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What is the C-Suite Thinking about Software and Technology?

Written by Bart Nachimow

July 26, 2019

We recently published The 2019 C-Suite Software Sentiment Study. We surveyed over 500 executives about their thinking, planning and prioritizing for the increasingly mission-critical subject of software and technology. Our goal was to provide new insights into how c-level executives view software and related technology as drivers of strategy. The respondents work in multiple roles and come from a range of company sizes and geographic locations. The findings are statistically “projectionable” and valid for the United States market.

Highlight: Cloud Adoption Leads

One key finding of the report was that cloud adoption and migration were the most commonly cited priorities for c-levels. Twenty-one percent of respondents ranked it in first place, followed by mobile solutions at 20%. Business continuity came in last with a rate of just 7.3% implementation.  The emphasis on cloud makes sense, given the cloud’s compelling economics and flexibility. Furthermore, as cloud providers grow more sophisticated, senior executives are able to see its potential business advantages.

The focus on mobile also makes intuitive sense. The trend aligns with shifts in workforce norms and the emergence of today’s mobile work culture. The comparatively low emphasis on business continuity probably stems from the relative maturity of BC initiatives in contrast to cloud, which is still a new investment area for many businesses.

Highlight: Software Investment is Heading Up

A noteworthy 55% of c-level executes indicated that they plan to increase investment in software and related technology in 2019. Just 15% plan to decrease it. This is probably because tech buyers appreciate the strategic value of software for their companies. The concept of “digital transformation” is also a likely driver of this trend. Software is increasingly viewed a means to achieve competitive advantage. Another contributing factor is a generally positive economic environment, where funds are available for strategic IT spending. 

Highlight: C-Level Execs Find Accounting and Financial Management Software Important

Survey respondents expressed the view that accounting/financial management software, along with invoicing/billing software, were among the most important to their businesses. Seventy-three percent of c-levels surveyed deemed accounting/financial management software to be important. Database management and collaboration software also earned high marks for importance. These findings suggest that businesses favor practical, business-facing software due to their unrealized potential.

Highlight: IT Execs have the Biggest Role to Play in Buying Software

This may not be a big surprise, but Information Technology (IT) execs are the most influential players in the software buying process. However, they are not alone in making the decision. Finance/Accounting execs are in the lead 18% of the time, following by operations at 17%. C-Suite member influence on software buying is at 16%.

Conclusion

Software is a serious subject for c-level execs heading into the second half of 2019. This is evident from the fact that more than half plan to increase their software and tech investments in the coming year. Only a small minority plan to cut back. The market outlook is positive for buyers and sellers of business software. It appears that corporate IT departments, who lead in the acquisition process most often, see strong value in continued, growing investments.

To download the report, visit https://businesssoftwareeducationcenter.org/resources/c-suite-software-sentiment-study-2019/

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