Author: Phil Clark, Founder of Embedded IT.
Throughout the summer we’ve been working on a project which involves identifying publicly available data on the UK IT industry, largely from a buyer’s perspective. Our objective is to identify all of the IT companies in the UK, so that any buyer is able to pick from the most relevant options, based on a series of attributes. This is the underlying premise of the Embedded Directory - a website we created to support buyers in sourcing technology based on available facts, rather than marketing.
The timescale of this project provides a sense of how difficult the task was. It has taken six months of trawling through the internet, trying to find sources of reliable information, and correlating them to work out patterns and trends which identify attributes. A full overview of the project so far is available on our YouTube channel. Please be aware that although you will be given a better awareness of the scale of the problem, the video is an hour long and relatively technical.
The current headlines are:
There are 353,000 registered IT companies in the UK (with SIC codes of 61xxx, 62xxx or 63xxx). Whilst there are other IT related SIC codes, in the interests of scope control, I have focused on the codes outlined above. I will supplement the data later. In my next round I am expanding this list out to other SIC codes that are relevant to IT.
Of 353,000 registered IT companies, 274,000 are active, and 123,000 only have one Director. Although that factor is not the best indicator of size, I am assuming proper businesses would have more than one Director (as opposed to limited companies established to support IT contracting).
Therefore, approximately only 150,000 companies in the UK would be classed as “an IT company”
Of the 150,000 companies, I have sourced roughly 35,000 websites to look at – but the process for identifying a website from a company name is fraught with errors and trying to find a decent web address from a company name is quite difficult.
So as a buyer, you have 150,000 companies to potentially work with – how do you find out which one is best? When searching for a specific company, clearly capability is critical, the supplier must deliver what you need. There is also the correlation between size of their company and the size of your project to consider; you wouldn’t want to spend £1m with a company who usually turns over £50k. Additionally, a focus on the industry you work within provides a distinct advantage. Once updated, the Embedded Directory will collate all of these attributes to support this specific search.
A simple Google search only gives you a limited window to look at. A search for “Microsoft Cloud Partners” gives you 222 million responses, with five adverts, six links to Microsoft themselves, then one link to a genuine cloud partner, on the first page. The link entitled “CSP Directory – Find the right partner for you” is actually a list of distributors that won’t sell to End User companies. Ultimately, Google isn’t great for this specific type of search, and you will only see companies that have a huge web presence or a huge ad budget.
The Embedded Directory will continue to be populated based on information that we can find to make it easy for your search for the right partner. All suppliers are presented equally, with the search order being returned based on proximity to your location and other matching attributes – you cannot buy your way to the top. The intention here is to open the minds of buyers to alternative IT companies, who might not have the marketing spend that some of the larger players have, but are just as credible in their specific field. The information we’ve collated is presented to you, the buyer, as attributes you can use for your own sourcing projects.
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Over time we will be incorporating ratings, credit checks, and other highly relevant factors, so it is only going to get better as it grows. If you have a specific request for information on a supplier, or require some help finding the right one, please get in touch.