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Effect of Globalization on IT Service Providers in Europe

Opportunities and challenges presented by Globalization: IT Service providers in Continental Europe


Enterprises within Europe are increasingly trying to seek the advantages of global sourcing. Unlike enterprises in U.S. or U.K., continental European countries have historically been reluctant to engage with offshore providers. The reasons were far stretched, ranging from political sensitivity, labor laws, cultural compatibility and language requirements. Globalization, however, is creating new avenues that European companies can not ignore. A recent report by Gartner shows the potential IT Offshoring market to be in the range of about $ 200 to 240 Billion. The market is expected to register double digit growth for years to come. The current offshore spending by firms amounts to just $17 Billion worldwide. This clearly shows a big gap, a huge market potential which is yet to be exploited. The huge demand has also led to emergence and growth of several new players in the field of IT Outsourcing/ Offshoring services, this is leading to ever increasing competition in the marketplace. In order to cope up with this increased competition and to provide better services, these service providers are increasingly adopting Global delivery models. By selecting an advantageous and cost effective proportion of resources worldwide, Global Delivery Model boosts business performance while also lowering costs. It also helps the supplier deliver requirements that are met on-time, within budget, and with high quality; greater efficiency and responsiveness to their clients. In Europe, nearshore models still dominate the market. But these models are continuously being updated, with more and more providers setting up Offshore Development Centers in locations like India. A framework for building an optimal combination of onsite, nearshore, and offshore delivery capabilities is provided by Capgemini’s Rightshore® model.

A recent Gartner report has suggested that, the current US economic slowdown is expected to lead buyers of IT services to consider increasing the percentage of their labor in offshore locations. India will remain the dominant location for IT offshore services for North American and European buyers as a result of its scale, quality of resources and strong presence of local and traditional service providers.


  • The European market remains a highly complex and competitive market with a large number of providers. Mergers and acquisitions will continue but will be balanced by new market entrants
  • Outsourcing adoption in Europe is increasing for both infrastructure and applications; the widespread lack of well defined sourcing strategies among buyers and the realities of ever-changing business requirements will generate frequent deal negotiations and renegotiations
  • Global delivery and utility services are irreversible trends evolving at different speeds among various European countries. The European multi country, multi language/culture composition increases the evolutionary complexity of these trends
  • Selective outsourcing with multiple providers will remain the preferred model of engagement for European buyers. Governance and end-to-end integration/management of different providers/solutions are the most challenging aspects of it
  • ITO market maturity varies: UK is the most matured IT market in Europe. The other European markets are maturing at different speeds. An acceleration in ITO adoption is now apparent in countries such as France and Germany

A focus on achieving service delivery excellence and the best value/quality balance is increasingly driving European organizations (especially those beyond the first generation deal) to consider selecting multiple providers for an outsourcing contract. For example, in the IT Telecom sector, the most common division is by service tower, with customers opting to choose different providers for their network, desktop, data center and application competencies. At the moment, however, providers tend to join forces in an opportunistic manner, as a response to customer demands. This is the cause behind the ever-changing composition of the “providers teams”; as a consequence, consolidating best practices to manage IT service spin offs between different providers in an effort to guarantee end-to-end service delivery excellence remains challenging. As the number of providers engaged is set to increase, this challenge is likely to intensify. It will also be driven by other market characteristics, which include a persistent tactical use of outsourcing by European customers, insufficient process maturity, and lack of clarity in the definition of roles and responsibilities.

