Monthly Archives

November 2017

How Cloud Impacts APIs and Microservices | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Companies considering moving workloads to cloud environments five years ago questioned whether the economics of cloud were compelling enough. The bigger question at that time was whether the economics would force a tsunami of migration from legacy environments to the cloud world. Would it set up a huge industry, much like Y2K, of moving workloads from one environment to another very quickly? Or would it evolve more like the client-server movement that happened over 5 to 10 years? It’s important to understand the cloud migration strategy that is occurring today.

We now know the cloud migration did not happen like Y2K. Enterprises considered the risk and investment to move workloads as too great, given the cost-savings returns. Of course, there are always laggards or companies that choose not to adopt new technology, but enterprises now broadly accept both public and private cloud.

The strategy most companies adopt is to put new functionality into cloud environments, often public cloud. They do this by purchasing SaaS applications rather than traditional software, and they do their new development in a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud environment. These make sense. They then build APIs or microservices layers that connect the legacy applications to the cloud applications.

Read more at my CIO Online blog

New center setups in Latin America Reaches All-Time High in Q3—Everest Group | Press Release

By | Press Releases

As expected, healthcare and IT outsourcing deals fall, service provider operating margins decline

Latin America was one of the bright spots in the global services industry in Q3 2017, with location activity at an all-time high, driven by a large number of new center setups in Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica, according to Everest Group. Overall, location activity in offshore and nearshore locations marginally decreased in Q3 (350 transactions) compared to Q2 2017 (374 transactions).

Everest Group discusses these and other third-quarter developments in the sourcing industry in its recently released Market Vista™: Q3 2017 report.

*** Webinar Playback ***

Everest Group held a webinar on November 14 in which the findings of the “Market Vista: Q3 2017” report were reviewed. The webinar also featured a discussion about the attractiveness and risks of Latin American service delivery. To listen to a playback of “Practical Insights: Tips for Managing and Optimizing Service Delivery in Latin America PLUS a 3rd Quarter Market Vista Update,” click here.

Additional Q3 Trends:

  • There was an increase in research and development (R&D) center setups by technology and communications enterprises, reflecting their preference to insource next-generation services.
  • Healthcare outsourcing transaction volume declined due to uncertainty around regulatory changes in the United States.
  • Revenue increased quarter-to-quarter for offshore heritage providers (3.1 percent) but decreased 0.4 percent for global providers overall.
  • Operating margins for offshore heritage providers declined due to appreciation of the Indian rupee; operation margins for most global majors declined, reflective of declining revenue.
  • After reaching an all-time high in Q2 2017 at 49 setups and expansions, Global In-house Center (GIC) activity fell in Q3 to 36 setups and expansions.
  • The share of tier-2 locations increased compared to tier-1 locations.
  • ITO deals and application outsourcing services saw a decline.
  • Among new IT outsourcing deals and GIC center setups, the share of digital services provided increased compared to traditional services provided.
  • There are significant differences in the leading digital services supported by GICs versus those supported by IT service providers. GICs more commonly provide analytics (41 percent), cloud (24 percent) and cybersecurity (20 percent) services, whereas IT service providers offer primary cloud services (58 percent), followed by analytics (13 percent).

“The third quarter global services demand continued to remain sluggish. While on the outsourcing market, we continued to see increase in share of digital deals, number of new GIC setups marginally reduced after an all-time high in Q2 2017. What is interesting in this quarter is the resurgence of Latin America to support global services delivery to North America, with center setups at an all-time high,” said Salil Dani, vice president at Everest Group.

The Market Vista report highlights the trends in the fast-evolving global offshoring and outsourcing market, exploring the key developments across outsourcing transactions and Global In-house Centers (GICs), as well as location risks and opportunities and service provider developments.

***Download a complimentary 12-page abstract of the report findings here.*** (Registration required.)

Analyst Relations Newsletter Q4 2017 | Key Highlights from Custom Research

By | Uncategorized

Case Study I: A Europe-headquartered Financial services company with Global operations engaged Everest Group to benchmark their current Global ITO/BPO service provider rate cards

Client overview and background: The client manages a sourcing portfolio involving multiple IT-BPO contractual relationships with a global footprint. The benchmarking scope included functions like Software Engineering, Testing, Project Office, Business Analysis, Program Management within IT. Procurement, Finance and Accounting and Client Service within BPO. The scope also included providing guidance on factors impacting rates such as Best-in-class staffing pyramids, Best-in-class offshore ratios, volume based price discounting, PMO/Governance fees overheads, Continuous improvement charters and Language based price premiums.
Our approach: Everest Group undertook the following activities to perform a thorough benchmarking assessment:

  • Map client role nomenclatures to industry standard roles with years of experience and job descriptions
  • Identify market proxies and perform normalization removing outliers
  • Provide detailed role level benchmarks by geography and identify role-wise savings potential

Everest Group also provided comprehensive guidance on additional solution parameters based on best-in-class contracts.

