CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – If it seems like your credit union finds itself going outside for technical expertise more and more these days, you’re hardly alone. Nearly every organization – 97% of the participants – interviewed by Forrester Research for a new report said it would buy consulting and/or systems integration services in 2003. Because of that, in these times of shrinking budgets, IT services remains a growth industry. Forrester expects that segment to grow by 10% a year through 2007, when it will be a $184 billion market niche. The two largest uses, according to the 145 companies interviewed, will be IT strategy and Web site design help. Managers also can expect the unexpected. The report said that 74% of the firms interviewed expect to have to find the money for outsourced IT help from outside their original budget for the year. And while 80% of the respondents said they would maintain or increase their spending on external IT help this year, some things haven’t changed. “Price is the most important factor when hiring integrators and outsourcers,” the report concluded.

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