Use of Outside Technology Help Rising in Large Organizations

October, 2004

After hitting a low in 2002, the use of outside IS help in large organizations is experiencing a noticeable increase. According to research conducted by Computer Economics, the use of contractors and/or temporary personnel jumped 3.5 percentage points from 2002 to 2004, as a portion of the IS staff in large organizations. Large organizations are defined in Computer Economics’ spending study as those companies having annual revenues over $750M.

As part of its annual Information System Spending & Technology Trends, Computer Economics benchmarks the use of IT contractors and temporary personnel in organizations across every major industry sector. Additionally, the study provides a composite figure for all industries combined, as well as benchmarking this data by organizational size.

On average, outside technology personnel comprise 5.5% of the total IS staff in large organizations this year. In contrast, the 2003 study reported contractors and temps represented a smaller portion of the IS staff in these companies averaging only 3.5%, while this number was even lower in 2002 at a mere 2.0%.

In fact, as shown in Figure 1, the highest reported year in the past several years was 2000, when the average figure in this important benchmark was 6.5%. Clearly, 2004 represents a turn-around year in the use of outside technology help, which is good news for many IS organizations that have been experiencing severe problems in providing adequate staffing for ongoing operational support ,as well as for new system development activities.

Additionally, this is good news for IT contracting and consulting organizations that have been hit hard over the past few years from IS budget declines. Computer Economics projects this trend will continue on a modest upswing over the next few years.

Figure 1
Use of IT Contractors/Temporary Help in Large Organizations

Large Organizations

Annual Revenues over



Average Use


Average Use


Average Use


Average Use


Average Use


Percent of Total IT Staff






The Information System Spending and Technology Trends is an important tool that has assisted hundreds of senior IT managers in making critical budget and technology forecasting decisions for over 15 years. To order your copy, contact Computer Economics at 1-800-326-8100 ext. 51.

October 2004