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Katrina Menzigian

Katrina Menzigian, Vice President, Research Relations, is responsible for offering Everest Group’s point of view on critical developments within the global services industry to strengthen and expand dialogue within the marketplace. In this role, she engages with key service provider and enterprise executives, industry organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure enduring collaborative relationships between Everest Group and these organizations for the benefit of the evolving outsourcing and offshoring industries at large. To read more, please see Katrina’s bio.

The CX in CCO has Evolved – How are Pinnacle Enterprises™ Doing it? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

There’s no shortage of market discussion around a wide range of customer experience (CX) opportunities and challenges. It’s what everyone in your organization, from IT, to HR, to actual customer care, are talking about. But while ideas about what you should be trying to achieve and why you should care abound, insight on how to actually execute and what delivery outcomes to target is hard to come by.

Use of CCO Services

One approach drawing attention involves the use of contact center outsourcing (CCO) services. The traditional “butts-in-seats” model is evolving to more of a customer experience management (CXM) service model, where outcomes are assessed for impact as much as for cost management. The traditional view has been that the primary value delivered by CCO providers is operational cost savings through efficiencies, labor arbitrage, and scale. But that’s no longer enough. An increasing number of enterprises are raising the bar and looking to their CCO providers for an expanded value proposition targeting digitally-enabled and differentiated CX capabilities. We refer to this engagement approach as Customer Experience Management (CXM) services.

CX Outsourcing Pinnacle EnterprisesTM

We believe that companies really serious about reshaping their brand through memorable CX are more often turning to this new model of CXM services. We call this breed of buyers CX Outsourcing Pinnacle EnterprisesTM. And we believe these enterprises are very intentionally leveraging these advanced CXM services to enhance their corporate-wide CX strategies, and to achieve results more quickly and at lower costs.

We’ve launched a unique study to dig deep and identify how these Pinnacle Enterprises engage CXM services to drive both operational and strategic imperatives for their overall CX strategy. How can this emerging model help enterprises tackle high-value CX objectives such as digital enablement, greater insights on and visibility into consumer wants and behaviors, increased wallet share, and reduced customer effort? What are the mechanisms in play around technology, governance, talent models, pricing models, and others?

This is an all-around different approach to CXM services – a rethinking of which outcomes to target, what to measure, the role of technology, and the new relationship model.

Curious to know what leading CX Outsourcing Pinnacle Enterprises are doing? Want to know where your organization stands compared to others? Everest Group invites you to become part of the research process and take our survey.

Analyst Relations Newsletter Q1 2018 | Key Highlights from Custom Research

By | Uncategorized

Advised a leading Engineering Services provider on refining its market positioning and improving articulation of capabilities to customers

Client overview and background: The client believed that while it had strong engineering capabilities, it lacked in impactful messaging and effective articulation of business impact created

Our approach: Everest Group conducted a detailed analysis of client impact created across marquee projects in four areas of focus:

  • Design Thinking
  • AI/ML/Automation led engineering efficiency improvements
  • Transforming traditional products to smart products
  • Industry 4.0/Factory of the future

Client benefits: Everest Group was successful in bringing out compelling differentiation for the client, emphasizing on innovation and unique strengths, and enhancing articulation of outcomes. Everest Group’s inputs and insights served as a direct input into the client’s marketing strategy, sales pitch documents, and overall branding material.

Case Study II: Assisted a leading Engineering Services provider in identifying best-fit European location for delivery of engineering services

Client overview and background: The client’s current delivery presence in Europe was spread across small-scale centers and client sites. The client wanted to identify the best-fit location for establishing a large-scale delivery center which would service some of its existing clients as well as support a new large client.

Our approach: Everest Group conducted a detailed assessment of multiple locations in Southern Europe and Central & Eastern Europe. The analysis was based on a combination of analyst visits, interviews with market participants, and proprietary databases and IP.

Client benefits: The analysis provided views across Automotive Engineering skills and other adjacent verticals (Semiconductor, Electrical & Electronics, Medical, Telecom & networking, Software/Internet). The detailed assessment consisted of a deep-dive on skills availability, operating costs, incentives, infrastructure, existing player landscape, and business environment assessment. Everest Group also provided insights on scalability potential and forward-looking talent sustainability across the cities.

