Tag: Europe

Services Delivery Risk in Ukraine and the CEE Region Rises Amid Conflict with Russia | Blog

The fresh armed offensive launched by Russia at the end of February has disrupted the service delivery ecosystem almost across the whole of Ukraine. Everest Group moved Ukraine’s operating and business environment risk rating to ”High” and recommends that global services firms intensify and accelerate contingency and business continuity plans to ensure resiliency and employee safety. Read on to learn more about the Ukraine-Russia conflict and its impact on the service delivery industry in Ukraine and the broader Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.

Origin and evolution of the Ukraine-Russia crisis

The recent crisis between Russia and Ukraine dates back to 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula, Crimea, and backed pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region. Despite a 2015 peace treaty between Kyiv and Moscow, there have been several ceasefire violations resulting in many civilian deaths in both regions. Border tensions renewed in November 2021 when Russia started to amass tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border as both NATO and Ukraine refused to commit to excluding Ukraine as a NATO member in the future. On February 22, 2022, Russia recognized the breakaway regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk) as independent states and effectively breached the Minsk Protocol, which prevents war in the Donbas region. On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine and started attacking major cities including, Kyiv, sparking an exodus from these cities. While until now, the conflict was localized in the east of the country and service delivery was unaffected in the other parts of Ukraine, the conflict has now spread to almost the entire country. Depending on how scenarios play out (see below), this could mean a disruption of service delivery across Ukraine as well as ripple effects on the rest of the CEE region.

Current and potential impacts on the services industry in Ukraine

For years, Ukraine has been a sought-after location for companies outsourcing software development and ER&D services. The Ukrainian services sector features deep expertise, and Ukraine’s large talent pool is well-positioned to serve the chronic shortage of global engineering and technology manpower while offering attractive financial arbitrage. During the 2014-15 conflict, most companies had already diversified the risks of operating in Ukraine to a large extent. The recent escalation since November 2021 had also forced firms to activate contingency/BCP measures.

Based on the evolution of the conflict across multiple scenarios described below (or beyond these), companies will need to actively watch and flex their contingency plans further.

We foresee the following scenarios playing out on the ground:

Scenarios Long-drawn conflict,
largely limited to the Eastern regions, but not impacting Kyiv and other large cities
Long-drawn conflict extending to key cities in North/West/South Ukraine Swift brokered peace, retaining the current Ukraine administration Swift and decisive victory for Russia followed by installation of a Russia-backed government in Ukraine
Description ·         Ukraine defense forces are able to counter the Russian attack, but not entirely repel decisively

·         Conflict largely contained in the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine, with limited disruption in the key larger cities of Kyiv, Lviv, and Dnipropetrovsk

·         Ukraine defense forces are able to counter the Russian attack, but not entirely repel decisively

·         Pitched battles for and around key Ukrainian cities such as Kiev, Odesa, Lviv, and Dnipropetrovsk

·         Large-scale exodus from Ukraine to neighboring countries in the region – such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, or Romania

·         EU/US/Turkey broker a swift ceasefire and provisional agreement, potentially through concessions such as a commitment for Ukraine not to join NATO and/or threat of further crippling sanctions on Russia

·         Current Ukraine administration retains power and authority

·         Eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk gain independence or autonomy and are not in Ukraine control

·         Russian forces do not encounter significant armed resistance and gain a decisive victory over Ukraine OR current Ukrainian administration capitulates to limit loss of life and infrastructure

·         Kyiv and other key cities are captured by Russian forces

·         Russia installs a puppet government in Ukraine

·         Some exodus likely to neighboring countries in the region, such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania

Probability Medium Medium-High Low-Medium Medium-High
Likely impact on global services delivery from Ukraine ·         Temporary disruption spanning a few days in the key cities in the North and West of Ukraine; significant disruption in the South and East

·         Businesses will be able to operate with minimal disruption thereafter in the larger cities, however, those in Eastern (e.g., Dnipropetrovsk) and Southern (e.g., Odesa) centers will face significant disruption

·         Movement of people and operations to centers in the North and West of the country; contingency plans will need to be on standby in case conflict spreads to other regions of the country

