The survey also found that the expansion of cloud services is the biggest factor driving demand for IT services, surpassing the headline-grabbing but less critical areas of mobile connectivity and "always-on" environments.
Forrester forecasts that spending on cloud software, platform and infrastructure services will grow from $28 billion today to $258 billion in 2020, reaching 45% of total IT services spend.1
"The expansion of the cloud is a golden opportunity for managed service providers," said Len DiCostanzo, SVP of Community and Business Development at Autotask. "To capitalize on the cloud's growth, IT service providers need to focus on expanding their managed service offerings to include cloud services, increasing security and evolving their business model to be more consultative, where they deliver integrated business solutions and trusted service, not just IT support."
IT companies are predicting continued growth this year, the Autotask survey found. 87% of IT companies plan to do the same or more hiring this year compared to last year, according to the survey. In the southwestern U.S., 94% of companies plan the same or more hiring in 2014, the highest rate of any region in the country. Even in the U.S. regions least bullish about hiring – the East, West and Midwest – 87% of IT companies plan the same or more hiring this year.
The recovering economy isn't the only factor boosting the hiring of information technology workers. IT companies cited new client requests (78%), the need for new skills (45%) and geographic expansion (25%) along with the improved economy as the factors driving their hiring plans in 2014.
The Autotask survey was conducted by the research firm Decision Tree Labs and included responses from 1,300 IT service providers in North America, Europe and around the world.
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