Client benefits: The benchmarking study highlighted a set of roles and associated delivery locations where the current pricing was much higher than the market benchmarks. This enabled them to prioritize meaningful and effective negotiations with the respective vendors to align their contracted rates with market norms.

Case Study II: Everest Group provided market price benchmarks for Digital Services, for a US based service provider as part of their overall Go-to-Market strategy for Digital Services

Client overview and background: The client, a global information technology services company headquartered in the US sought to assess its price competitiveness across Digital services to support its ‘Price-to-Win” mandate along the following components:

  • Rate Card benchmarking: FTE-based price benchmarking for Mobility, Cloud, Analytics, Big Data, RPA, AI, Machine Learning, Digital Program Management, Customer Experience, eCommerce, Content Management Systems, IOT and User Design
  • Additional Pursuit Metrics: IP Commercialization trends, Offshore leverage, Team composition, Service Level metrics, Price premium for Digital Skills, etc.

Our approach: Everest Group leveraged its direct benchmarking approach to develop benchmarks for various FTE roles for key geographies like US, UK, India, China, Germany, etc. The benchmarks were based on Everest Group led live deal rate card data in the last 12 months. To provide comprehensive and market competitive benchmarks, we considered a large set of service providers across four categories: Indian, Global, Boutique and Digital Agency firms and provided comprehensive benchmarks across each of the categories. Similarly, we provided targeted guidance on the additional pursuit metrics mentioned above.

Client benefits: Price benchmarks enabled the service provider to assess its price competitiveness across multiple role types and geographies. Additional analysis further enabled the service provider to gain deeper understanding of nomenclatures and solution-related parameters, to eventually align their commercial proposition with industry standards.

Adoption of Service Delivery Automation in Business Process Services Grows More Than 80%—Everest Group | Press Release

By | Press Releases

BPS spending impacted by SDA can skyrocket to $10B by 2019 but will require a few kinks to be addressed.

The promise of next-generation benefits is powering explosive growth in the adoption of Business Process Service Delivery Automation (BPSDA), according to Everest Group, which reports that the number of BPS clients with SDA deployments rose by more than 80 percent year-on-year. SDA includes both Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This growth in SDA is being driven not only by traditional drivers, such as efficiency and accuracy, but also by new-age drivers such as the need for enhanced customer experience.

“Increasingly, SDA is being used to enhance customer experience through much shorter response times for handling requests, round-the-clock availability, embedded intelligence, and reduced need to manually bridge gaps in technology,” said Rajesh Ranjan, partner at Everest Group.

However, although many more enterprises are adopting SDA, it is still rather nascent in the Business Process Services market today, says Ranjan. “Contrary to general belief, our data shows that the penetration and scale per BPSDA deployment is still quite low. One of the challenges is the mismatch between buyers’ expectations and reality, partly due to some inaccurate communication from service providers and automation vendors. However, the intrinsic benefits of SDA solutions, especially when combined with other digital components, the rising maturity of adopters and increasing sophistication of providers, suggest these issues will be addressed soon.”

As evidence of this low maturity of SDA, Everest Group points to the relatively meager amount of BPS spending on business processes where RPA has been applied. This amount is estimated to be US$700-800 million in 2016, or 2 percent of the addressable market, but it is expected to skyrocket in the future, reaching US$10 billion by 2019.

Another indicator that enterprises are barely scratching the surface of BPSDA’s potential is that a majority of current deployments (85 percent) involve Robotic Process Automation (RPA) only. Automation based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is far away from widespread adoption.

These findings and more are discussed in Everest Group’s newly published report, “Business Process Services Delivery Automation (BPSDA)—State of the Market Report— 2017.”  This report provides an in-depth view of the state of the BPSDA industry, offering a market overview, solution characteristics, an analysis of the service provider landscape, and recommendations for buyers and service providers on how to prepare for the future.

