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Study: IBM, EDS tops in services

Research firm Gartner says that Big Blue and Electronic Data Systems are among the top five brands in different segments of the information technology market.

Buyers of information technology services perceive IBM as the top brand in all key segments of the market except business process outsourcing.

Most of the 197 consumers of IT services surveyed by Gartner ranked Big Blue tops in business and IT consulting, systems development and integration, and IT outsourcing.

In business process outsourcing, a "don't know" response outranked all companies, but payroll specialist Automated Data Processing and IBM placed second and third, respectively. Last year, IBM garnered a larger chunk of that market with its acquisition of PwC Consulting and formation a new division called Business Consulting Services.

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"For providers entering the market, or established and/or boutique players who have historically foregone brand building, there is still plenty of mind share to be had," Christine Adams, principal analyst for Gartner, noted in a statement. "Outside of IBM, no one provider overwhelmingly dominated any categories tested."

Electronic Data Systems was a close second in business and IT consulting and in IT outsourcing; it placed third in systems development and integration, fifth in business process outsourcing.

Mind share for top brands, or brand awareness, seemed to match with market share. Last week, IDC said that IBM leads the global IT outsourcing market, claiming about 22 percent of the market. EDS, Computer Sciences and Fujitsu nabbed the next top spots in IDC's global rankings.

"Don't know" figured in the top five in all four categories. Gartner analysts believe this to be good and bad news for services providers. A strong brand image is crucial in a market that is highly competitive as well as fragmented, the firm said. IT players must realize that brand building is important for services also, it said.

The study also showed that Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft ranked in the top 10 in terms of companies that first came to mind in the business and IT consulting category, even though neither had strong market share in business consulting.

Offshore providers from India cornered a large share of "unaided awareness" in the survey. Buyers named the following five Indian companies across the four service categories: Infosys, Patni Computer, Satyam, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.