As we look at global delivery, it is fair to say that there are two major misconceptions that still exist among the European market: 1) Global delivery is often considered as a synonym of “offshore,” and 2) IT services delivered through global delivery capabilities are application services. In reality, in the past few years, the European market has witnessed a considerable expansion in terms of both geographical location options (in areas such as Eastern Europe or North Africa, for example) and portfolio of services offered (now including, for example, help desk and remote infrastructure management services). Global delivery and offshore, however, remain the key deal characteristics that need to be treated with extra care in many European geographies, and as a consequence, many deals remain confidential. Traditional providers’ investment will be directed toward enhancing existing capabilities (especially “near shore” in Eastern Europe) and ensuring process solidity. Offshore providers’ investment on the other side will be centered on creating front-end capabilities with a focus on specific country and vertical-oriented competencies. While these global delivery models mature and are refined/ optimized, customers’ satisfaction will remain a challenge.




Selective Outsourcing With
Multiple Providers

* Embraced by majority of European companies
* Objectives: IT excellence and cost optimization
* Integration and governance challenges

Global Sourcing and Global
Delivery Models

* Near shore proximity key for European market
* Expanding portfolio of outsourcing services
* Key area of investment for providers and buyers

IT Utility

* Industrialization is accelerating
* Convergence of IT utility and global delivery
* Key drivers: flexibility, efficiency, optimized cost, speed

Aggressive ESP
Competitive Landscape

* National, “global” and offshore ESPs converging
* Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures to continue
* Providers are implementing new business models
* New offshore market entrants

Application Outsourcing to Grow

* Drivers: portfolio rationalization, legacy modernization
* Global delivery will gain acceptance
* Multitude of providers competing



The U.K., Netherlands, Sweden and Finland are examples of countries more attracted by the global delivery model. However, in the meantime, the impact of global competition has started to drive countries such as Germany and France to consider global delivery as a viable option to be considered strategically, rather than when all other options have been exhausted.

Despite a slower gestation and the fact that a complete infrastructure utility (IU) offering has not yet been developed, the IU model is continuing to attract new offerings and/or new providers. In the meantime, European customers, attracted by the idea of being able to access IT services in a flexible way, remain cautious as they expect further clarity on issues such as unit definition, pricing mechanisms, integration to existing systems, and security portability In the near future, we expect that the IU for ERP platforms will remain the most common battleground for providers; other providers are expected to instead mask their IU offering behind a package that includes “product and support services.” The concept of software as a service (SaaS) or ready-to-use applications will continue to generate lot of interest. Expectations for a solid delivery and specific functionalities will drive providers to specialize their offerings.

Finally, gains in terms of process efficiency will be seen as crucial to deliver enhanced competitiveness, flexibility, agility and cost optimization.


IT Outsourcing market is showing an average growth of 9% p.a.

IT Outsourcing Worldwide forecast (Million $)

Source :

Gartner Dataquest

In terms of volume, North America continues to be the leader in IT outsourcing.

  • Latin America and APAC have shown good growth
  • Europe has fast emerged as a big IT outsourcer

Global offshore spending is continuing to register double digit growth.

Worldwide Offshore IT Services Spending by Importing Region (million $)

Source: Gartner Dataquest, 2004 and Worldwide and U.S. Offshore IT Services 2006-2010 Forecast

  • In terms of volume, the North America continues to be the leader in IT offshoring.
  • Once averse to the idea of outsourcing, Europe is now steadily adopting an IT offshore model to boost the economy
  • Global offshore spending is projected to increase to 29400 $ Million in 2010

The graph on the next page shows the potential market for various types of sourcing options. This clearly depicts that he IT and Business Process offshoring market has grown at a tremendous rate over the past 7 year and the market provides a huge potential which is yet to be exploited.

IT and BPO market

Source Gartner, Dataquest, Aberdeen Group, McKinsey, Evalueserve, Infosys, IDC and Nasscom strategic review 2008

  • Currently we are not even exploiting 10% of the potential market size ( IT services off shoring just at $17 Billion, whereas market potential is about $200-240 Billion *)
  • According to a new research by Gartner, the market is likely to grow further after the financial slowdown, as firms will try aggressively to reduce costs and improve efficiency

Different Sourcing Models

In-sourcing / Shared Services: Sourcing from internal sources or from an affiliated firm in the home economy

Onshore Outsourcing: Sourcing from a non-affiliated firm in the home economy

Captive Offshoring: Sourcing from an affiliated firm located abroad

Offshore Outsourcing: Sourcing from a non-affiliated firm located abroad


The following section will describe the regional ITO trends and local dynamics across different European locations.


