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IT outsourcing year in review: Grading our 2015 predictions

Stephanie Overby | Jan. 4, 2016
We predicted that this was the year that IT outsourcing companies would welcome standardisation, outcome-based contracts would finally take hold and RFPs would become a thing of the past. Now it's time to grade those and the rest of our predictions.

The cloud comes down to earth

Finally. “In 2015, cloud computing reached the end of the beginning,” said Paul Roy, partner in the business and technology sourcing practice of Mayer Brown. “Cloud computing has become and is now a routine part of outsourcing conversations and solutions.” Public, private and hybrid solutions were all on the table. “At this point, enterprises’ forward looking investments almost always include cloud infrastructure for the apps they are supporting,” says Pace Harmon’s Tanowitz.

The sourcing decision becomes data-driven

“2015 saw the continued rise of Technology Business Management and TBM software providers,” says ISG’s Hall. “IT organizations are starving for actionable intelligence, based on their data, to help them make sound investment decisions.” Tanowitz argues that sourcing has always been data driven: “data and analytics are essential to ensure sourcing decisions are grounded in a solid business case and also to ensure that the procurement process remains objective and audit-proof. We expect this to continue to be the case, even for emerging technologies and new and innovative services.”

Off the mark

Outcomes become the name of the game

If only. “Outcome-based sourcing continues to face headwinds,” explains Huber of Alsbridge. “Progress is being made, but the fact is that outcomes are difficult to define in a way that fits traditional contract structures, and they take time to get right. This is going to take more work by smart, creative deal-shapers before outcome-based sourcing can truly replace traditional input-based models as the predominant sourcing model.” So far, the best we can offer is that some deals have shifted from input-based to output-based, says Brad Peterson, partner in Mayer Brown’s Chicago office.Pricing on outcomes like cash collections looks like a true answer but—like most true answers—takes great diligence and skill to achieve and remains relatively rare,” he explains. “However, the move to output-based pricing is an important move away from the typical pricing based on inputs and a step closer to a true business outcomes measure.”

The business takes over

Business leaders did play a bigger role in procuring IT services—particularly cloud services—than in the past. However, “IT remains vital for the integration of service provider solutions and for effective security,” says Eisner. “The business has certainly taken over the digital agenda in many organizations and SaaS solutions, such as HR technology, are being made outside of IT,” says ISG’s Hall. “But, many CIOs have stepped up this year to own the digital agenda for their enterprise.”

And odds are IT may become even more integral to future sourcing decisions. “Cybersecurity and interoperability trump unfettered business-centrism as the Internet of Things adds another layer of complexity and vulnerability,” says Huber Alsbridge.

 

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