Tag: global sourcing

Nearshored GICs Experiencing Significant Growth among UK-based Buyers | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Over the last 18 months, we have seen a significant shift in the global in-house center (GIC) location strategy of UK-based firms, with many more embracing Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) over offshore countries for their GICs.

GIC delivery footprint of UK based buyers

Factors driving the growth in nearshore locations include:

  • High attrition rates in offshore locations, and far more expensive talent in onshore regions, make nearshore locations a suitable alternative. Relatively lower-cost locations in CEE are equipped with skilled workforce with multi-lingual capabilities
  • Nearshore locations offer cultural and geographical affinity, and a favorable time zone
  • Concentration risk in offshore locations. Realizing the value of diversification, well-known companies such as Barclays, BP, HSBC, PwC, Rolls-Royce, and Vodafone have expanded their location portfolios beyond offshore in-house centers and established GICs in CEE

Some of the popular nearshore locations being leveraged for IT, F&A, and call center (CC) services are depicted in the diagram below:

Key nearshore locations by functions

While some companies are leveraging their existing nearshore offices and expanding them into GICs, others are setting up greenfield centers. Recent examples of new GIC set-ups by UK firms in nearshore locations include:

  • Barclays opened a human resources service center in Lithuania
  • Vodafone opened a new shared services center in Bucharest, Romania, to cater to Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and UK-based clients. The center will also provide IT services for the Vodafone Group headquarters in London
  • PwC opened a service center in Bratislava, Slovakia, to carry out its internal finance function for the CEE region
  • Toumaz Group opened a software development center in Timisoara, Romania, to develop IT-based solutions for Toumaz and Frontier Silicon, a Toumaz division.

What are the implications of this trend? Are we saying offshore locations will lose their draw for UK-based buyers? Certainly not! Although the CEE region will continue to maintain its growth momentum, several factors will still drive GIC activity in offshore geographies among UK buyers:

  • For first-time adopters of the GIC model, offshore locations (e.g., India, Philippines) offer a proven and established value proposition
  • For companies highly focused on cost savings, the arbitrage offered by offshore geographies remains unbeatable
  • Companies looking to set-up large scale centers (1,000+ FTEs) may not find many scalable options in nearshore regions, making offshore geographies more attractive
  • Several offshore locations are also becoming attractive for their domestic market opportunities. Thus, some organizations are leveraging offshore centers for dual purposes; for their UK operations and to tap into local sales prospects

Beyond the traditional offshore locations, there is increasing acceptance of South Africa, Egypt, and Mauritius as delivery locations for UK and other European buyers due to accent similarity and strong cultural affinity. But the battleground is now definitely becoming hotter between nearshore and offshore locations.

For more insights into the GIC space, please see the following additional Everest Group research:

  1. GICs Creating Business Impact Beyond Cost Arbitrage
  2. Quantification of GIC Impact Accelerates Internal Value
  3. Global GIC Market Activity Heatmap

Photo credit: Charles Clegg

Crossword Puzzle: Test Your Knowledge of the India GIC Landscape | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

We recently published a report on the Global in-house Center (formerly known as captives) landscape in India that provides comprehensive coverage of the GIC landscape in the country. (Download a complimentary preview deck of the report.) India is now home to 700+ GICs delivering a range of IT, business process and engineering services to buyers globally. Would you like to know more key insights from this report?

Let’s play a game!

Below is a crossword that captures 20 key insights from the report. (You can also download a printer-friendly version of the crossword.)

 

Everest Group India GIC Crossword

Across

  1. One of the first entrants in the India GIC landscape
  2. Number of GIC divestitures in first half of 2014
  3. Numero uno country in worldwide GIC market
  4. Tier-1 city with least number of GICs
  5. Buyer geography with most number of companies setting up GIC in India
  6. Buyer geography showing decline in GIC activity in India
  7. _______ a.k.a GIC
  8. Vertical with 2nd largest average headcount in GIC
Down

  1. Top vertical by GIC headcount
  2. Top vertical by number of GICs
  3. Tier-1 city with highest share in number of GICs
  4. Leading tier-2 city for GIC set-ups
  5. Why companies started GICs?
  6. Alternative to the GIC model
  7. Number one function that GICs in India are delivering
  8. GICs are increasingly delivering __________ beyond arbitrage
  9. Energy & Utilities GICs firms headquartered here have high share in number of GIC set-ups in India, within this vertical
  10. Sub-function within IT with highest adoption
  11. Another leading tier-2 city for GIC set-ups
  12. Cognizant acquired this GIC in 2013

 

Stay tuned! We will post the answer key in a few days.