Other key findings:

  • Finance and Accounting (F&A) and contact center emerged as the leading areas of application of SDA in BPS, followed by banking and insurance. The banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry accounts for the majority of the clients with BPSDA deployments.
  • Customer satisfaction with BPSDA is rather low, primarily because there is a mismatch between buyer expectations and reality. Also, many providers and buyers look at SDA in isolation and lose sight of the bigger benefits of digital transformation powered by not only SDA but also other digital levers such as cloud and analytics.
  • Encouraging signs abound in the market. Awareness of SDA benefits is increasing, investments in advanced AI-based automation are rising, and recognition of the utility of models such as automation-as-a-service is growing.
  • SDA is likely to significantly impact the BPS industry in the near- to medium-term along five dimensions – service provider revenue and margin; pricing model; shoring model; talent model; and contract composition.
  • In the face of this disruption, enterprises should adopt a set of best practices to ensure success with BPSDA. Service providers must develop robust strategies to ride the wave of BPSDA disruption and back those strategies with smart investments.

***A complimentary 13-page abstract of the report is available for download here.*** (Registration required.)

RPA & AI Summit — November 27-29 | Event

By | Events

Vice President of Research Sarah Burnett will be a key speaker at this year’s RPA & AI Summit held on November 27-29 in London. Sarah will host a session on Day Two from 11:15 am – 12:40 pm titled “How to make the most of your RPA and cognitive automation.” She will discuss three key points during this session:

  • Differences between RPA and cognitive automation technologies
  • What types of processes to automate with each
  • How to combine the two to get the most out of your investment

The world decision makers in process excellence and shared services will meet in London to collaborate on the direction of Robotics Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence, share best practices, and to discover the strategies, tactics and initiatives industry leaders are already implementing for business success.

When
November 27-29, 2017

Where
ExCeL London
One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock
London E16 1XL

Speaker
Sarah Burnett, Research Vice President, Everest Group

Learn more and register

Race is on in digital customer experience | In the News

By | In The News

By now it is abundantly clear that meeting and exceeding customer expectations is or should be the ultimate objective of digitizing the business of banking.

The buzzword that’s no longer a buzzword but has become an imperative for survival is “customer experience.”

Recent Everest Group research suggests that the traditional approaches and scope of services that have defined contact center outsourcing in the past are rapidly evolving into a new set of buyer expectations and service provider capabilities more appropriately considered customer experience services.

Driving this evolution, the researchers say, are evolving customer expectations, changing buyer focus, and service provider challenges.  “We see traditional contact center outsourcing approaches evolving quite rapidly to those focused on delivering customer experience services,” says Katrina Menzigian, vice-president at Everest Group. “This is apparent in the rise of consulting and co-innovation engagement models, the adoption of sophisticated digital services to enable omnichannel customer engagement, and pricing constructs based on tangible business outcomes.”

Read more in Banking Exchange

Dark Clouds Gathering for Indian Service Providers | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The effort around reforming H1B work visas in the global services industry has been dangling for years, entrenched in a political battle in Congress. But there’s movement again, and dark clouds are gathering on the horizon, signaling a coming storm. Five days ago, the US House Judiciary Committee passed HR 170 (Protect and Grow American Jobs Act) with solid, bipartisan support, and it carries onerous policies aimed at India’s outsourcing service providers – as well as problems for their clients. It hasn’t passed into law yet; but it could happen in 2018. Here’s my assessment of the situation.

Proposed Requirements

As I’ve blogged several times since May 2013, reform focuses on service providers whose business model depends heavily on a large percentage of H1B workers placed at US clients. HR 170 raises the classification of H1-dependent firms to 20 percent, rather than 15 percent of workers. Providers would be required to pay higher wages to their H1B workers – with the minimum salary tied to the average occupational wage in the US. That’s a raise from the current $60k up to, and potentially surpassing, $135k.

The bill adds authorization for the US Department of Labor to conduct investigations of H1B-dependent firms – without first having to establish reasonable cause – and provides for a $495 fine to be levied on the firms for the investigations.

HR 170 also would require US clients to provide attestations and “recruitment reports” attesting that no US workers were displaced by H1B workers. This would add the burden of new management and compliance processes.

Impact

Obviously, the onerous requirements are targeted at Indian service providers that heavily use H1B workers (especially Cognizant, Infosys, TCS, Wipro). The provisions would raise their costs. They would not be able to pass those costs through to clients, so it would reduce their margins. Making it more onerous to use H1B workers would also negatively impact the Indian providers’ business models, which rely on the high-margin “factory” structure for talent provision.

Is it a Long Shot?

Although HR 170 was passed with bipartisan support by the House Judiciary Committee and has yet to pass the full House. If that were to happen, the bill would still face bipartisan battle in the Senate. We’ve seen that play out this year in efforts to repeal healthcare laws and now in tax reform efforts.

