Businesses are likely to demand more from their IT service suppliers in 2009 as the economic downturn means quick returns on investment and efficiency become priorities.
That's according to analyst house Ovum's 2009 predictions for the IT services sector which, among other things, suggests business will pursue outsourcing contracts to cut costs on the short term and want to find out exactly how cloud computing could benefit them in terms of efficiency.
Speaking to ZDNet UK's sister site, silicon.com, Eamonn Kennedy, practice leader of Ovum's IT Services team, said: "The economic environment is obviously going to be a factor and one that can't be ignored."
He said the most important issue for end users is likely to be the management of outsourcing arrangements so as to get the best value for money.
The Ovum report says outsourcing agreements will be driven by short-term needs to save costs and are likely to be reached fairly quickly, meaning customers and service providers will need to work hard to make them work effectively.
Kennedy added that business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT outsourcing are likely to become increasingly linked as service providers try to offer end users more for their money.
With all of the hype surrounding cloud computing (including consumer applications, such as social networking and online apps) Kennedy said customers will increasingly want to see the business benefits of the technology before they commit to it.
Efficiency will be another buzzword in 2009 according to Ovum, meaning standard methodologies such as Itil could be increasingly used to rationalise and consolidate IT infrastructure.
Quality assurance around IT services and information security will also remain important.