Five Ways to Reduce Contact Center Costs with Automation and Chatbots | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Everest Group’s recent research revealed that successful adoption of RPA and chatbots in contact centers can reduce the total cost of contact center operations by 11-16 percent. Yet, very few enterprises have achieved these levels of automation-driven cost reduction in their contact center operations. Why? Technology is just one piece of the puzzle. In order to unlock the true benefits of automation solutions in your contact center, you also need to focus on organizational readiness, effective change management, and better governance mechanisms.

Five ways to reduce contact center costs with RPA & chatbots


Analyze and select the right processes for automation

Enterprises should start by identifying the contact center processes that are most suitable for automation. To achieve breakeven in quick time, it’s best to start by automating highly repetitive and less complex business processes with RPA. For example, a process wherein agents spend exorbitant amounts of time navigating through multiple systems and applications to fetch the required information is ideal to automate with RPA.

Re-engineer business processes before automation

Automating business processes that aren’t standardized or simplified can result in more exceptions. But optimizing them before automating them, with IT and operations jointly looking at them through the RPA lens, can greatly reduce exceptions. Learnings from best-in-class RPA implementers also suggest that business process re-engineering is a significant step to realizing the strategic objectives of RPA adoption.

Build winning partnerships

Building a partner ecosystem with leading RPA technology vendors and/or system integrators that offer best-in-breed automation platforms and specialized domain expertise is crucial to achieving successful RPA adoption. Doing so can help enterprises save time and effort at every stage of RPA adoption, which eventually manifests in effective cost savings.

Make a quick transition from pilots to large-scale deployments

Enterprises that achieve significant financial impact and rapid return on their RPA investments quickly scale-up from the pilot stage to large-scale deployments. To move fast successfully, it’s important to foresee challenges ahead while in the pilot stage, and begin mitigation efforts earlier. Enterprises can also follow an agile implementation approach, which could enable their RPA deployments to quickly and flexibly adapt to changes in business requirements or underlying applications.

Integrate RPA with chatbots to achieve incremental cost reduction

Once RPA has delivered some quick wins, enterprises can deploy chatbots alongside RPA to realize incremental cost savings. For example, chatbots can resolve less complex customer queries more quickly when RPA bots fetch the necessary information and relevant insights from multiple systems and applications. Enterprises should envision building a digital workforce with both RPA and chatbots in their contact centers to achieve long-term benefits that can extend well beyond the incremental cost savings.

Adoption of best practices for contact center automation can help enterprises achieve tangible business outcomes. And the returns can be quick: our latest research shows 9-15 months with RPA, and 18-24 months with chatbots adoption.

To learn more about how you can build a successful business case for automation adoption in your contact center, check out Everest Group’s recently released report: The Business Case for RPA and Chatbots in Contact Centers.” And, please feel free to share your automation adoption experiences in contact centers with us: Katrina Menzigian ([email protected]) and Jayapriya K ([email protected])

Omnichannel CX: Conquering the Challenges | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Customers have stopped thinking about channels. It’s the experience that matters to them now – regardless of the channel they choose at any point of time. Thus, it’s no surprise that 73 percent of buyers responding to Everest Group’s 2016/17 Contact Center Outsourcing (CCO) surveys and interviews rated omnichannel as their top priority for adoption, and that 23 percent of buyers want to integrate the face-to-face customer touchpoints with their contact centers.

Omnichannel is a Priority for Adoption among CCO Buyers

CCO omnichannel CX adoption

Regardless of this intention, very few enterprises have achieved delivering a true omnichannel experience or built competitive advantage through exceptional CX.

Six Challenges Enterprises are Facing in their Transition to Omnichannel CX

Challenge 1: Lack of strategic leadership support: Most omnichannel transition efforts lack direct involvement from senior leadership to prioritize investments, communicate urgency for transition, and mitigate any implementation roadblocks. This contributes to misplaced priorities and execution inefficiencies.

