Articles Posted in Cost Optimization

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Global In-House Centers (GICs) were first seen in India in the 1990s as an alternative to IT outsourcing arrangements with third-party vendors. The principal driver was labor-cost arbitrage between the United States or Europe and India. The banking, financial services and insurance industries were early adopters. In their original iteration, GICs were known as “offshore captive centers.” A number of these captives were later sold to outsourcing vendors, particularly in the years following the Great Recession.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in GICs in India across a wider range of industries, including transportation, telecom, media, manufacturing, medical devices, oil & gas, aerospace, retail and hospitality. In “Global In-House Centers in India, v2.0,” Pillsbury partners Jeff Hutchings  and Craig de Ridder explore how GICs in India are evolving from cost-saving platforms into Innovation Centers for emerging digital technologies that can provide a competitive advantage.

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Happy new year, outsourcing industry!

In our last post, we posited that the new year brings an opportunity for a fresh start in structuring fundamental aspects of an outsourcing transaction. We pointed to the following mechanisms used to restrict a customer from an early exit from an IT outsourcing deal as being outdated, having originally been designed to protect a supplier’s significant capital investment in outsourcing deal, which has all but disappeared in today’s typical deals:

  • Whole or partial exclusivity;

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The advent of the new year provides an opportunity to contemplate a fresh start — and that’s just what is needed when it comes to structuring the fundamentals of an IT outsourcing transaction.

Early IT outsourcing transactions typically involved significant capital investments by suppliers, who would often purchase the customer’s existing assets and promise to deliver services inclusive of refreshed assets at defined refresh cycles. These “asset-heavy” transactions often included mechanisms to either prevent the customer from exiting early, or to compensate the supplier for significant unamortized capital investment where the customer terminated services early. Examples of these “exit-restricting” mechanisms are:

  • Whole or partial exclusivity;

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This is the second of two postings that discuss SaaS pricing. In the earlier posting, we discussed the underlying economics of SaaS solutions and their implications for how SaaS services are priced. This posting identifies some key considerations in negotiating pricing for SaaS services that can help lower total subscription costs.

Committed Growth vs. Incremental Purchases

As a general matter, the higher the volume you commit upfront to a SaaS provider over the contract term, the higher the discount you can negotiate. However, this carries a risk that your projected growth may not materialize and you’ll wind up paying for a higher volume of service than you need. As a result, it is important to use the negotiation process to assess the level of upfront commitment to future growth that achieves the optimal balance between high discount levels and the risk of paying for more than you need.

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Software as a Service (SaaS) is growing rapidly as an alternative to licensing on-premises software for corporate customers. As reported by Forbes earlier this year, analysts are forecasting that global SaaS revenues will reach $10.6B in 2016, representing a 21% increase over projected 2015 spending levels. By 2018, 27.8% of the worldwide enterprise applications market is projected to be SaaS based.

SaaS solutions are attractive to customers because they substantially reduce the upfront investment and risk associated with licensing and implementing on-premises software and avoid the ongoing costs of maintaining the infrastructure and implementing upgrades for the licensed software. In a SaaS solution, those costs and risks are transferred to the supplier.

SaaS combines elements of software licensing, outsourcing and hosting into an integrated solution. The pricing models for SaaS solutions have certain distinct characteristics that are driven by the economics of those solutions and differentiate SaaS pricing from pricing models for software licensing, outsourcing and hosting services.

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As the range of technology employed by the UK’s leading banks widens, the balance between cost-effectiveness and manageability of solutions becomes increasingly difficult to strike. 

Background

The banking sector in the UK has grown significantly through acquisition and amalgamation. The result is a market dominated by banking groups, which have not yet had the time, finances or inclination to set about harmonising the underlying IT infrastructure of their respective component parts. The table below highlights some of the key retail bank elements of the UK’s major clearing banks, alongside which it is necessary to consider the various additional investment bank, private client, credit card and other major business unit components that sit within the same group.

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In the early days of outsourcing IT as a managed service, it was not at all unusual for a managed services price to be all inclusive of assets, services and facilities. That bundle of services and assets usually came with a “black box” style pricing that was devoid of transparency and created a myriad of challenges from changes in technology to addressing equipment refresh. Worst of all, these “all in” deals made it virtually impossible to fire your service provider because of the challenges of removing the assets from the supplier upon termination. Despite these challenges, there are times when a customer’s asset strategy still calls for acquiring assets from their service provider. In those circumstances, customers should be aware of the inherent risks in including IT assets in an IT managed services agreement and structure the transaction to minimize the risks.

Assets could be included for just about any service category of a managed services agreement. For the purpose of this discussion we are going to focus on the Servers and Storage assets that comprise the central compute services for a company.

Margin Expansion

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As noted in our previous blog postings on the subject (Applications Outsourcing Pricing – Part 1 and Applications Outsourcing Pricing – Part 2), the most prevalent model for pricing applications outsourcing services involves the following components:

  1. a fixed monthly charge for applications maintenance and support;
  2. a fixed monthly charge for a baseline number of application enhancements hours (typically included as part of the fixed fee for applications support) with authorized incremental hours charged on a time and materials basis; and

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As noted in our previous blog posting on the subject, the most prevalent model for pricing applications outsourcing services involves the following components:

(1) a fixed monthly charge for applications maintenance;

(2) a fixed monthly charge for a baseline number of application enhancements hours (typically included as part of the fixed fee for applications support) with authorized incremental hours charged on a time and materials basis; and

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The pricing structure of outsourcing transactions often reflects a balancing of competing objectives. In the case of applications outsourcing services, most customers want the pricing structure to provide predictability and proper financial incentives for the supplier to continually increase productivity and efficiency in service delivery. At the same time, both the customer and supplier usually desire a pricing structure that is relatively simple and easy to administer.

While there are a variety of models used to price applications outsourcing services, the most prevalent model involves the following components:

  1. a fixed monthly charge for applications support;