Author: RohitashwaAggarwal

Is Perceived Impact Hindering Your GIC’s Growth? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The GIC model has evolved significantly over the last decade, and is gearing up for the third wave of evolution – GIC 3.0, as some are calling it – driven by GICs’ strong desire to move away from the “arbitrage-first” delivery model towards a “digital-first” model.

Everest Group describes the journey to mature GICs as progressing through four different stages.

Journey to GIC maturity

GIC maturity for optimal business impact

Our research shows that best-in-class – or Stage 4 – GICs deliver up to six to eight times incremental value beyond arbitrage. Yet, while many of our engagements over the last few years have made it clear that most Global 1,000 GICs deliver value beyond arbitrage, very few track and measure their impact. When they do, it’s typically in a piecemeal, selective manner. Thus, their parent perceives that they are delivering limited business value, beyond arbitrage, to the enterprise.

By educating their parent on their impact, GICs can improve their credibility, and build a case to secure support for expanding their role.

So how can GICs measure and articulate the value they deliver?

We believe that putting a dollar number to the business impact is the most objective and effective way for GICs to showcase their true worth. The framework we use maps value drivers linked to savings, risk, and revenue, quantifying all forms of impact created by the GIC.

GIC business impact model

Here’s an example: a U.S. company’s GIC was able to prove to its parent that it delivered US$20 to 22 million in overall business impact, compared to incremental cost arbitrage of US$4 to 6 million, through increased effectiveness, greater efficiency, and revenue growth. This helped the GIC secure the parent’s buy-in on increasing the scope of functions currently delivered out of their GIC.

A comprehensive quantification facilitates measuring the overall business impact across businesses/LOBs supported by the GIC. A GIC can use these results to:

  • Enable better understanding of its impact/role in the enterprise
  • Guide internal thinking on prioritization of value-add opportunities
  • Map its maturity to the market
  • Achieve greater sponsorship from parent stakeholders

Contact us about Everest Group’s business impact quantification framework, and learn more about our research on in-house delivery models.

Trump-type Protectionism Threatening Global Services in APAC | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

On April 18, President Trump signed an executive order for interdepartmental review of the H1-B visa program, a move largely aimed at curbing the allotment of H1-B visas to entry level IT professionals from other countries. While it took months for him to officially make a move, his protectionism agenda seems to be spreading far and wide, with several countries in the Asia Pacific region embracing similar protectionist stances to address unemployment.

Australia pulled the plug on its most popular temporary work visa, the 457 visa program. This program allowed companies based in Australia to employ foreign workers, for a period of up to four years, wherever they faced a shortage of skilled workers in the domestic market. It was largely used by global IT companies to source workforce from other countries, mainly India. The Australian government has stated that it will replace the 457 visa program with two temporary visas for skilled professionals. Certain IT skills (e.g., web developer) have been already removed from the list of ~200 occupations that qualify for these visa programs.

In a similar event, the Singapore government restricted the number of visas that can be issued to foreign IT professionals. This has impacted both new visa applicants and those seeking a renewal.

And two weeks ago, the New Zealand government announced plans to tighten access to skilled work visas in a “Kiwi-first” approach to immigration.

Crackdown on visas to skilled foreign workers a threat to global service delivery models

Policy changes that restrict movement of skilled professionals across borders can cause several operational challenges for the prevailing global delivery models of almost all major service providers. The regional delivery centers of leading global and Indian IT service providers based in these APAC countries are likely to face the biggest challenge, as the restrictions against importing talent will make them reliant on local, expensive talent. This, in turn, might negatively impact their margins.

In the short term, enterprises’ and services providers’ cost of operations might witness a spike due to limited availability of landed resources in the onshore workforce. Typically, the difference in cost between a landed and a local resource in most geographies is 10-15 percent. And, based on recently completed research, we estimate that service providers’ margins from onshore operations could drop by up to 16 percent due to the proposed changes to the H1-B visa program. This will likely require service providers to recalibrate their pricing strategy and/or revisit their onshore-offshore delivery mix.

In the long term, service providers are likely to push towards offshoring as a lever to protect their overall margin. And there might be increased instances of even complex work being delivered from offshore locations to reduce dependence on work-visas for onshore locations, in turn requiring increased training and upskilling of employees in offshore locations.

Do you have or run global services operations in APAC? Have you and your teammates formulated an immigration issue mitigation plan? Our readers would love to know how you’re addressing this challenge!

Learn more about Everest Group’s Locations Optimization practice.

Six Common Mistakes Enterprises Make when Developing Service Delivery Location Business Cases | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Everest Group regularly supports clients in developing fact-based business case models to assess all relevant costs and benefits associated with their service delivery portfolio and delivery location decisions.

Not surprisingly, we’ve seen an increase in this type of activity in the last several years due to technology disruptions, potential immigration reform laws, intensifying competition for talent, and macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of faulty/incomplete business cases that, if unresolved, can result in unnecessarily high costs and less than expected benefits.

