Sunday, December 30, 2012

Major Outcome based pricing deal by Top Indian Outsourcing Vendors till 2012

TCS started to use outcome based pricing in 2006 during which it signed some deals but the major deal it did was in 2008, when it won a project from Ministry of External Affairs to automate passports and is paid a combination of project fee and an outcome fee based on number of applications it process. In 2007, TCS signed a $1.2 billion deal with Nielsen, provider of consumer and media information services spread over 10 years and as soon as the finance and the HRO processes are centralized onto the new platforms, TCS has an option to review the deal and move to outcome-based pricing. TCS has used outcome-based pricing models in its BPO deal with Pearl Insurance in the UK and in the $250m IT infrastructure management deal with Tata Teleservices in 2005. TCS' British BPO subsidiary, Diligenta, will be taking over the IT and customer services functions of the UK business of Friends Life earlier known as Friends Provident, for 15 years and the deal is worth $2.2 billion. It is outcome-based pricing and TCS will charge per policy to the client.

In December 2008, AstraZeneca has awarded Infosys a five year, multi-million dollar global sourcing deal Infosys is delivering the services through a global shared-services model that offers fixed price for outcome-based deliverables, and flexible, unit pricing for managing changes in the base scope of the engagement. Infosys signed three-year Services agreement to manage Microsoft's Internal IT Services in April 2010 and the deal includes IT Help Desk, Desk Side Services, and IT Infrastructure and Applications Support and the engagement is delivered based on outcome based pricing model, enabling Microsoft to associate and manage IT costs directly to business variables and demand. Infosys highlighted that outcome-based model was at the core of its new strategic vision 'Infosys 3.0' and the main vehicle for the new model was the firm's 'Infosys Edge portfolio of platforms. “Each of the Infosys Edge platforms guarantees a business outcome to our clients - it either contributes to clients' revenues or it contributes to profitability by driving efficiency. This is a strong differentiator for us," the firm said. Infosys' result-oriented model provides clients with "outcome-based", "transaction-based" or "function-based" pricing and CEO Shibulal highlighted the increasing acceptance of customers for Infosys’ new engagement model based on variable pricing. The model is based on the number of transactions, events, maintenance tickets or devices.

Cognizant’s earliest projects based on outcome were with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. For 3M too, Cognizant used an outcome-based, managed service engagement model with productivity benefits over the long term. In its partnership with Sanofi Pasteur, there was an increase in effectiveness as measured by time. This reduced process hiccups in bringing the drug maker’s vaccines to the market. One area where PAC (a privately held research & consulting firm for the software and ICT services market) believes Cognizant has a particularly strong story is in moving towards outcome-based pricing models. In the F&A space, Cognizant is looking beyond taking out cost and hitting SLAs, to committing to targets that increase its client’s revenue and working capital, or improve compliance and control. In life sciences, the vendor is talking about moving towards being charged per study for handling clinical trials, while in the area of mortgage administration, it is looking at charging lenders for only processing the loans that are signed rather than the quotes they provide for customers. Recently Cognizant signed a deal with Royal Philips Electronics for services like consulting and application services on a global basis. As per the terms of the multiyear engagement, Cognizant will allow Philips to switch the IT organization to a platform and output-based managed services model across multiple business lines and corporate functions.

Wipro said that it has numerous clients whose billing/payments are intimately linked to the client's business. "Some of our clients, like airports, pay us based on the number of boarding passes or the baggage tags issued," said Suresh Senapaty, Wipro's chief financial officer. In December 2011, as part of the five year strategic relationship, Wipro will be supporting both systems and processes to enhance efficiency of Premier Foods’ supply chain. Wipro’s strong partnership with SAP, global SAP consultant base, end to end implementation coverage, delivery innovation, and outcome based service models and competencies in cloud based services will be leveraged for this engagement. In June 2011 Wipro won an outcome-based deal from Chaucer Syndicates, a specialist insurer at Lloyd’s, to develop an end-to-end regulatory compliance solution that would generate better analytics and improved management reporting for the client In 2009, Wipro has won a new application development and support contract with long-time client, UK insurer Friends Provident. The ‘fixed price, outcome-based’ deal runs for three years with a two-year extension option. Wipro says that if they get the full 5-years, it will be worth £40m over the period. TK Kurien, CEO, Wipro Technologies told FE: “We are seeing a great uptick in outcome-based pricing. There is a clear increase in outcome-based models among customers, who want to have their business outcome linked to the actual work done. Most of them love to go for long-term, but you are not sure of the long-term perspective. Not all of them are going for long term.”