2005: €17.2B 2010: €25.7B 2005-2010 CAGR: 8.3%

ITO drivers: Improve IT quality for end users, speed/flexibility, access to technical skills, cost reduction Inhibitors: Loss of control, lack of trust, security/privacy, IP

Key trends:

• Most mature market in Europe with wider number of mega deals (public sector)

• Deal sophistication, including government. Increasing interest in new pricing schemes, business enhancement and shared services

• More selective sourcing and global delivery

• Areas such as Scotland and Ireland feeling pressure of Indian and Eastern European operations

• Wide potential for application engagements to mature from project engagements into outsourcing based engagements

Despite being the largest and most mature market in Europe, the U.K. remains also one of the fast-growing ones. Here organizations seem to have moved away from the equation of “outsourcing = cost reduction.” While cost remains a key component, other objectives seem more important, such as improving IT service delivery, gaining specific skills, especially for application outsourcing deals, and becoming a more flexible organization. (See Appendix F) Inhibitions remain related to a general lack of trust in the ability to join forces with the providers to manage security, control over IT operations and IP.

The U.K. market is characterized by a large number of mega deals, especially in the public sector. These outsourcing deals often include initiatives that have classically been carried out through project engagements and now are increasingly being performed in the initial phases of an IT outsourcing or BPO deal. This change reflects the growing desire of customers for a tighter link between investment and results (for which the outsourcer is responsible during the duration of the contract) and the important shift in role for the internal IT department. Rather than focusing on assembling and managing all of the necessary skills and capabilities to meet a certain objective, IT organizations, in this scenario, are responsible for coordinating the objectives of the Business Unit and the internal and external providers engaged to support them. Often infrastructure outsourcing is at the core of these complex relationships.

At the same time, the U.K. is also the largest market in terms of adoption of IT services delivered through a network of global delivery capabilities (which include nearshore and offshore locations). From this point of view, areas that used to be considered as low cost for outsourcing operations (Scotland and Ireland) continue to feel the pressure of Indian and Eastern European capabilities.

Finally, organizations that have engaged for a long period of time in project-based application deals are planning to elevate them into more-strategic, long-term application management engagements. This will allow them to gain a longer-term commitment from the service provider and the relevant support to re-evaluate their application portfolio.


2005: €5.2B 2010: €7.6B 2005-2010 CAGR: 8.2%

Drivers: Cost reduction, access to technical skills (especially in application outsourcing engagements), support in global operations, focus on core business

Inhibitors: Loss of control, security/privacy, lack of trust

Key trends:

• Nordic market generally mature. Many large deals are in second or third generation. Some likely to evolve toward multi sourcing

• Large corporations see global delivery as a viable option. SMBs see nearshore option more favorably

• Consolidation drives specialization by geography, vertical market or horizontal service

• Increased competition between regional and global ESPs

• Cultural affinity seen as crucial to guarantee deal success/longevity

Each of the four country markets that compose the Nordic region has its own distinct characteristics and buying behaviors in IT services. However, if we look at the forecast growth between 2005 and 2010, we expect the region to grow at a similar speed (despite size differences) of about 8%.

Denmark: Sometimes seen as the “entry point” for the global service providers to the Nordics. Expected growth is from €856 million in 2005 to €1.2 billion in 2010 (CAGR of 7.8%).

