According to a new forecast by International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, Mass., an information technology (IT) market research and consulting firm, the worldwide Internet services market will be one of the fastest growing IT segments over the next five years, growing from $4.5 billion in 1997 to $43.6 billion by the year 2002. Companies moving from using Internet technologies as a publishing medium to using them for e-commerce are finding themselves strapped for the necessary resources, according to IDC. Increased technical demands, higher profile projects, and a desire to focus on core competencies are driving companies to turn to external service providers for deployment of some or all parts of their e-commerce project. The U.S. represents the largest segment of the worldwide Internet Services market opportunity throughout the forecast period. With $2.9 billion in spending in 1997, IDC expects it to grow to $22 billion by 2002. "The move to deploy e-commerce sites is putting increased demands on companies to raise their sophistication in Internet technologies and to rethink how the Internet ties in with business' strategies and processes," says Meredith McCarty, senior analyst, Internet services. "Growth potentials exist for service providers seeking to capitalize on these market opportunities."