Although buyers in the U.S. are among the most mature and aggressive users of IT services from external services providers (ESPs), service providers must understand some unique and differentiating behavior to be successful in the U.S. market, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

The impact of the recession can be clearly seen in the form of more-cost-conscious U.S. buyers of services. "Compared to global averages, buyers in the U.S. show a slightly more-conservative approach to IT adoption, and a high focus on IT cost as they approach external services contracting. They also will focus on practical IT operations ("keep the lights on") and will pay less attention to business innovation in IT as a driver for using IT services," said Allie Young, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "To capitalize on U.S. IT services opportunities, service providers must have current insights into buyers' 'pain points,' intentions and their expectations from service providers." 

Between November and December 2009, Gartner surveyed 213 U.S. organizations to better understand how and in what ways organizations that use and are knowledgeable about the use of externally provisioned IT services have been affected by economic changes and what their plans are for using ESPs. The survey found that 48 percent of U.S. organizations expect to increase their spending with ESPs in 2010. However, the overall trend for U.S. buyers of all company sizes is to move toward adopting maturing technologies with manageable risk. Among all company sizes, the survey showed a movement away from aggressive adoption, indicating that the economic crisis has brought more conservatism to technology adoption – the latest, most-advanced technology carries toomuch risk to deliver. 

U.S. buyers indicated their top drivers for using ESPs are to reduce the operating costs of IT and to ensure IT availability. “Given the impact of the economic crisis and strong discipline on cost controls among U.S. buyers, providers must heed how critical it is to accentuate your practical skills to run the business,” said Young. “These basic messages of cost takeout and IT availability must be prioritized, even for higher-value solutions.”