Homepage: Shoot that services star

Homepage: Shoot that services star

During the IDC/GartnerGroup/Dataquest "conferenceathon" a couple of weeks ago I happened to pop my head into a well-attended sermon on the state of the world's services market.

And, judging by the throng of services types assembled, it was clear that this is the market to be in. But you would have been oblivious to this fact judging by the monotone reactions of the attendees.

Take, for example, the monetary value of some of the services sectors mentioned. The IDC analyst predicted the worldwide systems integration market is valued at a whopping $US56 billion and growing at a comfortable annual rate of 12 per cent. Just think about that for a second.

For your average lay people, on a middle-of-the-road wage, like yours truly, the prospect of being a part of a multi-billion dollar-market would be too much to contemplate.

They would be dancing in the aisles, shouting, "Praise the services Lord!" and going berserk like kids in a candy shop.

The IDC analyst piped up again: "we expect the worldwide network and desktop management market to boom with 16 per cent growth by 2003."

"Praise the services Lord, brother! Get down!"

"But the biggest news in the services industry," the IDC preacher continued, "will be business process outsourcing, which will explode to become a $US46 billion worldwide industry by 2003 with an estimated annual growth rate of 23 per cent."

"It's a miracle! We have been blessed, God damn blessed you hear! Blessed is the services Lord!"

But back to reality. Do you think such astronomical predictions even raised a collective eyebrow from the attending cashed-up services types? No way!

This is the part of the IT industry that appeals to my quirky side. If I were an employee of a services company (I've got a tremendous CV, if anyone is interested!) that only had a fingernail in the scrumptious services pie, I definitely wouldn't be sitting there all ho-hum. I couldn't tell you what I might do for fear of criminal prosecution.

It's like making another billion is as guaranteed as the sun coming up tomorrow.

OK, so I'm as jealous as hell of you guys, and to think it would be unethical of me to stick a grand's worth of shares into one of your skyrocketing coffers.

But then the IDC preacher provided me with a ray of hope. He predicted the services God would soon vent its spleen on your collective souls. In a few short years, all hell will break loose in the services market leaving chaos, destruction and turmoil in its wake.

That's great news for the average Joes, I thought. The services cavaliers would get what's coming to them and the IT industry would continue its vicious cycle of building up egos and expectations and bluntly knocking them down.

But then, it was an analyst briefing and, who really pins the business on such predictions?

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