Tag: locations

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].

5 Ways to Transform Your Workforce and Location Strategy Amid Global Uncertainties | Webinar


5 Ways to Transform Your Workforce and Location Strategy Amid Global Uncertainties

Access the on-demand webinar, which was delivered live on May 24, 2022.

If you’re a workforce leader and you feel overwhelmed or in search of solutions because of our current talent market, you’re not alone. The uncertain geopolitical climate in Europe, talent markets with high inflation in Asia-Pacific and North America, increasing macroeconomic risks in Latin America and MEA, and rising customer expectations globally are leaving most talent executives at a standstill.

In this on-demand webinar, our experts offer key insights that talent leaders can use to readjust their workforce strategies and raise their odds of success.

Participants learn:

  • Which key trends and shifts in the global delivery locations landscape you should know
  • How to insulate your delivery portfolio from increasing geopolitical and macroeconomic risks
  • If the offshoring cost arbitrage is sustainable
  • How to maximize resiliency in your delivery locations portfolio
  • Which locations you should invest in right now, and which locations should you stay away from

Who should attend?

  • Workforce strategy leaders
  • CHROs
  • Delivery leaders
  • GBS executives
  • Sourcing executives
  • Strategy executives

Is Africa the New Global Talent Pool? | In the News

As businesses resume on-site work, hiring prospects are showing an upward trend across the major economies citing the attrition that happened during the pandemic. Under such circumstances, can the unexplored employment market of Africa fill-up the talent pool? Parul Jain, Practice Director at Everest Group, states that Africa possesses the potential to fill up the talent gap. However, citing the economic structure, she is of the view that geography calls for investments.

Read more in People Matters

Will Ukraine’s Invasion Have a Domino Effect on Other Geopolitical Equations? | Blog

The Russian military action in Ukraine has already significantly impacted thousands of services jobs in this region, but the potential reverberations to nearshore European countries and the larger global services industry could be far more damaging – making it essential to integrate geopolitical risk management in your decision-making now. Learn the immediate steps to protect against risks during these increasingly unpredictable times as we continue our expert analysis on this critical issue.   

In our recent blog, we wrote about service delivery risk in Ukraine. Since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, almost 150 companies operating out of the region supporting IT, Engineering, and Business Process services have ceased or at least suspended operations in the region, impacting thousands of jobs.

But the crisis is not limited to Ukraine, Russia, or even Belarus. Several Eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania are directly impacted. These neighboring countries are taking in refugees, providing financial aid, declaring states of emergency, preparing for military confrontation, and most importantly, witnessing a significant drop in employee morale as individuals and families experience anxiety over the recent events.

These nearshore European countries – Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – collectively host nearly ~1.5 million Full-time Equivalents (FTEs) in global services delivery, accounting for 15-18% of the total global services workforce worldwide.

We are advising our clients that significantly rely on Central Eastern Europe to stress test their Business Continuity Planning (BCP) strategies at the same time hoping that the ongoing conflict doesn’t escalate to the neighboring countries.

But while we hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst. One of the lessons from this crisis is to not assume that diplomats have everything under control. The events of the past few weeks are extremely disturbing and could embolden authoritarian leaders in some of the other countries.

Below is our analysis of some of the hostile geopolitical equations globally that could impact the global services industry in the event of a major escalation in the associated countries:

  Risk scenario Likelihood Locations impacted Global services Impact

(number of centers and FTEs)

Key players with large footprint
1. Russia versus NATO High Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia ~1,000 centers

1.5 million FTEs

Amazon, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Dell, Microsoft, E&Y, Nokia, Huawei, IBM, HCL, Cognizant, Accenture
2. China versus Taiwan

Or direct US versus China

Medium-High Taiwan (directly)

China (if US imposes sanctions on China)

~400 centers

320,000 FTEs

Barclays, Citigroup, ExxonMobil, HSBC, Microsoft, Accenture, Capgemini, Tech Mahindra
3. Gulf tensions – Iran versus US and Israel Medium Mainly Iran.