Photo credit: Jessica Whittle

When Is Impact Sourcing the Right Fit with Your Global Sourcing Strategy? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

This is the final blog in a series of three on the topic of impact sourcing. In the first one, I covered the fundamentals of the model and in the second, the value proposition and business case.  Now, I’ll share insights on the nature of work it is best suited for and the activities the model can potentially deliver.

Work suited for impact sourcing

Given that the targeted talent for impact sourcing are individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds, their skills levels are typically suited for specific types of BPO activities as given below.

  • Transactional, repeatable, and high volume: Typically includes non-voice support for back-office work and voice-based work on a selective basis when business needs align with talent capabilities
  • Bespoke work, not amenable to “industrialization”: Typically requiring human intervention to handle case-to-case customization or work that cannot be fully automated
  • Work that is generally suitable to offshoring: Typically includes work with no regulatory or legal restrictions on offshoring or in situations where cost savings and efficiencies are key objectives

Having said the above, impact sourcing employees have demonstrated a wide-range of aptitude from basic data entry to complex data processing. For example, Pangea3 used impact sourcing to deliver complex contract abstraction services; Deloitte in South Africa is using impact sourcing to deliver accounting services and is considering hiring impact workers in its other offices across Africa.

Is impact sourcing actionable?

So, what does this mean for companies considering impact sourcing for BPO work? Are there tangible examples of work where companies use impact sourcing in a meaningful manner? The answer is an unequivocal yes! To illustrate impact sourcing in action, consider the example of a typical optical character recognition (OCR) image validation process given in the box below. The blue text represents activities that fit with impact sourcing and may be completed by impact workers.

A typical OCR image validation process
  • Documents prepared for scanning
  • OCR software process converts document to TIFF, JPEG, PDF image. Software reads text block by block and translates into machine language
  • Agents validate translation by software
  • Agents index data or text to enable content based retrieval
  • Quality control by supervisor/manager
  • QA releases to database or document management system

 

There are many more such processes where impact sourcing can be an attractive fit for delivery of BPO services. Some of these are given in the table below.

Sales & marketing
  • Sales data capture and validation
  • Telemarketing
  • Content conversion, editing, and tagging
  • Document digitization (e.g., customer forms digitization)
Supply chain management
  • Data entry (e.g., order entry, package tracking)
  • Document digitization and archiving (e.g., claims forms)
Finance & accounting
  • OCR image validation
  • Invoice data entry
  • Indexing invoices
  • Paper invoice digitization and archiving
Industry specific operations
  • E-commerce support (e.g., transcription, translation, content tagging, basic online research)
  • Debt collections
  • Location tagging
Customer service
  • Domestic voice support in vernacular languages
  • L1 technical helpdesk
Human resource
  • Document scanning and indexing (e.g., employee expense claim forms)
  • Data entry in HR information systems

 

The notable point is that there are companies already using impact sourcing to deliver many of the services mentioned above. For example, RuralShores is delivering invoice processing, mortgage document digitization, customer care, logistics management services using impact sourcing. Accenture uses impact sourcing to deliver not only basic F&A processes but also more complex HR, PO, F&A functions. These are also echoed in the examples from Aegis, Infosys, and Quatrro. We also saw earlier how Deloitte and Pangea3 are using impact sourcing for complex work. These examples substantiate that impact sourcing is actionable and a viable alternative to traditional BPO.

Conclusion

In conclusion, in this series of three blogs, I discussed how impact sourcing is an established phenomenon that offers access to previously untapped talent pool, lower attrition and the ability to achieve corporate social responsibility and diversity objectives as compared to traditional BPO. There are many large, global companies that have acknowledged the benefits of impact sourcing and have adopted it in their business process service delivery. It is a win-win business service delivery model with optimized enhancements and creates tangible positive impact on people that extends to communities as well.


Everest Group, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, conducted an in-depth assessment on impact sourcing (IS) as a business process service delivery construct. The study presents a detailed, fact-based business case for IS that substantiates the benefits of the IS model for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Additionally, it sizes the current IS market for BPO work, profiles the landscape, details the business case, and shares experiences of companies through case studies and testimonials. The report focuses on Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and the Philippines.

