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IT Managers = Influencers? I think not

How many times have you “made the sale” with IT managers at small and midsized companies, only to find out that they couldn’t follow through? Well, now there’s research that supports the anectdotal evidence that winning the hearts and minds of the IT staff at smaller companies, while not necessarily a waste of time, is an activity with very little ROI.

Shamus McGillicudy reports a survey by Info-Tech Research Group Inc., found that the smaller a company is, the less likely its IT managers are to be making spending decisions. “At companies with 40 or fewer employees, only 20% of IT managers had a say in such decisions,” he reports. For companies of 41-100 employees, only 30% had any influence; and at companies with between 101 and 200 employees, 45% claimed to have a stake in the company’s purchasing decisions.

If you’ve been around the SMB market at all, it’s easy to understand this data. Companies with fewer than 40 employees seldom have an “IT manager” that rates as an executive within the company. In my experience, the majority of companies of that size lump IT with facilities management, unless they’re technology-focused. Business managers of smaller companies tend to hold purchasing authority closely.

In other words, this research seems to provide metrics to the obvious. In fact, the influence of IT managers at SMBs is probably even less than the survey reports . What would be more interesting is to find out how many companies of that size have effectively outsourced the IT manager job to a managed service provider.

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