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Line of Business Leaders Drive Digital Transformation

Digital transformation requires savvy talent. That's why more Line of Business (LoB) leaders are adding business technology experts to their staff -- independent of the traditional IT department. Senior executives cite the need for specialized skills, faster response times and predictable business outcomes.

But while lines of business have autonomy to make technology decisions, they continue to collaborate with the corporate IT organization. Forty percent of business respondents to a recent survey said that their department works jointly with CIOs and CTOs to determine the solutions they'll deploy.

Digital Transformation Market Development

Executives from finance, marketing, sales, logistics and other departments play an increasingly central role in the evaluation, purchase and deployment of technology solutions, according to the latest market study by CompTIA.

"CIOs and CTOs remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience are valued," said Carolyn April, senior director at CompTIA. "But business lines are clearly flexing their muscles. It's another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset."

Among the 675 U.S. businesses surveyed by CompTIA, 45 percent said that ideas about technology come from different areas of the organization, and 36 percent said more executives are involved in the decision making. Moreover, 52 percent used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases.

LoB leaders are also staffing their departments with specialists, such as data scientists and business analysts, software developers and social media experts. This shift in talent development and digital growth agenda influence is impacting the IT channel -- vendors, distributors and solution providers.

"The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge," April continued. "But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the IT channel. It's incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders."

Furthermore, LoB leaders are driving the trend of adopting more public cloud-based offerings, which can be self-provisioned quickly by software developers. For that reason, CompTIA believes that legacy IT channel partners need to package what they sell differently.

Business Technology Procurement Trends

"They need to speak the language of business, because this new generation of buyers doesn't want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases," April explained.

According to the CompTIA assessment, IT channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help LoB customers make informed decisions about what they buy.

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