Saturday, 18 August 2007

UK SITS Top Ten show remarkable consistency

On 4th Sept, I am due to give my now annual ICT Leaders "State of the UK ICT Nation" Speech for Prince's Trust. This year it is atop BT Tower. Indeed, because BT are sponsoring the event, we will raise over £60,000 for the Trust. Almost all the "by invitation only" tickets have been sold and the guest list is its usual high standard.

My speech is called "Power to the People" and is all about how consumers and corporate users are now in the ICT driving seat. I'll post a precise of the speech here later.

However, I thought I'd better make some reference to the SITS market as I have done in every other year. Of course, this year I'm not part of the Ovum team but they readily agreed for me to make reference to their latest Market Trend research - and the 2006 UK SITS Top Ranking Players - which has just been published.

Even though EDS has 'retaken the #1 slot' from IBM this year, what struck me was how the rankings seemed to contain all the same companies. So I dug out my 1997 Holway Report and compared the 2006 list to the 1996 rankings. Indeed the Top Three are identical! Eight out of the 2006 Top Ten were also in the 1996 Top Ten. Even the newcomers Capita and BT were ranked #14 and #11 in 1996. The 'ejections' Sema (now Atos Origin) is at #12 and Oracle is at #13.

Over the years I have anticipated wide-scale consolidation amongst the Top Ten. I admit I have been wrong - so far. With the exceptions of HP+Compaq+Digital and Atos-Origin+Sema, it hasn't really happened. The top echelons of the IT services rankings are pretty much unchanged.

Indeed, even the two "consolidations" listed (HP+Compaq+Digital and Atos-Origin+Sema) are hardly great adverts for M&A. Do you remember the old joke "How to do create a medium-sized UK IT Company?". Answer "Buy a big one and wait!".

What also stricks me - indeed, it was the subject of my very first HotViews Blog back in Jan 07 - was how companies go in and out of favour...and then come back in again! As you can see from the 2006 list, EDS, Fujitsu and Capgemini have recorded double digit growth in the UK in 2006. A few years back all these companies seemed 'dead in the water'. The stars then - IBM, Accenture and CSC - are now 'suffering'. All I can predict is that you should not write any of these off! Their time will come again.

The one' bit of excitment' is the entry for the first time of an Indian player into the UK SITS Top Twenty. TCS is there at #15 and, indeed, Wipro is 'bubbling under' at #21. Both these companies did not figure anywhere in my 1996 Top Rankings.

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