Tag: Europe

Digital Transformation Week



September 20-21, 2022

Join Everest Group experts at Digital Transformation Week (DTW), a two-day hybrid event held on September 21 – 22 at the RAI in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Everest Group Partner, Nitish Mittal, will speak in the opening panel titled, “Moving from Now to Next – Shaping Digital Infrastructure for the Future.” This session will take place at 10:15 AM BST on September 21. The event will explore advanced DTX strategies for a “digital everything” world. Everest Group is proud to be DTW’s gold sponsor.

Stop by and meet our Client Directors, Nnamdi Ugo and Nick Hadjirallis, from our Europe team at Booth #221 at TechEx, a co-located event with Digital Transformation Week.
When: September 20-21, 2022
Where: The RAI, Amsterdam and virtual

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Hadjirallis Nick 1

Client Director

Mittal Nitish


nnamdi ugo

Client Director

New Sourcing Models for an Agile World: Learnings from DNB | LinkedIn Live


New Sourcing Models for an Agile World | Learnings from DNB

View the event on LinkedIn, which was delivered live on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

Sourcing teams strive to be more agile in how they support their business to meet rapidly changing needs🏃‍♀️. DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group, and its sourcing team developed an innovative and effective approach to its sourcing strategy by leveraging a DevOps model.

🎤Join this session to hear a conversation with DNB’s Robin Oberst and discover the shifts and improvements that DNB incorporated into its sourcing strategy. Our speakers will highlight the challenges faced by the company in its traditional sourcing approach and discuss how it adjusted its sourcing strategy to become more agile, collaborative, and efficient🌐.

Key questions our speakers will explore:

👉What challenges did the DNB sourcing team face in their traditional sourcing approach?
👉What did the team learn as they moved to a DevOps model?
👉What changes did they make to be more agile in the sourcing market?

Meet the Presenters

Six Common Challenges Customer Experience (CX) Leaders Face | Blog

Delivering exceptional customer experience has become essential to meet changing expectations post-pandemic. But various challenges – from data analytics to talent – can prevent companies from delivering the highly personalized interactions consumers crave. Learn what issues keep customer experience officers (CXOs) up at night in this blog.

The outsourced customer experience management (CXM) market has seen historic growth in recent years, rising about 12% to 14% last year to more than USD$100 billion, according to Everest Group estimates.

While COVID-19 increased demand for CX-related services, it was not the only driver. Senior business leaders now realize delivering exceptional customer experience is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” to grow their businesses and thrive in an increasingly competitive market, especially with tough economic times forecast.

As a result, greater focus is being put on customer experience (CX) and customer service (CS) leaders to deliver an exceptional experience. From our conversations with senior business leaders, they all face the following six similar challenges:

  • Using data to improve CX – With data security being critical to running a CX operation, leaders want to better understand all their data, such as contact reasons. They realize data will help them identify ways to improve the experience and lower contact volumes, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and reducing cost. To capitalize on this opportunity, data analytics use within outsourced contracts has grown significantly over the past few years, and our recent research shows that analytics is now present in 30% to 35% of CXM deals
  • Navigating the talent crisis – Much of North America and Europe, as well as other locations across the globe, are experiencing a talent shortage. CX leaders find either their in-house operations or outsourced service providers are struggling to attract and retain talent or that they have to pay premium wages. While this challenge may subside if the economic situation worsens, forward-thinking CX leaders are actively working to address this by evaluating alternative talent sources (such as using gig workers or impact sourcing) as well as exploring emerging locations (Sub-Saharan Africa, for example). They also are focusing on improving the employee experience (EX) to retain the talent they find
  • Optimising delivery and location models – CX leaders have to think about the right delivery and location models to support their business. Using Work at Home Agents (WAHA) in either full or hybrid models is a key consideration in finding and retaining talent. Delivery locations have also come into focus not only in the talent search but also for business continuity planning (BCP), as mitigating risks is now more top of mind than ever. CX leaders are increasingly demanding insights and analysis on emerging delivery models and locations to support their strategies
  • Increasing value while reducing cost – CX leaders feel pressure to deliver value to the business, whether through increased sales, higher retention rates, or better Net Promoter Scores (NPS)/Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT.) However, this responsibility does not come with a blank check, and leaders are still challenged to reduce support costs. Leaders need to balance high-value interactions served by humans and then identify low-value contacts (to the business and end customer) to eliminate or automate
  • Modernising the CX infrastructure – The customer experience infrastructure can be modernized and improved at any stage. CX leaders should avoid rushing into a solution because it seems to be the latest hot topic and should understand how the digital solution will integrate into the business and deliver the desired experience
  • Anticipating future customer, industry, and technology trends – As we know from our discussions and experiences, busy executives find it hard to look outside their organisations to understand broader trends when working hard to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Competitors are unlikely to share their plans, and opportunities to collaborate with peer CX leaders in non-competing firms are scarce. CX leaders are seeking an unbiased external industry lens that advisors can provide