Could impact Kuwait, Iraq, and Lebanon in case of escalations in the region

~100 centers Alibaba, Apple, AT&T, General Motors, Volkswagen, LG Electronics, Accenture, Genpact, IBM, HCL
4. India versus Pakistan Medium-low Locations in Northern and Western parts of India (including capital city); Northwestern region of Pakistan ~2,000 centers

3.1 million FTEs

Amazon, Bank of America, Citigroup, Ford Motors, Dell, Nestle, Microsoft, Accenture, TCS, Wipro, IBM
5. India versus China Medium-low Locations in Northern parts of India; major global services hubs in China are too far out from border regions ~2,500 centers

3.3 million FTEs

Citigroup, ExxonMobil, HSBC, Ford Motors, Nestle, Microsoft, TCS, Wipro, IBM, Capgemini, Tech Mahindra

Risk management actions to take

While we can only hope that none of the above-mentioned scenarios take place, organizations need to be well-prepared to manage the risk impacts. Everest Group advises the following:

  • Move geopolitical risk management up your enterprise agenda
    • New risks require newer risk management systems. While most global companies invoke reactive measures to the changing risk environment, they lack integrated capabilities for managing the cross-enterprise impact of geopolitical risk. Integrate geopolitical risk management into a systematic process and move risk functions beyond the formal views of governance/administration to influence your firm’s core strategy
    • Deploy refreshed risk management mechanisms and take a portfolio view of risks to better understand the implications and interdependencies
    • Empower risk management teams with access to geopolitical intelligence relevant for not just short-term, but long-term challenges and opportunities. Ensure that updated assessments and implications of geopolitical risks regularly feed into the decision-making machinery across the firm
  • Anticipate business-risk implications
    • Examine and understand potential business consequences of geopolitical risks. More often than not, geopolitical movements lead to regulatory changes (e.g., sanctions), thereby impacting corporate risk exposure, with implications for tax rates, cross-border trade, and exchange-transfer risk
    • Scan the horizon for changing sanctions and resultant changes to your third-party ecosystem
  • Rehearse and stress-test the readiness of contingency plans regularly
    • Consistently run tests of work from home and other BCP models to ensure familiarity and effectiveness (in terms of devices, connectivity, collaboration, and project management tools)
  • Strengthen digital security and ensure tech readiness
    • Cyber risks are increasingly associated with political origins, including war and terrorism. Keep a hawk-eye on potential threats related to cybersecurity and invest in strengthening network infrastructures and stronger encryption algorithms to insulate against potential cyberattacks
    • Be aware that historical evidence suggests that cyberattacks are not restricted to just the conflicted zones and often spill over, causing collateral damage in neighboring countries and also putting them at risk
  • Maximize delivery portfolio resiliency
    • Diversification is becoming mission-critical. Instead of operating large hubs in one or two locations, look to dip toes in multiple talent pools across locations (while simultaneously assessing fragmentation risks)
    • Reassess your Global Business Services (GBS)/shared services and vendor portfolio to ensure enough overlap and redundancy across both operational and management processes
    • Invest in process simplification and re-design to reduce hand-offs, decision-points, and dependence on people
  • Increase BCP-led talent management
    • Cross-skill/cross-train the workforce across centers in critical processes to enhance BCP and resilience, and manage workloads in case of a country/center work stoppage scenario
    • Maintain select forms of dispersed/distributed workforce (not co-located with delivery centers). Examples include remote working models or “pods,” contingent and gig workforces

The nature of geopolitical risk is changing and becoming increasingly unpredictable. It is now imperative for organizations to integrate geopolitical risk management in decision-making processes across the organization.

If you have questions or would like to discuss this topic, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

As we continue to watch the events in Ukraine, you can access our  resource center where you’ll find our consolidated coverage of this evolving situation, or watch our LinkedIn Live event, “How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery.

The Impact of Climate Change on International Business Strategies – Why Corporations Should Pay Attention | Blog

Acknowledging the reality of the current climate crisis, forward-looking corporations are adopting business strategies to make their organizations more resilient to its far-reaching consequences. Climate change can directly impact employee well-being, service delivery location decisions, and other critical business operations. Read on to gain a better understanding of its short- and long-term impacts and what to consider.     

