February 2nd, 2017 | by

Back when DiscoverOrg was founded in 2007, our goal was to provide sales and marketing professionals with accurate intelligence on IT decision-makers. Why did our co-founders Henry and Kirk pick Information Technology?

Well, IT budgets were still pretty big back then, so that’s one simple reason. However, another one is that in 2007 IT spending was hotter than it’s ever been

According to Gartner, in 2007, spending on software rose 13% and overall IT spending grew 11% worldwide. Why so high? The proliferation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud computing created huge changes to the software market.

More Than Just Information Technology Contact Data

DiscoverOrg rode the coattails of the IT industry for several years, banking six consecutive years on the Inc. 5000 list as we provided IT-only data to our customers well into 2015. Over time, however, we noticed an interesting development. As word of DiscoverOrg’s product began spreading, we started getting an increasing number of inquiries for organizational profiles on other departments like Marketing, Engineering and Development, Finance, and Human Resources. It turns out that IT professionals aren’t the only ones with money to spend. That’s why 2016 saw DiscoverOrg double down on non-IT datasets.

In January, we released TEDD, which profiles Technology Engineering, Development and Design professionals. In August, we released datasets for the C-Suite and Sales department. In November, we launched our dataset for Human Resources executives. These new datasets, plus 106% growth in our Marketing dataset, generated an astonishing 371% increase in non-IT contacts in 2016.

How’d we do it? Well, first I’ll tell you how we didn’t do it: by reducing the number of researchers on our IT teams. From January 1 to December 31 the size of our research team grew 77 percent. The rapid growth of DiscoverOrg and our ability to continually service our clients afforded us the opportunity to grow in all directions.

As we look ahead, the year 2017 won’t be much different as we plan to continue to grow these datasets even faster. Why are we jumping into these other markets with such fervor? We see significant indicators that industries like marketing and human resources are ready for an explosion. Let’s break down some of the data out there that gives an indication of what 2017 is going to look like:

Marketing Budgets Expected to Surpass IT Spending

In late 2016, Gartner confirmed a widely held belief that CMOs are expected to spend more on technology than CIOs in 2017. In 2016, spending on marketing technology rose to 3.24% of revenue, inching closer to the 3.4% of revenues that CIOs were spending. 2017 is shaping up to be the year where marketing pulls ahead.

That’s pretty incredible if you ask me. It’s not that CIOs are spending less but that marketing budgets are going through the roof. With all of those decision-makers sitting on healthy budgets for marketing systems and technologies, getting to marketing buyers first has never been more crucial.

Human Resources Is Growing Their Tech Stack

While the expected increases in marketing budgets can be eye-popping, perhaps the more interesting development has been the way that the human resources industry has evolved to embrace technology. In the past, Human Resources’ core functions were new hires and terminations. Today, HR departments are starting to rely on tools and technology like never before, with significant expenditures expected in Learning and Development, Recruitment, and HRMS systems in 2017. If you are looking to drill down into exactly what is happening in the HR technology landscape, Bersin by Deloitte has a great article about HR technology disruptions and what’s coming during the next 12 months.

Where’s the evidence that spending on HR technology is taking off? Look no further than this graph from CB Insights that shows how quickly HR tech budgets have grown in the past five years.

HR Tech Financing History: Deals and Dollars

TEDD Interest Sparked by Big Data, Business Analytics, and Digital Transformation

According to an article in Information Week, revenue from big data and business analytics software is expected to rise to $187B by 2019. That is a significant increase from the $122B that was spent in 2015. With such rapid growth in the big data market, tech vendors are going to be doubly focused on getting in front of CTOs and big data professionals as the big data industry continues to shift from being a forward-thinking discipline to one that is a necessity.

It’s not just big data that’s driving the interest in TEDD, either. Historically, technology budgets have primarily been focused on consultants, hardware, or third-party software. That’s about to change if you believe Capgemini. An article in ComputerWeekly revealed that spending on testing application quality and performance is expected to rise to 40% of technology budgets by 2018. Why the big change? It seems that the companies finding success in digital transformation have realized that manual QA processes conducted by humans are inefficient ways to test software. It appears that technology leaders are wising up, as overall spending in QA is increasing despite a decrease in the amount spent on QA staff.

The Early Bird Who Can Adapt to Change Gets the Best Worm

In January 2016, DiscoverOrg’s research team had no idea it’d be building a Human Resources database in four months later that year. Why is that relevant? Because at DiscoverOrg, we move quickly. During the first half of 2017, we’ll be focusing on the Marketing, HR, and TEDD departments, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t see new datasets on the horizon. Sales and marketing professionals need actionable intelligence regardless of the department of their buyer. At DiscoverOrg, we’re trailblazers when it comes to offering dedicated datasets to help you reach your target markets. We were the first to offer dedicated Finance, TEDD, HR, and Sales datasets and we’re confident that we’ll be adding to that list in the next twelve months.

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Derek Smith
About the author

Derek Smith

Derek was DiscoverOrg’s first researcher in 2007 and now a decade later he’s responsible for the processes and technologies that DiscoverOrg’s research team uses to create and update the data in our industry-leading sales intelligence platform.