At the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference, Gartner Inc. released their "Market Insight: Gartner Global Top 100 IT Vendors in 2016" report. The report is based on revenues of companies across IT (excluding the communication services segment) and component market segments. This is the first time the research firm published a ranking of the top 100 largest tech companies in the world.

According to Gartner analysts, Apple was the largest vendor with more than $218 billion (₹14.05 lakh crore) in IT revenue. This is approximately $79 billion (₹5.09 lakh crore) larger than the No. 2 vendor, Samsung Vendor Group (see Figure 1).

2010621_Gartner_NT_01 Figure 1: Top five worldwide vendors by IT and components revenue, 2016 (in billions of dollars). Source: Gartner (June 2017).

Gartner noted that technology business leaders can use the report to benchmark competitive performance against a shift from the Nexus of Forces (the convergence of social, mobility, cloud and information that drive new business scenarios) to digital business as the driver of IT purchasing.

"The needs of IT buyers are shifting. CEOs are focused on growth and are more focused on realising business outcomes from their IT spend," said John-David Lovelock, vice president and 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."

The top three vendors (Apple, Samsung Vendor Group and Google) can attribute much of their size to their solid alignment with the Nexus of Forces. 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.

2017: The year of digital giants

As enterprises increasingly digitalise 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. 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," said 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."

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," Lovelock said. "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."