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Outsourcing trends to watch in 2017

Stephanie Overby | Jan. 3, 2017
Here are 10 predictions for the year ahead in IT outsourcing.

CIOs should expect more calls from automation and robotics vendors this year. And if they’re not contacted, their business partners will be. “As IT robot products proliferate, these vendors are going to hit the street, and their company names will become commonplace within the C-Suite,” says Strichman. “IT professionals at all levels should expect to hear from these vendors. And they should listen.”

7. The call center fades

As self-service tools and intelligent assistants like virtual agents and chat bots become more prevalent, the call center as we know it will face extinction. In their place we will see the rise of the tech-enabled contact center, says Anna Frazzetto, chief digital technology officer and senior vice president with Harvey Nash. “Contact Centers can handle more volume with less agents because virtual agent can work on several clients at the same time,” Frazzetto says. “As these efficiencies become more apparent, organizations with products and services to sell [will shy] away from investments in mega call centers that require staffs of thousands.”

Customers will rationalize their contact center vendor portfolios and identify key strategic partners, says Everest Group’s Ranjan, driven by the need to create integrated and seamless customer experiences.

8. Print services get sexy

CIOs have been paying increased attention to driving out cost in print and print related services through optimizing processes in recent years. But in 2017, we’ll see CIOs begin to leverage print services strategies in initiatives aimed at improving the customer experience, according to ISG managing director Dave Zamorski.

“Efforts will focus on enabling customers to choose their method of communication, whether through online services, social media, email, mobile, or traditional print,” Zamorski says. “As such, print operations will become a key component in enterprise-wide digital transformation strategies.”

9. Cognitive strategies get clearer

“Over the past year service providers have rushed to market with a wide range of home-grown cognitive platforms,” says Jeff Augustin, managing director with ISG.In many cases, providers overstated unproven capabilities, resulting in market confusion and hype.” This year, providers will clarify their messages and focus on specific success stories.

“There’s still a long way to go in terms of clarifying true differentiation in cognitive capabilities and solutions,” Augustin says. “[But] rather than telling customers their solution will solve all their problems, in 2017 providers will reassure their customers that their solutions are gaining traction, and will use actual case studies to highlight specific business results.”

10. The market consolidates

This year saw significant merger and acquisition activity in the IT and business process services sector. That consolidation will continue and likely increase in 2017 with only the strongest players surviving. “Competition between providers continues to be fierce, and providers who have incomplete solutions will either join forces and form alliances,” says Seidl, “or they will be told, ‘the tribe has spoken,’ and they will be out.”


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