The CX or CS leadership role has gained greater significance in recent years as the world has awoken to the importance of delivering great customer experiences. While challenging, the obstacles these leaders face are not insurmountable with the right insights, data, and teamwork.

To discuss CX trends further, contact David Rickard at [email protected]

Learn more about how to optimize your customer experience strategy in our LinkedIn Live session, “How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

Contact Center Security Best Practices for Leaders to Consider | Blog

The expanded remote work environment post-pandemic and increasingly sophisticated security threats have compelled organizations to increase their focus on protecting contact center data. Learn how to build a holistic framework of best practices for technology, the business, and agents to shape contact center security in this blog.

Securing the landmine of customer data – from credit card numbers to health records – that reside in contact centers is a top concern for all businesses, particularly outsourced customer support. Data breaches can have serious financial, reputational, and legal consequences.

As new security threats constantly emerge and regulations change, strengthening contact center security is like aiming at a moving target. Now with the increase in remote work and more intricate ways to compromise data, this challenge has become more critical than ever. Let’s explore how it can be tackled.

Contact center security focus areas

Organizations should implement many different types of contact center security best practices related to the following three areas:

  • Technology – Ensuring the organization’s devices, including bring-your-own-devices (BYODs), are up to date with the latest security systems, software patches, and firewalls. Companies also should have technology contingency plans for legacy systems that can’t be replaced
  • Business – Establishing the organization has clear control and governance over its security standards and effective policies, especially in the face of ever-changing security requirements and newly emerging malware attacks and cybersecurity threats
  • Agents – Providing training and monitoring of both full-time human agents and gig workers who work in the office as well as remotely

Delivery models

Contact center security protocols can vary based on the delivery model. The complexity has increased as contact centers have evolved from entirely brick-and- mortar-driven service delivery to remote service delivery with Work at Home Agents (WAHA) and BYODs, which allow agents to choose their work location and use their own devices to conduct work.

As organizations move from working at offices to remote locations, contact center leaders need to be more vigilant to keep customer data safe. While the WAHA and BYOD models bring more operational agility to the workforce, they add heightened security concerns around endpoint safety management and agent monitoring.

The below graphic illustrates how the complexity increases with the newer work models:


Illustration 1: Everest Group

BYOD security

Defining a BYOD security policy is critical to maintaining company security. Stakeholders from different departments are key to the policy planning process and bring important input. Leadership, human resources, finance, IT operations, and the security team should be part of a BYOD project management team and be asked to contribute to policy development.

Security patches

Failing to routinely update machines with the most updated security patches is one of the biggest cybersecurity risks. Often this failure is simply due to not having enough IT resources. Even with in-center deployments, manually patching each device is a huge drain on time and resources. This challenge is further complicated in a remote/hybrid working environment where the device is off-site.

The patching process is a key part of vulnerability management. By employing best practices that expose any conflicts with existing systems configurations on which the patch is being installed, potential downtime can be avoided. For organizations with tens of thousands of network endpoints, remote patch management offers greater control over potential vulnerabilities caused by outdated patch versions, wherever they may be located on the network. This help ensures the threat is resolved as quickly as possible.

An automated patch deployment feature gives system administrators the ability to deploy patches missing in their network computers automatically without requiring manual intervention. While automated patch rollouts seem like a no-brainer for WFH and BYOD models, they also must be considered for in-center models to reduce the resource strain on the organization’s IT department.

Identifying the most critical security issues and software updates requires strong asset and software inventory management, which can be achieved using an automated patch management tool.

After that, creating a dedicated remote patch testing environment identical to the production system (using virtualization) can help run “smoke tests” to ensure behaviors/programs do not fail before moving to production. Alternatively, an initial test can be applied to less critical systems and expanded if they perform as expected. Even with a thorough patch testing program, organizations should have a contingency and rollback plan in case something goes wrong so systems can be restored to their pre-patched state.

