, the head of engineering or technology was responsible for making the buying decision, with some consultation from end users and others, then securing the approval to purchase from senior executive management.
As technology, and information technology in particular, has become more widespread across an organization, the CIO, heads of different user departments, and senior executives are more deeply involved in the buying process. And as employees become more dependent on applications to perform their jobs, these "line of business" employees are becoming increasingly involved in IT buying decisions.
A tech buyer's journey starts when a company realizes that a business requirement must be supported by purchasing or investing in technology. The journey can be divided into several stages:
Identifying the business requirement and defining the criteria for the solution
Researching and shortlisting candidates
Securing funds and defining the return-on-investment (ROI)
Making the selection
Implementing the solution
Observing during the adoption, refinement and maintenance period
Reviewing the journey
The purchasing company builds a team to get input from all concerned and lists the preferred characteristics of the solution. The team conducts research using a variety of information sources that can include colleagues, professional peers and communities, previous solution providers, industry reviews, blogs and review sites, discussion boards, and vendor websites. Asking for a demonstration, or "demo," of the candidate product is common practice, which can even include a trial implementation, or "proof of concept." The team makes a shortlist of vendor candidates and compares features, prices and how well the solution integrates with their environment. They secure the funds and determine which solutions they can afford, and then make the final selection. Technology is fast-paced, so the tech buyer will ideally make their selection within a period before an updated model or version is released - but they should study the vendor's product roadmap to make sure it will meet future needs too.
After the selection process, the purchased solution is implemented. Depending on the scope and complexity of the solution, the implementation period can range from a few weeks to several years. The tech buyer's journey continues as the company adopts the solution, measures data, and reviews business operation and performance. At this time, the tech buyer observes the quality of the vendor's customer support. At the end of the tech buyer's journey, they review the purchased technology's impact in addressing the business requirement. They look at the data to see if the ROI was reached and assess the sentiment of users in how well they have adopted the solution. Finally, the tech buyer can decide if the solution and vendor will be included in the shortlist for future technology requirements. Buyers can share their experience and be a reference to another tech buyer looking for a solution provider.
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