OnForce: Improving economy might not be helping IT industry

OnForce: Improving economy might not be helping IT industry

Summary: A slow quarter for tech projects matched with rising gas prices are having a negative effect on contract-based IT professionals, according to OnForce.


The improving U.S. economy might actually have a bittersweet tinge to it for the IT industry, according to a new report from OnForce.

The IT specialist outsourcing company found that at least half of the IT professionals surveyed for its latest Confidence Index report admitted that current economic conditions are having a negative impact on their business.

OnForce CEO Peter Cannone explained in the report that the side effects are really hitting freelance IT specialists in a number of different ways:

Wall Street’s economic barometers report an improving economy, but for techs in the field, things look a little different. The sharp rise in gas prices is an immediate, direct and hard-hitting blow to independent field technicians on the road.

Q1 is also historically the slowest quarter of the year for tech projects – especially in the retail sector. And the high national unemployment rate is showing clear signs of a jobless recovery in the U.S.

For reference, the quarterly OnForce Confidence Index is based upon the responses from more than 600 technology professionals nationwide who derive a substantial portion of their income from contract-based IT projects, including cloud computing, networking and vertical applications.

Despite the pessimism, OnForce researchers found that many IT contractors still expect conditions to improve within the next six months.

UPDATE: The report is available online now.


Topic: Apps

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Link?

    I would like to read this report myself. Is there a Link somewhere to it?
  • Where is the report?

    Rachel, where is this report you speak of? I am unable to locate it anywhere on their website. Was this an actual report released publicly?
  • The report is subjective

    I commented on this article in the latest episode of The Force Field, a podcast for IT service professionals. (no spammy link, you can Google it.) With all due respect, the "report" provided in the link is not an actual report, it is a press release from OnForce.

    When a document is referred to as a "report", readers naturally give it more credibility as it automatically carries more weight than a document created for purely promotional purposes, such as a press release. Calling it a report is disingenuous and misleading.

    This "report" is highly subjective. Given the obvious fact that the author of this article called it a report knowing it was a press release and did not provide a link to the source to begin with makes the validity of the claims in this article suspect and places the credibility of the author in doubt, at least with me.

    The truth is that while the data presented in the actual press release may be accurate, it is subjective to the OnForce platform only. As I mentioned in The Force Field Podcast, IT is a broad term and the IT industry encompasses many areas, not just those served by web-based service platforms such as OnForce. Since work flow through these platforms comprises only a percentage of all contracted IT work, this data is hardly representative of the entire industry.

    There are many seasoned IT techs (or "Pros", as OnForce calls them) who will tell you Q1 was a strong one. On the other hand, such optimism may indeed be lacking among the class of techs who accept work orders through the platforms for low-ball rates at face value with little or no negotiation (such techs are generally referred to by seasoned IT professionals as "pizza techs"). These entry-level or inexperienced techs are typically attracted to OnForce and other web-based service platforms because they offer easy access and entry into an area of the field with minimal effort or investment in actual experience or training.

    For those techs, it is quite possible that over 50% would be pessimistic for the reasons I mentioned in my commentary on the show. Of course rising gas prices will affect a tech who does not offset the Cost of Business (COB) by negotiating his or her rates with the clients on these platforms to insist those rates are met instead of just accepting whatever the client offers them (which is usually as little as the client can get away with).

    And for the record, the word isn't "freelance" - it's Independent Contractor, which is what they are.