While most security practices are agnostic of the model in which operations are run, WFH and BYOD models require an additional layer of security considerations to stay clear of any potential cybersecurity threats.

Holistic framework

Contact center leaders must look at a holistic framework of technology, business, and agent best practices to shape their security organization. The below table encapsulates some of the strategies leaders should consider:

  In-center model WFH Model BYOD model
Technology related
  • Encrypt data including voice transactions using encryption layers such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TSL)
  • Build a secure network infrastructure by implementing firewalls that monitor network traffic, using VPNs, anti-virus softwares, and password management software
  • Update technology by installing software patches and eliminating legacy systems
  • Regularly test and monitor networks using penetration testing tools, vulnerability scanning softwares and alert systems that can notify suspicious activity in real time
  • Consider role-based access that allows for gradually increasing employee access based on trust and their position within the company
  • Encourage use of secure cloud services (such as office 365) to store data
  • Conduct mandatory backups using mobile device management (MDM)/enterprise mobility management systems (EMM) to manage devices while also separating corporate from personal data
  • Consider PII redaction that uses speech analytics technology to prevent sensitive cardholder data from being recorded; automatically mute call recording when account numbers, security codes, and other sensitive information is spoken
  • Offer containerization in conjunction with or paired with MDM solutions. This method can segregate part of a device into its own protected bubble, protected by a separate password and regulated by a separate set of policies
  • Use endpoint validation and centralized endpoint management to ensure that applications, antivirus, and operating systems of endpoint devices are up-to-date. Endpoint management should be coupled with location awareness to dynamically adapt to a remote end user’s permission, based on centrally defined policies as well as the local network’s established security level
Business related
  • Develop an information security policy by working with the IT department to identify which technologies and procedures need to be implemented for the IS policy to work as intended and ensuring every employee is aware of their responsibilities
  • Adhere to common security frameworks such as IST 27001, NIST 800-53, and COBIT. Identify which framework is most relevant to your contact center and then map out the strict security controls required by the framework and implement them
  • Develop WFH cybersecurity standards including multi-factor authentication and firewalls
  • Manage devices that remote agents use to ensure that password and screen lockout policies are followed; security and other updates occur in a timely manner; and companies can perform forensics and place data under legal hold if needed
  • Define a clear service policy for devices under BYOD that covers the support IT representatives will provide for broken devices as well as  support for applications installed on personal devices
  • Determine what apps will be allowed and banned (whitelisting and blacklisting)
  • Set up an employee exit strategy that addresses how the company will enforce the removal of access tokens, e-mail access, data and other proprietary applications and information
Agent related
  • Train agents to be “human firewalls” when it comes to security. More frequent training sessions will keep security and privacy top of mind and also create more opportunities for companies to check in with remote agents and keep them engaged
  • Monitor agent activity regularly and have policies that restrict access to certain data recognizing that agents may pose a risk to the center if they have access to sensitive information and become disgruntled
  • Safeguard against employees mistakenly clicking on links or opening files that they shouldn’t, leading to the installation of malware or data theft. Have strong password protection and use security software that restricts the unintentional or intentional downloading of malware, copying or deleting data, or accessing programs or websites that have not been vetted by the IT department
  • Ensure temporary/gig workers that are hired to handle peak volumes or cover for sick employees are trained on the center’s policies and procedures

Illustration 2: Everest Group

As infrastructure and networks grow in size and complexity, manually managing security and compliance checklists has become increasingly difficult.

Manual operations can result in slower issue detection and remediation, resource configuration errors, and inconsistent policy application, leaving systems vulnerable to compliance issues and attacks. Automating security update rollouts can help prevent unplanned and expensive downtime and improve functionality.

This approach needs to be complemented with good governance of the security landscape, ensuring the contact center is following the latest security frameworks based on their industry. Finally, organizations need to train agents on these standards and track and monitor their devices in real-time to ensure no security gaps exist that potential cybercriminals can leverage.

To discuss contact center security solutions in more detail, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].

Learn more about cybersecurity, incident detection, investigation, and response in our blog, “Is Managed Detection and Response (MDR) the Holy Grail for Cybersecurity Services?

Digital Transformations: 5 Emerging Trends in the Intelligent Process Automation Market

The pandemic’s effects on the digital landscape are long-lasting. Businesses are evolving to rely on the intelligent process automation market (IPA) to promote growth and keep up with competitors. Read on to learn more about five growing IPA trends.