“Jakarta is sinking,” screamed headlines as Indonesia announced moving its capital 2,000 kilometers northeast to Nusantara, on the island of Borneo. The move that could cost Indonesia upwards of $30 billion is driven by concerns of Jakarta’s submergence by 2050. Jakarta could be the first of many cities to be adversely impacted by climate change.

The debate on climate change has moved from whether it is real to when will it impact us. Climate change has become inescapable. The discussion on climate change featured primarily in social media, conferences, academia, and educational institutes have moved to boardrooms. Corporates are increasingly concerned about the short- and long-term impact climate change can have on their businesses.

Facing pressure from employees, customers, and investors to act on climate change, corporations are increasingly forced to acknowledge climate change’s economic, physical, and operational impact on their business and human capital.

Weather warnings

Hotter summers, colder winters, and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events like storms, hurricanes, and floods are all signs of the climate crisis. According to multiple studies, the earth’s surface temperature has seen the highest increase in the last 40 years, with 10 of the warmest years occurring post-2005. Scientists worldwide have reported record ice cap melting and glacier retreats.

The exponential increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters should be a more pressing concern. In 2020 and 2021, the world has seen a spike in natural disasters in the last few years, with a five-fold increase over 50 years. Climate change has led to warmer temperatures, leading to more frequent heatwaves and droughts. Sea levels have been rising steadily, coupled with frequent coastal region flooding.

Corporations taking notice

Corporations are now acknowledging that climate change can have a significant impact on business functions. Extreme weather events in recent years have disrupted business operations and resulted in the loss of human life, physical assets, and infrastructure.

Companies are trying to think beyond the short-term consequences already being felt and understand the long-term effects of climate change on international business strategies. In addition to business disruptions, climate change can have implications on employees’ mental and physical well-being and, in extreme cases, loss of life. In most companies, especially the global services industry, human capital is the most critical asset. Climate change can significantly impact business operations due to lower productivity, loss of work hours, and possible higher attrition rates.

As companies acknowledge climate change’s direct and indirect business impacts, the more forward-thinking companies have started adopting plans to make themselves more resilient to climate change and its consequences. Although this is just the beginning, a lot more needs to be done in terms of workforce and location strategies.

Location strategies need to consider climate change

Most companies are still more focused on the short-term, like building climate-resilient buildings and reinforcing existing infrastructure to make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Location strategy is a long-term decision with significant investment and sunk costs. Once a company decides to start delivery operations from a particular location, it is an irreversible long-term decision due to the high capital and labor investment.

Companies will have to consider the impact of climate change on future location strategy decision making, which traditionally includes talent, cost arbitrage, and conventional operating and business environment parameters. Climate change impacts different regions, locations, and geographies differently. Although two locations might be neighboring coastal cities, the impact of climate change could differ depending on the landscape.

Hence, it is paramount for companies to understand the effects of climate change on the particular location they are accessing and the degree of its impact. The holistic, long-term assessment should consider historical and predicted climate patterns, government mitigation measures and their effectiveness, and geographic factors.

In our recent viewpoint, Impact of Climate Change on Delivery Location Sustainability, we cover climate change’s impact on significant delivery locations around the world, across multiple parameters including rising temperatures, heatwaves, floods, hurricanes, storms, and rising sea levels with qualitative insights on select sites. The report provides a high-level view on short-term and long-term risk management measures to mitigate the effects of climate change on companies and employees.

To discuss further, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].

Also, don’t miss our webinar, 5 Success-driving Actions: How to Unlock Untapped, Affordable Talent, exploring key talent strategies in various geographies.

Global Locations State of the Market Report 2022: Talent Drives Global Location Strategies | Locations PEAK Matrix®

Global Location Strategies Driven by Talent

The global services market witnessed an increase in activity in 2021, and 2022 looks positive from a growth perspective. Offshoring/nearshoring has seen an uptick as enterprises embark on a road to recovery post the pandemic.

