Like any endeavor, technical support outsourcing is subject to the whims of trends. In the near future, many analysts see the following trends in outsourcing emerging. In fact, some of these trends have already materialized.
New outsourcing models will emerge, and established ones will shift and morph to meet new global business paradigms. Outsourcing will also become more emotionally neutral. In the 1990’s, technical support outsourcing was frequently associated with resource reductions and loss of jobs in the home country. In the future, it will be seen more as simply a business tool – and less as anything like an unpatriotic or hurtful move.
Technical support outsourcing is also not all about cost any more. Using vendor services offers scalability, flexibility and agility. The quality of services now available has greatly improved – all across the globe. Markets in intermediate-priced companies can offer high skills at lower costs than ever before. At the same time, more talent has been driven into contract work and the service companies by cutbacks, downsizing and outsourcing at corporate IT departments.
In-sourcing, or reverse outsourcing, will increase – by as much as 20 to 30 percent of off-shored services in the next few years. Customers, who moved their support offshore in the past to take advantage of steep cost discounts in labor, are now finding it beneficial to bring services back onshore due to higher communications and labor costs overseas, along with dissatisfaction with quality. Additionally, as companies grow, they may desire the control of operations and priorities that internal organizations provide, and be more willing and able to pay the higher requisite labor costs.
Hybrid outsourcing, a mix of outsourcing services under a management umbrella, will increase. This approach might even combine internal, onshore, off-shore and near-shore. One hybrid model refers to the service definition where the outsourcing provider builds a service center at the customer’s designated site, hires personnel and then runs and manages it for a number of years. Later, the ownership and operation may be transferred to the customer, or along to another provider.
Multi-sourcing is also experiencing a growth trend. This multi-sourcing model spreads the contracted services across multiple vendors. There are different reasons for considering it, but one of the primary advantages is that the client is not dependent on one vendor. However, this is more complex to manage and can result in higher overhead costs – as well as loss of the competitive pricing offered by a single source.
Delivery of services using automation or “smart machines” to provide services, particularly low-skill or repetitive tasks, will also increase. The services vendors offering these tools will, however, be required to provide the highly skilled personnel to manage these automatons, and integrate them with other activities.
The sophisticated skills and contractual expertise required to govern these complex structures are still difficult to recruit, and will have to be properly developed to truly support the markets. At the same time, analysts see pressure mounting to reducte outsourcing consultant fees. The trend of outsourcing becoming more formalized, including professional organizations and global standards, will enable many customers to manage their own engagements and transitions. Off-shore outsourcing, or on-shoring, will lose meaning as a result of virtual sourcing. Delivery through web portals obscures the origin of services. Global labor arbitrage has removed many barriers to international trade, along with the movement of jobs across borders to nations with higher pay scales.
Service procurement in a catalogue-style model will continue to become more common. Many providers will offer automated, self-service platforms which will let the customer shop, cafeteria-style, for all their IT needs. Project-based acquisition will frequently supplement or replace long-term contracts. Some larger agreements will switch from FTE-based to outcome-based pricing, predicated on Service Level Agreements (SLA’s).
There has been speculation that crowd-sourcing might also move into this market, as practices and business models utilizing completely independent contractors have now matured over several years.
At Be Different Solutions, our employees and staff are based in one of our two offices in the United States or Europe. No matter their physical location, their backgrounds and qualifications are equally excellent, and they are all highly qualified and motivated. With us, you can always depend on rapid delivery of quality support responses.
Overby, Stephanie. Jan. 2014. 10 IT Outsourcing Trends to Watch in 2014. Computerworld. http://www.computerworld.in/feature/10-it-outsourcing-trends-to-watch-in-2014
Rouse, Margaret. July 2011. multisourcing.SearchCIO. http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Multisourcing