Gartner recently completed a study of organizations that had purchased emerging technology solutions. Given my recent posts about the New Chasm, one might think that our own respondents would be Agile Leaders (FID) and Ambitious Leaders (ABD). But that is not the case. As I also said, models are clean, markets are messy. But, while not perfect, there are some useful ETA insights to be gleaned—the main thing being that psychographics are a more effective way to characterize companies that terms like “Early Adopter” “Early Mainstrem”. Those reflect timing, not reasons, and confidence, in buying.
In this study, while we did have respondents from all profiles, the largest portion can from Agile Leaders (FID). In fact, this was the only group who had a significantly higher % of respondents compared to studies where we look at any purchase type. All of the profiles that the New Chasm model suggests would adopt later have lower percentages than the “norm.” Makes sense.
But, what about these followers and laggards who are adopting early–what can we learn?
First, we have to remember behaviors predict what is likely to occur, not necessarily what will occur. There are several factors that may influence a decision to invest. But, there are some indicates that these groups are not confident about these investments. By and large, the level of funding for similar sized companies with different ETAs varies quite a bit. The dynamic organizations and those with strict planning had a higher percentage of bigger spend levels than the other followers and laggards.
We also saw that these groups were more likely to not regret their purchases (although these results overall were more positive than our past high quality deal studies—it seems orgs that invest in emerging technologies may have more realistic expectations about the capabilities).
Finally, we asked a series of questions about their overall attitude and confidence with emerging technology. Consistently the dynamic companies where most confident, followed by the strict planners. The conflicted laggards actually had higher “scores” that the reluctant followers–reflecting their flexible approach. But, at the same time, we see them spending less and generally waiting longer in other studies–these are groups that are able to make earlier purchases happen. One example is shown below.
In looking at all of this, the added dimensions beyond timing of ETAs shine brightly. The organizations that fall on the back half of the second chasm may actually buy early, but they will likely invest less and be less confident. Your ability to grow these deals could be a challenge and they effort to support these organizations may distract your from the key learnings and activities from the folks that want to win big.
Should you ignore them? Probably not, but tread carefully and don’t let them suck your resources dry. At a minimum, use them to build your confidence building skills (and tools and content) to help you as the market matures.
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