Tag

IT service providers

Cognizant’s jobs cuts to be focused on middle levels | In the News

By | In The News

ET had reported that Cognizant is considering job cuts, the size of which is yet to be determined. The Teaneck, New Jersey-headquartered firm said its headcount growth had outstripped revenue growth in the past two quarters. CEO Brian Humphries, who took over in April, said the company would work towards lowering the cost of delivery through “pyramid actions”.

“What we are see in the issues at Cognizant is the result of the misguided commitments that the previous leadership team made to the street under the influence of Eliott, combined with secular troubles in Cognizant’s two key industry verticals health insurance and Banking,” Peter Bendor Samuel, CEO of IT consultancy Everest Research, said.

Read more in Economic Times

How to Get More Innovation from Your IT Outsourcer | In the News

By | In The News

While cost containment and performance improvements have long been primary drivers for IT services decisions, the desire for disruptive solutions is eclipsing those traditional rationales. IT leaders are seeking innovation — not only internally but from outsourcing partners — as they look to help the business become more agile and adaptive, create new products and services, and enter new markets.

Jimit Arora shares his thoughts with CIO.

5 Types of Outsourcing Providers — and How to Get the Most from Them | In the News

By | In The News

As corporate technology leaders pursue their digital transformation strategies, many are looking to IT service providers as potential partners in those change efforts. However, a one-size-fits-all approach to outsourcing providers is not likely to serve CIOs well in meeting innovation goals. In fact, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in the digital change era.

“Traditionally, size was a good proxy for capability, especially when technology was viewed fundamentally as an enabler of efficiency,” says Jimit Arora, partner in Everest Group’s IT Services practice. “Companies had rules about not wanting to work with companies below a certain size or scale threshold citing governance or risk capabilities.” However, as rapidly advancing technology capabilities have emerged as key enablers of business differentiation and growth, CIOs are finding that they instead need different types of IT services providers to meet all of their needs.

Read more in CIO

Everest Group Announces Winners of 2018 IT Service Provider of the Year Awards | Press Release

By | Press Releases

Everest Group names 10 new challengers to the top 20 IT service providers, as stalwarts Accenture, Cognizant, IBM, TCS and Wipro lead the industry for the third consecutive year.

Everest Group—a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services and sourcing—today announced the winners of the 2018 PEAK Matrix Service Provider of the Year™ awards for IT services. The awards, now in their third year, recognize IT service providers who have demonstrated consistent leadership in the PEAK Matrix™ reports issued by Everest Group in the previous year.

Topping the 2018 Top 20 ITS Service Providers list are Accenture, TCS, Cognizant, Wipro and IBM, in that order. Accenture retains its position at the top of the leaderboard for the second year, and TCS moves up to second place (from fourth), leapfrogging Cognizant and IBM, who take the third-and fifth-place spots, respectively. Wipro claims the No. 4 spot, improving from fifth-place ranking in 2017.

***All winners are listed in the report, “2018 PEAK Matrix Service Provider of the Year Awards” available for complimentary download here.***

“Throughout the year, Everest Group evaluates service providers who are distinguishing themselves in the eyes of enterprises with their innovative service strategies,” said Jimit Arora, partner at Everest Group. “We also evaluate the service providers’ market success, their business strategies and how they are investing in the future. By taking all of that into account, these PEAK Matrix Service Provider of the Year awards recognize the IT providers that truly set themselves apart.”

New for this year’s awards, Everest Group names the Top 10 ITS Challengers—service providers with less than US$2 billion in annual revenue who are credible partners for enterprises in the digital-first era. LTI, Virtusa and Syntel top the inaugural list.

“Although smaller in size, these challengers are credible alternatives to the leading players in the industry in certain niches,” said Abhishek Singh, practice director at Everest Group. “Challengers have successful service strategies that focus on specific solution segments, geographies or industries that align well with enterprise needs.”

Everest Group also identifies Top Leaders and Star Performers in five market segments: Healthcare and Life Sciences (HLS); Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI); Cloud and Infrastructure Services (CIS); Application Services (AS); and Digital Services (DS). These honors are awarded to IT service providers who appeared in “Leader” or “Star Performers” positions most prevalently within the previous year’s PEAK Matrix reports specific to that segment.

Companies recognized either as Leaders of the Year, Star Performers of the Year, or both, include Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, IBM, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro.