Finland: Unique in the Nordic region as buyers focus much more on business value of an outsourcing deal rather than just cost. Expected growth is from €1 billion in 2005 to €1.45 billion in 2010 (CAGR of 7.5%)

Norway: Remains the smallest outsourcing market in the region. Expected growth is from €1.2 billion in 2005 to €1.8 billion in 2010 (CAGR of 8.1%)

Sweden: Largest market and very cost-competitive. Probably the Nordic country targeted most by offshore providers currently. Expected growth is from €2 billion in 2005 to €3.1 billion in 2010 (CGR of 8.7%)

From a client perspective, the Nordic region market is generally mature, with many large corporations in second- or third-generation outsourcing deals. Global delivery is widely accepted as an option.

Competition between regional providers and global providers is increasing; this was initiated by the inability of local providers to support the operations of key Nordic organizations around the globe.

However, recent acquisitions and divestitures by both local and international providers prove that the market has still got room for further maturation and consolidation.


2005: €3.4B 2010:€5B 2005-2010 CAGR: 8%

Drivers: Cost reduction above all, agility/flexibility, improving service to end users

Inhibitors: Loss of IP and control, security/privacy, high cost

Key trends:

  • Market shows mixed signs of maturity (organizations accept global delivery) and immaturity (sourcing strategy is often neglected)
  • Market split between large global corporations and wide portion of SMBs
  • Increased competition for local/national champions
  • Application under scrutiny for externalization

The market in the Netherlands is one of the more modern IT outsourcing environments in Europe, closely following the U.K. in many trends. A focus on global delivery and the expansion of many deals into the application or business process layer points to more market maturity.

This maturity is driven primarily by the relatively high proportion of large (and often multinational) enterprises headquartered in the Netherlands and competing in major markets such as financial services.

But there are some contradictory characteristics that point to an immature market (cost cutting is by far the major driver, and sourcing strategy is often neglected); this, as a consequence, often inhibits the potential success of outsourcing initiatives.

The market remains very challenging and competitive. This is due to the high presence of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), which traditionally tend to consider outsourcing as a threat more than an opportunity and require a higher level of customization, which tests the profitability model of service providers.

Competition remains strong for national champions as global and offshore providers continue to target opportunities in the country. Increasingly, application outsourcing opportunities are emerging as organizations look at portfolio rationalization, legacy system transformation, and custom application software development initiatives and accessing application utility solutions.


2005: €6.6B 2010: €10B CAGR: 8.4 %

Drivers: Cost reduction, refocus internal IT, speed/flexibility

Inhibitors: Loss of control, lack of trust, security/privacy

Key trends:

  • Beyond its reliance on staff augmentation, France’s outsourcing market shows opportunities in all facets of outsourcing: infrastructure, applications and BPO
  • Selective outsourcing has gained acceptance, and organizations show cautious interest in global service delivery
  • National champions remain under competitive pressure from the global and multinational providers

France has long been considered behind in the outsourcing trend. Now, however, the French outsourcing market is consolidating and growing, while the long-standing reliance on staff augmentation is losing strength. The major driver that will support a CAGR of over 8% between 2005 and 2010 is the need for French organizations to reduce cost and enhance their level of competitiveness in the market by refocusing their internal IT skills on more-strategic tasks while gaining flexibility. On the other side, it is interesting to see that challenges related to HR management have lost strength, compared with the traditional fears related to loss of control and security and lack of trust.

Large organizations have recently moved toward the adoption of selective outsourcing with multiple providers. This model has gained acceptance as organizations look at maximizing the balance between cost and service delivery excellence.

There is also a new focus on application outsourcing. This trend is important not only because it signals an acceleration in the growth of outsourcing in France overall, but because it signals a major change in the way French organizations use different kinds of IT services. Increase in application outsourcing deals also touches on one of the major taboos of IT services in France: offshore outsourcing. As such, although offshore remains a word to be used with extra care in the French market, many organizations would consider that access to global delivery models is an appealing part of outsourcing, especially when delivered by traditional players. In this case, North Africa (Morocco, for example) is emerging as a viable near shore location.

National champions, the providers that focus on a specific region or country, remain under competitive pressure from the global and multinational providers.