The Rockefeller Foundation aims to catalyze the IS sector in Africa through its Digital Jobs Africa Initiative. The Foundation’s role is to ensure positive social and economic impact on 1 million people by supporting high potential but disadvantaged youth to work in the dynamic outsourcing sector in Africa, benefitting them, their families and communities. The Foundation recognizes that the most sustainable and scalable path to achieving this impact is because of the tangible business value impact sourcing provides. Impact sourcing enables companies to purposefully participate in building an inclusive global economy, gaining business efficiencies while changing people’s lives.

Visit our impact sourcing page for more information.

Be sure to join our webinar, The Business Case for Impact Sourcing on today at 9 a.m. CT / 10 a.m. ET / 3 p.m. BST / 7:30 p.m. IST. Register now.


Photo credit: The Rockefeller Foundation

The Business Case for Impact Sourcing | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

This blog is the second in a series of three on impact sourcing. In my first blog, I gave an introduction to impact sourcing in terms of what it is, its constituents, and why it matters. Now I’ll focus on its value proposition and business case.

Impact sourcing value proposition

The graphic below provides a snapshot of impact sourcing value proposition, which is based on five key elements, i.e., low cost, reliable delivery, access to alternate talent, stable workforce, and social benefits.

IS value prop

Low cost

Impact sourcing offers significant cost arbitrage over source locations for offshore BPO. At 70%+, this arbitrage is comparable than the arbitrage offered by traditional offshoring. In fact, as compared to traditional sourcing, impact sourcing offers savings across both “in-house employment” and “outsourcing” models. For example, in South Africa, people costs for impact workers are 8-10% lower than traditional workers when averaged over a three year period for in-house employment. In India, impact sourcing offers 35-40% savings as compared to traditional BPO in an outsourced model.

The drivers for these additional savings over traditional sourcing models vary by location. For example, in South Africa, lower costs are driven by lower attrition and some differences in salaries. In India, the savings are primarily driven by lower people cost and facilities cost in tier-3/rural location for IS operations as compared to tier-1 locations for traditional sourcing. To get a better understanding of cost for impact sourcing across different locations, check-out the detailed report.

Proven and reliable delivery

Our research shows that the performance achieved from impact sourcing is comparable to traditional BPOs with a robust track record of meeting client SLAs/KPIs and expectations. There are multiple examples as illustrated in the case studies of Teleperformance, Accenture, RuralShores, and SureHire. Even in cases where the performance of impact workers is not tracked, there is strong endorsement of performance being comparable to traditional workers.

Furthermore, companies have successfully mitigated the concerns (e.g., lack of talent, data security, and infrastructure) linked to service delivery using impact sourcing by focusing on skills development initiatives and replicating security infrastructure similar to traditional sourcing. For example, Aegis SA provides 12-16 week training program for impact workers that teaches basic office competencies and behavioral skills. In addition, there are several training institutes (Impact Sourcing Academy, Harambee, Careerbox, Piramal Udgam) that focus on developing the skill-sets of impact workers. Many pure play impact sourcing service providers (e.g., RuralShores) have implemented robust infrastructure to mitigate concerns on data security.

Large and untapped talent pool

Given most locations in Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco) and Asia (India and Philippines) where impact sourcing is largely used have a high unemployment rate among the youth, impact sourcing provides an opportunity to access this large, untapped qualified pool. For example, there are over 155,000 unemployed graduates in South Africa. Over 35% graduate youth (age 15-29 years) in rural India are unemployed. Through impact sourcing companies tap into this alternate pool to augment talent supply. For example, impact sourcing has become TCS’ primary source for entry-level talent during non-campus-hiring season and enables extending its recruitment throughout the year. A detailed case study on TCS illustrates this in greater detail and provides insights on its outcome.

This talent pool is especially suited to serve the domestic market. Companies leverage this talent pool as source of competitive advantage for domestic service delivery, given local language capabilities and cost arbitrage. For example, RuralShores uses impact sourcing for vernacular language support for domestic market.

