Over the past several years, output-based pricing has increased in popularity in infrastructure services and transactional business process outsourcing deals. More recently, enterprises have warmed up to the idea of using this pricing model for application services.
This should come as no surprise, given the benefits. Here’s an example that paints a clear picture of the advantages of output-based pricing in application services.
One of our clients – a large retail firm – was using the managed capacity pricing model. While in isolation the pricing appeared attractive, the firm wasn’t able to differentiate the fee it was paying for critical versus non-critical applications. The fee it was paying was a black box with no foreseeable value. After a thorough analysis of its portfolio, we realized that there were instances of over-utilization, redundant budgeting, and unnecessary allocation of resources for certain applications.
After we armed the company with market best practices data on business criticality, support coverage, ticket volumes, ticket type, usage, change frequency, and underlying technology, it renegotiated its contract with its provider. The new contract is saving the retailer 15 percent compared to earlier spend. And the adoption of the output-based pricing model spurred conversations around portfolio transformation, particularly in the cloud.
Overall, output-based pricing brings a lot of transparency into the pricing equation, and makes underlying delivery nuances clear. Enterprises’ procurement teams also find this pricing model attractive, as they can expect greater delivery certainty, better transparency, and more flexibility from the suppliers, leading to higher value relationships.
Service providers also benefit from this pricing model, as it allows them to charge a higher price per service unit delivered. Because the focus in this pricing construct is on services offered, not on the underlying number of resources, providers can cross-utilize resources across projects or charge a premium fee resulting in improved project margins.
Output-based pricing works best in scenarios where transaction volumes are known, repetitive, and predictable. Enterprises with clearly defined parameters such as industrialized estimation models to measure resource productivity can derive optimum results from this model.
However, the model may pose limitations in situations wherein the organization’s processes are not standardized. Engagements involving activities with a higher degree of subjectivity should not go for this pricing construct. And because procurement and delivery teams need a certain level of maturity in order to leverage the model effectively, it shouldn’t be used when the enterprise is new to outsourcing.
In order to succeed with output-based pricing, the client and the provider must collaborate, and both parties must remove as many constraints as possible to allow the provider to go about the best ways to achieve optimal results.
The onus is on the enterprise to provide access to historical data, information around regulatory requirements, business fluctuations, and identify clear risk areas. The service provider is responsible for being transparent on its assumptions, inclusions, exclusions, and risk premium.
Careful contract management right from the pre-contract phase is a prerequisite to make this pricing model work. Unambiguous definitions of performance measurements will help deliver the most favorable outcomes. Finally, there must be an open and trusting relationship between the two parties. Relationships that are based on up-ending each other will likely result in failure.
To learn more, please replay our recent webinar called Output-Based Pricing in Application Services: Adoption in the As-a-Service Economy, or contact our pricing experts directly at [email protected] or [email protected].
Transformative enterprises balance application development and modernization of legacy apps to drive agility, better customer experience
In an ideal world, enterprises that invest in application services capabilities would see a return in the form of application quality, operational efficiency and speed to value, but only 10% of enterprises are achieving this, according to Everest Group. The firm recently surveyed 194 C-level officers of global enterprises with revenues over US$1 billion and found that nearly 90% of global enterprises are unable to achieve the desired business outcomes of their application portfolios.
“Unfortunately, too many enterprises focus entirely on either investing in new technology stacks or blindly replacing their legacy applications, and this unbalanced approach is highly ineffective,” said Yugal Joshi, vice president, Information Technology Services, at Everest Group. “In contrast, 10% of enterprises are able to achieve significant improvement on their business metrics as a result of their applications strategy. What these leading organizations have in common is that they take a balanced view of their legacy and new application investments.”
Everest Group identified four more elements of effective applications strategies that leading organizations share:
These results and other findings are explored in a recently published Everest Group report: “Business Transformation: A Confluence of New and Legacy Applications – Annual Report 2019.” This report gives insight into the current applications services landscape, providing a fact-based analysis of buyer trends by geography, industry, and revenue size, and also offers an outlook for the application services market in the global ITS industry.
Other Key Findings
About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. We are trusted advisors to senior executives of leading enterprises, providers, and investors. Our firm helps clients improve operational and financial performance through a hands-on process that supports them in making well-informed decisions that deliver high-impact results and achieve sustained value. Our insight and guidance empowers clients to improve organizational efficiency, effectiveness, agility and responsiveness. What sets Everest Group apart is the integration of deep sourcing knowledge, problem-solving skills and original research. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com.
Application Support Services: 12 fee drivers you must normalize to ensure a like-to-like comparison in benchmarking application support pricing
Workplace services automation potential
The sobering writing is on the wall, and only getting bolder: nearly 50% of enterprises are dissatisfied with their incumbent IT service provider. With this all-time low enterprise satisfaction level, and outsourcing deals worth more than US$50 billion coming up for renewal over the next 18 to 20 months, service providers are rolling up their sleeves and fighting to protect their turf. Whether they succeed in notching their performance up to the enterprise expectation levels – or are led to digging their own graves – remains to be seen.
Enterprises today are trying to ease into the digital age, and realigning their focus from the erstwhile cost-efficient, technology-focused solutions towards more business-focused, productivity-enhancing, and outcome-oriented service models. Next-generation themes such as automation, analytics, and DevOps have started to capture the imagination of IT leaders as they seek to improve overall service quality and agility.
In this regard, enterprises expect their service providers to start focusing beyond the traditional “run the business” mandate, and function as end-to-end transformation partners. This means bringing in strong point-of-view and context around how disruptive technologies can be leveraged by enterprises to drive competitiveness and business agility/resilience.
These evolving enterprise expectations, coupled with massive technology strides, have placed a huge responsibility on the service providers’ shoulders, especially in an environment wrought with strong anti-incumbency sentiments. To be able to increase deal renewal success, service providers need to work on building a broad set of organizational capabilities and solutioning best practices to supplement their investments in building differentiated service offerings and solutions.
Here are some of the key factors that, if managed the right way, can influence deal renewals in the service providers’ favor.
Interesting times lie ahead, brimming with massive sets of opportunities and challenges for services providers as they continue to wage wars in the contract renewal battlefield. As service providers work their way around retaining existing relationships, meeting renewed enterprise expectations, and warding off strong competition, will there be clear winners and losers? Only time and numbers will tell.
May the force be with you, service providers!
For drill-down data and insights into outsourcing transaction trends by function, geography, industry, and service provider type, and implications for key stakeholders (both buyers and suppliers), please see Everest Group’s newly released reports, “Upcoming Contract Renewals: Application Services” and “Upcoming Contract Renewals: Cloud & Infrastructure Services.”
Global IT services market | Key geographies 2017