Research indicates that changing user needs are driving the most complete restructuring of the outsourcing industry since the beginning of the 1990s.

The Yankee Group projects an annual growth rate of 12 percent for centralized IT (traditional data center outsourcing) and 10 percent for decentralized IT (desktops and mobile devices), through the next four years. A new report from the Yankee Group's Technology Management Strategies research and consulting practice, "Key Trends in Outsourcing," presents the key drivers and inhibiters for the growth of IT outsourcing.

According to Andy Efstathiou, Technology Management Strategies program manager and report author, "These growth rates are good, not exceptional. But they indicate that aggressive long-term market share gain will be realized from outsourcing's chief competitor, the internal IT shop." Efstathiou believes that over the next few years, as traditional outsourcers build a portfolio of vertically targeted services such as business process utilities (BPU), outsourcing will become more volatile. EDS recently found that out with its acquisition of Sabre. Efstathiou advises users to ascertain whether an outsourcer's investments in startup BPUs are succeeding or whether they're draining critical organizational resources.

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