Solution: An internal transition team consisting of experienced senior leadership can be set up to manage and drive the organization-wide change towards omnichannel.

Challenge 2: Inadequate focus on human capital challenges: Omni-channel investment decisions are primarily focused on technologies and solutions. But even with sophisticated tools and technologies in place, lack of investment in human capital makes it difficult to practically achieve the desired outcomes.

Solution: Organizations need to place equal importance on investments in human capital and begin their omnichannel transition efforts by assessing the talent requirements to manage omnichannel CX.

Challenge 3: Organizational skills gap for omnichannel: IT teams often lack the necessary skills to support the integration of tools, channels, and databases. Contact center managers also require upskilling on sophisticated technologies, systems, and processes to effectively manage omnichannel contact centers. Agents, usually trained in supporting individual channels, have limited knowledge to work across multiple channels.

Solution: Enterprises should conduct a gap analysis to identify training requirements for the existing talent at all levels of the organization, with the necessary skills for omni-channel and hire for new profiles. They should also revise employee performance metrics and align the incentives with common omnichannel KPIs

Challenge 4: Historically siloed functions and channels: Lack of integrated front-office functions such as sales, marketing, and customer service with back-office functions such as business intelligence, reporting, procurement, inventory management, etc., makes it impossible to create a unified view about customers.

Solution: Back-to-front office integration is crucial for a great end-to-end customer journey. The first step to achieving this is through customer journey mapping for all end-to-end processes to identify changing behaviors, capture unmet expectations, optimize processes, and encourage cross-functional collaboration.

Challenge 5: Lack of clarity on requirements for data integration from all channels: Enterprises are not clear about the business and operational needs to support data integration across all channels. Management of disparate CRM, voice and other technology systems also hinder integration.

Solution: Enterprises need to assess the implications of data standardization and integration across channels and identify an appropriate mix of tools to achieve integration of disparate datasets and applications.

Challenge 6: Incompatible legacy systems: Most legacy systems in enterprises, especially CRM systems and voice technologies, are incompatible with omnichannel platforms and solutions. This leads to inconsistency in capturing and transferring data to achieve a unified view of customers in a single platform.

Solution: Enterprises should adopt non-invasive omnichannel platforms and solutions that can seamlessly communicate with their legacy systems.

To learn more, check out Everest Group’s two-part study on omnichannel customer experience: “From Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel Customer Experience,” and “Delivering Omni-Channel Customer Experience.” Both include checklists to help enterprises successfully plan and execute their transition to omnichannel. And, please feel free to share your omnichannel experiences with us: Katrina Menzigian ([email protected]) and Jayapriya K ([email protected].)

Chatbots are Getting Smarter, and That’s Good News for Contact Centers | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Enterprises and their contact center operations are increasingly adopting self-service technologies to improve the customer experience. Over the past several years, chatbots have become one of the most embraced. And it’s easy to see why.

chatbots in contact centers

Chatbots are evolving…

First generation chatbots were software programs that could hold a natural conversation on a text-based channel such as chat, email, or social media. Modern day chatbots’ capabilities – interchangeably called virtual agents – have leapfrogged ahead through use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), which allow them to understand free flowing language and generate real-time responses. They are no longer bound to a single channel, but instead cover the entire ambit of services, including voice support. This helps them fit well with enterprises’ broader omnichannel strategy, as they can deliver a seamless experience across channels.

chatbots in contact centers 2

…and they know your preferences

Unlike earlier versions, today’s chatbots can even contextualize information in a conversation. Here’s an example:

Jim: I would like to know the status of my flight. It’s booking # PNR AZ12356.
Chatbot: Hi Jim, checking into it. It appears that your flight’s departure will be delayed by 4 hours, due to scheduling changes.
Jim: Can you cancel it and check for an earlier flight in the morning?
Chatbot: Confirming…
As per your request, I have cancelled your flight American Airlines 235 from Boston to New York. Based on your past bookings, I have three suggestions for alternative flights on the same day:

  • Delta 2897: Departs from BOS at 0430 hours and arrives at JFK at 0550 hours
  • Delta 2471: Departs from BOS at 0600 hours and arrives at JFK at 0720 hours
  • Delta 3167: Departs from BOS at 0640 hours and arrives at JFK at 0800 hours

Jim: Book one ticket in the second option.
Chatbot: Confirming availability. Based on your preferences, would you like me to book an aisle seat, and select a bruschetta omelet with coffee for breakfast?
Jim: Yes, that will be great.
Chatbot: Excellent. Your flight Delta 2471 from BOS to JFK will depart at 0600 hours on October 30, 2017. Your seat number is 4C. I have sent a copy of the ticket to your personal email id. Have a safe flight.

