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18 Oct 2017

Tough Conditions on the Horizon for South Africa's IT Services Market

Johannesburg – The South African IT services market, while flat in U.S. dollar terms, grew 15.1% year on year in local currency terms in 2016. This was revealed in the recently published South Africa IT Services Market 2017–2021 Forecast and 2016 Analysis report from International Data Corporation (IDC). According to Jon Tullett, research manager for IT services at IDC Africa, the ongoing macroeconomic difficulties in the market are expected to continue, and this will, in turn, continue to inhibit growth in dollar terms.

"2016 was another challenging year for IT services, and IT in general in South Africa," says Tullett. "The economic climate and several years of austere spending are starting to come to a head with confidence in future growth at a very low level. Opportunities remain in key areas such as outsourcing and cloud, but more strategic and longer-term engagements are under pressure and may remain on the back burner until the economy improves."

"In previous years, there has been a notable trend by enterprises to rely on services to facilitate cost-cutting and to restructure infrastructure investment, improve efficiency, and position themselves for digital transformation," continues Tullet. "This trend is starting to decline because of continued economic pressure, with many organizations now operating in a fully defensive model, with longer-term strategic investment on hold."

With this in mind, IDC expects year-on-year growth in overall IT services spending in South Africa to slow to single digits in 2017. These forecasts do, however, remain subject to ongoing exchange-rate fluctuations, with questions remaining over the country's economic and political stability.

Some notable developments in the market included Microsoft's announcement earlier this year that it would establish an Azure cloud region in South Africa, deploying infrastructure in collocated datacenters in Johannesburg and Cape Town to offer locally hosted cloud services to customers. This followed announcements by IBM (in partnership with Vodacom and Gijima) and T-Systems (in partnership with Huawei) that they will begin to provide cloud infrastructure in the country. Another key development was the conclusion of Telkom's acquisition of BCX.

Tullett says continued market pressures mean that vendors will have to align themselves more closely with their customers' positions in their respective markets. "They will have to restructure contracts and relationships where necessary and focus on delivering immediate value while positioning capabilities in advanced or emerging technologies cautiously," he says. "Vendors will also have to evaluate local resources and right-size these to reflect the realistic expectations of local business opportunities. Vendors using South Africa as a base for other African operations will most likely also find themselves undergoing similar evaluations in other territories on the continent."

About the Research

IDC's research of the IT services market covers those services provided by external companies to various buyer segments for the planning, building, support, and management of information systems and technology-enabled processes. IDC breaks down the total technology services market into individual components, referred to as foundation markets. For more information, or to purchase the report, please click here www.idc.com.

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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC

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