The storage services market will be worth over $10bn in Europe by 2005 as IT managers strive to maximise return on investment from existing storage hardware, according to IDC.
Lionel Lamy, research manager for IDC's European Infrastructure Management Services, said: "Businesses have bought the latest hardware and software products to solve their storage problems but have not used them properly. Companies need consultancy, support, implementation and management services."
The report explained that storage has become one of the most talked about areas of the infrastructure services arena in recent years. It predicted that higher value services will grow at a rate of 10 per cent per year compared to eight per cent for storage in total.
IDC claimed that companies are failing to get a good return on investment because they were buying all the new storage products that were being released but failing to maximise what they already had.
"People are now realising that it is not a question of throwing money at the problem and that the main thing is to understand how the company works with data," said Lamy.
Dave Docherty, head of professional services at specialist storage company Source Consulting, commented: "We have seen a lot of demand in the last six months from customers that want to make long-term cost savings.
"Businesses are over time looking at [storage] and asking how we use data and whether we need to pay premium for the capital assets, or if there's a better way of doing it."
Principal Gartner analyst Alan MacNeela agreed that storage services is a growing area that IT managers should consider as companies strive to get more out of existing infrastructures.
"In the past IT managers have given the task of managing storage to a junior member of the IT staff because it was not seen as a major issue," he said.
"But since 11 September there has been more emphasis on back up and recovery and a lot of IT managers are looking at external companies to offer services to manage and maintain storage," he added.
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