Notice how the chatbot contextualized the information based on unstructured and more natural language flow, and offered recommendations based on the user’s past preferences. These degrees of evolution have made chatbots much more self-service capable, and are significantly enhancing the experience that contact centers deliver to their client’s customers.

As with all technologies, chatbots come with risks

The end goal for today’s enterprises is to deliver the best possible omnichannel customer experience. Chatbots can help customers solve problems on their preferred channel of communication (voice and non-voice). However, the technology does have shortcomings. The well-known example of Microsoft’s Tay – a Twitter-based intelligent bot that had to be pulled down within 16 hours of deployment due to offensive tweets – highlights one technology gap that needs to be addressed.

Everest Group’s just released viewpoint entitled, “Chatbots Delivering Enhanced Customer Experience: It’s Easy to Get It Wrong” details how chatbots can fit in enterprises’ omnichannel strategy, the risks they need to be aware of, and how they can mitigate them.

CX and the Philippines: An Evolving Value Proposition | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

For the last several years, the Philippines’ value proposition as the leading contact center delivery location has been availability of a large workforce with good language skills and high empathy, at very competitive costs. But to remain the top contact center destination, it will need to evolve its value proposition from customer service delivery to CX delivery.

This is because CX has emerged as a top priority for firms to build a loyal customer base in today’s digital age in which end-consumers are seeking a seamless, quality, personalized experience across channels. To support clients in this quest to deliver a superior customer experience, the contact center industry is transforming from an arbitrage-first to experience-first model. Everest Group research shows that the key to delivering the CX of the future is optimizing a blend of talent and technology.

The primary technology enablers

  • Fortify analytics solutions – Contact centers are blessed with access to a wealth of high-quality data. Customer analytics can help them provide personalized services and real-time support for query resolutions. Operational analytics will allow them to monitor processes, predict future demand, and optimize service elements to achieve the best outcomes.
  • Embrace automation solutions – The first step is using self-service offerings to manage simple queries, followed by leveraging rule-based chatbots and smart IVRs to manage high-volume transactional tasks for maximum automation impact on contact center operations.
  • Focus on delivering omni-channel experience – Delivering a consistent, seamless customer experience requires an integrated view of the customer across all channels. With a more case-driven approach, each interaction that the customer has with the organization feels like part of an ongoing conversation and relationship.

The key talent enablers

While technology advancement will help prepare the groundwork for CX delivery, talent enablers are equally important to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Build the right talent strategy – As contact centers adopt technology on a wider scale, the role their agents play will evolve to focus more on domain and technology expertise. Thus, recruitment and training programs must align to identifying new talent with the right skills, and strengthening existing agent capabilities and knowledge.
  • Rationalize KPIs/metrics – To measure agent performance, contact centers will have to establish metrics and KPIs that focus on digital enablement, business outcomes, and impact on the customer experience.

If you’re currently associated with a contact center in the Philippines, or are considering outsourcing contact center operations to the Philippines, we invite you to join us at the Contact Center Association of the Philippines’ annual conference at Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay Island, Philippines on October 11 and 12. The Contact Islands conference, at which my colleagues Karthik H and Katrina Menzigian will be featured speakers, will focus on the evolving nature of CX, and how the Philippines is matching the pace of the global industry-wide disruption.

