NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Vicious rivals are making peace in the tech world. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM - Get Report) and Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) have been working together to manufacture iPad and iPhone apps for IBM customers, including Citigroup Inc. (C - Get Report) and Sprint Corp. (S - Get Report).

It is an example of a business strategy known as "coopetition," defined as "collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results." In coopetition, each firm leverages its distinct advantage.

Apple wants to make inroads into the corporate market for PCs, and IBM wants to use Macs and iPads, fitted with IBM software for use by IBM corporate clients. A big selling point to corporations is that it's much easier to manage and integrate Macs than PCs in a corporate environment.

With love in the air in Silicon Valley, we decided to check TheStreet Quant Ratings for stocks in the IT consulting sub-sector, which would be good investments.

So, what are the best IT consulting stocks investors should be buying? Here are the top three, according to TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which companies made the list. And when you're done, be sure to read about which pharmaceutical stocks you should buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on August 5, 2015 closing prices. The highest-rated stock appears last.

GIB ChartGIB data by YCharts
3. CGI Group Inc. (GIB - Get Report)

Rating: Buy, A
Market Cap: $12 billion
Year-to-date return: -0.13%

CGI Group Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides information technology (IT) and business process services.

"We rate CGI GROUP INC (GIB) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • CGI GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 12.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, CGI GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.71 versus $1.43 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the IT Services industry. The net income increased by 14.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $225.09 million to $257.24 million.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that GIB's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.36, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.45 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

DOX ChartDOX data by YCharts
2. Amdocs Limited (DOX - Get Report)

Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $9.1 billion
Year-to-date return: 26.1%

Amdocs Limited provides software and services for communications, media, and entertainment industry service providers worldwide.

"We rate AMDOCS LTD (DOX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 22.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $222.21 million or 11.77% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -3.44%.
  • AMDOCS LTD's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMDOCS LTD increased its bottom line by earning $2.62 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.35 versus $2.62).

ACN ChartACN data by YCharts
1. Accenture plc (ACN - Get Report)

Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $65.2 billion
Year-to-date return: 17%

Accenture plc provides management consulting, technology, and business process outsourcing services worldwide.

"We rate ACCENTURE PLC (ACN) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 22.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • ACN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.00 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.21, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, ACN's share price has jumped by 27.54%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, ACN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,413.36 million or 3.67% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ACCENTURE PLC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -3.44%.
  • ACCENTURE PLC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ACCENTURE PLC reported lower earnings of $4.52 versus $4.93 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.78 versus $4.52).