Tech Firms Gaining Ground in Professional Services

IT buyers in Fortune 1000 firms are looking upon professional services from
tech providers with increasing credibility as the big consulting firms
continue their efforts to redefine and rebrand themselves away from their
accounting firm roots, the Information Technology Services Marketing
Association (ITSMA) said Thursday.

Citing its annual market position study of the leading technology and
professional services firms, ITSMA said firms which were previously wary of
professional services offered by tech companies — because they might
simply push their own products rather than those best suited to the task —
are now turning a favorable eye on companies like IBM ,
Hewlett-Packard , Microsoft , and Dell
.


IBM Global Services is ahead of the entire pack, the study found, noting
that it has “virtually doubled its lead in basic brand awareness and
preference among large enterprise buyers of IT professional services and
solutions.”

Lexington, Mass.-based ITSMA said more than 25 percent of the buyers
surveyed named IBM as the one firm they were most likely to call, and
almost 40 percent pointed to IBM as a provider of IT professional services
and solutions when asked for a list of top-of-mind firms. ITSMA said
Accenture and EDS were second and third behind IBM, respectively, in both
categories.

“Clearly IBM continues to do a great job in building its brand as a
technology services leader,” said Dave Munn, president and CEO of ITSMA.
“As interesting, however, is the increasing consideration that buyers are
giving to other technology companies like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and
even Dell for high-end professional services. Buyers have long been wary of
tech firms simply pushing their own products rather than the most
appropriate solutions, but these firms scored well in favorability rankings
and were right at the top of the list for buyers’ most important concern,
which is delivering on promises.”

The survey also found that a “desire to control costs” topped out as the
lead reason for changes in technology infrastructure, followed by “need for
new functionality or apps.” Third and fourth were a “desire to increase
revenue” and “need for innovation.” A need to simplify the computing
environment and deal with staff shortages trailed the list.

The survey was conducted between January and March 2003, during which ITSMA
interviewed 400 senior-level U.S.-based decision makers from both
government organizations and companies that exceed $200 million in
revenues. The executives were from nine vertical industries:
communications, consumer product manufacturing, energy and utilities,
financial services, government/public sector, health care delivery,
industrial product manufacturing, retail and transportation.

ITSMA said 44 percent of respondents were business executives, 56 percent
IT executives, 12 percent were C-level/president/general manager, and 14
percent were vice presidents.

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