Gartner vice president Neil Rickard said that around 70 per cent of companies are doing some sort of selective outsourcing. And over the next few years it will become possible to outsource more services than previously possible.
"There are huge opportunities for growth in this market in terms of selective outsourcing," Rickard said.
For example, it is possible to buy a managed local area network service on a price per port basis. And increasingly other services - such as IP telephony, email and security - will also become services provided in a similar way over the next two to three years, Rickard predicted.
Companies are taking a more strategic view of what they can outsource, Rickard told silicon.com: "You are doing it to get rid of the mundane so you can concentrate on the valuable," he said.
But companies hoping to save money straight off may be disappointed, he warned: "What we are finding is that overall, selective outsourcing might save you money but that's not the real objective. You do it to free up people bandwidth so that they can go and work more closely with the business and do more valuable things."
Selectively outsourcing parts of the infrastructure - such as overnight support - can also be more manageable that outsourcing the whole lot, according to Gartner.
"It's a lot more manageable to chop the business up rather than to do it monolithically. The larger the scale of the outsourcing agreement the more challenging to get it right and hence the higher failure rate of those projects," Rickard said, speaking at Gartner's Midsize Enterprise Summit in Dublin.
Silicon.com's Steve Ranger reported from London.