What you need to know

There is little doubt that the quest to digitise business and service sector functions is continuing to grow. As the technological capabilities of both equipment and software increases, so does the need to outsource expertise.

At a time of economic uncertainty caused partly by Brexit and exacerbated by the general election, corporate and public sector investment has stalled. IT is no exception, but the fundamental reason is more concerned with the continued evolution of cloud computing and a move to pay-as-you-go infrastructure and software models than economic uncertainty. In fact, the flexibility offered by these models through scalable costs may well have been encouraged by the very economic uncertainty troubling so many other sectors.

Telecommunication developments have transformed both the volume of data and the rate of data transmission, which continues to determine IT capability and has facilitated much of the recent development of IT. The sheer volume of data being generated continues to grow exponentially amid smart device adoption, and will be further boosted by the roll out of 5G, which will increase speeds and volume capability. This will transform opportunities for smart devices and the IoT, and will be a substantial driver of IT services.

As the complexity of digitising rising levels of business functions and holding this information secure has increased - combined with the exponential speed of technology change to ever more complex solutions, including the involvement of artificial intelligence and machine learning - the IT services market has continued to grow.

Covered in this Report

This report is concerned with information technology (IT) services. The market has two major elements:

  • IT consultancy

  • other information technology and computer services

IT consultancy - also called IT consulting, computer consultancy, business and technology services, computing consultancy, technology consulting, and IT advisory - is a market and industry that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use information technology to meet their objectives. In recent years, a specific sector of the market has arisen that addresses the facilities management computer services sector. More typically, the IT consultancy sector can be segmented into two separate areas: strategic advice and systems integration. Often, but not exclusively, these will be conducted in tandem initially, forming part of an initial contract. Subsequently, there tends to be further integration work which can then be conducted in isolation.

There is a relatively unclear line between management consulting and IT consulting. The two fields sometimes overlap and most major international management consultancies are engaged in IT consultancy. There are also specialist IT companies that are strongly active in the sector.

In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy and administer IT systems on businesses' behalf, which is known as outsourcing. Other information technology and computer services typically incorporate one or more of:

  • applications

  • mainframe

  • network

  • desktop

  • distributed environment

  • hardware support

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