Six common mistakes enterprises make when creating their global service delivery location business cases.

#1 Clarity on the primary objective of the business case:

Establishing clarity on the key objectives of the business case for service delivery location selection is of utmost importance. Companies often include benefits of other initiatives (e.g., transformation) which may impact their overall locations footprint, but fail to include costs associated with these initiatives, resulting in a faulty business case. As business case assessment is typically done for long-term strategic decisions, it is critical to ensure clarity on the locations strategy and implementation roadmap under consideration.

#2 Underestimating the costs of “what it takes to get there”:

Companies often underestimate the costs associated with exiting their current location (e.g., lease termination and severance costs); disruption in their existing locations (e.g., loss of knowledge due to higher than expected attrition); migrations (e.g., employee relocation, technology migration, parallel/shadow run); and set-up of new centers (e.g., capex, cost of hiring and ramp-up, training costs, etc.)

Example: A global Financial Services company had a 12-month long shadow/parallel run to effectively complete knowledge transfer for high complexity processes. This negated most of the arbitrage-related benefits for the initial 12-18 months. In fact, the company incurred relatively higher total cost of operations (TCO) until steady state operations was achieved.

Example: In a recent engagement, the location selection for a Latin American client’s shared services center was greatly influenced by applicable withholding taxes (i.e., the Argentinean government levies a ~31.5% withholding tax on import of global services from certain locations such as Mexico). These factors significantly impacted the relative cost attractiveness of locations under consideration.

#3 Overestimating benefits:

Companies often plan multiple transformation and optimization initiatives in parallel with changes to their services delivery portfolio. In such cases, things seldom pan out as planned, and the savings achieved are significantly lower than expected in areas including:

  1. Headcount reduction from process improvements
  2. Delivery pyramid optimization
  3. Implementation of automation/technology solutions
  4. Economies of scale (in cases of location consolidation)
  5. Optimization of management and administrative overheads

Example: A BFSI firm changed its planned strategy midstream, as its initial plans to fund the business case for large scale service delivery location consolidation by reducing FTE headcount by ~ 6,000 could not be realistically achieved.

#4 Stakeholder misalignment:

A service delivery location decision must involve multiple stakeholders including onshore business leaders, offshore delivery leads, functional and GIC leaders, migrations and/or transformation teams, corporate real estate, and technology teams. Any lack of coordination among these stakeholders can pose challenges in alignment on data used, key assumptions, the roadmap for service delivery portfolio changes, and the plan for other transformation/optimization initiatives. All stakeholders must be kept in the loop from the beginning of the location evaluation, and they must periodically periodic sign-off on the approach.

#5 Industry benchmarks:

While it is important to leverage industry benchmarks, companies must contextualize information to their own unique situation. The specificity of operations or the role a location plays for the company can be different from the typical value proposition of that location/geography.

Example: A recent engagement for a global Financial Services client demonstrated that, despite industry benchmarks that indicated Location A offered ~20 percent cost savings over Location B for typical BPO processes, the client’s specific processes and talent needs reversed the cost attractiveness of the two locations.

#6 Talent competition in the local market:

Companies often underestimate the true extent of competition in the local talent market, and the impact of attrition on sustainability of their operations. This impacts a company’s ability to scale initially, retain talent, and back-fill lost staff.

Example: A global manufacturing company faced significant challenges in hiring language skills for its newly setup shared services center in the APAC region, resulting in significantly lower arbitrage savings than expected.

While developing business cases models can be a significant challenge, we believe that addressing the above-mentioned points can reduce chances of error significantly. Learn more about Everest Group’s Service Delivery Locations practice.

From Captive to Catalyst: The Next Milestone in the Global In-house Center Evolution Story | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

At a conference I attended recently on the role of global in-house centers (GICs) in digital and RPA, one of the speakers asked everyone to imagine what their organizations would look like in the future. The answers from a room full of enterprise and GIC leaders were varied and fascinating. My personal favorite was the one where robots will manage all forms of work while people relax on a beach, soaking up the sun, and sipping their piña coladas. Tempting as that sounds, I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

But what is happening now is a flurry of changes in the business environment globally. Amidst recent geopolitical developments in the U.S. and U.K., increasing talks of protectionist policies, the advancement of RPA and other service optimization technologies, and regulatory pressures affecting the global services sector, GICs and shared services centers find themselves at a crossroads. As the global services sector moves from an arbitrage first to a digital first delivery model, GICs have an opportunity to break away from the orthodox boundaries by taking the road less traveled, and enhance their role in enterprises’ global sourcing strategy.

Everest Group has seen first hand the evolving role of GICs, which has expanded beyond providing low- cost delivery to being agents of change – or catalysts – for enterprises’ back- and middle-office services.

Now, GICs are at an inflection point in their evolution journey, well positioned to take on this enhanced role driven by: increased endorsement from the enterprise and the shift towards insourcing; a strong foundation and ability to offer an insider’s view; tight integration with the existing core business; and strong adjacency with existing focus on driving efficiency and optimization.