In a world becoming increasingly reliant on technology, financial services organizations are digitizing and automating more processes to keep up with the competition. The intelligent process automation market, growing by about 20% across all fields, is now becoming ubiquitous.

IPA is defined as automation in business processes that use a combination of next-generation automation technologies — such as robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive or artificial intelligence (AI)-based automation, including intelligent document processing and conversational AI. Solution providers are offering solutions across RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), and workflow/orchestration, as well as crafting innovative solutions such as digital Centers of Excellence (CoE) and investing more in as-a-Service offerings.

In our recent Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) – Solution Provider Landscape with PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022 report, our analysts ranked IPA technology vendors and looked at the market for IPA solutions. Based on the research, the growth of IPA technology and reliance will expand to around 25% over the next three years.

Five intelligent process automation market trends enterprises should know

The question of how to become faster, more efficient, and more resilient is the focus for just about any organization undergoing digital transformation. Very often, the answer to this question is at least, in part, intelligent process automation. In the near future, we can see five emerging IPA trends:

  1. IPA will get smarter

A greater proportion of cognitive elements is finding its way into the intelligent process automation market. About 60% of new automation projects involve more advanced cognitive tools such as IDP, conversational AI and anomaly detection. As the maturity of AI-based solutions increases, cognitive automation will be in greater demand. All-round adoption of IPA will be fueled by providers entering new geographies and organizations starting IA initiatives.

  1. IPA will be more scalable

Although many organizations are trying to adopt intelligent process automation, the real question is if it can be scaled up or, in other words, if it can be brought across the organization. To help enterprises scale automation, solution providers are investing in expanding their partner ecosystem, strengthening technology capabilities, and enhancing their services portfolio.

Providers are also expected to help enterprises scale up through more effective change management and CoE set-up strategies. Aided by the prevalence of process intelligence solutions to form robust pipelines and orchestration tools to facilitate holistic automation, enterprises are better equipped now to move away from siloed applications of IA to scaled-up automation implementations.

  1. Citizen development will grow

Many organizations are experimenting with what they can do with citizen development, especially with the current talent shortage. Citizen-led development also holds the power to disrupt the current state of building automation and addresses the issue of talent availability. Solution providers are expected to invest in citizen development and low-code/no-code technologies enabling business users to build automation, consequently also addressing the talent shortage in the market.

Solution and technology providers are also expected to invest substantially in developing the low-code/no-code capabilities of their platforms to enable business users with limited technical exposure to build automation solutions on their own. A few solution providers are implementing citizen development programs in their own organizations and are planning to leverage the learnings to develop effective governance programs for enterprises.

  1. IPA service providers will bring IPA solutions packages to the market

Packaged solutions are gaining traction in the IPA market due to their ease of implementation and quick Return on Investment (RoI). Solutions for F&A are the most prevalent in the market. These solutions will need training on particular data sets to make them functional for a particular process, but they will speed up implementation. Providers are expected to take conscious steps toward promoting sustainable AI by developing solutions complying with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) parameters. They are also investing in AI solutions that are transparent about their working and usage of data.

  1. IPA service providers will pre-build connectors to legacy and other systems

There are a host of technologies, including RPA, conversational AI, process mining, and process orchestration in the IA ecosystem. Very often these IA solutions need to talk to the various other systems. Many IPA service providers are driving innovation and crafting new solutions to keep pace with the fast-moving IPA market and create a more holistic integration process. One such method is offering enabling capabilities like pre-built connectors for a faster and less complex implementation.

If you would like to learn more or discuss the intelligent process automation market and IPA trends, reach out to [email protected].

Learn how the healthcare industry is utilizing intelligent automation, digitalization, and telehealth as fundamental driving forces to transform and evolve in the webinar, How Intelligent Document Processing Is Transforming the Healthcare Industry.

Deconstructing the Future of Work Trends

Four-day weeks, on-demand pay, “rural” talent, and digital workers in recent times, we’ve heard these ideas accompanied by seemingly teleological questions about work as a construct. With the work landscape rapidly evolving, questions arise about what the future of work will look like. Read on to learn more about how technology, location, and talent can be utilized to reconstruct our understanding of work, as well as gain positive lasting effects for companies.

