Enterprises turn to third-party professional services providers for two reasons more than any others. One is due to a desire to tap service providers’ external expertise that the enterprise lacks internally. The other is good, old necessity.
These were among the findings of a recent Wikibon survey, whose results were released this week, of a cross section of IT professionals. Most were from North America, but their titles varied widely, from CIO on down through admin. Click here to read the full methodology used for the survey.
So let’s dig in, shall we.
The survey gave respondents a handful of multiple choice answers to the question, ‘Which of the following best describes your attitude toward professional services?’ The top choice with nearly 42% of the vote went to, ‘We only outsource [to professional services providers] when we have to.’ Coming in second with 36% was, ‘We hire outside firms primarily to access their expertise and knowledge.”
I have a couple of reactions. First, I’m actually not surprised that the majority of enterprises turn to professional services as a last resort. Obviously, enterprises would love it if all the technology they bought were easy to install, achieve ROI and integrate with existing IT infrastructure. And, of course, that it never breaks. But that’s virtually never the case, hence the need for service providers.
Second, I actually think the two top answers are different versions of the same response. If an enterprise has all the expertise it needs on a given topic, there’s no need to turn to professional service providers. But, again, that’s often not the case. When enterprises need more in-depth knowledge to successfully complete a project, that’s where professional services come into play.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for service providers. Sure, it would be great if most customers engaged with IT professional services providers – or any type of vendor, really – because they were enamored with their offerings or to provide additional value to otherwise successful projects. But filling a much needed hole in the market isn’t such a bad business model either. For services providers, the key is to make the experience as painless and, yes, even enjoyable for customers so they start coming back even when the need isn’t dire.
Big Data and Cloud Strategy Services
Another survey question asked respondents which projects or initiatives they thought benefited most from the input of third-party professional services providers. Cloud strategy, cloud deployment and Big Data strategy were the top three responses, in that order.
I think the most interesting thing about this question is what the responses say about cloud maturity v. Big Data maturity. Enterprises are looking to knowledgeable service providers to both help them strategize and execute cloud deployments. When it comes to Big Data, however, many enterprises are tapping service providers to devise strategy, but significantly fewer are actually turning to service providers to deploy Big Data. The reasons, I think, are that cloud has matured to the point where enterprises are ready to take the plunge, while Big Data is an up and coming technology area and that enterprises are still trying to figure out the best ways to harness it.
There’s a lot more great data from the survey. Check out the full results over at Wikibon.org by clicking here. And we’ll have more on the results in the coming days as we dig into the responses even deeper.