In this edition of CIO Quick Takes, four IT leaders reveal what they think vendors need to know about the CIO role and the buying process. Recent data trends have given this evergreen topic new life and urgency.\nAccording to the 2017 State of the CIO Survey, 50 percent of CIOs say their time is primarily spent on \u201ctransformational\u201d activities as opposed to merely \u201cstrategic\u201d or \u201cfunctional\u201d tasks. This data point, which represents a five-point uptick over the 2016 survey results, is nothing less than a clarion call for vendors to evolve their focus, capabilities and approach to meet an evolving set of demands.\nTechnology budgets have been on the rise for the past five years, according to a CIO survey. At the same time, however, a joint CEC\/IDC study reveals that only one in 10 IT leaders feel \u201chighly satisfied\u201d with the performance of their most strategic vendors. And only 46 percent of these buyers say their most strategic vendor partners regularly demonstrate roadmap alignment.\nIn short, there is more money out there, but also more complex demands and real opportunities for improved collaboration. The responses below provide actionable insights into how CIOs think as buyers and sellers alike look to the future.\nBill VanCuren,\u00a0SVP & CIO, NCR Corporation\n NCR Corp.\n\nBill VanCuren, SVP and CIO, NCR Corp.\n\n\nCIOs are not typically interested in adding another vendor to the\u00a0authorized list of suppliers. In many cases, they may feel that list is already too long.\u00a0However, solid IT vendors have the following in common:\nBe a partner. Show value as another research and development resource to the CIO. Present opportunities to partner, including invitation to early product road mapping, product advisory boards, and industry discussion forums, to allow the CIO to apply unique knowledge of their business\u2019 IT needs to shape and influence vendor products and services.\nConsider all decision makers. CIOs are interested in narrowing down their list of vendors to include strategic partners. Buying decisions are not typically unilateral, but instead consensus decisions facilitated by the CIO and including key business partners and customers.\u00a0Often, a steering committee, which represents many cross-functional interests within the enterprise, is involved in vendor decisions. In a simple case, one business process owner and the CIO may make the decision together to adopt a new technology that solves business needs. Rarely is this decision solely at the CIO\u2019s discretion nor should it be.\nUnderstand the market. Hybrid cloud complexities are no longer a \u201cbuy vs. build\u201d binary decision, but instead involve collaborative designs and orchestration across many on-premise and cloud-based providers. This makes integration even more complex \u2014 and not always in-scope \u2014 for traditional system integrators.\nSecurity is paramount. Security is always the top concern, and it is the most likely topic for the CIO to have board exposure, as it relates to risks and compliancy requirements.\u00a0A solid security plan must be included in any discussion or proposal.\nAndrew Santacroce,\u00a0VP Technology Development, TMNA Services, LLC\n TMNA Services, LLC\n\nAndrew Santacroce, VP of Technology Development,\u00a0TMNA Services, LLC\n\n\nThe best CIOs buy based on relationships and trust.\u00a0IT vendors need to know that much like in other industries, today\u2019s successful CIOs buy based on relationships and trust. Don\u2019t get me wrong; the solution needs to be one that satisfies the requirements, but in today\u2019s world, there are likely multiple solutions to choose. With trust, built over time, and a strong relationship poised to last well beyond the current opportunity, pricing will get sorted and a mutually beneficial deal will be inked.\nCIOs want partners, not vendors.\u00a0Whether services, hardware or software, CIOs today are looking for a partner, not a vendor, to achieve their needs. Yes, \u201cvendor\u201d is a commonly used reference even today. However, those vendors who are fully invested in their customer\u2019s success, through good times and bad, begin to approach \u201cpartner\u201d status. If a customer simply needs a generic widget and not anything more, maybe a \u201cvendor\u201d is good enough. CIOs more often need a \u201cpartner\u201d who understands that widget\u2019s role in customer success, shares overall accountability and does not limit their efforts based only on previously agreed responsibilities.\u00a0\nTop CIOs operate as CEOs of a technology business and hold a key board role.\u00a0Yesterday\u2019s CIOs were almost exclusively technology centric. They were the \u201ctop nerd in charge\u201d and the person called upon to fix the projector or resolve a PC issue in the boardroom. The role evolved in past years into one where some CIOs have been part of the board, but not on par with the \u201creal\u201d board members like the CEO, COO and CFO. Top CIOs, however, function as full members of the board \u2014 contributing to all aspects of the business, not just those that are technology-centric.\nWith technology enabling change in many, if not most companies, technology itself is run as a business within the business, and the CIO is the CEO of that technology business. They must drive overall shareholder value, not just in operational efficiency, but in regular revenue contribution and enablement of long-term strategic growth.\nChuck Scharnagle, CIO,\u00a0Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut\nThere are four things I believe vendors need to keep in mind when attempting to deal with myself or my colleagues. They include:\n\nWe don\u2019t make decisions in a vacuum \u2014\u00a0our managers\/teams need to be involved.\nBudgets are real, and we\u2019re constrained by them both for dollars and timing.\nTheir solutions need to solve real problems and not just be a \u201cdeal."\nService, quality and pricing are what we\u2019re looking at when judging a vendor.\n\n Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut\n\nChuck Scharnagle, CIO,\u00a0Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut\n\n\nFirst, I try to involve my managers, as they want and need to be part of the decision process regarding who we bring in. I learned a long time ago that if I force the issue, buy-in is difficult for some and impossible for others. Don\u2019t go around my team \u2014 include us all.\nNext, when we say budgets are \u201cX,\u201d they usually are. If my budget cycle starts on October 1\u00a0and I have $300,000 for a project, then we have to figure out what can be accomplished with the $300,000. Don\u2019t try and move the needle for your own forecasting purposes.\nComing to me at the end of the month with a low price is great, but if I didn\u2019t need that service before, why do I need it now? I\u2019m looking for value. The ability to purchase something we\u2019ll utilize at a great price is our goal, and if the opportunity presents itself, we\u2019ll do everything we can to make it happen.\nFinally, when I look for someone to do business with, I\u2019m looking for someone who can deliver a quality service or product at a fair price. As much as I enjoy playing a round of golf or having lunch, I need someone who really wants to understand what we need to be successful. And if we\u2019re successful and are a customer of yours, we should be helping your success, as well.\nD. Darnell Smith, CIO,\u00a0City of Raleigh, North Carolina\n City of Raleigh, N.C.\n\nD. Darnell Smith, CIO,\u00a0City of Raleigh, N.C.\n\n\nThe City of Raleigh always considers our vendors our partners, so clear expectations and strong communications between our team and a vendor help ensure project success. And bear in mind that we take serving the public very seriously. That said, CIOs don\u2019t like to lie awake at night worried about the success of a project that we\u2019ve contracted out. That\u2019s a great way to not be invited to do business with the city again!\nI rely on my team to keep me up to speed on initiatives for which we are responsible. They, of course, don\u2019t share every detail with me, but I have a high level of trust in them. If they are not happy, I\u2019m not happy.\nMany of these projects can be high-profile, and snags can become very apparent to internal customers, as well as to the public. Many times, projects that we take on are not cut and dried, or we\u2019re working on replacing a legacy product and things can go wrong along the way. Patience and tenacity go far. We come to the table offering that to our vendors, too. There are no \u201cone-size-fits-all-clients\u201d solutions in the public sector sometimes. Work with my team as if you are working with me \u2014\u00a0and as if the public has an eye trained on your work.