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ISG Forecasts Top Americas Sourcing, Operational Trends for 2013

Sea change in sourcing dynamics underway, cloud growth to continue

STAMFORD, Conn., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Information Services Group (ISG) (NASDAQ: III), a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company, today identified seven top trends that will define the sourcing and operational agendas of Americas CIOs and their business enterprises in 2013.

"2013 is shaping up to be a year of significant change," said David Whitmore, Vice Chairman, ISG, and President, ISG Americas. "We see a sea change underway in sourcing dynamics, the continued growth of cloud continuing and a changing operational landscape in key verticals. While some of the particular challenges our clients face will vary, a consistent imperative will be to develop and implement strategies that significantly improve efficiency, facilitate managerial oversight and transparency, and enhance competitiveness."

The seven trends ISG identified are based on a survey of the firm's sourcing experts and industry specialists:

Automation will transform the economics of outsourcing. Outsourcing has historically achieved cost efficiencies principally by moving jobs to low-cost labor centers. Today, a new model is emerging that deploys tools, platforms and software that automate tasks and functions previously performed by humans. As a result, the competitive advantage of offshore service providers – skilled resources at low cost – will become less important. Expect to see new players emerge as both buyers and providers create new business models to integrate and manage these capabilities.

HR and e-mail will drive cloud computing growth. In 2013, several big-name global brands will overcome commercial and contracting barriers associated with cloud computing and move their workforce administration, payroll and messaging platforms to multi-tenant SaaS delivery models. As mature and largely commoditized technologies, HR and collaboration are both ideally suited for the SaaS model.  Expect HR organizations to look to SaaS to decrease reliance on corporate IT and provide a more compelling new experience for employees. For IT and procurement organizations, SaaS-based email will reduce costs and licensing overhead.

"Hoteling" of global networks will become more prevalent. As BYOD and mobility requirements continue to drive bandwidth demand in 2013, large organizations will adopt new approaches to manage their global data and telecom networks. Businesses are becoming more conscious of connect-from-anywhere demand from users and are thinking globally about how they buy bandwidth. An emerging "hotel" interconnect model allows an enterprise to tap into a large hosting facility and then provide regional interconnects for best-in-class pricing. Rather than relying on one provider to deliver global services, the hotel model requires enterprises to assume greater ownership of assembling and managing the network, increasing the importance of effective multi-vendor management practices and governance processes.

Risk mitigation will top the agenda for financial services firms. In response to regulatory and compliance pressures, financial services organizations will focus on governance and operational transparency to assess, monitor and mitigate risk. Next year will likely see stricter audits and more regulation of third-party relationships. Regulators will require more evidence of service provider management, as well as evidence of defined governance processes. Many organizations today are lacking – in resources, in data and in connection of data to action.

Insurers will aim high but must overcome legacy barriers. Insurance organizations will aim to centralize and standardize operations across multiple business lines. Rather than having one set of operations for life policies and another for auto, they'll seek rationalization to drive significant efficiency gains. In a similar vein, insurers' sourcing strategy is shifting from staff augmentation to a managed services model. But implementing these initiatives will require overcoming substantial cultural barriers.

Healthcare payers will adapt to a new order. Tier one payers will add to their group portfolios while also increasing their focus on individual policies. As a result, operational dynamics will change, creating demand for new products and for greater granularity in underwriting. And as consumers start buying individual plans, they will demand transparency into costs, service quality and health outcomes. Tier two payers, most notably the regional Blues, must catch up in terms of basic operational efficiency. This will mean more benchmarking, against peers as well as against competitors, as the Blues aim to understand where they have a chance to compete. We will see a move to rationalize myriad administrative systems, implement governance processes, transition from staff augmentation to shared services and manage internal demand for services.

Savvy pharmas will use M&A to drive improvement. The M&A activity that many major pharmaceutical companies are engaging in presents an opportunity to standardize operations and rationalize software portfolios. Because an M&A initiative requires an organization to document the utilization of all software licenses and associated support agreements, the process will encourage some companies to go a step further and deploy a software rationalization initiative. In addition, regulatory requirements will drive an increased focus on data management, tiering and retrieval strategies.

About Information Services Group
Information Services Group (ISG) (NASDAQ: III) is a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company, serving more than 500 clients around the world to help them achieve operational excellence. ISG supports private and public sector organizations to transform and optimize their operational environments through research, benchmarking, consulting and managed services, with a focus on information technology, business process transformation, program management services and enterprise resource planning. Clients look to ISG for unique insights and innovative solutions for leveraging technology, the deepest data source in the industry, and more than five decades of experience of global leadership in information and advisory services. Based in Stamford, Conn., the company has more than 800 employees and operates in 21 countries.

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