With the rise of digital labor pyramid issues, the after-effects of a global pandemic, and the desire for more meaning in work and convenience through remote work, the work landscape is being met with a promising possibility of re-examining and perhaps reconstructing work for the new era. But, beyond the clarion call, what exactly does it entail? How do we understand the future of work trends and how do we design for them? Fundamentally, we can break it down into three distinct components: the how, the where, and the who. Let’s take a look at the trends shaping the future of work.

Nature of work – how will work be done?

As we look at the adoption of cloud and AI technologies in the workplace, it becomes clear that the nature of work will change considerably. Robotic process automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based automation can significantly reduce the number of transactional tasks delivered manually, in addition to a few judgement-oriented tasks. The universe of tasks that can be automated or simplified will expand as these technologies mature and systems of record become more scalable, data pipelines are streamlined, and meaningful data itself becomes more accessible. This further enhances our ability to use data to derive insights and make informed decisions.

Everest Group’s future of work research shows adoption of these technologies has accelerated during the pandemic. More than 70% of organizations have invested in digital in the past 12 months, and about 50% expect to invest more in the next six to 12 months. Naturally, all of this has implications for the kind of work that then falls to the human workforce. With transactional tasks largely automated, judgement-, expertise-, and empathy-oriented tasks and related skill sets (including “soft skills”) become more important. But this is not a doom and gloom job-loss scenario; digital hardly ever is. Digital will also create jobs for talent who can acquire skills related to automation, AI, analytics, and the cloud.

In essence, the nature of work is changing. Enterprises will need to prepare for these eventualities by ensuring they have adequate skilling programs in place, starting by building skill taxonomies for the future, assessing current skill sets, and building out continuous learning, upskilling, and reskilling programs to enable a future-ready workforce.

Work location – where will work be done?

Our research indicates that over half of today’s enterprises expect more than 40% of their employees to continue to work from home over the next two years or so. The pandemic has dispelled certain notions about remote work while highlighting its challenges. No longer do we question if remote work is efficient or even a possibility; video calling and conferencing tools, collaboration technologies, and the potential of the metaverse have meaningfully reduced the friction that deterred work from home. Employees have benefitted from shorter commute times, greater flexibility, and proximity to family.

On the other hand, 55% of enterprises see employee engagement as a key challenge in a remote-only environment, and 50% see organizational culture as difficult to maintain with full-time work from home. The middle ground (hybrid work) seems destined to be lasting among the future of work trends. Enterprises need to redesign physical and virtual workspaces, embedding information security as needed and changing management styles to accommodate the hybrid working model.

As remote working has gained more acceptance and mature economies have aged, the time has also come to de-link talent from geographic locations. Beyond the US and India, emerging technologies such as AI and automation have sizeable talent pools in multiple countries across the world. The enterprise of the future should seek to leverage this talent, applying similar guiding principles as those for hybrid work with an additional focus on local compliance, managing cross-cultural teams, and customizing policies.

Talent model – who will do the work?

As work and workplaces evolve, so will the talent we need. We already spoke to the need for a geographically distributed and suitably skilled talent. The future workforce will also be diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Diversity will, in some ways, be necessitated by the need for a variety of in-demand skills sets and changing labor pyramids, but beyond that, it is a fairly well-established fact that diverse workforces simply do better and bring a variety of perspectives to the table, enabling enterprises to serve their clients better too. From this perspective, in the digital age, organizations will need to bolster their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, define concrete goals and metrics, and mobilize internal and external resources to help meet these goals. DE&I will be among the trends shaping the future of work to watch for.

As we look to fulfill specific skillsets for future work, organizations will also do well to consider contingent or temporary workers in addition to traditional permanent ones. Contingent workers are in greater supply now and will offer a good pool of talent to tap into, particularly for in-demand and next-generation skills. This will require careful consideration on the part of enterprises, as not all roles will be suitable for fulfillment. Even among the contingent workers, some skillsets will be in higher demand.

Attracting talent also will pose a challenge for enterprises. Today, a large portion of contingent programs are run through procurement. A holistic program run by HR (including contingent and permanent workers) that can communicate the employer value proposition well, help with engagement, and leverage data to improve program management might just be needed as we transition to this new construct.

The future of work is neither esoteric nor mundane – it is somewhere in between, and it is here already. It will require us to question well-established paradigms, rethink the framing of work in our lives, and push us to redesign and reconstruct. Enterprises that move the needle now stand to gain a lasting competitive advantage.

To learn more about the future of work trends, contact us or reach out to Everest Group Partner, [email protected].

