IDC Believes Third-Party Support Portals Present Opportunities for Traditional Support Organizations

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JANUARY 8, 2001 – Third-party support portals are one of the latest phenomena to impact the services market. This trend involves Internet destination sites where a third party (not a software vendor or a hardware vendor) provides technical support information on software and hardware technologies, using a variety of methods and tools, often charging on a per-incident basis. IDC believes these third-party portals have the potential to generate more than $4 billion in worldwide revenues in 2004, up from a mere $150 million in 1999. While other players in the support market may be concerned these new portals pose a threat, IDC believes they should be viewed as an opportunity.


"Vendors can outsource routine questions to the support portal and focus their internal resources on higher-level, higher-value types of support," said Ana Volpi, manager of IDC’s Software Support and Integration Services program. "Additionally, vendors will have more resources to focus on true proactive support – otherwise known as training."

IDC believes a number of factors are increasing overall need for technology support. One major factor is the declining price of computers, which is making them more widely available to users with a lower skill level. Additionally, businesses have an increasing number of critical processes tied into technology and need support to be available around the clock.

It is this need for 24×7 support that is a major driver in the support portal market. "Third-party support portals offer self-help, automated help, and assisted help, all in one location that is always available, from any Internet connected computer, at any time," Volpi said. "This type of support is also faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective than traditional methods."

IDC recently published Third-Party Support Portals and the Impact of Changing Business Models on the Support Market (IDC #B23074). This report analyzes the market for third-party support portals. It forecasts revenues these portals will generate through 2004. IDC segments the market into the following categories: content providers, matchmaking services, guaranteed interaction, and evolved call center. Characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of each segment are discussed. Additionally the report profiles the following vendors:, AnswerTeam,, Expertcity, Experts Exchange, HotDispatch, ePeople,, Service911, and TechKnow-how.

To purchase this report, contact Jim Nagle at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4549, or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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