Stable and engaged workforce

One of the strongest elements of impact sourcing value proposition is the stability and motivation levels associated with impact workers. Our research shows that impact workers have 15-40% lower attrition than traditional BPO workers and exhibit high motivation levels that leads to improved performance over a period of time and lower hiring and training costs. This is endorsed by many companies using impact sourcing. A study by Careerbox comparing the performance of impact workers with traditional workers shows about 10% higher retention for impact workers measured after 90 days and 180 days of recruitment.

The lower attrition rates are driven by the strong emotional bond and loyalty towards the employer that helped educate, train and provide employment to the disadvantaged worker. In addition, impact sourcing provides a strong fit with personal/family aspirations (e.g., opportunity to work in local community without migrating to urban centers). Furthermore, for most impact workers BPO is a preferred career option compared to alternatives (e.g. agricultural, industrial labor), as it offers higher salaries and better work environment.

Social Impact

These four value proposition elements – low cost, reliable delivery, access to alternate talent, and stable workforce – are built around the fifth one – the social impact. In fact, the value proposition for impact sourcing exists because of the types of employees hired. Impact sourcing employees are high potential but disadvantaged economically, socially or some other way. For example, they may come from a low-income area or not have had the opportunity for a university education. Impact sourcing offers these types of people an opportunity to earn and build transferable workplace skills. As a result, employees improve their well-being, and the well-being of their families and communities. (See my blog Impact Sourcing 101: The Fundamentals of a Powerful Global Sourcing Model for a full explanation.)

A study done by RuralShores among 650 respondents across 11 of its centers shows significant improvement in the living standards of its employees after joining RuralShores. To illustrate this with a few indicators, 46% of its employees purchased mobile phones, 56% purchased consumer durable goods, average of 20% increase in family savings. This is echoed in Accenture’s experience of impact sourcing where annual income of impact workers increased by ~33% post employment.

Impact sourcing really is a win-win with tangible positive impact on business and on people. Any which way you look at it, the combined value proposition of impact sourcing is compelling, especially for certain types of BPO work.

In my next blog, I’ll share my perspectives on the aptness of impact sourcing to business.


Everest Group, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, conducted an in-depth assessment on impact sourcing (IS) as a business process service delivery construct. The study presents a detailed, fact-based business case for IS that substantiates the benefits of the IS model for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Additionally, it sizes the current IS market for BPO work, profiles the landscape, details the business case, and shares experiences of companies through case studies and testimonials. The report focuses on Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and the Philippines.

The Rockefeller Foundation aims to catalyze the IS sector in Africa through its Digital Jobs Africa Initiative. The Foundation’s role is to ensure positive social and economic impact on 1 million people by supporting high potential but disadvantaged youth to work in the dynamic outsourcing sector in Africa, benefitting them, their families and communities. The Foundation recognizes that the most sustainable and scalable path to achieving this impact is because of the tangible business value impact sourcing provides. Impact sourcing enables companies to purposefully participate in building an inclusive global economy, gaining business efficiencies while changing people’s lives.


Visit our impact sourcing page for more information.

Be sure to join our webinar, The Business Case for Impact Sourcing on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.


Photo credit: The Rockefeller Foundation

Impact Sourcing 101: The Fundamentals of a Powerful Global Sourcing Model | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

I recently concluded an engagement on impact sourcing. Did you say, what? That was my first reaction as well when I initially heard about impact sourcing. I knew about other global services constructs – rural sourcing, crowd sourcing – but not impact sourcing. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. During the course of my research I realized there is a lack of awareness about impact sourcing in the market. For uninitiated folks like me, I hope this blog – the first in a series on the topic – helps create awareness about impact sourcing and its role within global services delivery.

What is impact sourcing?

So, what is impact sourcing?

Impact sourcing (IS) is a business process service delivery model that provides quality and cost at parity with traditional BPO services, but with optimized enhancements such as:

  • A qualified, trained, untapped talent pool with skill sets aligned to match client needs,
  • Lower attrition rates and higher corresponding levels of employee engagement, and
  • Opportunities to fulfill corporate social responsibility and diversity objectives while operating within a traditional BPO framework

Put simply, it is a BPO service delivery model that employs high potential but previously disadvantaged individuals for service delivery that provides positive impact on both business and society.

 

Here are some facts to set the context:

Impact sourcing is sizable (235,000-245,000 FTEs). There are many instances where it is practiced across countries in Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco), India, and Philippines. In fact, our research shows that across these countries, impact sourcing constitutes ~12% of the overall BPO market. Not only that, it is growing at a faster clip than the overall BPO market.