Analyst Relations Newsletter Q3 2017 | Key Highlights from Custom Research

By | Uncategorized

Case Study I: Everest Group supported the India GIC of a global top-5 technology company in its growth plans for software product engineering teams leveraging digital skills

Client overview and background: As the client was preparing for growth of its India delivery center, it was evaluating opportunities to expand the scope of services delivered in the GIC, especially in software products based on new horizon skills areas (e.g., cloud, mobility, SoA, big data and analytics, design-thinking, customer-centric engineering). The client sought support in identification and prioritization of key talent investment areas involving product engineering based on expected future business needs and market evidence of successful delivery models, capabilities, and services maturity at GICs of peer technology/internet software companies.

Our approach: Everest Group assessed the current talent model and team capabilities in product engineering skills at the client GIC and also conducted a detailed market assessment of how GICs at peer companies are leveraging the India delivery centers (scale, penetration, breadth, and complexity, and level of ownership of global service delivery for product development and digital skills). We identified gaps in the talent model and skills-sets at the client GIC across specific roles, skill-sets, and level of ownership/maturity. Everest Group presented perspectives on key thrust areas for investment and industry momentum in skills/role development by peer GICs. We also identified growth opportunities for client and provided best-in-class examples of increasing ownership and growing talent on niche skills (e.g., data scientists).

Client benefits: Everest Group identified and prioritized skill-areas for investment based on gaps in the client’s current delivery talent/skills portfolio for software product engineering and level of maturity achieved at peer GICs. Through a series of discussions with the client’s leadership in India and the U.S., Everest Group guided the client’s internal thinking on how to grow talent for niche digital skills and establish product engineering teams with higher level of global product ownership.

Case Study II: Everest Group Supported a large European engineering company in an assessment of the talent landscape in the Indian city of Bangalore. This was for a new engineering and R&D center the firm wanted to set up in the city

Client overview and background: The client was facing challenges in hiring mid-level talent in its home markets owing to reducing enrolments in STEM. It was looking to offshore high-end design, engineering, and innovation work and identified Bangalore as a location for setting up its in-house / shared services center. To be better prepared for this, the client wanted a comprehensive assessment of the talent landscape in the city across the following aspects: availability of talent across 7 functional areas, key competitors for talent (including Indian engineering companies), future outlook for talent sustainability, workforce preferences for office location within the city, employee value drivers in choosing an employer, and benchmarking of compensation and benefits.

Our approach: Everest Group conducted in-depth desk research to size talent (at both entry- and experienced-levels) across the 7 functions in focus. This was followed by primary research with engineering companies operating in Bangalore, recruiters, industry experts, and a cross-section of employees to analyze aspects such as future outlook for talent sustainability, employee value drivers, and workforce preferences. Finally, we conducted a compensation and benefits benchmarking assessment in collaboration with a recruitment firm.

Client benefits: The client leveraged this in-depth study to set design parameters for its new delivery center. The mapping of functional areas by scalability and level of possible congestion in the future helped identify possible constraints and frame appropriate mitigation mechanisms (e.g., invest in training, move talent from home market). Our research also enabled the client identify the sources for talent (universities, competitors, other adjacent industries) and the optimum level of compensation/benefits across functional areas and seniority. Finally, the assessment on employee value drivers helped the client finalize the optimum value proposition for candidates.

The Deafening Silence at IAOP OWS 17 | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

I recently joined a few of my colleagues at IAOP OWS (Outsourcing World Summit) in San Antonio where Everest Group led sessions and set up several meetings resulting in interesting conversations. We had a unique perspective at the event given we were one of the few (maybe the only?) organizations there with a research practice dedicated to the world of global services. People came to our booth probing for insights on what was going on with the market. What we didn’t hear was interesting.

Three key realities for global services were surprisingly scarce discussion topics in much of our conversations.

