PwC and Duke University’s Offshoring Research Network Find Global Service Providers Are Expanding Service Offerings Among Intense Competition and Changing Market Conditions
NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Outsourcing service providers are taking steps to diversify service offerings in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, according to “The ever-changing global service-provider industry” report released today from PwC US and the Center for International Business Education and Research’s (CIBER) Offshoring Research Network (ORN) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The third annual Service Provider survey is part of ongoing research into the effects of offshoring trends on the economy and reflects changes in the provision and consumption of global sourcing in recent years.
PwC and Duke surveyed 620 service providers at 1,850 companies from over 50 countries and found that the shift in the outsourcing industry is having an impact on incumbent India-based and U.S. firms that are caught in the “perfect storm.” Today’s competitors are entering new markets with both low-end, commoditized services with few market-entry barriers, and also with high-end, value-added services that drive higher margins but where market entry is more challenging.
“Given the current market condition, the days of relying only on low cost and labor arbitrage is no longer a successful strategy,” said Dr. Charles Aird, U.S. and Global Leader of PwC’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory Practice. “To gain a competitive edge in today’s dynamic and increasingly global marketplace, it is critical that providers go beyond the third-party service-delivery relationships of the past and find ways to become valued business partners.”
According to the report, there is a driving trend toward nearshoring, with service providers expanding their global footprint to move closer to their clients. The areas where most large buyers are located – the U.S., Western Europe and Japan – are especially attractive nearshoring target locations. Thirty-six percent of respondents say they have headquarters located in North America, while 26 percent report headquarters in Western and Eastern Europe. The survey also found that China, Latin America and Eastern Europe are quickly emerging as new magnets for outsourcing firms looking to expand.
To address the need for frequent interaction with clients and extensive use of collaborative technologies in fields such as innovation services, firms are seeking offshore locations closer to their clients’ headquarters. “U.S. firms may be saddled with the legacy effect of early offshore locations in India, before closer Latin American locations were established,” said Arie Lewin, professor of strategy and international business at Fuqua and director of CIBER.
As noted in the survey, the importance of workforce skills and training has increased since 2009, becoming the most vital criteria in the client’s decision making around the selection of service providers. Companies are planning to make aggressive investments in training centers for internal staff – especially in functions involving a high level of client-specific knowledge and frequent interaction with clients, such as R&D and design services – enabling them to get closer to the client’s core competencies.
“The global sourcing industry is undergoing significant changes,” said Lewin. “Clients expect providers to contribute value beyond just cost savings. Global sourcing is becoming a more competitive environment all the time. Service providers now must offer more than just cost savings; they must add value to their client’s business processes.”
Further notable findings in the report include:
Internal training and development of staff for client-specific capabilities – More than 56 percent of providers plan to invest in new areas of expertise with Cloud or Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Centers of Excellence (COEs) as their main focus.
- Seventy-seven percent of service providers rated innovation services as being highly sensitive to specialized knowledge and skills, while only 57 percent cited time-zone dependency.
- Growing organically and/or by M&A – Seventy- four percent of service providers indicate plans to continue growing organically, primarily through increasing the scale and scope of their services. Mergers and acquisitions account for 13 percent of service providers’ plans over the next three years. Further, seven percent of service providers indicate a desire to become an acquisition target.
“Going forward, providers need to make a conscious decision about which markets they want to enter,” continued Lewin. “To that end, they should focus on growing markets where demand for a given service is strong, and where they have superior capability and a competitive advantage over their rivals.”
“As providers seek new ways to increase the scope and scale of their service offerings and expand their global footprint, we are seeing both organic growth and growth by acquisition,” added Dr. Aird. “We expect the M&A trend to continue over the next few years. Leading providers are preparing today to win in the marketplace of tomorrow.”
For more information about the survey, please visit: The ever-changing global service-provider industry
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About Duke CIBER
Duke’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) was established in 1992 by The Fuqua School of Business and has been directed by Professor Arie Lewin since 1995.
There are 33 CIBERs located throughout the U.S. that are funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI through a competitive bid process. Duke CIBER collaborates with other CIBERs to carry out projects, and engages in outreach activities with other centers and departments at Duke as well as other colleges and universities, businesses and communities.
To learn more about Duke CIBER, visit http://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/ciber/site2006/.
About Duke Offshoring Research Network (ORN)
The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) was established in 2004 as a multi-year initiative focused on understanding the relationship between offshoring and American competitiveness. ORN, led by Duke University, is a network of research partner universities, scholars and executives that has become the most widely recognized international research network tracking the globalization of services. In 2006, the survey was extended to Europe with EU partner universities and began gathering comparable data for service providers in more than 50 countries in 2007. Researchers from top universities in Italy, France, Japan and Korea joined the network in 2010.
Duke ORN maintains a Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshoring_Research_Network.