Are You Thinking ‘Trusted Advisor?’ If Not, You Should Be

By Robin Gareiss
On Aug 06, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The role of a “trusted advisor” is paramount in any situation, whether it’s a physician, lawyer, or business partner. If you’re not thinking about this in your role in IT, you should be—and I’ll explain why. (Hint: Your IT budget will increase—dramatically. And, you can leverage reliable partners as an extension of your team.)

 IT leaders are in a pivotal position when it comes to trusted advisor relationships. On one hand, they are the consumer of an Enterprise Trusted Advisor™ or Midmarket Trusted Advisor™ relationship with their technology providers. Whether it’s enterprise or midmarket depends on the size of the organization. In Nemertes’ definition, enterprise reflects the views of those with 2,500 or more employees; midmarket reflects the views of those with 100-2,499 employees.

On the other hand, they are the provider of trusted advisor relationships to the business units within their organization.

Both roles are very important.

Nemertes has spent two years researching the role of trusted advisors in business and technology, and next week, we’ll release the results of our 2014-15 Enterprise Trusted Advisor and Midmarket Trusted Advisor™ research.

On the consumer side, we ask IT professionals a key question: Which technology providers are vital to you achieving your business and technology goals? Typically, they respond with three to seven providers. We then ask them to rate those providers on a 1- to 10-scale, with 1-3 being a commodity provider, 4-7 being a strategic partner (one you turn to once you have developed a strategy), ad 8-10 being a trusted advisor (one you don’t even develop or finalize a strategy without consulting first).

Next week, we’ll release the 28 providers who made the cut to even be on the Enterprise and Midmarket Trusted Advisor matrixes, along with the eight vendors Nemertes names Enterprise Trusted Advisors™ and the nine vendors we name Midmarket Trusted Advisors™.

Why should you care? Those who have trusted advisor partners leverage their expertise, knowledge of your industry and competitive climate, and thought leadership to make technology decisions that propel the business to greater accomplishments. These partners know you and your business, and have your best interests in mind.

That’s what’s behind these data points:

·      How often do you go to RFP when working with your trusted advisor vs. going straight to work with that advisor? 45.9%

·      How often do you select your trusted advisor anyway after going to RFP: 56.2%

Doing the math, that means trusted advisors working with companies early in a strategy are likely to win business 79.9% of the time! So technology providers need to achieve this status.

As mentioned, IT also serves as a provider of trusted advisor relationships. I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but here is the kicker as to why any IT leader should strive for this relationship: When the business views IT as a trusted advisor, the IT budget is twice as high as when it views IT as a commodity player.

 The actual numbers, based on our research: When business units view IT as a trusted advisor, the IT budget is $14,663. When they view IT as a commodity provider, it’s $7434.

 So put on your Enterprise Trusted Advisor™ hats, and let Nemertes help you implement the right rules of engagement and structure for success! If you want more information ASAP, email me at

Research Tracks: