Business decision-makers (BDMs) and IT decision-makers (ITDMs) don’t always see eye to eye. It’s like expecting cats and dogs to get along or Republicans and Democrats to agree on the same issues—each group comes with a totally different perspective and set of priorities that almost never align, even if they don’t “clash” per se.
Until recently, these different points of view weren’t a problem, because BDMs and ITDMs pretty much stayed in their own spheres: IT calling the shots on devices, software, printing solutions, and technologies, and business leaders generally staying out of it. The influence of BDMs has expanded throughout the past few years, though. Research from Spiceworks found that 69 percent of IT professionals say BDMs are involved in the technology buying process or have the final sign-off.
If you made a Venn diagram with the priorities of BDMs in one section and those of ITDMs in the other, the overlap would be small—but that doesn’t mean each camp can’t find common ground. There are a number of solutions that can fit snugly in that intersection and keep all stakeholders happy.
Recognize what separates “cats” and “dogs”
The fundamental job of BDMs is to optimize revenue and performance. Their attention focuses on the bottom line and achieving long-term strategic and organizational goals. They’re fixated on measurable results. They may not be IT experts, but they maintain a say when it comes to IT because they understand what the company needs.
Because of this fact, BDMs tend to gravitate toward IT solutions that promise tangible business benefits and higher growth. They may prioritize flashy technologies, like collaboration software or business intelligence and analytics over the less thrilling—but still critical—stuff, like printing solutions or infrastructure, and they may veto items on ITDMs’ wish lists due to concerns about cost and implementation time.
In contrast, ITDMs tend to prioritize reliability, scalability, and efficiency. Of course, the investment of time and money is a consideration, but it doesn’t drive decision making. The ITDM’s responsibility is to identify technology needs and find the best vendor to fulfill them—so they do the heavy lifting when it comes to meeting with vendors and conducting product research. IDG Enterprise’s survey on the “Role and Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker” revealed that ITDMs rely heavily on a bunch of different resources to stay up to date on new technologies. They also spend an average of 2.14 hours per week meeting with prospective vendors.
All this time goes into looking for detailed technical information:
- How does the product work?
- How will it interact with the rest of the IT stack?
- What are the maintenance requirements?
- What are the solution’s security capabilities?
The list goes on. For an ITDM constantly gathering information about new technology, it can feel frustrating when a BDM swoops in with a whole different set of priorities and throws a wrench in their well-laid plans.
Find the middle ground—like printing solutions
The clashes that emerge between BDMs and ITDMs usually concern the balance of authority around needs, budget, and purchasing. That said, there are plenty of cases where the priorities of each overlap. Take printing solutions, for example: BDMs are likely looking for affordable technologies that will save the organization on printing costs as well as printing speed, which translates into time saved. ITDMs will look for cost-effective solutions, too, but they also value factors like how well the printers will fit into employee workflows, security, and the ease of fleet management.
Mercifully, these sets of preferences are not mutually exclusive. It’s possible to balance speed, quality, and cost—without making trade-offs. Faster printing doesn’t have to come at the expense of quality, and quality doesn’t have to come at the expense of productivity. For instance, HP’s new A3 MFPs deliver high-quality printing in devices built to last. ITDMs love printing solutions like this, because they’re reliable and can handle high-volume printing without failure.
HP’s PageWide printers are another great example. They are built to be easy to maintain, with fewer moving parts and simple user-replacement of printheads. Special bonus: PageWide offers compatibility with corporate enterprise networks, ease of deployment, and robust security features. Modern solutions, like HP PageWide, are great for BDMs, as well, because they enable organizations to print faster while using less energy—making them more productive, more efficient, and more cost-effective. These printing solutions make it possible to save up to 40 percent per color page compared to lasers, are flexible for a range of business needs, and deliver high quality results.
By checking all these boxes, the technology represents an area where BDMs and ITDMs can come to an agreement. They satisfy the priorities of both, making it a win-win. Such technologies are not an impossible find—they just might take a little extra searching. Once you find something that makes both ITDMs and BDMs excited, you’ll know the solution you’ve landed on really is a winner.