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IT departments often regret technology buying decisions

The longer the purchase takes, the more frustrating, says Gartner

IT departments are frequently feeling the sting of buyer's remorse following big-ticket enterprise technology purchases.

Fifty-six percent of organizations said they had a high degree of regret over their largest tech-related purchase in the last two years, according to a new survey of 1,120 executives in North America, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific.

"The high regret is at peak for tech buyers that have not started implementation, indicating significant frustration with the buying experience," said Hank Barnes, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner. "In the past, it was relatively easy for product leaders to predict who buyers were, but no longer. Buying team dynamics are changing and customers can find buying to be a real challenge."

Whether or not some regret can be blamed on technology being oversold or buyers being ill-informed is not a point of discussion, but the longer the decision-making took, the more likely remorse was to hit.

"There can be a significant downside to regret associated with enterprise technology decisions. The survey found that the organizations that indicated they had high regret for their purchase took, on average, seven to 10 months longer to complete that purchase," said Barnes. "Slow purchase decisions can lead to frustrated teams, wasted time and resources and even, potentially, slower growth for the company."

And for anyone left picking up the technical pieces, 67 percent of people involved in technology-buying decisions are not in IT, which means that anyone could be a tech buyer for their organization. This is the so-called lines of business phenomenon where someone in marketing, for example, uses the corporate credit card to buy a product or service that IT admins then have to help manage.

The trend led to a new "technology chasm" which divides organizations that are confident adopters and buyers of technology from the vast majority that are not.

Gartner also spoke to those selling enterprise technology to address how the "chasm" requires new thinking.

"To shift strategies, we need to think about psychographics beyond the motivations for buying also to include how decisions are approached and which groups are driving the strategy," said Barnes.

"Gartner has developed a psychographic model called Enterprise Technology Adoption Profiles (ETAs) that revealed seven specific customer segments. Using ETAs is one element that can help high tech providers move from a product/market fit strategy towards a product/customer fit strategy," Barnes said.

Whether anyone has experienced buyer's remorse after shelling out thousands of dollars for a Gartner report is a question upon which The Register cannot comment. ®

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