Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

(By Richard Holway 3.00pm 9th June 09) I was asked, by a reader, this afternoon to find a copy of the ‘spiders web’ diagram which used to appear in the old Holway Reports giving a definition of the SITS sectors that we cover. I managed to locate it in the 1996 edition. As you can see it pretty much holds true today even if terms like ‘FM’ have been replaced with ‘outsourcing’.

As I flicked through the report to find the diagram, I noticed that the UK SITS sector had grown by 18% in 1996, share prices had risen 80%, P/Es were up from 15 to 23. But, interestingly, only four new IPOs (CMG, Triad, FI Group and Rebus). Of course, this was as nothing to what we were to report in the next two years. Growth topped 25% in 1998!

But some things don’t change. My eye landed on this paragraph – mainly because of the phrase “Opposition shadow IT Minister, Geoff Hoon”. Well, this was pre-1997.

“Over the years we have been questioned more on our attitudes to the overseas ownership of UK SITS companies than on any other issue. Indeed we have been described as a Little Englander more than once in public. We have never been against overseas ownership – we have just wondered why it all seemed to be one way. If Capgemini can buy Hoskyns and EDS can buy SD-Scicon why couldn’t Logica buy Data Sciences or BT buy EDS?

At the CSSA (now Intellect) Annual conference in Bournemouth in April 1996, we asked the question “does the significant reduction in the number of large UK-owned SCSI suppliers to the UK market over the last decade matter?” to both the Conservative Government’s IT Minister, Ian Taylor, and his Opposition Shadow, Geoff Hoon. We found complete cross-party agreement. The answer in both cases was “No. Ultimate ownership is not the important issue. It’s jobs in the UK that count”. "

British IT jobs for British IT Workers? Now that’s an interesting slogan! Note: IT does not now warrant its own Minister!

To get an up to date view on the ownership of the UK SITS sector, look no further than the latest CompanyViews published yesterday. The political issues raised by offshoring British IT jobs is debated in our latest AnalystViews “The effect of a Conservative Government on the UK SITS sector”. Both only available to TechMarketView subscribers.

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