Labor arbitrage and shared services companies have had a perfect marriage over the last 20 years. Then along came the Digital Revolution with new business models and a new construct for services. One component of the digital model construct is DevOps. It makes a significant impact on business services, but it’s important to understand how it changes the picture for labor arbitrage and shared services.
Shared service companies are structured on a functional basis. One way to think about them is they are a stack of functional expertise. In the case of IT, the stack includes such functions as infrastructure, security, application development and maintenance, and compliance. There is a multiple stack hierarchy, with each functional layer having shared service champions responsible for delivering that function cost-effectively at a high level of quality. Labor arbitrage fits perfectly into this equation in that each functional layer uses people, and the work can often be done more cost-effectively offshore than onshore.
In the immediate aftermath of last week’s Wannacry ransomware attacks around the world, many organizations will consider how quickly and effectively to update older Microsoft operating systems and apply the necessary patches. The longer-term effects, however, will be more far reaching as governments and other organizations review their security policies to protect their systems against future attacks. This spells tougher requirements on IT services as well as service providers’ connections to client systems.
Tougher government policies on suppliers
The Wannacry attack in the UK crippled the National Health Service (NHS), putting people’s lives at risk. It is going to cost billions to put right, not only in terms of upgrading systems but also rescheduling operations and treating people whose condition will have worsened after the delay caused by the attack. The UK government must act and be seen to act to better protect vital services in the future. It is likely to unveil new stringent policies for cyber security.
While this spells new business opportunities for IT service providers to enhance the public sector’s cyber security, other service providers will feel the pain of even more longwinded procedures to connect to client’s VPNs when working on system integration or business process services. Many already have to apply to clients’ IT departments on a daily-basis to be allowed to connect to VPNs. More stringent requirements are likely to come into force.
Microsoft must face the music
Let us not forget that it was a Microsoft Windows vulnerability that enabled this attack. Microsoft must face pressure to continue to support its older operating systems for longer. There are often legacy systems that work only with older operating systems. A Windows upgrade can therefore be very costly. A cash-strapped organization, the NHS prioritises patients care over keeping up with Microsoft’s timetable for Windows upgrades and discontinuing support for older operating systems. This is something that the UK government must address. It has enough buying power to demand action from Microsoft.
Upgrade pressure on government agencies
Government bodies such as the NHS will be put under renewed pressure to upgrade their systems and keep them up-to-date. The organizations will no doubt demand extra cash to deal with the situation. Spending on cyber security is set to increase whether agencies find new money or redirect funds from other activities. This ransomware attack will therefore boost the IT market for end-point security if not the wider security sector.
Pressure on users
Users too will feel the pain of ransom“war”e. Tougher usage policies are likely to get enshrined in IT department guidelines. Users are likely to experience reduced flexibility as more organizations adopt desktop lock downs with workspaces become more centrally controlled and monitored to reduce risks.
With numbers and varieties of attacks increasing, all aspects of IT security will be tightened up. Even the most laggard of organizations will look to build better security controls across their broad IT services or risk loss of business, revenue, reputation and in some cases, the wellbeing of their customers.
In a world where sales for IT services have been decelerating, we believe there is a $400 billion unaddressed market for IT services. A huge, attractive prize for service providers. But it requires a different business model. This blog post describes the situation.
The Market is Shadow IT
The unaddressed market is enterprise shadow IT. By shadow IT, I mean spending on IT that doesn’t go through the enterprise IT shared services function.
Why? Because IT is too slow in responding business users’ demands for new functionalities and capabilities and is not aligned with the business needs.
Shadow IT exists not only because business users are taking the matter into their own hands but also because there are companies that are successfully serving business users’ need for quick access to functionality and capability. Who is successfully serving shadow IT? AWS is one of them, and it’s a $17.5 billion business. Rackspace also serves the shadow IT market. So do Google and Microsoft Azure along with all SaaS companies. And many small local contractors are brought in to run quick app development or maintenance projects and PC support. These are just a few examples to illustrate that there’s a big, alternative shadow ecosystem operating in parallel to enterprise IT.
What is the basis for my assessment of the market size? Let’s do the math:
The overall IT services market it about $1 trillion
Gartner studies size shadow IT as 40 percent of total IT spend
This results in a $400 billion shadow IT marketplace that is currently largely unaddressed by service providers. The market may be even larger, as our Everest Group research finds shadow IT is at least 50 percent of enterprise total IT spend.
How Can Service Providers Address the Shadow IT Market?
Currently, providers sell infrastructure or apps services into the enterprise IT group. That model won’t work in addressing shadow IT. Can it be done? Yes. AWS is doing it. SaaS companies are doing it. Service providers can do it, but they must deploy a different business model than they currently use. In service providers’ current model, value is associated with IT functions and delivering the lowest cost per unit for those functions. It’s the same problem enterprise IT has, as value for business users is now speed in acquiring functionalities and capabilities that meet business needs.