What does the future of GICs look like?

Global Services - CatalystTo successfully undertake changes within their enterprises and redefine their role from captive to catalyst, GICs need to:

  1. Drive business impact and thought leadership
  2. Develop global leaders and talent/skills
  3. Play a pivotal role in the transformation of processes and service delivery
  4. Lead organizations through digital disruptions in global services.

Here are Everest Group’s recommendations on how GICs can capitalize on this opportunity:

  • Redefine the art of the possible, and adopt a business outcome-oriented mindset, which is significantly different from the current delivery mindset
  • Identify and prioritize investments, such as their choice of functional and technology segments, and the best approach to gaining more than just incremental growth
  • Change their talent model (e.g., hire for learnability, strengthen culture of innovation) and operating model (e.g., different onshore-offshore collaboration models due to agile/DevOps) to catalyze the digital agenda.

Our newly renamed CatalystTM subscription research program (formerly known as Global Sourcing) provides GICs and enterprise clients with actionable insights to navigate through the evolutionary journey from captive to catalyst. Benefits of a Catalyst subscription include:

  • Industry-leading research and viewpoints on multiple topics relevant to GIC market
  • One-on-one briefings with Everest Group analysts and SMEs
  • Exclusive invitations to GIC events – including webinars, roundtables, and virtual networking sessions – organized by Everest Group

Learn more about our work in the GIC space, and see details about our Catalyst research program.

When It Comes to IT-BPS, the Philippines Knows Its Strengths | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

I was introduced to the Philippines about two years back when I started working in the global services sector. And frankly, I was a bit startled by how little I knew about this giant of the contact center services market – I always thought India was the world’s largest contact center market. But its colonial heritage, accent neutrality, cultural affinity with the west, and BPS-conducive environment puts the Philippines at an altogether different level.

I began following the Philippines IT-BPS markets more regularly as I worked on this location for several client engagements. I observed how this country is a perfect example of the “playing on your strengths” approach. It is incredible how the government, iBPAP, and other partner associations have worked together to achieve the growth potential we highlighted in the Roadmap we developed in association with then BPAP and Outsource2Philippines back in 2009. Indeed, the market has doubled in size in less than six years. Today, the Philippines employs over a million FTEs, and is the second largest offshore services delivery location, next only to India.

While voice-based services have always been Philippines’ strength, it has experienced remarkable success in other areas, such as IT services, which grew at ~25 percent CAGR since 2010, and now accounts for ~10 percent share of country’s entire offshore market. While service providers have been key drivers of the growth in IT, Global In-house Centers (GICs) have pushed for growth in FAO and banking services. Several global banking companies, such as American Express, ANZ, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING Group, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, have established sizable centers in the country. Even though Bank of America has exited the country (it shut down its shop in 2014 as part of a global GIC restructuring), and JP Morgan Chase is scaling down owing to global cost cutting, overall outlook remains positive. The country has also made good use of its strong nursing talent—the largest pool of U.S.-licensed nurses outside of the U.S.—and is now the largest healthcare services provider to the U.S. The healthcare BPS sector has grown at over 40 percent YoY since 2012.

Another success area for the Philippines has been its ability to attract global companies. Over 100 have set up their GICs in the country, and close to one-fourth of them are on the Fortune 500. These GICs are expanding their Philippines strategy beyond cost arbitrage, and establishing regional hubs/HQs/CoEs. The U.S. remains the leading buyer market, with ~70 percent total demand. However, demand from Asian markets has been increasing steadily, with several Japanese and Australian companies establishing their captive centers in the metro Manila region.

With increasing emphasis on adoption of digital globally, government agencies (such as iBPAP and PSIA) are making proactive efforts to ensure that the Philippines stays ahead of the curve. It is already investing in building capabilities – from teaching the right curriculum at the universities to supporting companies’ development of required infrastructure to setting up training labs at colleges and universities –  to deliver mobility, analytics and cloud-based services. We have seen some evidence of companies already delivering mobility (focused application development services for mobile) from the Philippines in the last year or so. Digital has been the buzzword in the majority of our interactions with our clients looking into the Philippines lately.

Having done well so far, I am intrigued to see how the Philippines will sustain its growth in the evolving IT-BPS ecosystem. It needs to adapt to rapidly changing consumer needs, e.g., the adoption of digital, development of multi-channel delivery systems, and a multi-skilled labor force. It also needs to ensure continuous growth in other service lines, such as banking BPS, FAO, HRO services, animation and gaming, and creative services, by leveraging its interpersonal, voice-based, and strong domain-specific skills to build scale.

It will be interesting to watch what lies ahead in the years to come. Can the Philippines continue shaping its own destiny in the global services market?

How can we engage?

Please let us know how we can help you on your journey.

Contact Us

  • Please review our Privacy Notice and check the box below to consent to the use of Personal Data that you provide.