·         Large-scale and crippling disruption to service delivery across the country, including in larger cities

·         Companies will need to move people and operations to other centers in their portfolios, especially to the CEE region

·         Limited disruption in the larger cities, especially those in the Northern and Western regions of Ukraine

·         Businesses will operate normally post some days/weeks of uncertainty

·         Clients still likely to demand diversification as regions in the East will continue to be under some uncertainty, leading to movement of people and processes to centers in the North and West of the country

·         Temporary disruption spanning a few days to a few weeks in the key cities in the North and West of Ukraine; significant temporary disruption in the South and East

·         Post installation of a Russia-backed government, disruption should subside gradually, and businesses will be able to operate normally and with some levels of certainty. However, this scenario raises a fundamental question of whether organizations are comfortable operating in an environment heavily influenced/controlled by Russia

Likely impacts on the broader CEE region ·         Some pressure on firms to diversify as a BCP measure will lead to growth in the CEE region and broader Europe region ·         Large-scale movement of personnel and operations to CEE countries

·         Likely need to de-risk operations in countries bordering Ukraine (e.g., Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and the Baltic States) given potential of a westward push of Russian expansionary tactics

·         Some pressure on firms to diversify as a BCP measure will lead to growth in the CEE region and broader Europe region ·         Lower impacts on the broader region, however, some personnel may want to move out from under a Russia-backed administration and want to migrate to other countries in the region or globally

·         Likely need to de-risk operations in countries bordering Ukraine (e.g., Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and the Baltic States) given potential of a westward push of Russian expansionary tactics

 

Ukraine is a key global delivery location for IT and Engineering R&D (ER&D) services, which brings widespread uncertainty and significant concerns for the many companies operating there. Companies such as Wix, Vistaprint, Ciklum, and Cimpress had already begun relocating their staff from east Ukraine to relatively safer parts of the country, such as Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk, in efforts to continue uninterrupted business processes and keep employees out of harm’s way. Some are even relocating to other countries, like Poland, Turkey, and Israel.

Approaches and recommendations for firms supporting service delivery in Ukraine

Everest Group has downgraded the operating and business environment risk rating of Ukraine (previously Medium) to High as global organizations continue to face uncertainty, and the threat of disruption is very high considering likely further deterioration in the situation.

Amid these uncertainties and rising tensions, Everest Group recommends the following to global services players with operations in Ukraine:

  • Intensify/accelerate contingency plans: Global services firms should intensify and accelerate contingency and business continuity plans. These measures could include arrangements for relocations of employees and their families, backing up data to servers based in the US or other locations, developing backup options with independent internet providers, establishing emergency satellite communications, identifying alternative suppliers, and stockpiling supplies
  • Monitor cybersecurity, especially data security: Firms should strengthen their network infrastructures to insulate themselves against potential cyberattacks and/or a takeover of data infrastructure by Russia or a Russian-backed administration. The conflict raises the vulnerability of companies to cyber-attacks on Ukrainian firms and data assets – and will need to actively consider measures to protect data residing in servers in Ukraine – especially in the event of a Russia-backed administration taking over
  • Flex talent models and workforce strategy: Businesses impacted by disruption in Ukraine will need to flex talent models and workforce strategy creatively and aggressively to minimize the impact to operations – measures could include cross-training workforce in other centers, hiring contingent talent, expanding remote delivery, provisionally insourcing critical work packets, and rebalancing work across a global/regional delivery portfolio
    • Centers in the European region will be ideally suited to support work that is/was being supported in Ukraine; however, given proximity with Ukraine, some of the CEE countries may not be obvious choices. Companies may need to redistribute work to other global centers, including in Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America
    • Smaller companies and startups will be much more exposed compared to the larger global/regional players as they will struggle to rebalance work and people outside Ukraine – these contracts will require urgent attention from sourcing executives over the next few days
  • Evaluate and identify impacts on broader service delivery portfolio:
    • Countries neighboring Ukraine and Belarus will need to be reevaluated for delivery risks stemming from expanded Russian influence/control over the above two countries. Further westward expansion plans of Russia could significantly downgrade the geopolitical stability of countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Baltic States
    • The crisis has the potential of destabilizing a decades-long peace in Europe for a long term. With its existing influence over Belarus and Moldova, if Russia gains control over Ukraine, its neighbors will all be NATO members, thus setting the stage for a long-drawn tussle over Western vs. Russian influence in the region
    • Further, other countries in the CEE region and broader Europe are also likely to see the impacts of migration of Ukrainians. For example, Moldova and Lithuania have already declared a state of emergency to deal with refugees that have already started arriving
    • The crisis may also create stress on other locations within the global delivery portfolios of companies – both enterprises and their service providers – as they try to ensure continuity by flexing alternative locations, providers, and even sourcing models (e.g., provisionally insourcing work with providers heavily exposed in Ukraine). Given the significant talent crunch already being witnessed by companies globally, this rebalancing may create further stress in existing systems and impact other critical initiatives
    • Finally, service delivery in Russia and Belarus is also likely to suffer significantly as a result of strong sanctions imposed by the US and Western Europe