What constitutes impact sourcing?

Our experience shows that there is no one answer to what constitutes impact sourcing. Depending on who you are talking to and the social context, impact sourcing constituents vary by how one defines a disadvantaged individual. Broadly, the constituents can be classified in three different categories:

  • Economically disadvantaged: Near/below poverty line, located in low income areas, lack of access to jobs or prior work experience
  • Socially disadvantaged: Minorities, historically underemployed or marginalized group (e.g., black and Asian communities in South Africa, certain castes/tribes in India), gender groups
  • Physically disadvantaged: Differently-abled, diagnosed with health conditions (e.g., HIV/AIDS) limiting equal opportunities in the workforce

Why does it matter?

Impact sourcing has the potential to engage high potential individuals in meaningful employment opportunities and make a real difference in their lives. These individuals in the absence of impact sourcing would not have access to jobs or their situation/background would put them at a disadvantage as compared to mainstream workers. Impact sourcing provides these individuals a platform that helps boost their confidence and provide opportunities to bring themselves at par with the mainstream workers through direct and indirect impact.

  • Direct impact: Our research shows that impact sourcing typically leads to an improvement in workers’ lifestyle (40-200% increase in individual income), professional development, increase in confidence levels, reduction in tendency to migrate, and reduced stress levels
  • Indirect impact: The increase in individual income typically benefits 3-4 family members due to increased spending power for family and household and facilitates a stable environment. This is especially empowering for women. In addition, it strengthens communities by creating a 3.5-4.0x multiplier effect on the local economy and improves future employability of disadvantaged individuals

So one impact worker can potentially lead to a much wider impact that uplifts many more in the community.

More than a feel good factor

There are many large, global companies across buyer and service provider organizations that currently use impact sourcing for BPO service delivery. These companies experience measurable business benefits of impact sourcing while also positively impacting the worker, their families and communities. In order to scale the practice of impact sourcing, more companies need to adopt the practice.

Our research suggests there is a compelling business case to impact sourcing in addition to the social benefits. This business case is based on strong foundational elements with credible supporting evidence.

To give you an idea of the business benefits of impact sourcing, check out the performance improvements Teleperformance has experienced using impact sourcing, the access to new talent that Aegis has because of their involvement in impact sourcing, and the plans Microsoft has for impact sourcing,

In my next blog in this series, I will share impact sourcing’s value proposition and its business case. Watch this space for more.

Everest Group, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, conducted an in-depth assessment on impact sourcing (IS) as a business process service delivery construct. The study presents a detailed, fact-based business case for IS that substantiates the benefits of the IS model for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Additionally, it sizes the current IS market for BPO work, profiles the landscape, details the business case, and shares experiences of companies through case studies and testimonials. The report focuses on Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and the Philippines.

The Rockefeller Foundation aims to catalyze the IS sector in Africa through its Digital Jobs Africa Initiative. The Foundation’s role is to ensure positive social and economic impact on 1 million people by supporting high potential but disadvantaged youth to work in the dynamic outsourcing sector in Africa, benefiting them, their families and communities. The Foundation recognizes that the most sustainable and scalable path to achieving this impact is because of the tangible business value impact sourcing provides. Impact sourcing enables companies to purposefully participate in building an inclusive global economy, gaining business efficiencies while changing people’s lives.

Visit our impact sourcing page for more information.

Be sure to view our webinar, The Business Case for Impact Sourcing from October 7, 2014. Download now.

Read part 2 of this blog series.

Read part 3 of this blog series.


Photo credit: The Rockefeller Foundation

Are You Familiar with the Offshore GIC Hot Spots? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

If you said Asia Pac, great … but do you know what APAC is particularly good at? And do you know about available alternatives beyond APAC?

We all know location is half the battle (possibly the entire battle). But location selection is difficult – it’s not just about cost arbitrage, talent scalability, and sustainability, but also linguistic and cultural affinity.

The most mature location may not be the best fit for your company or your industry, and you definitely can’t toss a dart and hope to find the right location.

Here’s the battle plan – a map of GIC “hot spots.” Need multi-lingual support? Check out Central & Eastern Europe; Poland alone delivers services in more than 34 foreign languages. Need support in the Technology and Telecom industry? You might want to take a look at MEA (Middle East & Africa). While you’re there, check out Latin America, India, and the rest of Asia, too.

