Texas IT: Technology consulting firms seeing growth in big projects

Robert Francis rfrancis@bizpress.net

Any given week, Digital Intelligence Systems LLC’s Dallas office deploys 200 plus IT staffers to various industries in North Texas. And it expects that number to keep growing, according to Terry McGraw, managing director of DISYS in Dallas. “The demand is there, no question about it,” says McGraw. DISYS provides a variety of IT services for companies, including IT staffing and consulting, ERP services, infrastructure support services, and cloud deployment and management – all in demand from growing Texas businesses, according to McGraw. Despite its image as a state that focuses on energy and agriculture, Texas has become one of the top states for high-tech employment. A recent study by the TechAmerica Foundation found that Texas has more than 485,000 technology jobs. “Study the Texas economy and you are no longer limited to the agricultural and energy-based economy of the past,” said Jeff Clark, vice president at TechAmerica, a McLean, Va.-based advocacy group, in a news release. “Texas is technology and Texas continues to move forward in its role as one of America’s two leading cyberstates,” Clark added. “Despite experiencing some setbacks in the most recent data, the Lone Star State is well-positioned to continue its growth in the years to come.” According to the TechAmerica study, tech firms in Texas employed 5.5 percent of private sector workers in 2012 (ranked 17th nationwide) and tech workers earned an average wage of $92,200 – 12th ranked among the states and 85 percent more than Texas’ average private sector wage. An IT firm like DISYS provides information technology professionals and services for a variety of industries. McGraw says the top five industries he works with are: • Health care • Financial services • High-tech or software development • Communications • Transportation “Those are the ones most in demand in North Texas,” he says. “It may vary a bit around the state and around the country.” In terms of skill sets that DISYS is looking for, McGraw says Java and .NET developers remain in high demand. McGraw said he is seeing an uptick in customer resource management (CRM) development projects, sales force projects and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software such as SAP and PeopleSoft. “Those are usually seven-figure commitments, which is a good sign of confidence in the economy,” he said. That mirrors results of a recent survey of IT decision makers from technology trade publisher IDG Enterprise, indicating that nearly 50 percent of respondents are planning or implementing big data projects, such as ERP, in 2014. McGraw said there is plenty of IT talent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for hire, but that finding the right candidate is a bit harder. “Finding A+ players takes some due diligence,” he said. DISYS, which has offices in 36 U.S. cities, plans to continue its growth. In 2013, the company appointed a new CFO, Thomas A. Fink, and closed on its first round of $20 million growth equity investment led by Weston Presidio. DISYS has been in the Dallas-Fort Worth market for several years, but other companies are also eyeing the area for an expansion of IT services. In December, St. Louis-based Technology Partners Inc., an IT solutions and consultant provider, opened an office in Dallas. “Our goal is to continue to grow our presence in each city throughout the country. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is an integral part of our footprint, and this expansion effectively increases our visibility into other essential markets,” said Lisa Nichols, CEO and co-founder of Technology Partners.