Organizing IT purchases: Evidence from a global study

Davide Luzzini, Annachiara Longoni, Antonella Moretto, Federico Caniato, Alessandro Brun

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Information technology (IT) purchasing is covering an increasing part of companies' expenditure. Scholars mainly investigated IT purchasing in terms of make or buy drivers from an IT perspective. Similarly, companies have been focusing on make or buy decisions and specifications definition in relation to technological characteristics. This often resulted in failures related to the goods/services purchased due to e.g. lack of negotiation skills, contracting, and suppliers' relationship management. Accordingly, IT purchasing might require new structures and processes management. The purpose of the paper is to investigate what are the possible configurations for IT purchasing, and how these configurations are characterized in terms of purchasing process (i.e., strategic purchasing, sourcing and supply) and organization (i.e., roles involved, level of centralization, and span of control). Furthermore, the paper asks how IT relevance and purchasing maturity might affect these configurations. Through 12 case studies of leading international companies, four main configurations of the organization and the purchasing process for IT purchasing were identified, namely neutral (no specific approach is in place), IT oriented (the IT department takes the lead over the purchasing department), purchasing oriented (the purchasing department manages the whole IT sourcing process) and IT strategic (IT and purchasing departments jointly manage the IT purchasing process). The choice of the configuration is driven by IT strategic importance (low for neutral and purchasing oriented) and purchasing maturity of the company (low for neutral and IT oriented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-155
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Information technology
  • Purchasing organization
  • Purchasing process


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