US service companies to clean up in Europe

Study reveals Europeans way behind in the service skills stakes

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Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Europe is set to provide rich pickings for US service providers, according to market analysts, IDC. The European market for services is blossoming like never before, thanks in part to the euro and the general increase in links between European countries. The market is growing at an annual rate of 10 per cent and IDC reckons the overall European services market could be worth $129 billion by the year 2003. That growth rate could be as high as 40 per cent but the market is being stunted by a shortfall in supply. In its report, The Western European IT Services Industry Markets and Trends, 1998-2003, IDC says the market is being held back in Europe by a shortage in skilled staff, a lack of industry knowledge, poor technical awareness and weak project management. The net result of all this is that US service companies should find winning new business in Europe about as difficult as shooting fish in a barrel. IDC senior analyst Philip Winthrop said: "The European IT services market is poised to become one of the largest services markets in the world and now is the time to enter the playing field. While there are many strong service providers based in Western Europe, the demand for services is far exceeding supply, allowing new companies to enter the market." The UK market looks like the best bet, with a compound annual growth rate ahead of the European average at 14 per cent. By 2001, the UK is likely to displace Germany as the biggest market in Europe. The service markets in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are all expected to grow ahead of the average. ®

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