Tag: service providers

Contracting for Value: Balancing Expectations and Reality in Outsourcing Engagements | Blog

Everest Group’s Strategic Engagement Reviews (SERs) reveal several key trends that hinder enterprises from realizing maximum value from business process services (BPS) contracts. As enterprises rethink their outsourcing strategies, reevaluate current contracts, and rebalance work, these findings are highly relevant. Read on for insights into the research.

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Recently, when reading the Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare to my toddler niece, I was struck by its resemblance to the current state of outsourcing engagements. During the pandemic, service providers were in emergency mode to ensure business continuity for their clients, which increased satisfaction scores in 2021. However, providers faltered in maintaining the same momentum going into 2022 during the period of the Great Resignation. Providers were not prepared for the sudden large-scale attrition in the services industry, resulting in inconsistent service delivery quality and, consequently, impacting client satisfaction.

Decreased buyer satisfaction from key issues study

Fast forward to today, we see the recent banking collapse already casting a haze over the business landscape. As the saying goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Enterprises are investing more cautiously, given the current cost pressures along with fears of an economic slowdown and uncertainty. With every dollar being scrutinized, enterprises are rethinking their outsourcing strategies and evaluating the value realized from their outsourcing engagements. Let’s explore this further.

Key observations from strategic engagement reviews (SERs)  

Over the past year, Everest Group has supported many leading enterprises in evaluating their outsourcing contracts across different functional areas and benchmarking them against industry standards by leveraging our proprietary Strategic Engagement Review (SER) framework. The framework enables 360-degree assessment of outsourcing engagements with analysis across various dimensions, including solutions, pricing, contract terms, provider delivery and performance, and transformation.

While most of these contracts remain operational with transactional/tactical processes, outsourcing complex and upstream work has increased. We also observed the scope is expanding into adjacent and/or non-traditional areas such as risk management and compliance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG). These advancements are the result of joint efforts by enterprises welcoming providers as strategic partners and providers building robust capabilities to support the judgment-intensive processes.

Strategic Engagement Reviews (SER) framework

While benchmarking commercials remains a high priority for enterprises, the focus is shifting to understanding how to enhance the value from outsourcing engagements (beyond cost) and transform operations through best practices and digital adoption.

Below are a few observations from these engagements:

  • Most of these contracts inaccurately reflect client satisfaction due to irrelevant tracking metrics and unclear communication between parties regarding outcomes
  • Most of the contracts lack innovative commercial constructs that often impede full value realization out of the engagement
  • Both enterprises and providers need to fulfill certain existing gaps to embrace and implement more mature transformation models
  • This can be achieved by considering dedicated change management practices as the heart of any outsourcing engagement

Are performance dashboards merely a facade?

Indeed, performance dashboards tracking Service Level Agreements (SLAs) look as green as the proverbial “grass on the other side,” but the reality is not as rosy for a myriad of reasons. This phenomenon is often called the “watermelon effect.” Much like a watermelon that is smooth and green on the outside, hiding a red core, service metrics can be on target on the surface, but underneath, they may indicate poor service delivery and enterprise dissatisfaction.

Unclear communication regarding outcomes that lead to contract value leakage is the primary reason for this occurring. With the focus on client-centricity and winning deals, providers often commit to almost all client demands without properly clarifying how the “value gains” will be achieved. This leads to incongruity between the implementation and the client’s vision. For instance, productivity gains can be achieved either through digital resources or full-time equivalents (FTEs). Failing to mention these intricacies often results in difficulty in agreeing on the realized value after the implementation.

Aligning on well-defined outcomes won’t necessarily lead to maximum value realization without identifying and tracking the right metrics to govern the service delivery quality. We often find contractual SLAs that measure activity and workflow steps without aligning with the strategic business outcomes. Measuring irrelevant metrics may dilute the service level credit mechanism, which determines the provider’s fees tied to SLAs.

The holy grail for measuring outcomes and avoiding excess provider payouts is tracking relevant metrics that truly represent the end business goal. For example, if the goal is process standardization, then operational metrics such as payment processing accuracy might be relevant. For more mature organizations looking for large-scale transformation for topline improvement, outcome-oriented metrics, such as Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) could be better.

Sharing is indeed caring – the need for gain-sharing commercials

Enterprises often are dissatisfied with providers’ lack of proactiveness in bringing in innovation for transformation. This stems from the prevalence of the typical time-and-value commercial construct, which doesn’t incentivize the provider to exceed contractual commitments.

By embracing a gain-sharing pricing model that incentivizes providers to bring in more value-adds, enterprises can ensure providers have skin in the game. This approach not only fosters collaboration between the provider and enterprise but also builds an alliance as both parties work hand-in-hand towards a common goal. Moreover, this strategy further establishes the pathway for improved trust within the relationship, which is essential for the provider to act as a strategic partner.

It takes two to tango! Two to transform!

To draw a parallel about these engagements, a contract is like two rowers wading a boat through a turbulent river – it takes joint efforts to row through the perilous journey to reach the shore safely! Likewise, the onus of creating a sustaining long-term outsourcing relationship with maximum value realization lies with both the provider and the enterprise.

While the lift-shift-fix transformation model appears to be the most prevalent, there are profound reasons more mature transformation models are not being implemented. Although enterprises want providers to proactively pitch their technology solutions, the reality is that the willingness to embrace these contributions is limited! The reason enterprises are reluctant to adopt provider technology beyond point solutions is simply because this typically entails heavy provider ownership of the technology infrastructure. Consequently, enterprises want to avoid operational dependency that might increase future switching or termination costs.