Across the globe, Asia Pacific continues to dominate the global services space as major tier-1 Indian cities maintain their Leader positions, and the Philippines continues to remain a Leader for contact center and transactional BPS work. China is primarily leveraged for digital functions around cloud, cybersecurity, analytics, and engineering/R&D services, and EMEA, Poland, and Ireland continue to be locations of choice for IT-BP delivery. Within the Americas, Canada continues to witness growth in terms of new centers setups and capabilities development to serve the North American market at a moderate cost arbitrage over the leading US markets. Colombia is a Leader for transactional BPS delivery, and Mexico and Argentina continue to maintain Major Contender positions for most functions.

The Global Locations State of the Market Report 2022 describes the global services locations landscape and examines location-related developments and trends to design a best-fit locations portfolio strategy.

DOWNLOAD THE Global Locations State of the Market Report 2022: Talent Drives Global Location Strategies | Locations PEAK Matrix®

The Scope of the Global Locations State of the Market Report 2022: Talent Drives Global Location Strategies, includes:
  • Key trends shaping the global services landscape
  • Risk watch
  • Locations PEAK Matrix®: features an objective, data-driven, and comparative assessment of locations specific to a market segment (function and process)

What is in this PEAK Matrix® Report:

This report presents insights into market size and growth, global services exports by region and country, locations activity by region and country, and trends affecting global locations (changes in the investment environment, key developments globally, and changes in the exposure to various risks).

LEARN MORE ABOUT Global Location Strategies State of the Market Report 2022

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What is the PEAK Matrix®?

The PEAK Matrix® provides an objective, data-driven assessment of service and technology providers based on their overall capability and market impact across different global services markets, classifying them into three categories: Leaders, Major Contenders, and Aspirants.


How the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Can Impact Customer Experience Management Services and Alternative Locations to Consider for CXM Outsourcing | Blog

With Eastern Europe serving as a major hub for Customer Experience Management (CXM), the Russia-Ukraine crisis poses a serious threat to service delivery. Now is the time for enterprises with large presences in this region to diversify delivery locations and mitigate risks.

Read on for our expert analysis on the state of CXM outsourcing here, the potential disruptions, and alternative countries to consider for multilingual customer service and tech support to ensure continued CXM services.      

Just as the world was looking to emerge from the global pandemic that caused a seismic shift in work and collaboration models, another highly disruptive crisis looms on the horizon. The recent geopolitical developments in Ukraine and Russia have caused the whole world to take notice, and with new sanctions kicking in every day, many are already preparing for adverse scenarios.

Given that this rift involves nuclear heavyweights in Russia and the NATO countries, the consequences could be far-reaching for the entire world. Consequently, these tense developments have created a lot of uncertainty and consternation for companies having a presence in the affected region.

Eastern Europe, which forms the immediate vicinity of Ukraine, is a major hub for delivering a plethora of customer experience management services for end-users both within and outside this region. Let’s take a look at the potential impacts to CXM outsourcing and alternative locations for CXM services.

Eastern European region CXM snapshot

As a strategic location for CXM services, eastern Europe offers strong multilingual capabilities, relatively inexpensive skilled talent, and cultural similarities and a minor time difference to western Europe. Leading global enterprises and Europe-focused players have a significant footprint in this region, putting them at risk in the current situation. The heatmap below illustrates the country-wise vulnerability index based on the number of delivery centers and corresponding CX agents present in each of them.

Screenshot 2022 03 23 084703

Potential CXM services disruptions and alternate solutions

Due to its skilled and relatively inexpensive IT talent pool, Eastern Europe is highly leveraged for its multilingual support for not only the regional languages such as Russian, Czech, Serbian, etc. but also for many of the major west European languages such as German, French, English, Spanish, and Italian. Poland and Romania also are sizeable talent sources for technical support.

Major cities in Ukraine such as Kyiv and Dnipro have been the most severely impacted by the armed conflict with Russia, and enterprises must accelerate Business Continuity Planning (BCP) measures to relocate affected CXM agents to safer parts of the country or outside of Ukraine to provide immediate relief.

If the conflict escalates beyond the borders of Ukraine in the coming weeks, major cities in Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria – which have the highest concentration of CXM delivery centers – could also be directly impacted.