  1. How the impact of digital and automation will change the nature and business of global services
    While many conference sessions and hallway discussions mentioned RPA and cognitive automation (CA), few conversations looked beyond the initial implementation stage and asked the challenging questions about how talent models will need to change, how hiring practices will need to evolve, and how the engagements and relationships between the clients of outsourcing and their service providers will evolve. RPA and CA are more than technology solutions – fundamentally they are about changing the very nature of work – allowing businesses to operate along entirely new models. The bigger question is – How will automation change our business and operational models?
  2. Management of shifting geopolitical realities
    At the IAOP summit, somehow the realities of the world outside the conference halls didn’t quite make it inside. Some folks certainly lamented the uncertainties of things like U.S. immigration and visa reform, moves towards protectionism, uncertainties around the Philippines and other delivery locations, etc. However, we heard little about how enterprises (or service providers) plan to actually navigate these changes, what steps they plan to take to ensure the stability of their operations, or how they’re evolving their operations for resiliency and continuity. Everest Group addressed global 2017 geopolitical trends in our recent Market Vista™ webinars here (global services 2017 outlook) and here (How to respond to the Philippines climate).
  3. Deceleration within the global services industry
    At an event organized by IAOP – with the “O” standing for outsourcing – we noticed there was little discussion of the overall growth and direction of the global services industry. Everest Group research finds that the IT Services industry has had four straight quarters of deceleration. Last quarter, the IT Services industry grew at 3.1 percent, and the top five Indian firms grew at 7.7 percent. This is the lowest level of growth many of these service providers have ever experienced. However, even behind closed doors a relatively optimistic tone prevailed. This was noticeably different than the annual Nasscom summit just one week earlier in Bangalore, where a somber atmosphere seemed to prevail. (Please see our CEO Peter Bendor-Samuel’s NASSCOM blog for more on this.)

Why the hush-hush on these critical topics? Could it be everyone feels they’re shoulder-to-shoulder, looking at un-ventured territory as the industry experiences what seems to be its next evolution? Or are companies simply keeping quiet about their next steps? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Key Action Items Contact Center Providers Should Take to Optimize Their Operating Model in a Digital World | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Today’s consumers are mobile, self-reliant, and demand faster and more convenient access to information. Thus, it’s not surprising that there was 50 percent growth in the number of contact center outsourcing (CCO) contracts signed in 2014-15 that include chat and social media support.

Tantamount to winning and retaining modern customers in today’s digital world is delivering great customer service. Just think about the astounding success of new age companies such as Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, and Uber, each of which has differentiated their products and services with an unwavering, unparalleled focus on providing a best-in-class customer experience.

Traditional enterprises are feeling the heat to catch up and transform themselves. As a result, buyers who once outsourced their contact centers solely for cost reduction have started to rethink their customer engagement strategy. Buyers also expect service providers to be a strategic partner in transforming their contact center operations, such as expansion into non-voice digital channels and new delivery models.

So, how can service providers optimize their current operating model to provide a superior customer experience? Insights on emerging, new age KPIs from buyer feedback surveys and interviews conducted by Everest Group during 2014-15 help frame the answer.

 

Contact-Centers-in-a-Digital-World-1024x595

Unlike when traditional KPIs were used, buyer perception of service providers’ overall performance today is heavily impacted by four KPIs: relationship management, better insights/analytics, proactiveness, and innovation. As the relevance of these has either increased from the previous year or remained high over the last two years, it’s clear that buyers are increasingly evaluating service providers on new age KPIs. Against this backdrop, we recommend CCO service providers incorporate four action items into their operating model in order to remain competitive.

1. Strengthen relationships through greater governance and coordination across teams

Successful relationship management is the fundamental reason that larger deals have been signed during renewals over the past two years. Fostering strong relationships demands greater governance across buyer and service provider cross-functional teams. CCO providers that are deeply embedded in their client’s business and operational processes are often well positioned to proactively identify undetected challenges and propose relevant solutions. This goes a long way in building mutual trust and transparency between the two parties.

2. Unlock customer insights through advanced data analytics

The ability to provide the right service to every unique customer is the key to building customer loyalty in a world of constant change. While most providers have invested in developing reporting and descriptive analytics solutions, buyers expect them to bring in advanced analytical tools that analyze volumes of unstructured data and provide actionable insights on customer needs and behavior, so they can deliver a personalized customer experience. To remain ahead of client expectations, service providers will need to offer predictive and prescriptive analytics capabilities to understand consumers’ future behavior.

