The top 100 rankings of the largest tech companies in IT, just unveiled for the first time by Gartner, is based on estimates for their revenue across IT, excluding communication services and component market segments.
"The needs of IT buyers are shifting. CEOs are focused on growth and are more focused on realising business outcomes from their IT spend," says John-David Lovelock, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
"The Nexus of Forces has been the focus of attention for many years. However, the impact of digital business is giving rise to new categories."
And he says Microsoft was a large and influential company when the Nexus of Forces began, having grown to market leadership during the Web and e-business phase, and has “managed to pivot to remain relevant”.
“IBM gained its size and market dominance in the very earliest IT markets when servers, storage and consulting services dominated. The need for these devices and services, along with mobile phones and PCs will remain — cloud will underpin all digital business initiatives — but they will become more commoditised and less of a driver for new projects and spending.”
Gartner says that as enterprises increasingly digitise their products and services, digital giants Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent can become involved in, “or even take over the digital experience”.
And Gartner predicts that by 2021, 20% of all activities an individual engages in will involve at least one of the top seven digital giants.
"Digital giants effectively become gatekeepers for any business that delivers digital content and services to consumers," says Lovelock.
"Any company that wants to engage consumers in, or through, their digital world will have to consider engaging with one or more of these digital giants."
According to Lovelock the focus of the digital giants has mainly been in the consumer, citizen and employee world – because the digital giants have not yet been as focused on business to business (B2B), there is opportunity for other companies to take the lead.
"In the B2B world of selling technology solutions to large enterprises, some of the digital giants have already had significant impact,” he says.
"For example, Amazon Web Services' cloud is disrupting enterprise hardware and software businesses dramatically. Apple's iOS devices are dominant within enterprise mobility, and Google's presence beyond search into browsers, cloud office and more is growing."