2005: €10.6B 2010: €16B 2005-2010 CAGR: 8.6%

Drivers: Cost reduction above all, focus on core business, refocus internal IT

Inhibitors: Security/privacy, lack of trust, loss of control

Key trends:

  • Global economic pressures have forced many organizations to look at outsourcing as a viable option
  • In the short term, objectives such as flexibility and agility are secondary
  • Pressure to divest internal IT departments or internal shared service organizations remains strong
  • Global delivery gaining ground especially toward Eastern Europe
  • Intensifying competition between strong German players and global ones
  • Legacy system modernization will remain a key objective

The German market is “federated” in several ways: government responsibilities, industrial centers, buying centers within enterprises, and management structures in place. All of this makes doing business in Germany (and negotiating significant IT service deals) unique. Decision processes tend to be longer, require more consensus building and often entail more travel than in other parts of Europe. For a long time, the majority of German organizations have considered IT operations as a key component to maintain or enhance their level of competitiveness in the market. This has, as a consequence, slowed the outsourcing growth. In the past two years, however, economic pressures have forced many organizations to look at outsourcing tactically to cut cost. While in the short term, achieving flexibility is a secondary objective, organizations look at outsourcing as a way to refocus their internal capabilities while focusing on their core business. The traditional inhibitors around security, trust and loss of control apply.

While non-German external service providers (ESPs) still find it difficult to position themselves in Germany (exceptions are IBM Germany, which established itself early on as a “German” ESP, and HP, based on its early SAP hosting business and penetration as a technology provider), German providers maintain strong domestic positions and are starting to focus on expanding their international presence (through T-Systems).

In the short term, German organizations will still consider selling their own IT capabilities, while global providers will see these as viable targets to build capabilities as long as they provide financial support through a long-term outsourcing deal.

Finally, beyond potential healthy growth for ERP application outsourcing initiatives (especially SAP), as many organizations look at legacy system modernization, it is likely that many projects will evolve and deploy model to include the long-term management of applications.


2005: €1.1B 2010: €1.6B 2005-2010 CAGR: 7.9%

Drivers: Acquisitions made by large Western European organizations, increased competition, need to revamp obsolete IT environments (leap-frog)

Inhibitors: Low expertise to manage OS deals, high cost of OS, loss of control

Key trends:

  • Slow internal consumption of outsourcing
  • Key nearshore delivery hub for providers supporting operations of European organizations
  • Local Eastern European service providers will remain target for acquisitions
  • Long-term growth will be supported by increasing competition, acquisitions made by Western companies and the penetration of Western ESPs in the region
  • The region has become a strong global delivery hub

Recent admission to the European Union has transformed countries such as Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic into attractive locations to establish global delivery capabilities designed to deliver IT services to European or global customers. Eastern Europe has been identified as an ideal region to establish a service delivery hub by U.S.-based providers (IBM, Accenture and EDS), European ones

(Atos Origin, Capgemini, T-Systems, SIS and S&T) and offshore ones (Ness, TCS, Satyam, Infosys and Wipro). When necessary, providers are openly seeking acquisitions to gain scale; it is the case for SIS, which acquired ELAS, HT Computers in Slovakia, and Ibis-Sys in Serbia (February 2005). Others, like Austrian-based S&T, are pursuing a strategy of becoming the provider of choice in Eastern Europe through a combination of organic development and local acquisitions. S&T acquired Computacenter Austria to strengthen its product resale capabilities.

Although internal consumption of outsourcing has been slow, it is expected to grow rapidly, thanks to increasing competition driven by the fact that private-sector companies and public-sector organizations are now focusing on bringing their systems into line with market standards. This is leading to some “leapfrogging” effects — the IT utility approach, for example, holds significant appeal without posing the same transition challenges as elsewhere — but because these markets are fairly immature, there is still a strong focus on products and product support services rather than more-sophisticated IT service engagements.