HCL Technologies, India's fourth largest IT outsourcer, claimed that it had actually "pioneered the outcome-based pricing model in the mid-2000s". "We have many active client engagements based on outcome-based pricing models," a spokesperson for the firm said, citing its multi-million dollar contract with aircraft-maker Boeing where it works on a "risk-reward sharing model". In July 2008, HCL BPO acquired UK-based Liberata Financial with revenues of $80 million, which is to life insurance and pensions and US-based Control Point Solutions, a provider of voice, data and wireless telecom expense management services with revenues of $37 million and both the companies helped the company to increase its outcome based pricing revenues. HCL BPO is offering platform-based offering, a combination of software platforms and services such as administering payroll for a client and charging the client based on transaction or outcomes. HCL Tech, which acquired Axon, an SAP consulting company in 2008 which has significant capability in terms of outcome based pricing models. “We have worked with number of companies on business outcomes based on our outsourcing work and this is an area that we will continue to build on,” says Shami Khorana, President, HCL America. However, he added that the company will look at a combination of regular outsourcing and outcomes-based outsourcing, in the future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Indian BPO Industry losing its sheen & continue to face tough challenges in 2013

Source: NASSCOM . FY2012-13 estimated is self estimate.
With diminishing cost arbitrage and margins, Indian BPO players are struggling to keep up the growth and last four years (2008-2012), CAGR for the BPO sector has been slow at 12.47% compared to  India’s IT services exports, which posted a 17.23% growth during the same period. With reducing client spends and IT budgets Indian BPO industry is further expected to face tougher year in 2013. Another important reason is that India’s cost advantage as an offshoring destination has dropped by 30-40% and also with high attrition rate (40%-50%) as companies are finding it difficult to hold on to employees who were earlier attracted to the industry but presently resenting the BPOs due to the lack of career growth opportunities and falling compensation, perks, bonuses and benefits, industry is facing problems in fueling growth. There has been significant pressure on the margins too due to wage inflation where in the salaries of the employees have risen fast, foreign exchange losses as most of the revenues are dollar revenues and companies failed to hedge the currency risks and the Indian rupee had been very volatile ranging from `43 to `57.15. Companies like general motors who initially outsourced majority of their business processes and IT processes to India have recently announced to move back the outsourced jobs back to United States.

According to The Hackett Group, offshoring of jobs to India will be declining from 2014, and will reach the end of its lifecycle in eight years, as the traditional model of US and European companies moving finance, IT, and other business services jobs offshore will reach its maturity and there will not be many jobs left out with the companies to outsource to India. According to Nasscom, software services are the fastest-growing segment with 19% growth in FY12, while BPO exports grew at 12% over last year. “Gone are the days of over 30% growth for the BPO sector, going forward it will be in low single-digit,” says TPI’s Pai. The rise of other low cost destinations like Philippines and near shore destinations like Brazil, Argentina for United States and Poland for Europe have been successful in attracting outsourcing business through quicker response time, better technical support and near-shore advantages. Despite the low cost advantages these low cost locations cannot match India in terms of economies of scale, large pools of skilled talent and workers, experience and technical knowhow and ability to deliver large scale projects. But most of the Indian BPO vendors are not agreeing with the Hackett Group view that Indian BPO will be reaching maturity and they are focusing on improving their product and service offerings and move up the value chain.

