According to Derry Finkeldey, research vice president at Gartner, building up a rapport with CFOs during projects is one thing they can do in the immediate future, and it could be something that some providers are wisening up to already — but not all.
The research vice president referred to a buyer poll she conducted, asking organisations if they have started a technology buying process but didn’t complete it.
In January, the poll saw 100 per cent of polled organisations avoiding a purchase, with the top reason being they couldn’t find a solution that was a good match to their needs.
However, in September, the poll came back with 27 per cent, with the top reason this time being an inability to create a business case or find a sufficient return on investment.
“There were a lot of verbatim comments about the CFO and his role and his or her role and the role they're playing in scrutinising. Everything is under scrutiny...and you really need to have a look at the nature of the purchase in the scheme of that organisation,” Finkeldey said. “Providers really need to understand and have a good relationship with the CFO...more than ever before because they are scrutinising every purchase.
“It requires providers to understand is business impact of what they're talking about, or what they're doing for their customers, and helping them to be their champions internally to be able to understand that and, more importantly, to demonstrate it to make the case.”
Despite facing organisations cutting back on their IT budgets, Finkeldey said most of the research firm’s polls and surveys shows a “fairly optimistic” outlook for providers.
However, that level of optimism varies depending on which vertical a provider works in, with Finkeldey noting that some organisations that have fully leaned into digital transformation projects, while others are more cautious and may not be moving as fast towards technological transformation as they appear to be.
From an anecdotal perspective, Finkeldey added that the current economic environment differs from the Global Financial Crisis, as she has seen a “growing maturity” in terms of the role of technology in business as well as everyday life.
She has also observed “quite a high level of trust” in providers compared to a few years ago.
“Customers are looking to their provider for advice, and for insight about how to go forward and where to make those meaningful investments,” Finkeldey added.
“We often use the term partner glibly between customer and provider. But I think there really is an opportunity for people to differentiate now, in terms of when they are partnering, where they are rising up in the sense to work with their customer.”