IT Buying Behaviors: What Are Midmarket CIOs Saying?

Adjusting To The New Normal

Midmarket CIOs face the same day-to-day fight—they need to do more with less. Small budgets and limited resources are nothing new for IT leaders who must answer to line-of-business managers’ demanding ROI on IT investments. It has forced CIOs to be more innovative and creative than ever before. So, how are they coping? And, how has this "new norm" affected their buying behaviors? Well, we asked several CIOs, and what follows is a no-holds-barred, spleen-venting and illuminating string of comments. Enjoy.

Jeff McLarty, IT director, Ignited

’With smaller budgets, you learn to live with technology a little longer and try to identify where you can eke out another six months, or maybe a year, on certain technology. It also makes you re-evaluate what you have, how much you’re spending and determine when it’s time to swap things out. It makes you consider whether the vendor you chose was the best vendor to begin with.’

Shawn Michael, CIO & senior VP of operations, Wine Warehouse

’These challenges have involved working more efficiently with the money that we have. And, in some cases, it has allowed us to get larger budgets by re-utilizing and retooling some of the pieces of software that we already purchased or some of the hardware that we already had in place. This has allowed a lot of the business users to work more efficiently with less.’

James Underwood, senior manager of IT & engineering services, Canon Information & Imaging Solutions

’We typically try to buy technology, which when we need to re-utilize it, is able to be redeployed. So, we aren’t buying for a specific need, but rather general-purpose needs where it can be re-utilized throughout the organization when necessary.’

Steve Mortellaro, VP of information technology, Shield Healthcare

’IT budgeting and limited resources do affect our buying behaviors, but our CEO tells us: ’Bring one good idea and the cost is insignificant.’’

Michael Skaff, CIO, San Francisco Symphony

’That’s always going to be the case in most shops, whether it’s for profit or nonprofit. There will always be budget limitations. In this case, it’s about being creative with limited resources and making sure that you are getting every bang out of your buck that you can, and making sure that every project really counts. It’s about doing something that will advance the business in a meaningful and structural way.’

Bradley Burns, technology director, Duncan/Channon

’I would say that we do a really good job vetting companies all across the spectrum in any of the spaces we are looking at. We are also looking for really good value—what kind of support we are going to get, the product features. We look for all-in-one solutions with overall value.’

Tim Fraser, manager, BDO

’I think we definitely have to become more innovative, and maybe instead of giving 100 percent of what people are looking for in a product, we would come up with giving them about 70 to 75 percent of something and trying to find one product that does things for different groups and different needs.’

Edward Skokowski, director of IT, ACP Interactive

’It’s a struggle to do this, but in the long run we will probably be able to reduce staff and reduce our tactical effort because of what we can garner from the cloud in terms of operations and needs. Cloud opportunities and functionalities have really helped our overall IT budget.’

Tony Diaz, director of information technology, Montgomery & Co.

’You definitely want to get more with less—you, literally, have to do more with less. Budgets may be cut in half and midmarket CIOs have to take things in-house and choose vendor partners who offer more all-in-one solutions for cheaper costs.’

Different Opinions, Similar Consensus

Although these IT leaders may vary in opinion and viewpoint based on their personal experiences, they still share the same consensus: smaller budgets and limited IT resources definitely affect their buying behaviors. It’s all about finding all-in-one solutions and riding out current technology to its maximum lifeline.