We also envision a potential threat of cybersecurity breaches in Ukraine, inevitably causing collateral damage to its neighboring countries as well. While no one can foresee how the situation will unfold or its duration, enterprise clients must stay well informed and start devising backup scenarios and activate disaster recovery plans if needed. Although we believe the disruption will be temporary, a long-protracted war can’t be ruled out.

Alternative locations for CXM support services

Considering the uncertainty and volatility, let’s look at some viable alternate locations to help enterprises mitigate their emerging risks:

  • Multilingual customer support – Enterprises should consider new offshore and onshore locations to support major European languages for CXM outsourcing, as illustrated below:
  • Tech support – The best strategy for enterprises is keeping their complex tech-related support in-house through onshore locations. However, for simpler queries, alternative nearshore locations such as South Africa and Egypt offer similar advantages that Eastern European locations can provide at lower price points without any dip in the talent pool. Even offshore locations such as India and the Philippines are suitable alternatives to consider as long-term tech support outsourcing locations

Mitigate risks

The last two years have taught enterprises the glaring importance of risk mitigation as a strategic priority to ensure service continuity, and this year seems to be behaving no differently. Customer experience has established itself as a true differentiator for enterprises of all sizes and shapes in every industry. As such, ensuring that customer support services run unhindered is vital for enterprises to achieve their business outcomes.

Now, more than ever, diversification of service delivery locations will become increasingly relevant to counteract the rising instability that the current geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as similar such events could bring in the future.

While we hope that this devastating humanitarian crisis comes to an end as soon as possible, enterprises that closely re-examine their service delivery footprints and proactively mitigate their risks will be better positioned to absorb any shockwaves that could potentially arise in the coming months.

With the continuing escalating events, it is important to stay informed on the latest developments in this region. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to discuss your situation and solutions.

Discover more about the impacts to the service delivery ecosystem in our LinkedIn Live event, How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery.

You can also keep up on the impact of service delivery from Ukraine and the CEE region in our  resource center where you’ll find our consolidated coverage.

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.

Decoding the Location Mystery for Technology Services Talent Delivery | Blog

The technology surge has created a talent war for digital skills, making selecting the right service delivery locations more crucial than ever. Where should enterprises look to find the human capital they need now and for the future? Read on to discover the hot spots for tech talent in the Asia-Pacific, EMEA, and Americas.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created soaring demand for emerging technologies such as cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), data science, Internet of Things (IoT), Natural Language Processing (NLP), blockchain, and 5G.

But the biggest obstacle to adopting these emerging technologies is talent.

With the huge tech demand and unmet talent supply, developing delivery portfolios that provide a continuous pool of high-quality employees that have the innovation capacity to fulfill digital growth agendas is critical to gaining a competitive edge.

Based on our latest research, here are some of the established and emerging talent tech hubs to watch:

Top Markets for Technology Services Talent

Asia-Pacific (APAC)

Large talent availability and significant cost arbitrage over other regions continue to make Asia the location of choice for technology services. India has seen the most growth for new centers and the talent pool, followed by China and Singapore.


India remains the preferred location for large-scale technology services delivery. Over the past few years, it has experienced the highest growth in new setups and existing center expansions. Several leading enterprises have set up Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and innovation centers focused on emerging technologies primarily driven by an increased focus on digital, IT, and engineering/R&D services and to support new products and services development.

While Tier 1 cities remained the most desired locations within India, Tier 2 cities also experienced an uptick due to rising demand for high-quality IT skilled talent and work from home emerging as the new delivery model. Companies and investment promotion agencies remain bullish on the growth in the technology services industry in the coming years as emerging technologies use-cases of cloud, AI, and cybersecurity will become mainstream.


China traditionally has been a strong engineering/R&D hub and continues to see heavy traction from global players setting up engineering/R&D, IT centers, and innovation CoEs. While the pandemic outbreak led leading technology firms such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to temporarily shut down operations in China, activity regained its momentum in the second half of 2021, experiencing significant new center setups for the technology services industry. A major part of the growth was driven by Information, Communication, and Telecom (ICT) companies, primarily focused on establishing centers for Engineering Research and Development (ER&D) such as product development and electric mobility, and digital technologies like AI, IoT, and data analytics.

