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Gartner Says Outsourcing Will Continue to Grow in 2009 Despite Economic Slowdown


Outsourcing Trends to Be Discussed at Gartner Outsourcing & Vendor Management Summit, May 3-6 in Las Vegas

STAMFORD, Conn. — The outsourcing industry is not immune to the ripple effects of the widespread economic volatility, however, in an economic downturn, cost will trump value considerations, according to Gartner, Inc.

“Although things look gloomy for the larger global economy, the outsourcing market represents a dichotomy: on the downside, organizations’ cost-cutting outsourcing strategies may negatively impact market growth, but at the same time, the upside is that outsourcing will be adopted by more organizations to help them work through financial and competitive challenges,” said Allie Young, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The well-educated buyer and provider will have the advantage. The potential for outsourcing to address immediate cost pressures as well as long-term recovery goals will be unprecedented. However, only organizations that are diligent about understanding and avoiding the pitfalls of cost-focused outsourcing and that apply business-outcome-focused outsourcing will be successful.”

The fifth annual “Gartner on Outsourcing, 2008-2009” report shows that the global economic slump has meant that outsourcing clients are re-evaluating their contracts to improve efficiency and costs. This is affecting provider selection and retention, how services are or will be delivered, delivery location and contract pricing. Beyond the drivers of efficiency and cost, however, many organizations will also experience business change as a result of repercussions of the economic crisis, which will impact current outsourcing or plans for outsourcing.

For organizations that are outsourcing, contract terms may be altered in response to corporate change: some will downsize, others will expand, acquisition and divestiture will impact others, and still others will cease to exist. Many organizations that are not outsourcing will consider or move aggressively to outsource their IT or business processes to focus on their core business. More than ever, buyers and providers must be attentive to contract issues to ensure a certain level of flexibility, since business change is almost certain.

In 2009, Gartner expects competition for outsourcing deals, particularly for standardized IT outsourcing (ITO) services, to be fierce. Some buyers will be lured by low prices from providers trying to make quarterly revenue goals or build market share. In 2008, based on analysis of Gartner’s Outsourcing Contract Database, about 76 percent of announced outsourcing contracts represented new deals; the remaining percentage was a combination of contract extensions, expansions or renewals.

“Almost one-quarter of these contracts were a continuation of outsourcing with an incumbent provider. With the continued uptake in selective outsourcing, a provider can remain a key supplier of services to a particular client, yet potentially lose a portion of its historic contract value,” said Ms. Young. “Key providers are betting their future on forming enduring, long-lasting client relationships. In uncertain economic times, outsourcing relationships can prove (and test) the durability of relationships and the outsourcing value proposition. “

Alternative delivery and acquisition models (ADAMs) will see a net boost in adoption due to the economic conditions in 2009. ADAMs will deliver IT services through new approaches, such as software as a service (SaaS), business process utility (BPU), infrastructure utility (IU), remote management services (RMS) and Web platform/cloud computing.

IU is defined as a key initiative for IT organizations during the next 12 months by many organizations. Providers that de-emphasized IU investment will react to the growing “everything as a service” buzz by refreshing their messages, creating new service bundles and reactivating investments. IU will gain more market share at the expense of traditional data center outsourcing service, which will put pressure on traditional IT outsourcing providers to deal with the pricing pressures that IU services represent and create change in their service portfolios and within their client bases.

“ADAMs are becoming more pervasive in many, if not all, aspects of IT development, delivery and management,” said Ben Pring, research vice president at Gartner. “Market excitement over new delivery methods is intensifying and whetting buyers’ appetites for new options and services that promise greater flexibility, speed-to-solution, lowered capital investment, and pay-for-use models.”

“During the next five to seven years, a broad set of new and alternative IT delivery models — already in use by aggressive early technology adopter organizations — will become mainstream,” Mr. Pring said. “Since these models have been gaining attention from enterprises in recent years in relatively benign economic market conditions, they are likely to become of far greater interest to buyers as economic conditions worsen through 2009.”

Additional information on what happened in outsourcing in 2008 and what Gartner expects in 2009 is available in the Gartner report “Gartner on Outsourcing, 2008-2009.” The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at

Gartner analysts will further discuss outsourcing trends at the Gartner Outsourcing & Vendor Management Summit, taking place May 3-6 in Las Vegas. The Gartner Outsourcing & Vendor Management Summit is the only event that provides a comprehensive view of the entire outsourcing market — infrastructure, application and business process outsourcing, global delivery and the use of offshore providers, as well as issues and trends about new delivery models, such as SaaS. The Summit provides unbiased, road-tested advice and best practices necessary for setting outsourcing strategies and objectives, evaluating and selecting the right service providers and managing relationships with them. For complete event details please visit the Gartner Outsourcing Summit Web site

Members of the media can register by contacting Christy Pettey at

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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