3. Co-create customer value by proactively pitching for implementable solutions

Buyers face an uphill battle to constantly evaluate and improve their business processes to respond to changing market forces. Many buyers with whom we have interacted have highlighted their desire for greater input in that effort from their CCO providers. In fact, clients cite greater proactiveness as one of the key areas of improvement for incumbent providers. As the customer-facing entity for enterprises, CCO providers can assist in identifying specific problems customers frequently encounter. And by leveraging their industry expertise, CCO providers can proactively suggest best practices to buyers and participate in business process improvement initiatives.

4. Build differentiated capabilities by investing in technological product and process innovation

Buyers need to constantly innovate their processes, products, and services in order to retain modern customers who now have a wider range of choices and low loyalty thresholds. Therefore, they expect service providers to bring in technological and process-driven innovation to enable a better customer experience. In order to stand out in the market, CCO providers must invest in building innovative, forward-looking capabilities such as cognitive learning technology and AI-powered assisted automation.

We expect the move toward digital contact centers will prove challenging for some providers and empowering for others. The market has already seen a flow of mergers, acquisitions, and commercial investments in the CCO market in the past year. In order to stay ahead of this wave, service providers must act swiftly to transform their contact centers in order to match the challenging needs of buyers and digital consumers.

For more information on the changing buyer requirements in CCO and their expectations from service providers, please see Everest Group’s Contact Center Outsourcing Annual Report 2016 .

What’s Driving All the Consolidation in the Contact Center Outsourcing Market? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Growth in the contact center outsourcing (CCO) market has slowed to ~4 percent – as compared to 5-6 percent a few years ago – primarily due to service providers’ focus away from the traditional cost-driven business model toward value-added services, omnichannel solutions, and high-value work that will shape the contact center market of the future. As it’s expected to take a few years for the new age solutions to reach maturity, providers across the board will have ample time to rejig their broader strategies with market realities, and come out on top of their game when the growth rate shifts again into higher gear.

The size of contract renewals has outgrown that of new contracts by almost three times over the past few years, implying that larger buyers are shifting their vendor management strategy, moving away from smaller contracts with multiple providers to a smaller group of providers handling larger parts of their operations. There has also been an increase in multi-geography contracts in the last several years, which indicates buyers are consolidating their global engagements across multiple countries to simplify their operations and offer a consistent customer experience.

Service providers are responding to this challenge by making sure they have adequate resources to meet the new buyer requirements. Many are doing so via acquisitions for scale and to fill capability gaps they may have, e.g., those related to value-added services, multi-channel capabilities, emerging geographies such as those in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and rapidly growing verticals including travel & hospitality and healthcare.

Service provider acquisitions 2012 to 2016

Large service providers are also actively focusing on the United States as a buyer geography. In the last few years, we have seen multiple acquisitions primarily focused around the U.S. market. These include Alorica-EGS, Alorica-West Corporation, Convergys-Stream, and Teleperformance-Aegis. While at first glance the U.S. appears to be among the slowest growing geographies, one needs to remember that it accounts for almost half of the CCO market. As such, despite its low growth rate compared to other geographies, in absolute dollar terms the U.S. added more than US$1 billion in new business in 2015, one of the largest spending gains globally, and more than half the size of the entire Middle East CCO market.

Acquisitions aren’t just specific to the large service providers. Even the small and mid-sized players in the market are ramping up their capabilities and scale by absorbing smaller firms. For example, Capita and Webhelp have acquired several smaller firms within Europe, and Knoah Solutions, a comparatively smaller CCO player in the United States, acquired LL Contact Center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to expand its nearshore capabilities.

With the move to a more digital contact center experience, the market dynamics have changed significantly in recent years. As customers move away from traditional offerings, service providers can no longer rely on their key strengths within a set of domains, and need to make sure they have capabilities across the board.

While the focus will remain on organic growth, acquiring it through inorganic means seems inevitable. We expect to see more consolidation in the market in the coming years, not only to reduce competition but also to improve margins and stabilize prices that are already under pressure due to the increasing role of automation and RPA. As such, we can expect several more M&As in the coming years, as service providers try to secure their place in the new world order of the digital customer experience and the changing CCO value proposition.

For an in-depth review of the CCO service provider landscape, please see our newly released 2016 CCO PEAK Matrix.