Click on the map to expand the image

GIC-Heatmap

 

Looking for more information on GICs? Check out these three resources:

Productivity Improvement or Cost Takeout – Pick Your Battle! | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

I wish I had a dollar – or a couple of aspirin – for every time I heard someone claim “20 percent productivity improvement” when all they had really done was move the work to a less expensive location. When they make these claims, they’re confusing cost takeout and productivity.

Cost takeout certainly has its uses, including:

  1. Moving work to a talent model with a flatter pyramid
  2. Getting fewer people to work faster/harder
  3. Offshoring

But cost takeout is not productivity, which is precisely what enterprises need to start thinking about, as most of them have already done all of the above, and then some.

As discussed in our recently released research report, “In Search of ADM Productivity,” productivity can be about (among myriad other things):

  1. Optimizing shared services organizational structures
  2. Standardizing and automating business processes, toolsets, and technologies
  3. Automating infrastructure and application deployment processes

In essence, productivity is an output-input ratio. Productivity improvement has been described as “doing more with less.” I believe a better definition would be “improved output-input ratio, by virtue of being done differently.”

Think about this distinction. Technology and sourcing leaders often talk about “the need to improve productivity.” And they then promptly start flogging the dead cost takeout horse, with roughly the same return as I get (exactly nothing) from listening to the “20 percent productivity gain from outsourcing” line.

The difference between the two is worth bearing in mind because identifying and focusing on the right productivity initiatives can bear startling benefits. Our research suggests as much as 20-50 percent incremental cost savings. More importantly, the emphasis on productivity can lead to increased agility and a focus on greater functionality as opposed to “managing the mess.”

The first step is to pick the right weapon, for the right battle. Or you could always stock up on more aspirin.

Slow Growth of GICs… Is the Model Losing Its Sheen? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

The Global In-house Center (GIC, formerly referred to as captives) market was once thriving with unprecedented statistics – 97 new GIC set-ups in 2009, 105 in 2010, and 103 in 2011. Then there was a dip, with only 75 new centers in 2012, and 69 in 2013. This, coupled with numerous acquisitions of GICs by service providers, (e.g., KBC Group’s financial arm by Cognizant, Bayer’s Indian IT operations by Capgemini, and Hutchison Whampoa’s India-based call center operations by Tech Mahindra), is likely to raise questions and concerns about the future of the in-house model.

GIC Landscape Report 2013-I1

Let us look at the ground realities of the GIC model’s growth and evolution:

  • Indeed, the rate of growth of GIC set-ups has slowed down. However, this can largely be attributed to a weak economic scenario and slow decision-making cycles, and should not be construed as weakening confidence in the GIC model. As the future outlook of the global economy is positive, we expect the GIC market to gain momentum in the near future
  • Established GICs are evolving in their journey to be a partner of their parent firms, rather than just an offshore cost-saving entity
  • The success of the GIC model in pioneer delivery locations such as India and the Philippines is leading buyers to explore and diversify to other locations
    • CEE countries are witnessing increased activity due to aggressive government incentives, the language advantage, and the nearshore proposition
    • Relatively untapped regions in the Middle East and Africa reported an astonishing eight GIC set-ups in the last year alone
    • Firms are expanding their GIC operations to tier-2 and 3 cities due to saturation in tier-1 cities in mature locations such as India

GIC Landscape Report 2013-I5

  • While the technology, manufacturing, distribution and retail, and BFSI industries continue to have a strong foothold, other verticals – such as conglomerates, business services, hospitality, and printing and publishing – have emerged to gain a noticeable share of the GIC market.

Further, while buyers’ moves from an outsourced to an in-house model rarely receive considerable fanfare, they do paint a picture of the health of the GIC model. For example, HP had been General Motor’s main IT vendor per a US$2 billion contract awarded in 2010, but in 2012 the automaker decided to insource a huge amount of its services as part of its new strategy, leaving HP with only a few. AstraZeneca plans to reduce its outsourcing work, which is currently spread across multiple Indian software service providers. BT plans to have more control of its processes by taking back its outsourcing contracts from service providers, and increasing its capacity in existing shared services centers in India and Malaysia.

The bottom line is that while GIC set-up growth may be slowing, the model continues to be an integral component of organizations’ sourcing strategy. Firms continue to leverage both sourcing models (service providers and GICs) based on best fit with their sourcing needs, cost and value objectives, and services demand profile.

