Tops in innovation, transformation, integration, and cost optimisation
IDC has ranked IBM as the market-leading provider of business process outsourcing (BPO) services, after the market research company completed a sentiment poll of more than 400 US service users.
The pollsters assessed the best-known BPO providers across four areas it describes as ‘value categories’, namely innovation, transformation, integration, and cost optimisation.
Results of the study showed that IBM, HP-EDS, Unisys, Accenture, Infosys, ADP and Fidelity were rated among the overall top providers across these four value categories, with the service vendors showing strong leading positions across different combinations of categories.
IDC put no monetary value against its appraisal of market popularity to assess how market sentiment translates into market share. It said it had measured the competitive advantage of BPO providers ‘as related to customer perception’.
But Pierre Audoin Consultants, the market research and consulting outfit, recently sized the global BPO market as being worth some $62 billion in 2008.
Nick Mayes, senior consultant at PAC, said that the BPO sector remains a relatively fragmented supplier marketplace. He did confirm though, that “clear leaders have emerged at the top end of the market in mature areas of BPO such as human resources or financial and accounting services”.
“One of the big trends in recent years has been for service providers to focus on building profitable operating models around a small number of horizontal or vertical BPO areas, rather than marketing themselves as a jack-of-all-trades. Suppliers such as Capita in financial services and government or Accenture in HR and F&A have benefited greatly from this approach.”
Another of IDC’s top performers, Unisys, has just announced a major win of the type alluded to by Mayes.
Unisys this week said it would from now be managing the majority of cheque processing operations for Nationwide, and will be retained by the UK’s biggest building society through to 2015.
Unisys is at the early stages of a seven-year BPO deal with Nationwide, and announced that it has hit a key milestone in its engagement in the shape of an online archive for cheques. The system will provide all Nationwide staff with instant access, and provide operational efficiencies in the way it is able to deal with payments.
IDC’s sentiment study has confirmed that BPO specialism is also helping certain vendors succeed against the larger full-scope providers.
Process-centric providers including Convergys, 24/7 Customer, Ceridian, Hewitt, and Cambridge Solutions show top recognition in select key value categories and market segments, IDC noted.
Equally, technology-led firms appear to have a competitive advantage over pure-play BPO providers or BPO-centric providers with the way they have adopted and adapted new process delivery models like SaaS and cloud computing.