Other Findings of Note

NTT Data made the most impressive move up the rankings, moving up ten places from No. 20 to No. 10. Seven additional service providers improved their rankings:

  • TCS moved from No. 4 to No. 2.
  • Wipro moved from No. 5 to No. 4.
  • Infosys moved from No. 9 to No. 7.
  • Tech Mahindra moved from No. 14 to No. 12.
  • LTI moved from No. 16 to No. 13.
  • Virtusa moved from No. 15 to No. 14.
  • Syntel moved from No. 17 to No. 16.

New entrants to the ITS Top 20 list include Mphasis (No. 17) and Genpact (No. 20), and there were no exits from the list. DXC Technologies—a merged entity of CSC and HPE, both previous members of the list—appears for the first time at No. 9.

In 2017, Everest Group published 24 PEAK Matrix reports, evaluating a total of 67 service providers in various segments of the IT services market.

About the PEAK Matrix™

The Everest Group PEAK Matrix is a proprietary framework for assessing the relative market success and overall capability of service providers based on Performance, Experiences, Ability and Knowledge. Each service provider is comparatively assessed on two dimensions: market success and delivery capabilities. Market success is measured by revenue, number of clients and year-over-year growth. Delivery capability is measured by scale of operations, scope, technology and innovation, delivery footprint and buyer satisfaction. The resulting matrix categorizes service providers as Leaders, Major Contenders, and Aspirants. Companies that demonstrate strong upward movement in successive reports are recognized as Star Performers.

Accenture passes Cognizant as top IT outsourcer | In the News

By | In The News

The top six outsourcers on Everest Group’s second annual ranking of the best IT service providers of the year remained unchanged since 2016. But Accenture rose to the top of the list in 2017, besting last year’s No. 1 Cognizant.

“Both are largely neck to neck,” said Abhishek Singh, IT services practice director at Everest Group. “However, this time, Accenture broke away from the pack because of what they achieved on IoT, SaaS implementation, and private cloud enablement.”

Read more in Computerworld

How Low Can They Go? Pricing and Margin Pressures Abound for IT Service Providers | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog, Digital Transformation

The business environment in which today’s IT service providers are operating is one of the most challenging in recent times. A host of buy- and supply-side factors are impacting the prices they can feasibly and competitively charge their enterprise clients in the U.S., and their margins are being constricted at every turn.

On the buy-side, ongoing commodity slowdown led to overall softening in the global services market in 2016. Uncertainties created by Brexit in mid-year and the U.S. elections in Q4 delayed decisions on new sourcing contracts and temporary cuts in discretionary spending in SI type engagements.

The quantum of large application outsourcing (AO)/systems integration (SI) deals (>US$100 million annual contract value, or ACV) as a percent of total deals fell from 3.3 percent in 2015 to a low of 1.7 percent in 2016, reducing the pricing cushion typically afforded by large deals. And because enterprises continue to maintain a portfolio of preferred AO vendors to foster price competitiveness and innovation, resulting in a price war for deals, the average ACV in AO deals dropped by ~20% in 2016.

Most enterprises are optimizing their portfolios of contracted relationships to reduce overall TCO by improving nomenclatures, rates, service levels, T&Cs, productivity, etc., leading to a dip in realized revenue per FTE for providers.

Additional downward pressure on realized revenue per FTE has resulted from an increase in brownfield automation, especially in compete situations and second generation renewals. And renewals fell sharply, from 55 percent in 2015 to just 27 percent in 2016, driving price wars among providers.

On the supply-side, although resource utilization increased for Tier 1 service providers from ~80 percent in 2015 to >82 percent in 2016, it is beginning to max out as a delivery optimization lever. Consequently, providers are trying to achieve higher efficiencies and sustain margins via better project planning, DevOps, agile staffing, and proactive use of automation.

 

Pricing pressures and automaiton and digital solutions for IT enterprises and service providers

There is extreme competition in most rebid and re-compete situations, which has led to an overall decline in pricing. We saw an average dip of 1-2 percent in AO /SI FTE rate cards, but bigger dips in overall account-level TCVs. And per rate cards, some enterprises have pushed for single onshore rate card that doesn’t delineate between local and landed resources, leading to cheaper onshore rates. That said, the new U.S. government may push for more onshore hiring and localized presence, including sanctions on landed resources. This may push onshore rates higher, marginalize the landed resource model, and put additional margin pressures on service providers in the second half of 2017.

All this paints a pretty gloomy picture for IT service providers. However, they have started pivoting towards a digital first future, which can help stem their margin and profit erosion, and reverse the worrisome growth deceleration. Most are growing their top line and/or capability portfolio inorganically. Most are also investing in and pitching automation capabilities in a bullish manner. While this may led to a near-term cannibalization of their traditional offerings, in the medium- to long-term it will help sustain their margins in a price competitive landscape.