At Everest Group, we help clients navigate their digital transformation journeys and provide assistance in implementing digital technologies. Currently, we are offering assistance to companies that are launching Web 3.0 and Metaverse initiatives with a complimentary outline of definitions and use cases. Request a summary.

GSA Global Festival of Sourcing

in-person event

GSA Global Festival of Sourcing 2022

July 5 - 6, 2022 |
Ravens Ait, Kingston Upon Thames, London

Everest Group Partner Nitish Mittal will be participating in the opening panel of GSA’s Festival of Sourcing in which they’ll discuss the current state of the sourcing industry in a session titled “An Analyst View of the Current State of the Industry.”

Nitish Mittal
Aniruddha edited

IT Procurement & Sourcing Summit Nordic | Event


IT Procurement & Sourcing Summit Nordic

June 8 - 10, 2022 |
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen

Everest Group is a proud sponsor of the IT Procurement & Sourcing Summit Nordic, which takes place from 8 – 10 June at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen.

David Rickard, Vice President, Sourcing Vendor Management & Business Process Services and Ricky Sundrani, Vice President, Pricing Assurance will be leading a Challenge Your Peers workshop on “How sourcing can impact your ESG strategy.”

David and Ricky will also be joining the pre-event ice-breaker, the networking dinner and all interactive sessions and presentations on both days.

Use our discount code ([email protected]) to get a free Standard Event Pass (value €2,595) here.

5 Intelligent Process Automation Trends to Watch | In the News

Financial services organizations are digitizing and automating more processes to keep up with competition, and intelligent process automation (IPA) — which has been growing in use about 20% across all fields — is now becoming ubiquitous. Market research firm Everest Group in a recent report ranked IPA technology vendors and looked at the market for process automation.

Read more in Bank Automation News

Rising Prominence of Africa in Technical Support and Other Value-added Services

While not a newcomer to service delivery, Africa has recently been experiencing a surge from buyers and service providers in adoption and investment, making this a region to watch for technical support and other value-added IT and business process services (BPS). Read on to learn why perceptions of Africa have changed, and explore six factors fueling Africa’s growth and its emerging delivery locations.

Africa has been part of the sourcing strategy of numerous Information Technology (IT) and BPS leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for quite some time. Lately, Everest Group has witnessed a sudden uptick in interest and adoption of Africa by both buyers and service providers.

More importantly, Sub-Saharan Africa has moved from primarily being leveraged for transactional services and low complexity customer experience (CX) queries to accelerated adoption of specialized operations and judgment-intensive processes as part of the region’s delivery portfolio mix.

Enterprise (business-to-business) technical support is one such area where buyers and service providers are proactively investing in Africa. We have noted several new technical support locations being set up in Sub-Saharan Africa by third-party outsourcing providers serving European and other English-speaking global markets.

Let’s take a look at what is contributing to this increased higher-level activity.

What factors have changed the perception of African talent and delivery sites?

  • STEM-focused education – The African Union (AU) has repeatedly reinforced its commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education among member countries. The High Level Panel on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (APET) encourages AU Member States to implement STEM education regionally. Some emerging and nascent sourcing destinations, like Rwanda, have taken significant steps in this direction by introducing STEM education in 2019 at all education levels through its “New Competence-Based Curriculum,” focused on STEM and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-led education
  • Investments by leading technology players to develop a local talent pool – Several multinational companies have set up delivery centers in the region to deliver services to Europe and North America, and tech giants including Google, Microsoft, and Netflix are leveraging it for global services delivery. These companies have invested heavily through well-designed upskilling programs with a focus on technology and digital services, creating a pool of managerial expertise as well as technology delivery capability for complex technical support and other value-added services in BPS and ITS
  • Acceptance of the remote work environment and related experience – The past two years have proven the remote and distributed work environment is as effective as traditional on-premise office setups. Service providers now have greater flexibility to enable their agents and managers to gain experience by working with global teams while delivering from Sub-Saharan Africa. This has significantly lowered the talent barrier for agents and supervisors

Six factors fueling Africa’s adoption

While the above factors have been instrumental in changing the perception and quality of the region’s talent pool, the following additional macro factors are driving the increased adoption of Africa:

