This article is part of our IT Admin Mythbusters campaign. Discover the truth behind other common industry misconceptions in our roundup article 5 common IT myths & essential tips for IT pros.
When organizations purchase new technology, they should consult their IT team. As primary stakeholders, IT teams lend valuable expertise that drives purchasing decisions. After all, no one messes with a restaurant menu without consulting the chef. And your IT staff is just as important.
With global tech spending projected to reach $4.4 trillion this year, IT can help organizations make sure that their money is well spent. We’ll share what IT procurement looks like, four reasons to consult IT, and five best practices to follow.
What is IT procurement?
IT procurement is the procedure used to acquire technology products and services. This includes hardware, software, and vendor services. In larger enterprises, this process may be managed by a dedicated procurement team or manager. The typical steps include:
- Identify hardware, software, and network requirements
- Get approval for budget and permission to proceed
- Select potential suppliers
- Issue RFPs/tenders/RFQs
- Evaluate, interview, and select applicants
- Incorporate the new products, services, or systems into existing infrastructure
Depending on the scale, frequency, and complexity of your purchase, some companies may also choose to use procurement software to manage vendors, contracts, and orders. Even if they do, it’s still important to include IT in the deliberation process.
What’s the role of IT in procurement?
IT is an integral part of the procurement process, serving as gatekeepers and subject matter experts. While business decision makers like CEOs or CFOs approve the budget, they rely on IT’s advice before approving the purchase.
IT teams help determine business needs and technical requirements, conduct research, assess solutions and vendors, and recommend specific products. Industry survey results showed that 90% of ITDMs (IT decision makers) in North America are the ones who evaluate and recommend technology solutions.
Growing non-IT involvement
The global pandemic has fueled widespread demand for technology to support remote work. As technology becomes increasingly embedded across all aspects of the business, organizations may see more non-IT stakeholders participating in the decision-making process.
There’s also the rise of business technologists — non-IT employees who develop “technology or analytics capabilities for internal or external business use.” According to a recent Gartner global survey of 1,120 respondents from middle management or higher, 74% of technology purchases are funded, at least partially, by non-IT departments. With shared funding comes shared decision-making rights, which can result in too many cooks in the kitchen. Regardless of who’s paying the bill, organizations should make sure that IT’s views are heard.
4 reasons to involve IT in procurement
There are four good reasons why companies should involve IT in technology purchasing decisions.
No one understands cybersecurity risks better than IT. By ensuring that new technology is in line with governance and compliance standards, IT pros help maintain a healthy balance between security and business outcomes.
2. Company IT infrastructure
Unlike business technologists, IT understands the company-wide IT infrastructure, including hardware, system and network requirements, and software licenses and agreements. Your IT team makes sure that any new technology is compatible with the organization’s IT current environment.
3. Domain knowledge
With hands-on experience and broader knowledge of technology trends, IT can recommend the best new solutions, products, or services. Besides researching new products, they can also spot pitfalls or suggest more suitable alternatives.
4. Day-to-day management
IT can better evaluate new technology based on their experience with deploying and managing software across the organization. This includes pointing out potential challenges, developing more accurate timelines, and anticipating resources needed for rollout.
5 IT procurement best practices
Getting IT procurement right is not always easy. Here’s a list of five best practices to help IT teams stay on track.
1. Identify needs and requirements
Be clear about business objectives, user or operational needs, and regulatory requirements. Include IT’s views on key hardware, software, and network requirements that must be integrated with the new solution.
2. Involve stakeholders
Engage relevant departments to gather information on specific requirements, budgets, and timelines. This will enable you to understand how the new technology will impact their work, highlight possible issues, and develop an implementation strategy.
3. Do a risk assessment
Adopting new technology will affect existing operations and processes. Do a comprehensive analysis to map out any financial, security, or compliance risks. This will allow you to make more informed choices and develop contingency plans to mitigate any risks.
4. Choose the right vendors
Choose vendors that understand your business and share the same values. Focus on building long-term business partnerships rather than transactional relationships. A good partner is one who will add value beyond what you pay them for.
5. Have clear KPIs
Define and communicate timelines and key performance indicators clearly. Some contracts have built-in clauses that determine how much more or less a vendor is paid depending on their performance. Look beyond upfront costs at long-term wins in terms of efficiency, productivity, and security.
When introducing new dishes to a menu, chefs are the ones who know best. They know what’s in season, where to get the freshest produce, and what ingredients go together. For similar reasons, it makes perfect sense to involve IT when purchasing new technology.
When picking the best endpoint management software, for instance, IT admins would know which features matter and why. They would also know exactly why it’s so awesome to have a solution that enables remote computer imaging over the cloud. If you know you know, as they say. And if you don’t, there are ways to find out, like checking out our live demo or downloading a free trial to try it out for yourself.