Do you believe that a digital first pivot will help service providers get back to double digit growth rates?

From Labor Arbitrage to Digital Arbitrage: Shareholder Value in the New IT World | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

By | Blog, Onshoring, Outsourcing

Recently, corporate developments, such as management changes, corporate governance, and investor activism across Indian IT service providers, have bombarded the investor community. Many investors perceive the initiatives taken by these companies to be a watershed moment in their histories.

Furthermore, with next generation automation, digital services, artificial intelligence (AI), and other disruptors creating massive, requisite, and unavoidable change in the IT services industry, investors and service providers are in increasingly opposing schools of thought. However, many of the investment firms we work with struggle to correlate these developments with their investments and returns.

Given the scale of the IT industry and the pace of disruption happening in the entire ecosystem, it’s valuable to take a few minutes to dissect and analyze the situation.

Growth vs. profitability equation – digital arbitrage vs. labor arbitrage

For the past two decades, Indian IT service providers have reported a stellar net profit margin in the range of 18-25 percent. The business grew on the investments made in human resources. The players achieved impressive returns primarily due to their grip on labor arbitrage. The investor community embraced the stocks, and experienced significant returns. For instance, an investment of US$350 in one of the top Indian IT service providers in 1992 would have yielded US$377,643 in 2015!

The emerging IT services model – driven by digital disruptors – gives little emphasis to labor arbitrage or the providers’ earlier factory model, and instead focuses on innovation and value creation for enterprises that extends far beyond greater efficiency. Not many IT service providers have demonstrated a mindset aligned to these new requirements. They are still hesitant to loosen their noose on profitability, as they set investor expectations very high with their earlier business model.

What is bothering investors?

Investment firms we work with believe that most disruptive technologies will drive lower profitability for Indian IT service providers likely in the 8-15 percent net profit range. They also believe that technology disruption will not allow the same level of offshoring as before, and will further erode profitability.

As most of the Indian IT service providers have zero debt and own huge piles of cash, investors think they should receive distributions in the form of dividends. Their demand is stronger when they learn the providers are going to invest in low-margin digital businesses, as they believe they will not receive the optimal reward they are due.

A twist

Believing that the market is undervaluing their stocks, IT service providers are planning share buybacks, spinning them as a way to reward shareholders. However, they actually plan to reduce tax leakages caused by dividend distribution, as Indian tax law stipulates they pay a 15 percent Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) on dividends paid. Additionally, the share buybacks help them increase their control over the company.

What is the reality?

Both these opposing schools of thought fail to think in the long term.

Investors looking for dividends aren’t acknowledging Berkshire Hathaway’s theory of dividends. If a business can deliver promising returns in the long-run, dividends act as a negative catalyst for growth. In an attempt to pacify their investors, most of whom are technology novices, most Indian IT service companies are relabeling their old offerings as “digital.” Instead of dividends, investors need to ask IT service providers’ leadership tough questions on how they plan to use their large cash piles relative to their IP, platforms, acquisition, talent development, and client relationship strategies. How do they plan to differentiate in this crowded market? When large-scale offshore development centers fail to provide the needed competitive advantage, what does their armory contain to create shareholder value?

The way in which IT service providers are surrendering to investor pressures gives the impression that they are not willing to utilize their cash for digital technology investments. This in turn reinforces the popular opinion that Indian IT service providers are not confident enough to tide over the current transition. That some of the providers are distributing cash instead of putting the money in beneficial investments is making some market observers uncomfortable.

Furthermore, if the providers are not planning to distribute cash, they must ensure that they use the money for useful investments rather than just share buybacks. This is a win-win situation, as the providers get a boost to their topline and ability to endure the current business transition, and shareholders get maximized wealth in the long term. Net-net, firms that invest wisely are going to withstand the changeover, while those that use their cash piles to temporarily shut out investors are likely to witness a tough time.

Are these companies capable of implementing the business model?

As the adage goes, easier said than done. Although service providers are vocal about re-skilling employees opening onshore centers focused on digital services, the viability of these initiatives are questionable. The majority of these companies have amateur design thinking capabilities, and their DNA is around supplying people, not innovation and strategic partnerships. Indeed, in our recently published report “Customer (Dis) Satisfaction: Why Are Enterprises Unhappy with the Service Providers,” enterprises only gave providers a score of five out of 10 on their strategic partnering abilities.

Only time will tell whether service providers made the right move in distributing cash or investing in low-margin businesses.