IT Purchase Decisions

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IT Purchase Decisions: Macro Business Trends

Business owners/leaders look for information to stay informed about macro business trends in public library databases, and published reports from government agencies and their partners. Further details, including relevant statistics, can be found below.

Public Library Databases Provide Information about Industry Trends and More

  • Business owners in Canada look for information to stay informed about macro business trends in databases available in public libraries such as the Business Source Ultimate that is made available by the Vancouver Public Library.
  • Business Source Ultimate is used to get information about macro industry trends, successful companies, competitors, and even government/regulatory controls affecting various industries.
  • Canadian business owners gain access to “3500+ magazines, industry profiles, market research and country reports”, and over 67,000 videos using this database. Its full-text journals are from 70 countries.
  • Daily updates are made to the Business Source Ultimate database. As of September 2019, it had 1,375 unique titles, “S&P Fortune 500 content with no embargo”, and a Company View feature that provides information for over 1.1 million companies.
  • The database also provides more than 100 publications for regional business news (i.e. U.S. and Canada).
  • Two other databases that business owners access in public libraries are ThomasNet and Harris InfoSource All-Industries and Manufacturing Directories.
  • Business in Vancouver (BIV) is another database for macro industry trends at the Vancouver Public Library and can be accessed in print form there.
  • Readers of BIV are mainly (90%) buying decision-makers, business owners or managers (89%), “have investment portfolios valued at [$200,000]”, and have an average age of 47 years.

Government Agencies Conduct Market Research that Provides Invaluable Information in Published Reports

  • Business owners leverage several government resources for industry sector data including business trends and statistics from multiple services including industry sector intelligence, small business research and statistics, and consumer trends reports.
  • Contributors to these government resources include Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Canadian Intellectual Property Office, and Statistics Canada.
  • Statistics Canada provides a wide variety of information about the country’s economy to help citizens and decision-makers.
  • Statistics Canada recently joined forces with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in April 2020, to provide insights into the “impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” to help the government and businesses to move forward from the pandemic. Together, they have formed Canada’s “largest [crowd sourced] business intelligence survey”, called the Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (CSBC).
  • The aim is to provide credible and reliable data to business leaders and policymakers, from information, gathered from any of the 200,000 businesses in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s network.
  • More than 100 “leading business and industry associations” in Canada will also be involved, and this includes “the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters”.
  • In May 2020, Statistics Canada could provide details about macro business trends for small businesses from the CSBC survey.
  • By July 2020, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce had information to share with business owners in its Canadian Business Resilience Network, which showed that 70% of businesses’ revenue being affected by COVID-19 in April 2020.
  • 35% of businesses saw a decline in revenue by 50% or more in April 2020 compared with April 2019.
  • 13,000 businesses took part in the survey and “80.9% have experienced a medium to high drop in demand for services or products”.
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IT Purchase Decisions: Technology Trends

In recent years, there has been a shift in the way I.T. purchasing decisions are made. The decision-making process is often influenced by a larger and more diverse group of people. Decision makers are also more savvy and handle more of the search process themselves, relying more on online sources and feedback from their peers.

Large, Diverse Group of Decision Makers

Informal Self Research

  • Increasingly, I.T. purchasers are doing more self-research before ever getting a vendor involved. In the retail industry, 59% of I.T. purchasing decision makers indicated that they learned through self-research. Purchasers will often look first to websites, online communities, and social media to self educate and develop short-lists. Fifty-two percent of professionals indicate that they will explore a vendor's website to help inform their purchase, and 88% of buyers are influenced by qualified feedback found on blogs, forums, and product review sites.
  • Value added resellers still play a role in 80% of procurement decisions, but they often come in later in the process and play a smaller part. Before reaching out to a vendor, most buyers have already conducted a substantial amount of research and formed an initial opinion. In fact, over 52% of purchasers already have an initial potential vendor selected before reaching out.
  • Younger decision makers especially, are less likely to look at formal research papers, but prefer looking to blog articles and more personalized forms of communication. Millennials also placed an increased focus on ease of access, expecting to be able to access data from multiple platforms. Gen X and Millennial purchasers were unlikely to fill out a form to get their information, with 78% indicating that they would not bother downloading content if it first attempted to collect their personal information.


Research Methods

To gather the data for this report, we looked at industry journals and articles, as well as reputable business news sources. Most of the information found was global in scope, or was widely applicable, so we chose to expand our focus beyond articles relating to specifically Canadian research.,
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IT Purchase Decisions:

When making decisions about business IT needs, some best practices for owners in decision-making include assessing the capability of the organization to successfully manage the change, how well the new solution integrates with existing systems, and supports Canadian requirements and the Total Cost of Ownership.

Influence #1 — Is the Organization Ready for the Change?

  • In most companies, changes in IT result in major changes in the business. This change can be seen in business processes, in data collection, staffing responsibilities, and other areas of business management.
  • The most comprehensive analysis of an organization's capability for successful change is described in the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model.
  • The CMMI was originally developed at Cornell University and then adapted by Prosci, an industry leader in Change Management. They developed the model through extensive research and benchmarking.
  • Organizations can be at one of five levels. Level One has little or no change management capability and processes are people dependent and not written down anywhere, while level five has complete process documentation and continuous process improvement in all areas of the business.
  • The graphic of this model is shown below.

Influence #2 — Data and System Integration

  • It is crucial when making an IT decision that the new system either provides end-to-end integration or that it integrates into the existing architecture and infrastructure.
  • As an example, if a business has an existing bookkeeping system and the business has grown to the point that an HR system is required, it would be crucial that the two systems "speak to each other" — i.e. pass data back and forth.
  • An alternative to buying an HR system and struggling to integrate is to purchase and integrated ERP system which has Finance and HR, as well as other business functions such as customer management. In that case, the data from the first system would have to be migrated into the new system.
  • In making the decision, the business owner should consider the validity of the current data, the available skill sets of employees to understand and manage the data migration, the disruption to the business, and the costs of the two options.
  • If the system includes managing taxes, the software should support the Canadian tax code and provide yearly upgrades for tax rates.

Influence #3 — Innovation, Costs, and Grants

  • One of the biggest mistakes business owners can make is not correctly calculating the total cost of ownership before making business IT decisions.
  • Costs do not just include to cost of the software package, but also include a myriad of factors including implementation, integration, operation, maintenance, and infrastructure required to have a functioning system.
  • However, if the goal is an innovation or growth in the business field, the government of Canada provides funding, loans, tax credits, and expertise to help businesses grow.
  • The reasons they provide this assistance are myriad, including leasing equipment, increase productivity, quality, safety, or efficiency.

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