Indian BPO vendors like Genpact, WNS, Infosys BPO, TCS BPO, HCL Tech BPO, Aegis, etc. are struggling to keep up their revenues and margins. Industry leader Genpact had a very bad Q32012 (despite 14.3% increase in revenues net profit impacted by "foreign exchange re-measurement loss and expenses related to special cash dividend") and the company highlighted the volatile economic conditions and clients cutting down budgets but still indicated that it will expect full-year revenues of $1.86- $1.90 billion, and adjusted operating income margin of 16-16.5% in 2012. WNS which earlier had tough time in keeping up growth was able to attain a 6-7% organic growth and guided double digit growth for 2013 as the company has verticalized their services in domain and have adopted technology-enabled non-linear model for their service offerings. Not only WNS but most of the BPO players in India like Genpact, etc. are moving up the value chain by focusing on Analytics, Social Media, Consulting, Mobility and Cloud computing to boost up margins. Products and Platform based offerings are being developed and aggressively marketed to clients as the Indian BPO vendors are looking to increase nonlinear revenues that are revenues independent of headcount rise. Outcome based pricing models are also being adopted too by Indian BPO vendors despite significant risks and most of the BPOs are targeting 30% revenues from Nonlinear outcome based models in next five years.

Generally BPO is not a high value work mostly clerical type of work which is monotonous and repetitive. BPO is an intense operational game and there is severe competition between the Indian vendors and the multinational vendors like IBM, Accenture, etc. which has led to significant pricing where vendors cannot afford to rise prices and are facing severe margin pressures. There is minimum difference between the service offerings of the various vendors both Indian and Multinational, and the Indian BPO vendors could not expand their service offerings sticking with the low end work and not moving up the value chain to more high end work where they can charge more prices and increase their margins and the Indian BPO industry could not scale up its size. “Today none of the standalone BPO firms are of significant size. They are mostly in the $350-million range, expect for one or two like Genpact,” Sid Pai, partner and MD, TPI India. But the Indian BPO vendors have realized this fact and they have been investing significantly over the past few years in the development of products, platforms, new service offerings, and emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobility, analytics and social media. Multinational BPO players like IBM, Accenture, Dell, Xerox, Cap Gemini, etc. are expanding their BPO operations in India and other Low cost destinations like Philippines, Poland, etc. to offer more services to their clients and reduce costs.

“BPO business has become a big-guy game. Smaller players with niche competencies will get acquired. Like in analytics space, every day you hear firms getting acquired by larger firms. It is a very consolidated game and a big player’s market,” says Genpact’s senior VP Shantanu Ghosh. Accordingly there has been consolidation in the Indian BPO industry like Firstsource Solutions being acquired by Kolkata-based power utility company CESC for about R640 crore. According to industry reports, the Essar Group backed Aegis and WNS are looking for PE funds to scale their businesses. Recently, PE major Bain Capital picked up a 30% stake in Genpact for $1billion. Infosys bought Australia based sourcing and category management services firm - Portland Group Pty Ltd for $37Mn.  Indian BPO has moved beyond “bread and butter” voice and transaction processing and is increasingly looking for higher value-adding activities like KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing), which comprises legal research, advisory and consulting services among other offerings.

Genpact acquired Triumph Engineering, which provides engineering and technical services to aviation, energy, and oil & gas industries, Atyati Technologies, a technology platform provider for the rural banking sector in the country, and Accounting Plaza, a provider of finance and accounting, human resources services and ERP services in 2012. WNS has acquired South Africa-based Fusion Outsourcing Services in 2012 for £10 million Fusion provides outsourcing services including contact centre, customer care and business continuity services to both South African and international clients and would look at acquisitions of $5-20 million this year.This clearly shows the Indian BPO vendors are acquiring companies for both the revenue growth and for adding skills and capabilities to increase their service offerings. Most of the Indian vendors are sitting huge cash reserves which they can utilize for acquisitions. Overall there is tough year ahead for the Indian BPO vendors in 2013 and they need to prepare themselves for this by aggressively improving their products and services offerings and also look for increasing their nonlinear and outcome based revenues thus moving up the value chain