For more insights on the GIC model landscape, please refer to our recently released report “Global In-house Center (GIC) Landscape Annual Report 2013.” The report provides a deep-dive into the GIC landscape and a year-on-year analysis of the GIC trends in 2013, comparing them with trends in the last two years. The research also delivers key insights into the GIC market across locations, verticals, and functions, and concludes with an assessment of strategic priorities for GICs.

How Organizations Often Fail to Measure Their Global Sourcing Maturity | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Leading bank – “We have grown our sourcing footprint to over 20,000 FTEs across multiple locations in the last 15 years. We definitely have a mature global sourcing model.”

Leading insurer – “We have evolved in the way we source global services, from transactional work to highly complex and niche services. Ours is a highly mature global sourcing model.”

Leading retailer – “We started our global sourcing journey only five years back by outsourcing our IT work. We are still struggling to define if there is a GIC play needed in our global sourcing model, which most of our peers have adopted. I think our global sourcing strategy is still in its nascent stages.”

Everest Group hears statements similar to the above on a regular basis from many of our enterprise/buyer clients. That’s because most organizations measure the maturity of their global sourcing model in terms of a few simple metrics, like scale, age, type of work, and models adopted.

While FTE scale is often the most commonly used yardstick to measure the global sourcing maturity, in our experience it’s the most misleading one. Why? Most organizations fail to understand global sourcing components beyond scale, scope, and model (GIC vs. third-party.) But we believe global sourcing is a much more complex play of multiple factors, and that an organization’s approach toward each of them helps determine its overall maturity.

The following diagram depicts the factors that are important to assessing the sophistication and maturity of global sourcing model of enterprises.

Global Sourcing Maturity

First, scale. Yes it is an important aspect, and to a large extent indicates the level of investments and commitment to the model. However, on an absolute basis, scale alone can be misleading. When the same number is viewed as a percentage of headcount in back-office/middle-office functions in an enterprise, it represents the true penetration of global sourcing model. For example, two organizations with similar global sourcing FTE scale can have different (%) values for global sourcing penetration.

Other important components of global sourcing that can determine its maturity are:

  • Scope of work: Both breadth and depth of work sourced are important to assessing maturity. However, more important is the approach through which organizations decide the scope of work to be sourced. Mature organizations have defined frameworks/toolkits to achieve this, and make decisions based on assessment of risk and benefits while avoiding any stakeholder biases.

  • Sourcing model strategy: Does using both sourcing models (GIC and third-party), and even their complex avatars such as virtual GIC, make the sourcing model mature? Not really! Irrespective of the model, the measure of sophistication is in the manner it is used to achieve sourcing objectives, the type of engagement with the model (strategic partners versus provider of services), and approach to model selection.

  • Value beyond arbitrage: Mature adopters of global sourcing have moved beyond the cost savings-only play and are looking to create wider business impact through their sourcing strategy.

  • Location portfolio: Leveraging India or the Philippines does not make any organization more or less mature. The hallmark of mature organizations is their ability to build a location portfolio instead of a “collection of locations.” Each location in the portfolio has a designated role, and helps meet one or more global sourcing goals (e.g., savings, access to niche talent, risk diversification, etc.)

  • Demand management approach: This is often the most neglected parameter, or the one in which organizations tend to have a myopic view. Immature enterprises not only lack demand-profiling skills, but also tend to take a short-term view (12-18 months). Mature enterprises take a longer-term view, and align the demand for global sourcing with the organization’s overall business and growth plans.

  • Risk & performance measurement: Successful and mature organizations measure risk as well as performance of the global sourcing strategy, and leverage it to influence/inform their future global sourcing initiatives.

  • Sourcing organization: Last but not the least, the sourcing organization (or lack of it) is also a determinant of sourcing maturity. Successful organizations are able to create a distinct yet well-amalgamated team which can not only bring together sourcing needs of multiple BUs/LOBs in the organization, but also make the sourcing program efficient and effective.

The next time you hear someone make a comment about the maturity of an organization’s global sourcing strategy, point him or her to this blog. Remember that not all organizations have the maturity to measure maturity!

If you would like to know more about our global sourcing maturity assessment methodologies, share your experiences, or have a discussion on this with one of our analysts, please contact us.

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