Tag: Benchmarking Clauses in Outsourcing Contracts

Everest Group’s 5S Framework: Choosing the Right Software Licensing Strategy | Blog

With the myriad of cloud software choices on the market, determining the right licensing strategy is more complicated than ever. Don’t let confusion and indecision prevent your enterprise from getting vendor discounts and fully optimizing your resources. Learn how Everest Group’s 5S Framework can help your organization choose the right license model.

Organizations are increasingly dependent on various software for productivity, automation, security, and other critical enterprise needs. Google pioneered the move to cloud-based applications with G-Suite. Today nearly every major enterprise platform or productivity suite has a cloud-based version.

The rapid transition of enterprise applications, tools, and platforms from on-premise to the cloud has simplified commercial models and invoicing. But it has also made subscribing to the right license all the more complicated and important.

Having a plethora of licensing options available for each software often leads to indecision by organizations in selecting the right fit. While this task can be arduous, having the right licensing strategy will lead to higher savings and optimized resources.

Enterprises are frequently at a disadvantage in negotiating better prices and discounts because they don’t understand the licensing nuances, which often leads to vendors overselling features that are then underused.

After analyzing the key licensing models prevalent in the market, Everest Group developed its comprehensive 5S Framework. This simple yet effective approach to choosing the right license model works as a guiding principle to reduce associated risks and helps enterprises build the optimal licensing strategy.

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The 5S Framework covers the most important aspects an organization should delve into when licensing a software, platform, or product. Here is an overview of the process:

  • First and foremost, understand your environment and inventory and then determine the tools or platform needed based on stakeholder input
  • After mapping the requirement, identify the right license which meets stakeholder expectations and budget requirements. Striking this balance is usually the key element to a successful licensing strategy
  • Once all the pieces are in place, validate and ensure no further optimization possibilities exist before finally proceeding to the procurement stage
  • Lastly, neither the extent of usage nor the available licensing options remain static. Therefore, it is important to monitor usage statistics across the organization and revisit the available licensing options periodically

We have used the 5S approach to not only help clients determine the right fit for their organizations but also within our internal IT environment.

To learn more about how this approach can help your organization select the right Microsoft Office 365 licensing plan, stay tuned for our next blog in this series, Comparing Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Plans: Getting Your Licensing Strategy Right.

For more details, please reach out to [email protected].

Why the Focus Is Returning to Cost of Living Adjustments and Benchmarking Clauses in Outsourcing Contracts | Blog

Once standard provisions in outsourcing contracts – Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) and benchmarking comparisons – are needed now more than ever to ensure long-term success for both parties in today’s changed outsourcing environment. With the turns over the past half-year making it a seller’s and employee’s market, these clauses can ensure enterprises capture high-quality talent without being overcharged for service delivery. To learn more about why it’s time to refocus on these provisions, read on.  

Over the past six to eight months, the global services industry has experienced a curious turn from starting the year as a “buyer’s market” due to uncertain demand and portfolio consolidation at large and medium enterprises. Similarly, the talent market was an “employer’s market.”

Fast forward to today, and the contrast could not be starker. Demand for global services has been booming. Enterprises are looking to diversify their provider portfolios. All it takes is one look at the quarterly reports of providers to see it is a “seller’s market,” while on the talent side, it is an “employee’s market.”

What is even more striking is that the talent shortage that is most visible for high-end digital skills also very much exists for other skills. It is not surprising that service providers are struggling to hold on to their existing talent even though they are rolling out salary hikes, special skills allowances, employee retention funds, etc. Further, the booming demand is forcing companies to hire at even higher compensations to fill the positions of departing employees and new openings.

Against this backdrop, it is important to also consider these few additional macroeconomic factors:

Onshore (U.S.)

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation has surpassed the 5% mark for the first time in 30 years
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that job openings are at an all-time high at an overall economic level

Offshore (India)

  • For the past two decades, India has consistently been a high inflation country, with CPI inflation generally ranging between 6% and 8%. Despite the high inflation, it retained a strong cost reduction proposition because of a broad trend of currency depreciation. However, over the past year, the Indian Rupee has appreciated against the U.S. Dollar. As a result, the strong tailwinds currency appreciation provided has been replaced by moderate headwinds

As a result, pricing both onshore and offshore is now trending upwards. We have witnessed service providers approaching enterprises with proposals of out-of-cycle price hikes that, in some cases, exceed 20%.

The client’s conundrum

Enterprises are facing a dilemma of whether to break the budget and pay the desired prices to service providers or risk facing shortages in quality talent and potential business disruptions.

While there are no easy answers, a few factors to keep in mind are:

  • It is widely accepted that the talent shortage is here to stay for three to five years. However, the intensity of the shortage could stabilize. For instance, in the U.S., some states are prematurely ending unemployment benefits, and COVID vaccination prevalence is increasing by the day. As a result, additional workforce might enter the job market, potentially reducing some of the demand-supply mismatch for low complexity roles
  • In India, if the Rupee returns to its depreciating trajectory, the need for higher prices could abate

Therefore, a more pragmatic, immediate approach for clients is to align on short-term pricing increases instead of agreeing to structural changes in prices that would apply for the remaining deal term. Instances where clients are already paying above fair market rates might not require any further price increases.

Contract solutions

While short-term pricing increases can be a tactical way to accommodate the pressure of price hikes, to remain aligned with the fair market prices in the medium- to long-term, it is critical for enterprises to push for the inclusion and enforcement of two key clauses: Benchmarking and COLA.

Having a balanced benchmarking clause that contractually allows for an ongoing/annual reset of prices to market standards is in the interest of both sides. It can guarantee providers do not overcharge for their services. At the same time, it can ensure that the contracted prices are not too aggressive and out-of-line with market realities, to the extent that they impact the quality of talent or services delivered by the provider.

For situations where benchmarking is not done regularly, the fallback is having a robust COLA clause that allows service providers to adjust charges on an annual basis to reflect a fair increase in delivery costs. Historically, COLA used to be present in all deals. However, in some outsourcing deals that we reviewed or benchmarked over the last couple of years, COLA had been taken out of the contract under pressure from enterprises.

While that could have been justified in a low inflation environment and a buyer’s market, in the current situation having a robust COLA clause will ensure the long-term sustainability of the contract for the enterprise as well as the service provider.

To explore how our pricing analytics services could benefit your enterprise and share your pricing experiences, contact Rahul Gehani, Partner, at [email protected].

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