To hear more recommendations on this topic, watch our LinkedIn Live event: How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery

Stay updated on the Ukraine-Russia Crisis and the impacts to the global services industry as we track this fast-moving conflict and develop further insights.

Ukraine Crisis to Move Work to India, Slow Down Eastern Europe Expansion in Short Term for IT | In the News

The Russia-Ukraine conflict could force IT companies to pause on their investments in Eastern Europe and bring more work instead to India in the near term. According to Everest Group data, close to 70,000 to 100,000 highly qualified workers in digital engineering and IT will be disrupted.

Everest Group noted that because this disruption is coming during a global talent shortage, it will also impact pricing.

Read more in Money Control

 

How Russian Invasion of Ukraine Will Impact the Tech Sector | In the News

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, attacking Kyiv and some other large cities outside of the original conflict zones in the east of Ukraine. This situation is likely to lead to significant disruption to global services delivery in Ukraine and impact the broader Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.

“Ukraine is a key global delivery location for IT and Engineering R&D (ER&D) services, which brings widespread uncertainty and significant concerns for the many companies operating there,” says Anurag Srivastava, Partner at Everest Group.

Read more in CXO Today

 

Sanctions Cost Russia US Tech, and That May Hurt | In the News

The US has issued sanctions against Russia for its military invasion of Ukraine, which could face devastating IT service delivery disruption if the conflict continues.

The Russian military on Friday began striking Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, where most of the country’s IT service delivery companies are based. At least 70 – 80% of the IT services delivery market has already been impacted, said Anurag Srivastava, Vice President at Everest Group.

Read more in TechTarget

 

Europe’s Critical Moment in Digital Transformation – Mission 2030 | Blog

The European market has been slower than other areas of the world in adopting digital transformation, but that’s changing. With new regulations opening up the digital marketplace for fair competition, sizeable strategic partnerships, and providers embracing the latest cloud, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, Europe is poised to seize a leadership position in the tech landscape. But the region needs to act quickly and grasp the right opportunities to prevail. Read on to learn more about Europe’s road to digitalization by 2030. 

COVID-19 accelerated the worldwide movement that has been underway for years by businesses to adopt digital initiatives. Amid the pandemic, digitalization was pushed into the spotlight as a means for businesses to survive by finding innovative ways to deliver services through digital media.

The European market, however, felt the impact because it has historically shown a slower rate of digital adoption in some segments and also bore the early onslaught of the global pandemic (starting with the outbreak in Italy).

Coupled with slowing macroeconomic growth and looming Brexit, enterprises in Europe have been facing significant challenges. The changes fueled by the pandemic have now pushed Europe to rethink its business models and talent and embrace accelerated digital transformation.

Gearing up for change

Combined with this market context, Europe’s dependence on global technology companies (versus homegrown firms) has increased. Various reasons exist for Europe’s perceived decline as the home of Big Tech companies, including a stricter tax regime, more active regulatory/legal frameworks, and a smaller homogeneous addressable market. Despite this, Europe outperforms the world in many pockets of innovation, such as financial technology (FinTech), blockchain, payments, creative agencies, and cybersecurity.

