Enterprise software, used by companies to automate their business operations, has always been complicated to implement and maintain, which in turn has fuelled a demand for related IT services.
Therefore, spending has remained strong, according to IDC. Between 2001 and 2006, worldwide spending on IT services related to enterprise software and related functions will grow at a compound annual rate of 13.5%, hitting $187bn (£128bn) in 2006, said Stephanie Torto, an IDC analyst.
IDC calls this the "solution services market" and breaks it down into six areas of services spending:
- Supply chain management (SCM) software services
- Enterprise resource management, better known as enterprise resource planning (ERP), software services
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software services
- Knowledge management software services
- E-commerce services for implementing enterprise software whose main purpose is to create a system for doing business online
- Globalisation and localisation services for adapting enterprise software to the laws, culture and regulations of specific countries.
Driving the market's forecasted growth will be services tied to SCM software, followed by ERP and CRM, Torto said.
Companies are turning to SCM, ERP and CRM software to gain systems that will address their business operations in a "holistic" manner, Torto said.
Consequently, knowledge management and e-commerce initiatives increasingly are being included as part of the more encompassing SCM, ERP and CRM projects, she added.
In the future, clients will increasingly demand that IT services firms be able to provide - by themselves or via partnerships - a broad variety of enterprise-software services, including consulting, systems integration, outsourcing, support and training, Torto said.
This "solution services market" is part of the overall worldwide IT services market, which will grow at a compound annual rate of 12.4% between 2001 and 2006, reaching $626bn (£427bn) in 2006, according to an IDC forecast.