Sustainability — in talent, decarbonization and emerging tech — becomes the watchword for IT services
Services is still people, even as compelling new forces like ESG and emerging technologies challenge IT services vendors
Even with a rush of emerging technologies and responses to the pandemic at the forefront of IT services vendors’ strategies and client success stories, the fundamentals of IT services remain rooted in people — in recruiting, training and deploying the right talent to solve IT-related business problems and staff enterprise IT needs. The changes TBR expects in 2022, including new competitors in the war for talent, new opportunities around decarbonization and accelerated adoption of emerging technologies, will not substantially alter IT services vendors’ business models. Differentiation among the vendors, in offerings, capabilities and financial performances, will come more through execution than strategy, at least in the near term. Vendors more adept at pivoting to new revenue streams and more patient with pressured margins will see greater success beyond 2022, provided they are able to adequately navigate talent challenges in the near term.
The vendors that were ahead of the game in 2019 in portfolio and resource expansion around next-generation technology-enabled solutions are experiencing revenue growth improvement in 2021. New growth initiatives, such as around product engineering, supply chain improvement and sustainability, along with steady investments in areas such as hybrid cloud, AI, security, IoT, blockchain and industry-specialized offerings, will continue to expand vendors’ addressable market opportunities and support revenue growth acceleration into 2022. Virtual delivery enables increased productivity but pushes employee utilization to the limits and supports a surge in attrition. Managing talent to market demand, especially as macroeconomic conditions improve and digital exhaustion continues, will be key as IT services vendors strive to ensure service quality requirements are met.
While the COVID-19 pandemic remains an external factor that can negatively affect IT services spending, subsiding pressures thanks to global vaccine rollouts indicate a potential for continued revenue growth acceleration from the 6% year-to-year revenue growth during the full year 2021 for the 30 vendors in TBR’s IT Services Vendor Benchmark. Moving into 2022, revenues will be driven by a mix of three activities: short-term projects around operational resilience and running businesses; larger transformational engagements that enable clients to improve their business models; and innovation engagements that allow clients to do something completely different — all supported through technology solutions and services.
2022 IT services predictions
- Focus on talent management, refined during the pandemic, will recede in a post-pandemic environment
- The decarbonization shift from promises to actual results opens a massive opportunity for IT services
- Blockchain winter ends and 5G & edge bloom in 2022, bringing new enhanced revenue streams to IT services
Telecom Business Research’s 2022 Predictions is a special series examining market trends and business changes in key markets. Covered segments include cloud, telecom, devices, data center, and services & digital.