New IDC Health Insights Report Evaluates Largest IT Consulting and System Integrators to U.S. Healthcare Payer Market

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., May 3, 2013 – IDC Health Insights announced a new report, Vendor Assessment: U.S. Healthcare Payers' Guide to IT Consultants and Systems Integrators, (Doc #HI240501) to assess the largest IT consulting and systems integration (SI) services vendors to the U.S. healthcare payer market. Payers can use this assessment to build a short list of candidates quickly, with more thoughtful consideration of the future of technology and the market dynamics of coopetition between payers and consultants. Consultants can use the report to refine the ways they compete for new projects and engage with payer challenges. The IT consultants specifically evaluated in this report include: Accenture (AC), Cognizant, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), Dell, Deloitte, HCL Technologies (HCL), Hewlett-Packard (HP), International Business Machines (IBM), Infosys Public Services (Infosys), Optum, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Wipro.

Key findings include:

Reform is the primary driver for evolution of consulting capabilities in 2012 and 2013, perhaps overshadowing the development of consulting capabilities that will be necessary to meet the challenges of technology innovation in the coming years.

At the same time that reform and technology innovation are making payers and consultants more interdependent, these trends are ushering in a new era of coopetition between the largest innovative payers and their consulting firms.

The interrelated effects of reform and technology innovation threaten to disrupt the delicate balance between payers and consultants and require both parties to make careful calculations about how they bid for new work and engage with each other tactically and strategically.

"The pressure of meeting near-term reform objectives may be overshadowing longer-term payer/consultant relationship dynamics," said Sven Lohse, research manager, IDC Health Insights. "Demand and supply of consulting capabilities need to evolve to meet the future challenges of technology innovation and the evolving dynamics of coopetition."

Findings in this research are based on analysis of payer organization survey data and briefings from the largest IT consulting and systems integration practices in the U.S. payer market, as well as interviews of customer references. According to results, payers are seeking support from IT consultants and systems integrators in grappling with the many initiatives that are being generated by the need to reduce healthcare costs and, more directly, by legislative reform. This has led to increased IT spending by payers. Only one of the large payer firms (membership >1 million) surveyed expects to decrease spending for IT services in 2013. Among those large payers with growing IT services spending, reform is largely driving increases in IT services spend.

The payer IT consulting market is currently experiencing two contradictory trends. On the one hand, payers and their IT consultants are becoming more interdependent. On the other hand, the largest payers are developing capabilities that will enable them to compete with IT consultants. IDC Health Insights asserts that both payers and consultants in this industry vertical will be very sensitive about balancing these trends within their relationships. In the near to medium term, competitive bidding will remain an important component of this balancing act even for consultants that have experienced enduring relationships with their clients.

This report is the first in a series that will appear on a quarterly basis throughout calendar year 2013. Related reports will cover the following healthcare sub-segments: provider, health information exchange organizations, and alternative payment organizations (frequently accountable care organizations). This report has a companion piece called Best Practices: Making IT Consulting Relationships Work for Payers in the Era of Reform (Doc #HI240417), that provides best practices aimed at helping healthcare payers realize more value from their relationships with IT consultants and systems integrators. For more information on these reports, IDC Health Insights will host a complimentary one-hour Web conference featuring Sven Lohse and Janice Young on "U.S. Healthcare Payer IT Consulting Market in the Era of Reform" May 28th, 2013 at 1:00 p.m., U.S. Eastern time.

For additional information about this study or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Sven Lohse, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or sarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

About IDC Health Insights

IDC Health Insights assists health businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the payer, provider and life sciences industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-hi.com, email info@idc-hi.com, or call 508-935-4445. Visit the IDC Health Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/health.