Techaisle's SMB & midmarket decision making & buyers journey report confirms that business decision makers (BDMs) – who tend to inhabit the ‘carpeted’ realms of their businesses – are more engaged by discussions about business benefits and objectives than by ‘feeds and speeds’. Cloud business application sales reps will need to develop ‘deep carpet’ language and skills. Techaisle survey data shows that:

“Determining the need for” a new cloud business application or a meaningful enhancement to an existing application is not, of course, identical to signing off on the purchase of a new system. When Techaisle extended our coverage to ask about having “budgetary control and authority,” Techaisle discovered two interesting findings:

Data also shows an interesting trend that unlike determining needs for new business applications where IT takes authority for 20-100 employee size businesses, business management continues to have authority over budget irrespective of employee size. And although in nearly 3/4th of SMBs business management has control of budget for purchase of new cloud business applications, in 15 percent of SMBs no single group or person really controls the budget.

As an SMB grows and an IT department begins to take shape it also assumes authority but as soon as a business crosses 100 employee segment, the balance of authority shifts again to business management. This is because of three reasons:

  1. IT gets more involved in keeping the systems running than in strategic initiatives
  2. Business is responsible for driving revenue and immediately looks for solutions that support the business initiatives
  3. Ad-hoc, experimental cloud implementations by business happens and success leads to full implementation

Once the applications are implemented IT gets involved and takes a proactive role in soliciting inputs for customization, enhancements and upgrades. Due to an almost equal balance of authority between business and IT management, the decision-making unit becomes considerably larger than in small businesses making it imperative for IT suppliers to target both buyer segments - IT to prove technology capabilities and business to relate technology solutions to business issues.

The midmarket businesses with higher percent of ad hoc purchases are typically smaller in size in terms of number of employees and belong to verticals such as services, real estate and manufacturing

Survey respondents who reported that that neither ITDMs nor BDMs had complete control over new application expenditures, Techaisle researchers were told that in many cases, this response reflected ad hoc purchasing, with verbatim responses along the lines of “nobody knows [who has final authority], but things get purchased and used. Depending upon the type of purchase sometimes IT is forced to pay while other times business pays from its own budget.”