My advice is to deploy a DevOps model and create an integrated pod with a cloud stack and cross-functional teams that are placed into the various business departments to address their needs. Third-party service providers leveraging the DevOps model and cross-functional teams in business departments will be well positioned to capture a significant share of the huge shadow IT market.
How do Amazon, Apple, and Tesla keep innovating? What do they do differently than many others do not, or cannot, do? And how many industry leaders can say their organization is truly innovative?
To get answers to these and other pressing questions, we conducted a focused research study with more than 100 application service executives – approximately 50 percent of whom were CXOs – in North America-based enterprises engaged in IT outsourcing programs. The research revealed startling insights. For example, only 30 percent of study participants felt their companies were somewhat innovative, even though all of them realized the importance of innovation and had made strategic investments in it.
And from defining it and its objectives, to funding it, to defining and institutionalizing the process to drive it, innovation has remained an elusive concept both for enterprises and service providers.
The study also busted innumerable myths associated with IT innovation. Let’s look at the top five.
IT Innovation Myth 1: Innovation is abstract and cannot be measured
But, over 75 percent of the study participants already have a highly effective mechanism to measure the impact of innovation. Linking the investment made to measurable results and desired benefits has enabled them to devise a formal approach for impact assessment.
IT Innovation Myth 2: Innovation should result in a disruptive idea
In reality, this is the last priority for executives of best in class enterprises! A siloed disruptive idea that does not impact the business model or enhance customer experience is the least appreciated outcome, and does little to serve the purpose of innovation. Instead, transformation is the primary lever deployed by enterprises to identify disruptive innovation. Moreover, the overall approach to it and the returns derived from it are considered more significant for driving innovation than the idea itself.
IT Innovation Myth 3: Episodic initiatives such as “idea of the month” and “innovation events” can deliver innovative results
Unfortunately, such sporadic investments have a probability of less than 10 percent to deliver innovative outcomes. Though used by most service providers, these are the least preferred approach to innovation from the enterprise executive’s perspective. Continuous innovation with prototyping and demonstrations/MVPs are far more likely to deliver on customers’ expectations.
IT Innovation Myth 4: Large scale investment is required from the enterprise or service provider to fund innovation
Though investment is required, 65 percent of the study participants with high satisfaction with their innovation program believe in shared responsibility and co-funding. Their belief is that shared responsibility spreads the risk involved, and reduces the investment required, thereby attracting the best-in-class capabilities from both sides.
IT Innovation Myth 5: A dedicated centralized team/CoE should be set up to drive innovation
Rather, best-in-class innovative businesses embed a culture of innovation across their enterprises to encourage the concept of continuous and crowdsourced innovation.
To enable enterprises to adopt a systematized innovation approach and achieve their desired outcome, Everest Group designed a unique framework on which to base their innovation strategy. We also used the framework to identify the 14 most innovative service providers in the industry.
Gartner studies have found that shadow IT is 30 to 40 percent of IT spending in large enterprises, and our research at Everest Group finds it comprises 50 percent or more. Either way, I believe these statistics are an understatement of the shadow IT ecosystem — spending on IT that doesn’t go through the sanctioned enterprise IT shared service function. It’s a big issue, and increasingly complicated. Historically, the increase in complexities, the need for greater security or the need to operate at enterprise-wide scale drove shadow IT out of departments and into the administration of the IT group. That’s no longer the case; thanks to SaaS and cloud products/services, shadow IT can now operate securely at scale. So how can a CIO address the risks and expense of shadow IT?
Users subscribe to many IT services that don’t go through the enterprise IT shared services budget, and enterprise IT doesn’t make the decisions for administering it. Shadow IT includes purchases of SaaS (like Salesforce), AWS cloud and colocation, or Rackspace. It’s also the teams of people hired by the business (but not put into corporate IT) who do development and application support or PC support.
Suddenly, on-shoring is becoming more in vogue. Like many U.S. CIOs and their C-suite colleagues, you may be actively exploring how to duplicate or offset the loss of cost benefits from offshore/labor-arbitrage services. I have good news for you, along with a crucial tip.
Four primary factors are driving U.S. companies to make the move to onshore service delivery … Read more at Peter’s CIO online blog
The IT services industry is going through a tremendous change with the onset of new technologies, geo-political uncertainty, and disruption of traditional business models.
Deal renewals have fallen significantly, leading to intense price competition among service providers trying to meet their top-line revenue expectations. As expected, the pricing pressure is higher in some of the more commoditized services such as IT Infrastructure operations. Indeed, recent Engagement Reviews for numerous North American clients suggests that pricing for some mature services within the IT infrastructure domain, such as storage and backup management, server management, and database management, has fallen significantly. Our analysis suggests that the Indian service providers have upped their ante, and have become even more competitive in terms of pricing.