Now, new expectations that developed from the pandemic have led European organizations to gear up to fully embrace digital business models. According to an Everest Group key issues survey, customer experience is the most critical priority for enterprises and service providers over the coming few years, followed by operational efficiency, then launching new products and services. The image below illustrates Europe’s priorities in business model changes and areas of innovation.

Picture4

To improve the customer experience, European enterprises are offering digital solutions for conducting simple interactions without physically going to a location or speaking directly to a customer service agent and delivering more personalized experiences for language support, channels, and availability.

Europe’s transition to digital by 2030

Against this backdrop, Europe also is ramping up technology sovereignty efforts. Recently, the European Commission set the course towards a digitally empowered Europe by 2030. European governments and regulators are rethinking the enabling frameworks and legal structures to foster innovation and digital leadership.

The goal is to achieve digital sovereignty in an open and interconnected world and to develop digital policies that will enable businesses to adopt and seize a human-centered, sustainable, and more prosperous digital future.

Among the European Commission’s targets are ensuring 80 percent of all adults have basic digital skills, three-quarters of companies use cloud services, all public services are available online, and all households have gigabit connectivity.

To achieve these ambitious expectations, Europe will need to move fast.

The pathway to digitalization

To pave the way towards digital success, Europe has set in motion initiatives such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Digital Services Act (DSA), and GAIA-X, a project to develop common requirements for a European data infrastructure supported by representatives of business, science, and administration.

With data security, privacy, and technology sovereignty becoming key issues for the region, Europe is setting up the following sanctions to protect companies and ensure a competitive market:

  • DMA: Ensures a higher degree of competition in European digital markets by stipulating large online platforms behave reasonably, creating a fairer business environment that encourages new emerging players to enter the market, and gives consumers more choice at competitive pricing
  • DSA: Protects all users, no matter where they live in Europe, by guaranteeing a safe and accountable online environment and opening up new opportunities to provide digital services across borders
  • GAIA-X: Strives to develop common requirements for European data infrastructure and to establish an interoperable data exchange where businesses can share data under the protection of European laws

With these new seminal regulations potentially changing the enabling framework of doing business across Europe, the market is at a juncture where it can take back the reigns of the technology landscape. But its success at capturing the next wave of digital transformation will hinge on how the region, its businesses, and regulators react to the current situation.

A bright future there for the taking

Europe has always had a broad range of innovative companies and countries with strong start-up and entrepreneurial cultures. Large partnerships over the past nine months that point to scaling digital transformation are also on the rise in Europe. These include deals like Wipro joining with Telefonica and METRO AG, Infosys with Daimler, and TCS with Deutsche Bank and Prudential Financial. For more details, please see our webinar, Why Europe is Poised to be a Major Factor in Digital Transformation Strategies, from earlier this year.

Picture5

With increased digitalization accelerated by COVID-19, European organizations are moving forward with top digital capability priorities like cloud, cybersecurity, and analytics alongside automation and advanced automation AI.

Europe also provides attractive options to meet the need to shift to digital with different constituent countries offering local language and cultural context, and easier intra-region mobility (Brexit notwithstanding). For instance, vibrant technology ecosystems are developing in different clusters such as Germany for hi-tech and automotive, Eastern Europe for product engineering, and the UK and Ireland for financial services, to name a few.

Poised to be one of the main drivers of digital adoption, Europe will retain its central place in the world’s technology economy. However, spotting the right opportunities and actions to grasp will be crucial over the next few years.

Europe must take advantage of current changes in the market by:

  • Adopting a design-led workforce strategy that enables it to leverage specific digital talent pools and re-skilling or upskilling current employees with needed digital skills
  • Increasing the numbers of global service providers and product vendors focusing on investments in Europe as an attractive location closer to clients or to reduce risks from hyper-competitive markets. This includes the diverse opportunity Europe offers across different regional clusters
  • Accelerating efforts by European governments and regulators to rethink frameworks and legal structures to foster innovation and digital leadership

Our recent research shows that European enterprises plan not just to recover but exceed projected financial goals. With the end of the pandemic in sight and the reopening of business throughout the continent, digital innovation and opportunities to scale will be ripe for Europe’s taking.

How do you view the European digital transformation opportunity? Share your thoughts by emailing [email protected].

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