IT Purchase Decisions

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IT Purchase Decisions

When looking for information such as industry news and trends, business owners and leaders in Canada and the U.S. most often rely on email/email newsletters, traditional media outlets, and social media. When looking for information about technology trends and information, this cohort is keen to rely on Twitter, Facebook, and conferences/events. A desire to keep the business competitive, remain innovative, and grow the business influences how business leaders think about the IT needs of the business, as technology allows them to overcome challenges related to these goals. A deep dive of these findings can be found below:

Where Do Business Owners/Leaders Look for Information to Stay Informed About Business Trends?

Email

  • When it comes to sources used to obtain business and industry news and information, email was the most popular source, as reported by c-suite executives surveyed, with 78% saying they do this at least once a week.
  • A global survey of over 1,355 executives found that email newsletters are the most popular place where they get their news from, with 94% of respondents agreeing.
  • A large scale Harvard study found that CEOs spend 24% of their time checking their email.
  • A panel survey of CEOs in the U.S. about where they find industry news also corroborated the findings that email newsletters are a primary source of information for this cohort.

Traditional Media Outlets (e.g. Wall Street Journal)

  • When it comes to sources used to obtain business and industry news and information, traditional media outlets was the second most popular source, as reported by c-suite executives surveyed, with 68% saying they do this at least once a week.
  • Similarly, a global survey of over 1,355 executives found that news apps are third most popular place where they get their news from, with 74% of respondents agreeing. This insight may be relevant to consider given a number of traditional media outlets run their own news apps, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
  • A panel survey of CEOs in the U.S. about where they find industry news also corroborated the findings that traditional media outlets are a primary source of information for this cohort.

Social Media

  • 57% of small business owners in Canada use social media. Likewise, 53% of top CEOs in Canada are on social media with the most popular being LinkedIn (45%).
  • When it comes to sources used to obtain business and industry news and information, social media was the second most popular source, as reported by c-suite executives surveyed, with 61% saying they do this at least once a week.
  • A global survey of over 1,355 executives found that 89% are active on social media, with the most popular platforms being LinkedIn (72%), Facebook (68%), and Twitter (53%).
  • A panel survey of CEOs in the U.S. about where they find industry news also corroborated the findings that social media a primary source of information for this cohort.

Where Do Business Owners/Leaders Look for Technology Trends/Info?

Twitter and Facebook

  • A global survey of over 1,355 executives found that the most popular social media platform executives use to get news about the technology industry is Twitter (46%), followed by Facebook (25%).
  • Canadian SME Business Magazine exemplifies this insight, as the majority of social traffic coming to this website is coming from Twitter (46.18%), with lesser percentages coming from Facebook and LinkedIn. Over 84% percent of the site's traffic comes from Canada. The magazine focuses on SME trends and profiles in Canada and has an entire section devoted to technology.
  • A survey of small businesses in the United States found that 42% use Twitter, 67% use Facebook, and 74% said keeping up with new technology is very important.
  • "Studies show, many CIO/CTOs are embracing social media as a way to connect with their customers and peers, discover best practices, and become stronger leaders. "
  • Among business IT and tech buyers surveyed, 70% are using Facebook while 43% are using Twitter more than once a day. "CIOs also use social media as a platform to find tech brands, with 45% following brands they like, and a third following brands they plan to buy from."

Conferences/Events

  • Business owners in Canada attend conferences and events such as the CanadianSME Business Expo in order to learn about technology. For example, this event is attended by over 2,000 business leaders, executives, and leading SMEs. Many of the topics covered by the event are related to technology trends, such as digital transformation, cloud, and technologies for SMEs.
  • When asked why they attend conferences, business leaders surveyed noted that they do so in an effort to learn new tips and tactics for their work (10.8%) and to meet experts and speakers face-to-face (30.7%).
  • A study published by Spiceworks recommends that one of the best ways for markers to reach IT decision makers is via conferences, as this is a place where they can find educational content during the technology research process.
  • A survey of small business owners suggests that the value of conferences is the face-to-face contact between consumer and vendor, especially when it comes to technology. For example, the survey found that among business owners and leaders, "77 percent say in-person meetings yield a healthy return on investment. Among those who specialize in technology, that number is noticeably higher, at 95 percent." Likewise, "91 percent of small business owners in the technology field agree that connecting face-to-face with customers and attending or presenting at conferences improves their ability to run their business."
  • Additionally, 81% of tech small business owners prioritize industry conferences and trade shows.

What Influences Business Owner/Leader Thinking Around Business IT Needs?

Business Competition

  • Among Canadian business and IT decision makers surveyed, increasing competition from other businesses is cited as a top concern, with 24% of these leaders citing this among their top three concerns. When asked how their company compares to their global competitors in terms leveraging digital technology, only 37% of IT leaders and 9% of business leaders said they exceed their peers, while 26% and 54% said they are at par with their peers, 27% and 25% said they lag behind, and 6% and 8% said they lag far behind.
  • The desire to remain competitive influences how small business owners and leaders think about business IT needs because technology can enable a small business to better compete with larger organizations. There is a range of business technologies small businesses can implement to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Studies have found that leveraging the timing of business activities, something that can be better achieved using technology, is a key way a small business can gain a competitive edge. Along with this, developing technical expertise, flexibility, agility, speed, and adaptability are all becoming increasingly important areas of competitive advantage.

Innovation

  • Among Canadian business leaders surveyed, developing new products and services is the main objective of their company (42%), while 41% want to design new business models, 37% want to understand the digital impacts on their consumers and business, and 35% want to accelerate the speed of their company's innovation.
  • This survey also found that the role of IT in the organization allows the organization to effectively keep up with change, according to the vast majority of business leaders surveyed.
  • The desire to innovate influences the way a business owner or leader thinks about business IT needs because technology can help business overcome a number of challenges that slow innovation, such as market volatility and the need to collaborate.
  • Business thought leaders in Canada aim to make the country a global leader in innovation. This goal includes accelerating technological change. According to Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, "Companies play a key role in turning new ideas and technologies from a possibility into an integral part of our everyday life. That’s why we’re pleased with the government’s approach, which positions Canadian businesses as partners in making innovation a reality for the benefit of Canadians and people everywhere."

Business Growth

  • Among Canadian business leaders surveyed, when it comes to technology projects, leaders are hoping to increased profits (42%), operational cost reduction (41%), and increased revenue (35%).
  • This survey also found that business units partner with IT departments in an effort to achieve these outcomes, according to the vast majority of business leaders surveyed.
  • Among Canadian CIOs surveyed, 64% said they rely on business outcome metrics to demonstrate ITs contribution to the company.
  • The desire to grow a business influences the way a business owner or leader thinks about business IT needs because studies have shown that when a business invests in technology and adopts technologies doing so has a significant impact on financial performance, as well as the mindsets and behavior of company leaders.
  • A study published by Accenture found that Canadian companies with a strong and successful technology adoption strategy are growing their revenue at a rate 2.5 times faster than those who don't.
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