22 April 2008:
HOUSTON and LONDON (April 22, 2008) — To keep the marketplace informed on the trends and realities of the outsourcing and broader business transformation markets, EquaTerra has just completed a variety of detailed studies based on input from its advisors, the service provider community and outsourcing buyers.
EquaTerra’s 1Q08 Pulse Survey – which contains an analysis of the affect the economy is having on outsourcing initiatives – found that overall outsourcing activity remains strong, but economic uncertainty seems to be increasing the time needed to develop outsourcing and other service delivery strategies.
The HR outsourcing (HRO) buyer study cited below explores how outsourcing and other service delivery models may help the HR function become a more strategic contributor to the parent company. The other highlighted buyer study analyses characteristics of next generation outsourcing and governance.
The predominant trends cited in each of these studies will be analysed and discussed in detail in EquaTerra’s 1Q08 Pulse Survey webcast on Wednesday, April 23 at 11am EDT/4pm BST/5pm CET. To register for the webcast, please contact: Allison.firstname.lastname@example.org
Following are snapshots of a variety of the findings from the studies.
Economy’s Impact on Outsourcing Demand and Drivers
Fifty two percent of EquaTerra advisors polled in the 1Q08 Pulse Survey indicated that demand levels were up for the quarter, down 18 percent from 4Q07 but up nine percent compared to this time last year. The study also found that demand growth levels were similar between EMEA and North America, and ITO demand continued to outpace that for BPO. Moreover, advisors and service providers cited, overall, that slowing or recessionary economic trends in western markets, particularly in the United States, was impacting outsourcing demand, but that economic conditions would drive a demand increase in the second half of 2008 and into 2009.
Further, while cost reduction and cost avoidance are naturally key goals sought from outsourcing efforts in down economic times, EquaTerra is seeing that broader business goals, as well as buyer sophistication and experience, impact benefits sought from outsourcing, and in some cases can outweigh economic factors affecting decision making and goal setting.
Said Stan Lepeak, EquaTerra’s Managing Director of Research, “The slight slow down in market demand this quarter is not unexpected given the uncertainty in the global economy. As clarity around the economic outlook emerges, buyers have fewer internal options often making outsourcing a critical tool to address a variety of business problems and opportunities, from cost reduction and capital avoidance, to driving innovation into their core business processes, to gaining greater access to global resource and talent pools.”
HR Outsourcing (HRO) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
A March 2008 study jointly conducted by EquaTerra and Human Resource Executive® magazine among 450 buyers focused on what it takes to make HR more strategic, and the role that outsourcing and other alternative service delivery models can play in supporting these efforts. Key findings included:
57 percent of respondents indicated that HR is viewed as a strategic asset, compared to just 18 percent who indicated it is viewed as a cost centre
Over 70 percent of respondents indicated becoming a leader in “total talent management” (including recruiting, performance, learning and succession planning) would make HR more strategic to their organisation; respondents from larger organisations placed even more emphasis on talent management than smaller organisations
The use of alternative HR service delivery models, like shared services or outsourcing, was not viewed as especially important in enabling HR transformation; shared services scored a 3.1 on a 1-5 scale, outsourcing of HR IT received a 2.8, and HRO scored a 2.3; alternative service delivery models was more common and highly regarded among respondents from larger organisations
Organisations that have undertaken Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) scored its importance to address talent challenges at 3.58 on a 1-5 scale
The top factor driving adoption of RPO was to accelerate the recruiting and hiring process, as cited by over 60 percent of respondents
“Next Generation” Outsourcing and Governance
Respondents to a recently-completed EquaTerra market study conducted among global ITO and BPO buyers indicated that “next generation” outsourcing would be defined by a greater focus on outsourcing management and governance efforts and capabilities. Findings demonstrated that next generation governance will be characterised by greater emphasis on managing multiple outsourcing providers and processes as a portfolio, more upfront planning for governance, better alignment between outsourcing goals and governance investments, and the greater use of supporting software applications and tools. EquaTerra has long emphasised the importance of outsourcing governance, but buyers’ appreciation of its importance tends to only come with personal experience and the growth of their outsourcing sophistication, and the degree to which they prioritise and emphasise outsourcing governance will determine their ultimate ability to achieve success in their outsourcing efforts.