As a case in point, the per instance pricing for virtual server management has fallen by 25-35 percent over the last 12 months. The fall in pricing for some other resource units has been even steeper.
What’s driving these deeply reduced prices? Numerous solution-related changes have impacted pricing dynamics in this market.
Maturity of internal automation/autonomics capabilities of service providers
While these have largely been buzzwords in the last 12-18 months, we believe that the impact of some of these investments has finally started to show up in deals.
Further improvement of internal productivity
Just when we thought that the solution effort ratios such as servers managed per FTE, databases managed per FTE, etc., had reached their true, optimum levels, we have seen instances of further changes in some of these solution metrics. Some of these can potentially be attributed to the above point.
Complete offshore operations
We are seeing more and more deals where 100 percent offshore delivery is the norm. This enables service providers to quote very competitive per unit pricing. It will be interesting to observe how this metric changes going forward if new regulations come into play by the new U.S. president’s administration.
Increased competition, smaller deal sizes, and deal durations
The past 12 months have been difficult for most IT service providers, with increasing competitive intensity and delayed enterprise decision making due to geo-political uncertainty. As a result, they are going all guns blazing to win new accounts.
Most of this low pricing has been observed in new deal situations. We have seen very few occurrences of providers proactively reducing prices in existing deals, unless faced with the threat of the deal going into a competitive situation. Of course, it would be unfair to expect service providers to reduce unit prices significantly in all deals, since each deal level pricing scenario is very contextual and a deeper analysis of the underlying environment is warranted.
Have you had discussions with your infrastructure provider about recalibrating prices?
A leading car manufacturer dispensed a spare part even before the customer knew it was needed. A doctor knew precisely when a patient took a vital medication. A metro city police department accelerated crime response time. A retailer designed its offerings based on dynamic in-store customer behavior.
Three in every four enterprises have a similar type of story to share about connecting to the “things” of interest and digital enablement of businesses. Recognized as the next big opportunity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is being embraced by enterprises to generate greater value and achieve their business objectives. Indeed, more than 50 percent have already piloted IoT, and the majority are highly optimistic about its returns.
Despite the high level of optimism, there exist numerous unanswered questions and concerns about IoT. Is it being used to the full potential, or are we just scratching the surface so far? Where is industry adoption headed? What risks should an enterprise take? What should an organization do to extract the most out of this investment?
Everest Group’s recently published PEAK Matrix™ report on IoT Services reveals intriguing industry trends, enterprise adoption patterns, probable future developments, and services expectations based on extensive discussions on all things IoT with 30+ enterprises.
IoT is no longer a buzz term
Currently, organizations are leveraging IoT to achieve agility, flexibility, customer centricity, and cost reduction. We identified four types of IoT adopters, based on the adopting organization’s desired outcomes: Optimizers, Engagers, Integrators, and Innovators. Most enterprises are categorized as Optimizers. That is, they focus on solving their operational issues and on infusing efficiency with IoT. Integrators and Innovators – which collectively equal less than 20 percent of IoT adopters – focus on enterprise growth or invest to seize larger benefits from the opportunity.
From an industry perspective, the leading beneficiary of IoT to date has been manufacturing, primarily focused on bringing efficiency to the shop floor. Customer-centric industries such as telecoms and retail are investing to improve ecosystem efficiencies and enhance end-user engagement. Other industries such as agriculture, BFS, and mining are expected to make considerable investments in IoT in the near future.
Substantial hurdles stall rapid adoption Hype aside, the majority of the enterprises are taking cautious steps and embracing IoT in small, incremental stages only. A multitude of challenges such as data security and privacy, storage and rapid analysis of large volumes of data, and availability of a high-speed network at all locations are impeding large scale investments in IoT. Another major hindrance is change management that necessitates significant investment in talent, infrastructure, and processes.
Enterprises need to collaborate with a variety of partners from the vast IoT ecosystem to design, implement, and manage an IoT system. The service provider landscape itself is segregated at this stage, and players across the value chain are trying to capture a larger share of the pie by expanding their partner ecosystem and their internal delivery capabilities.
But you can’t afford to miss the bus!
Despite the challenges, IoT remains among the top three investment priorities for a majority of organizations. To be front runners in the race, they must strategize their IoT adoption in a phased process for enterprise-wide benefit. And they need a transformational vision, investments in innovation and R&D, and a good partner ecosystem to maximize ROI.
The action is equally intense in the service provider camp. While some have up to 20 partners to complete their portfolio, others have acquired up to as many. Players with expertise in operational technology, engineering capabilities, and industry partnerships are best positioned to define success in the IoT services market. We anticipate large-scale convergence and new partnerships to cater to the services demand, which is expected to double by 2020.
Interested in learning more about IoT? Our PEAK Matrix™ report on IoT Services provides deep insights on IoT market trends, expected service market size, implications for enterprise and the service providers, and a detailed evaluation of 16 major IoT services providers.