However, it may not be a long shot. The bill’s main sponsor, Darrell Issa, the Republican representative from California, will face re-election battles next year and is likely to push harder for a win in visa reform. And don’t overlook the fact that California’s Silicon Valley firms would benefit from onerous visa regulations targeting India’s firms.

My Takeaway Warning

India’s service providers are already struggling in an uphill battle aside from visa reform. They struggle to gain competence and market share in evolving to the digital world. Investments in rotating to digital raise providers’ costs, take time and often lead to battles with investors and other stakeholders who want to maintain the current margin levels. In addition, margins in the digital models are low, for at least the short term.

H1B visa reform’s dark clouds gathering on the horizon for the Indian service providers will only heap new burdens on providers already struggling with margins and new business models in trying to become leaders on the digital space. I believe the bill, if passed into law, would inhibit their growth.

US clients, which want more valuable digital services from third-party firms – but want to pay the low cost they have enjoyed with offshore providers for many years – must recognize that strategy is no longer in the playbook. They also need to be mindful of providers changing their business model and delivery practices to accommodate the requirements of H1B worker provisions when the reform passes into law and how the provider’s decisions will impact the client’s work.

Brexit and GDPR and Digital, Oh My! | In the News

By | In The News

The UK and Ireland are in the crosshairs of some significant economic, geopolitical, and technology forces: the perfect storm of Brexit, GDPR, and digital developments is bearing down on the region, potentially changing the service delivery landscape as we know it today. How will these forces impact global services in the region, and are there any silver linings in these storm clouds?

Read more in Intelligent Sourcing

Clues into Amazon’s HQ2: What Does the Vancouver Announcement Tell Us? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

In early November, Amazon announced that it will expand its presence in Vancouver from 1,000 jobs to 2,000 jobs by 2020. Although this did not receive nearly the same attention as Amazon’s request for proposals for the 50,000 employee location dubbed “HQ2”, there are some valuable clues to glean (see our earlier detailed assessment on the viability of Amazon’s HQ2 strategy and potential locations for our more complete analysis).

We read three important clues in this announcement.

  1. Vancouver is not a serious HQ2 candidate. Although Amazon is clearly comfortable enough with Vancouver to continue expanding there, it is a signal that Vancouver is not a serious candidate for the second headquarter location. If Amazon felt otherwise, the announcement did not need to be made and lose leverage in negotiating incentives for HQ2. There are multiple reasons why Vancouver may not be a strong candidate – size or cost of talent pool, too similar to Seattle, no time zone diversification, or that the complexities of operating in Canada outweigh the benefits of mainly operating in the U.S.
  2. The targeted scalability of HQ2 is going to be REALLY HARD. Assuming that Vancouver and HQ2 will have roughly similar mixes of talent, we can see that Amazon is scaling at only 15% of the rate targeted for HQ2. After setting up in 2015 and reaching 1,000 employees in 2017, Amazon is planning to reach 2,000 employees by 2020. Let’s assume that is 2,000 people over four years for an annual rate of 500 net-new employees. HQ2 is targeting 50,000 employees over 15 years, which is over 3,000 per year – 6 times what is being achieved in Vancouver. This supports our earlier view that any city under 4 million in population is clearly not viable (Vancouver is under 2.5 million) and even the largest cities (which are 7-15 million) will struggle to consistently grow at the rate indicated by Amazon for HQ2.
  3. Hmmm…is Amazon truly serious about HQ2 as stated? For purposes of our earlier analysis, we assumed that Amazon truly intended to pursue its stated vision (up to 50,000 employees in 15 years with an average salary in excess of US$100,000 and the HQ2 acting as an equal to Seattle). The announcement about Vancouver is interesting and revealing because it is inconsistent with Amazon seeking to aggregate its scale into large locations. A 2,000 employee location is certainly large, but it is much smaller than currently located in Seattle or the planned HQ2.

If centers at much smaller scale are valuable to Amazon, why even pursue the HQ2 strategy?

First, Amazon might realize that a single 50,000 location is likely too big and contemplating whether it can make “clusters” (cities within very short distances from each other) produce similar benefits as a single location, which would be multiple buildings anyway. If Amazon believes this, it might be looking to select multiple cities within a cluster for the HQ2 strategy (think Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC).

Second, Amazon may have intentionally set a very, very large 50,000 employee target to get maximum attention and creativity, but is planning to structure the eventual single location agreement to only commit to 5,000-10,000 employees. Still very large, but something it has a much easier chance to fulfill and then potentially exceed as it so desires.

In summary, we believe these clues Echo many of our earlier perspectives and underscore that the eventual outcome may be quite different than stated – we remain Primed to hear what Amazon decides in 2018.