On the other side, we also see providers being a bit risk-averse about challenging the in-house enterprise technology landscape to maintain good relationships with their clients by avoiding ruffling the features of the enterprise infrastructure!

While this type of arrangement minimizes provider intervention and operational dependency, it also limits cost efficiencies and business value that comes from leveraging provider technology. True value realization from outsourcing engagements will be achieved when enterprises provide more ownership of processes, visibility into organizational data, and greater flexibility to operationalize providers’ transformation initiatives. Concurrently, providers need to outline a clear transformation roadmap for enterprises, enabling them to visualize their journey ahead.

It’s high time that we see the “C” in change management as an underrated pivot to outsourcing

The change management aspect of resources is often underestimated in outsourcing relationships. Enterprises report that poor change management initiatives from providers can lead to disgruntled employees, resulting in employee attrition that indirectly affects the outsourcing project quality. Therefore, it is important to take a more proactive and structured approach to increase employee engagement and productivity in the outsourced service function, rather than approaching change management reactively and on an ad hoc basis.

What is the best way forward?

As enterprises plan for renewed growth, it will be intriguing to see how the outsourcing landscape evolves amidst the anticipated geopolitical unrest and recessionary environment. Some questions we’ll be following are: Will organizations need to rebalance work? Will increased provider rates challenge the cost advantages of outsourcing? Will large-scale transformation initiatives take a back seat to increased demand for short-time-to-value products in the near term?

To benchmark your current outsourcing contract, contact Everest Group. For more information, reach out to Prateek Singh, Practice Director, BPS, and Asmita Das, Senior Analyst, BPS.

Join our webinar, Key Issues 2024: Creating Accelerated Value in a Dynamic World, to discover insights into the current perspectives of IT-BP industry leaders and the major concerns, expectations, and trends for 2024.

Cloud Services in Insurance PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2023

Cloud Services in Insurance 

 

The insurance industry has been relatively slow in adopting digital measures due to regulatory constraints and product complexities. However, carriers are embracing the change to become risk mitigators. With the exponential rise in claims costs and unprecedented levels of underwriting losses during these challenging times, the need for value maximization, resource optimization, and achieving agility and scalability has become increasingly urgent.

In the past, insurers have embraced cloud technology as one of the prominent technologies. They are aware of the cloud’s potential, which has prompted them to strategize and build new business models that can withstand an unpredictable future. As insurers embark on their next growth phase, the cloud industry is expected to drive cloud spending to future-proof the technology estate, monetize data to generate alternate revenue streams, and rethink value delivery to end customers.

Cloud Services in Insurance

What is in this PEAK Matrix® Report

In this report, we assess 35 IT service providers for their cloud services capabilities featured on the Cloud Services in Insurance PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2023. The study will enable buyers to choose the best-fit provider based on their sourcing considerations, while providers will be able to benchmark their performance against each other.
 

In this report, we:

  • Assess 35 leading cloud services providers for the insurance industry using Everest Group’s Solutions PEAK Matrix® evaluation framework
  • Examine the market impact and vision and capabilities of the cloud services providers for insurance enterprises
  • Identify and categorize providers as Leaders, Major Contenders, and Aspirantsr
  • Study providers’ key strengths and limitations

Scope

  • Industry: insurance
  • Geography: global
  • The assessment is based on Everest Group’s annual RFI process for calendar year 2023, interactions with leading cloud services providers, client reference checks, and an ongoing analysis of the cloud services market

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Cloud Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2023 – Europe

Cloud Services – Europe 


In the continuously maturing cloud adoption landscape, enterprises are leveraging cloud services to increase operational efficiency, enable business innovation, and accelerate organizational growth. There is a cautious approach to adoption due to the current economic headwinds, prompting enterprises to scrutinize their cloud modernization spend and focus on cloud operations. There is a strong focus on hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies as a way to enhance reliability and utilize the best-of-the-breed offerings across cloud providers. Industry-specific cloud offerings, AI-backed cloud solutions, cloud sustainability, and product-centric operations are also gaining traction.

European enterprises are primarily adopting cloud to drive operational efficiencies and business growth. Demand for sovereign, private, and hybrid cloud-hosted infrastructure has been on the rise. Furthermore, enterprises are seeking AI-enabled automation and SRE-enabled operations to better manage their multi-cloud environments. As a result, Service Providers (SPs) are strengthening their horizontal- and vertical-focused partnerships with regional providers in the public and private cloud space to aid enterprises in their cloud adoption engagements. They are increasing investments in regional delivery centers to provide compliant and accelerated cloud transformation services.

Cloud Services

What is in this PEAK Matrix® Report

In this report, we assess 27 cloud SPs featured on Cloud Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2023 – Europe and categorize them as Leaders, Major Contenders, and Aspirants based on their capabilities and offerings.
 

In this report, we:

  • Examine the market impact and vision and capability of 27 SPs focused on cloud services
  • Study providers’ key strengths and limitations
  • Evaluate enterprise sourcing considerations

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  • All industries
  • Geography: Europe
  • The assessment is based on Everest Group’s annual RFI process for the calendar year 2023, interactions with leading cloud SPs, client reference checks, and an ongoing analysis of the cloud services market

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