Outsourcing Trends Becoming Important in 2015

IBA Group
Mark Hillary

I was recently asked about the classic price vs service argument by a consultant who advises on IT outsourcing. I replied that I am surprised there is still a debate over this. You can compare IT supplier based on the quality of what they do and then compare equally competent suppliers on price, but price is not a primary variable that should be used to compare companies.

After all, if the service delivered does not work then how much have you saved? The price debate reminds me of where IT outsourcing was a decade ago – it was surprising to be asked about this in 2015 when most organisations have a far more mature approach to finding expert partners.

I looked at CIO magazine to see what they considered the key trends in IT outsourcing would be this year. They published a good summary at the beginning of the year and never once mentioned that price would be an important comparison point.

Several of the trends they identified are very important though and I don’t feel that they are being given enough focus in the business and technology media:

1. A focus on outcomes: outcome based pricing has been around for years, but is often focused on BPO outsourcing where specific business processes can be priced. A focus on the outcome rather than process of delivering IT will be how many projects are charged in future.

2. The business ordering direct. The CIO used to manage all information systems, but now the business units are doing far more ordering direct because many solutions can be delivered using apps or the cloud, therefore not impacting on the infrastructure managed by the CIO. This means that suppliers need to develop new relationships and change their sales strategy.

3. Analytics taking over. In areas such as CRM and customer service technology systems data is all that matters now. This approach to data-led decision-making is affecting many business functions including the more creative ones such as sales and marketing.

The IT outsourcing trends are changing and developing as the IT services space develops, but sometimes it seems that the advisors cannot escape some of the old debates.

The age of the CIO as IT leader is over?

IBA Group
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary

IT is changing fast and it can be hard to keep up, but companies in the IT services business know that one thing is certain, the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is changing fast.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is becoming more involved in technology decisions in many companies as IT moves itself more closely to the business across all industry sectors.

It’s no surprise. Think for a moment about the big difference between Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT Outsourcing. With BPO, the person commissioning the work is a business leader, the head of finance, the head of HR, the head of operations… they don’t really care about the underlying technology. They just want to buy a solution that works for their business.

Now think about IT services. IT suppliers have worked with the CIO for many years – selling solutions to the technology head. Yet the role of the CIO seems to have changed during the economic slowdown. Companies require their CIO, CFO, and business leaders to work more closely than ever in ensuring that the business benefits from the decision made by all the executives.

Take a look at what IT expert Angelica Mari says in her book ‘Reboot: Leading IT in the information age’: “The CIO is quickly losing their traditional power base focused on the ownership of physical assets. The basement stuffed full of ‘kit’ is no more. In this environment, only the fittest – or smartest – will survive.”

But why has this change taken place? The past couple of years have been tough for everyone. The role of the CIO has evolved and changed because IT has become more important than ever – in all industries.

In travel, it’s probably CRM that is the most important investment right now. In government it is technology that can reduce transaction costs… In most industries, IT has become so pervasive that the companies could not operate without it. So, with IT becoming more strategic than ever, how come many industry analysts believe that the age of the CIO as technology leader is over?