According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014, IT services and software show the most growth potential for the year. The IT services market represents nearly a quarter (24 percent) of the total IT industry in the U.S. That translates to roughly $240 billion in IT services sales to be had this year in the U.S. alone.
How can IT service firms best position themselves to capitalize on this substantial and growing market in the next few years? Leadership from the CompTIA IT Services and Support Community identified four key areas that will shape the services sector over the next three to five years:
- Customer Satisfaction / Loyalty.
- Talent Acquisition.
- Automation of Operations.
As the leading IT industry trade association, we sought input from IT service executives to help prioritize and focus the scope of initiatives that would deliver the most value for industry stakeholders. While technology and automation of operations are certainly large parts of a successful IT services business, it’s clear that the top two areas of most concern both focus on people. The great majority of service executives want us to concentrate our time, effort and resources on initiatives to help address customer satisfaction and loyalty and talent acquisition.
The people focus is nothing new, especially in a sector centered around services in the first place. But what is it about these rather general topics? What’s really keeping IT service executives up at night?
Regarding customer satisfaction and loyalty, it’s about:
- Addressing customer needs and challenges (a “must have” for 91 percent).
- Improving customer retention (89 percent).
- Identifying the best metrics and approaches to assessing customer satisfaction and loyalty (81 percent).
In terms of talent acquisition, it’s mostly about:
- Identifying and assessing relevant skills of candidates (86 percent call it a “must have”).
- Balancing the use of employees versus contractors (59 percent).
- Recruiting and retaining millennial workers (57 percent).
Nonetheless, the other tech-related matters cannot be disregarded. Executives still note concerns about technology issues such as business agility and adapting to the speed of change, as well as automation of operations, particularly in regards to optimizing service delivery. As one executive said, “The business approach must be balanced to ensure business success — one area might be addressed prior to others but all are critical.”
Based on the guidance of the IT Services and Support Community executive leadership and quantitative feedback from many participants, we will forge ahead with several subcommittees to tackle the most critical areas. Watch for more resources built especially to help your firm thrive by effectively keeping your customers happy and hiring the best employees to do so.
A very appreciative thank you to many people from the IT Services and Support Community Executive Council for their participation and support in this initiative:
Aaron Acker, Regional Manager, Sales and Operations, Square Trade Inc.
George Harris, Vice President, Business Development, FieldSolutions Inc.
Mike Moore, Senior Vice President Supply Chain Services, DEX
James Walters, NE Regional Director Field Engineering, All Covered
The CompTIA Future of IT Services survey was administered online and print during the period March 14 to April 4, 2014. A total of 88 IT services executives in U.S. and Canada completed the survey.
Learn more on these topics from existing CompTIA Research & Market Intelligence and Channel Training resources. Connect with the CompTIA IT Services and Support Community to become involved and help shape the future of the IT industry.
Amy Carrado is director of market research at CompTIA.