Flexibility in ICT – for the experts at the think tank this will be one of the three great change topics in the next few years. For ICT executives a variable ICT configuration also plays a important role: Two thirds of the ICT executives surveyed (67%) state that the issue of flexibility already occupies a position of very great or great significance in their enterprise (see Figure 4-1).
There is an obvious reason for this: Flexibility and dynamics on the market are often the key factors that determine whether a company enjoys sustainable success. The full or partial (out)sourcing of ICT can help to enhance the company’s flexibility, thus allowing it to react swiftly to market changes. Sourcing enables the flexible provision of additional ICT capacities, e.g. to absorb and cope with production peaks. Conversely, in slower times – either due to the general economic situation, current market developments or factors within the company – the ICT capacities can be reduced again at short notice. This development puts an end to the era where overdimensioned ICT capacities had to be available for boom phases. Sourcing also has advantages when it comes to speed. Reaction times can be dramatically shortened if ICT resources can be modified within a few days or weeks, which in turn gives the enterprise far greater agility, for instance when working on client projects.
Research shows that from the enterprises’ point of view the services offered by large outsourcing providers are frequently the most attractive. These large providers benefit from economies of scale and specialization advantages which they can pass on to their customers. In markets with several large providers the cost and quality advantages for customers tend to be stronger than in tightly contested markets with many small providers.7 That’s the theory. So just how important is sourcing in day-to-day operations?
61 percent of the ICT executives surveyed for the LIFE 2 Study state that their company’s ICT is either partially or fully outsourced to external providers, and that they rely on a cooperation with only one provider (38% of executives). One in for ICT executives said that their ICT was outsourced to several providers (23%).
The areas most commonly outsourced are server/ storage and software/applications (43% each), communication solutions (34%) and development/testing (33%). It is less common to outsource strategic ICT consultancy (28%) or ICT management (25%). One third of ICT executives (33%) state that their company is planning to outsource (more) ICT services to external service providers. In Germany alone, this means that around 600 enterprises with more than 1000 employees will in future be making greater use of ICT sourcing. In Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and the United States, more than 5500 large enterprises are planning to use the benefits of ICT sourcing.8 The focus will in all probability be on the areas software, data storage, and development/testing (see Figure 4-2).
“The proportion of ICT expenditure spent on outsourcing is growing.”
Christophe Châlons, Chief Analyst, PAC Group
7 Kretschmer, Tobias / Hecker, Achim (2010)
8 Own projection on the basis of the study results.