Going forward, long-term tailwinds such as the growth of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ), government initiatives focusing on Made in China 2025 policies, growth of e-commerce, increased technology adoption, and high export demand for technology developed in China will largely drive growth in the technology services industry.

Other prominent locations: Singapore and Malaysia are other areas in APAC to consider for talent that are undergoing significant technology service industry growth.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

Several countries within the EMEA region offer highly attractive value propositions to market players for global services delivery. While the majority of Western European countries have achieved a fairly mature technology ecosystem, Ireland offers a significant cost arbitrage compared to others and is highly leveraged by multiple players. Further, the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region has experienced significant growth in the technology sector, primarily driven by the availability of high-quality technology talent and a mature startup ecosystem. Poland is often recognized as the technology hub of CEE, witnessing maximum traction from global players.

Most African and Middle Eastern countries have low delivery maturity for technology services. However, Israel has emerged as a leading location primarily due to the robust startup ecosystem and government initiatives to advance and develop a competitive edge in the technology space.

Ireland: Global companies are selecting Ireland for a mix of IT, Business Process (BP), and ER&D services, with most of the activity driven by technology firms, primarily to set up ER&D centers and digital CoEs across areas such as AI, cloud, and analytics. Going forward, AI and automation are the key focus areas for the Irish technology industry.

Poland: Poland continues to be the largest global delivery hub in nearshore Europe because of its strong cost-talent proposition, ability to support multi-functional centers, and strong government support. It even surpasses some of the developed technology markets such as Japan for global technology services delivery.  Multiple players have chosen Poland to set up innovation hubs for complex IT, R&D/engineering services delivery in Tier-1 locations (Krakow, Warsaw, and Wroclaw) because of its access to a large talent market. Tier-2/3 cities such as Katowice, Tri-City, Lodz, Poznan, and Szczecin are also expected to witness increased leverage for select IT services due to their strong talent-cost proposition and higher competitive intensity in Tier-1 cities.

Israel: With a booming technology services industry, immensely robust digital infrastructure, and highly mature startup ecosystem, Israel has become an established technology services location in the EMEA region. Next-generation IT services have boomed, including big data, cybersecurity, cloud, and IoT with a research focus primarily driven by close academia and industry collaboration. Further, it is a leading delivery location for cybersecurity services and houses almost one-third of the world’s cybersecurity unicorns. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Israel transforms its position for global market players versus solely being desired by startups.

Other prominent locations: Some of the other locations to pay attention to in EMEA include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Romania, and Ukraine.

The Americas

North America: North America is among the most established geographies for technology services delivery. Most product organizations, technology enterprises, and startups are headquartered in the US. It offers a large talent pool and high collaboration prospects due to the presence of multiple technology startups, global business services centers, and service providers. The region is primarily used more for domestic delivery than global delivery because of high labor and real estate costs.

Latin America: 

In the wake of the pandemic, multiple enterprises are evaluating Latin America for setting up new centers to diversify their risk concentration and take advantage of its proximity to key source/client markets in the US.

Mexico continues to lead in technology services delivery driven by increased delivery activity by companies for analytics, cloud, mobility, big data, IoT, and AI. Further, government initiatives such as creating a digital hub to accelerate the digital journey and enterprise growth have boosted the country’s tech ecosystem. With its strong trade links, nearshore advantage, and growing technology talent pools, Latin America offers a multi-pronged value proposition to enterprises seeking a technology services delivery destination.

Choosing the best-fit technology services delivery location

Analyzing the features of the delivery sites will help enterprises determine the best strategy to take in the particular market, such as expanding and growing, holding, watching and testing, or shrinking and exiting, as detailed below:

Technology Services Talent Strategies

By assessing each location’s value propositions and trade-offs and considering company-specific requirements, organizations can find the ideal spots to tap the talent they need, making the delivery portfolio puzzle less of a mystery.

Learn more about how to find talent in our webinar, 5 Success-driving Actions: How to Unlock Untapped, Affordable Talent.

To share your comments and questions, please reach out Anish Agarwal or Shivani Singh.

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