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Recovery continues in Q2 2004

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The IT services sector continued its steady recovery in the second quarter of 2004, with significant growth in the value of major contracts announced during the period.

ComputerWire tracked a total of 416 IT services contracts announced during the quarter, worth a combined total of $44.1bn. These included all disclosed IT and business process outsourcing, consulting and systems integration deals with a value greater than $1m.

This represents a massive 80 per cent growth over the second quarter of 2003 where the total value of contracts reached $24.5bn. It also means the sector has now enjoyed four quarters of year-on-year growth, underlining the new stability in user spending.

There was also a 68 per cent increase in the average value of contract size in the quarter to $106 million, from $63m in the year-ago period, underlining that clients are committing to new outsourcing, integration and consulting initiatives after three years of budget freeze. The number of billion-dollar deals remained flat at six in the second quarter compared to the year-ago period, but the number of contracts with a value greater than $100m rose 70 per cent to 70.

The most striking trend in the contracts signed during the second quarter was that the central government and defense sectors proved the most lucrative hunting ground for services vendors.

The largest deal signed during the quarter was Accenture's controversial contract to manage a $10bn project with the US Department of Homeland Security. It is the largest contract tracked by ComputerWire in the last five years, ahead of IBM Global Services' $7.5bn deal with Japanese telco NTT, and EDS's $6.4bn pact with MCI Worldcom.

Accenture's deal also meant that the market share of the second quarter's contract awards was less fragmented than usual. The $44.1bn total was shared between 163 vendors, but the 10 vendors with the largest individual shares accounted for a combined $30.8bn of contracts, or 70 per cent of the total. In the previous quarter ending 31 March, 2004, the top 10 vendors accounted for 63.5 per cent of the $36.5bn deals.

Accenture took the largest share of second-quarter deals, with ComputerWire tracking eight major deals signed by the vendor worth a combined $10.89bn, giving it a 24.6 per cent share. As well as the Homeland Security deal, it also secured a $730m contract to provide outsourced application development and management to UK bank Barclays.

Computer Sciences Corp ranked second by market share, with the El Segundo, California-based vendor announcing 22 deals during the quarter including seven with a value greater than $100 million. The company's largest deal was a $1.6bn, 10-year deal with retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Co to provide IT infrastructure support services.

North America accounted for the largest share of contracts announced during the second quarter. ComputerWire tracked $34bn of deals in the region during the period, giving it a 78 per cent share. The EMEA region ranked second with $8.7bn, giving it a share of 19 per cent, with Asia Pacific and Latin America accounting for the remaining 3 per cent.

One clear trend is the progress that major IT services vendors are making in building up their business process outsourcing practices. Eight of the 50 largest contracts tracked during the second quarter involved an element of BPO, where the supplier took over the management of the client's back-office functions such as human resources and accounting, as well as underpinning IT infrastructure.

IBM Global Services, Capgemini, Hewlett-Packard, and Accenture are leading the charge of IT services companies into the BPO space, and of this quartet, both Capgemini and IBM GS announced significant BPO wins. Capgemini won a $3.5bn deal with TXU, and IBM won a $320m multi-process outsourcing deal with energy company Williams. Other IT services vendors with major BPO wins in the quarter included ACS (United Cargo and Rohm & Haas) and Convergys (Texas Health and Human Services Commission).

Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor

Related Research: Reuters Business Insight, "The IT Services Outlook: Making the global leaders work for you", (RBTC0063)

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