Italy and Spain are two other major countries with an expected ITO market size of about 5 Billion $ each by the year 2010.


GDM is a unique approach to outsourcing and off shoring, which offers the best of both worlds by blending onsite, onshore and offshore resources and locations. By using a far-reaching network of onsite, onshore, and offshore resources, GDM aims to cuts across geographies to access the right resources, in the right place, at the right cost.

By selecting the most advantageous and cost effective proportion of resources worldwide, Global Delivery Model boosts business performance while also lowering costs. It also helps the supplier deliver requirements that are met on-time, within budget, and with high quality; greater efficiency and responsiveness to their clients.

In this section we would discuss in detail, the key drivers to a successful GDM.

Source: Capgemini, 2008



Strong processes are the backbone of a successful Global Delivery Model. There is a strong need for detailed, documented and time-tested processes for all the activities and interfaces.

  • Strong quality and project management processes ensure delivery excellence.
  • World class processes for knowledge management and sharing resources encourage improved learning among teams.
  • Processes for managing talent ensure that the projects get the best and most motivated people.
  • Strong processes for interaction and communication within team make it possible for globally distributed groups to interface and collaborate in an effective manner while delivering excellence on a continuous basis.

On the other hand, processes, while strong, should leave ample space for creativity and flexibility. It is only then that the Global Delivery Model (GDM) can create far more value than the traditional sourcing models. Here is what it will translate into:

  • Quicker, seamless transitions, and early project ownership
  • Optimum onsite/ offshore mixes through intelligent allocation of the available resources
  • High degree of predictability through processes, sharing and reuse
  • A strong relationship approach to ensure continuity and business focus
  • Sharing of best practices and tools across the enterprise
  • Depth and quality of resources, continuously trained and retrained to suit project needs
  • Adherence to SLA based pricing models to ensure good Return on Investment (ROI) and drive customer satisfaction


Companies rely on processes to consistently deliver high quality solutions while executing a number of engagements from multiple locations. According to the policies adopted by a leading IT services provider: values, vision and policies should form the first level of the three-tiered process architecture. These are then implemented through process execution at the next level. These processes are defined with clear ownership and clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Quality System Documentation

Quality System Documentation defines clearly all the processes that should be put into place. These documents provide the engineers and consultations with a vast repository of detailed procedures, templates, standards, guidelines and checklists.

The comprehensiveness of these documents supports all tasks from higher-level information abstraction and definition to tasks such as coding and documentation. This is crucial to assure clients with the delivery of high quality and predictable IT solutions that meet their business needs. These documents should also be monitored and updated regularly.

Knowledge Sharing

Employees are given a forum like a website portal, to share knowledge gained from their experience at the organization. It is meant to be a central repository of the knowledge that can be tapped by peers and as sometimes external clients as well. The collection of documents on this portal is reviewed and classified into different areas:

  • Software development life-cycle activities such as requirements specification, design, build and testing documentation.
  • Software-related topics such as tools and quality documentation.
  • Topics of general or operational interest such as travel or HR policies, etc.

Process Assets

This is a repository to facilitate sharing and giving out of “engagement learning” across the organization. The user has the facility to submit to the repository, retrieve from the repository and obtain information on the status of the repository.

A process asset can be any information ranging from an engagement, which can be re-used by future engagements. Typically these include project plans, configuration management plans, requirements documents, standards, checklists, design documents, test plans, causal analysis reports and utilities used in the engagement, etc.

Process Database

The Process Database is a software engineering database to study the processes at the organization with respect to productivity and quality. More specifically, its purpose areas are as follows:

  • To aid estimation of effort and project defects
  • To get the productivity and quality data on different types of projects
  • To aid in creating of a process capability baseline

Process Capability Baseline (PCB)

Process Capability baseline is used to specify, what the performance of the process is, i.e. what a project can expect when following the process. This estimation is done based on the past data. The performance factors of the process are

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