  • Favorable demographic – As one of the youngest regions in the world, Africa boasts the greatest youth population in the world, with more than 60% of its population younger than 25 years of age, according to the World Population Perspectives of the United Nations. By 2035 the working population in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be larger than the rest of the world combined. This becomes even more relevant when viewed from the prism of the aging population elsewhere, including India
  • Cost arbitrage: Some countries in Africa offer highly-attractive cost arbitrage compared to onshore locations in Continental Europe (CE) and North America (NA). For example, Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya’s pricing come in at 70-80% less compared to onshore locations in CE and NA, although Nigeria and Kenya are primarily leveraged to serve domestic markets. South Africa (for non-voice Finance & Accounting) and Morocco (for voice-based services) offer cost savings of 40-60% over onshore locations
  • Strong domestic market: The latest African trends show that consumer spending growth in Africa is projected to rise to $2.1 trillion by 2025 and $2.5 trillion by 2030, according to market forecasts. This is expected to create a fast-growing and lucrative local market for contact center and ancillary services, further fueling growth in Africa’s CXM delivery landscape
  • Increased confidence due to the presence of global enterprises: Some of the world’s largest brands from across industries, such as Accenture, Daimler, Google, Microsoft, Standard Chartered, and Teleperformance, are leveraging Africa as the destination of choice for global service delivery. This has given a lot of confidence to prospective companies as they look at Africa while exploring new delivery locations
  • Proximity to Europe: Proximity to various European countries is a big selling point of many African locations. Companies are increasingly leveraging Morocco for French and Spanish voice-based BP services because it offers both cultural and geographical proximity to France and Spain. Additionally, since most African countries share similar time zones with Europe, delivery and client teams can collaborate in real-time, optimizing work in both geographies
  • Business Continuity Planning (BCP) measures: Expansion into Africa further diversifies delivery location risk, which has become even more important in light of COVID-induced disruption in traditional delivery locations in Asia. Enterprise buyers of CX services are keen to balance their locations portfolio to manage business continuity risks for nearshore and offshore services
  • Government and regulatory support: African governments have progressively aligned the local data security laws with global standards, particularly the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). For example, Nigeria released its Nigerian Data Protection Regulation 2019, which is aligned with EU GDPR. Similar laws, with regional variations but common intent, have been implemented by countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, and Mauritius, providing potential investors and customers comfort around data privacy standards. Besides regulation, the government has also invested in infrastructure and security measures to boost outside investment

Emerging delivery locations in Africa

The map below highlights key locations leveraged by global enterprises and service providers for global service delivery. Of these, established locations such as Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco are quite mature and may house 20,000 to 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs), while emerging/nascent locations may have less than 20,000 FTEs.

Picture1 1

Illustration 1: Emerging delivery locations throughout Africa | Source: Everest Group

Below is a snapshot view of key emerging/nascent delivery locations:

Nigeria: Boasts a huge graduate talent pool with 460,000 to 465,000 graduates every year. It has significant IT services delivery in addition to inbound/outbound customer services. Nigeria has the potential to support multi-lingual contact center delivery in French and English as well as meet significant domestic demand for CX services

Rwanda: Utilized for both voice and non-voice business process services and French and English language support. It is increasingly being leveraged for IT service delivery across global markets with a strong government focus, excellent infrastructure, and educated talent pools

Uganda: Used extensively to support African countries and also to provide some support to US markets. Uganda supports both voice and non-voice service delivery (inbound and outbound customer service, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO), etc.). It has the potential to deliver complex IT skills, given the huge ICT talent availability
Mauritius: Leveraged for IT (Application Development & Maintenance (ADM) and infrastructure), non-voice business process services, and R&D services to serve French and Canadian markets. This location offers a favorable business environment, with government incentives for the IT-BPS sector, such as tax-free dividends and foreign tax credits

Kenya: Leveraged primarily for voice-based services and providing support to the US and Canada. While it has relatively low maturity for IT-based services, it can serve as a gateway/regional hub for organizations looking to expand in the East/West Africa region

With these positive conditions shaping its future, it will be interesting to see how the next decade fares for Sub-Saharan Africa. If the current trends continue, many countries in Africa are set to emerge as a close competitor to India and the Philippines for technical support and other value-added services delivery as long as it can successfully overcome misconceptions about safety, security, and talent. Continued public-private partnerships like the ones described in some countries above will need to continue for the region to accelerate its growth in this vibrant sector and positively impact Africa’s broader industry.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss global service delivery in Africa further, please reach out to Rananjay Kumar, [email protected], or David Rickard, [email protected]

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