EMEA outsourcing at three year high

Outsourcing activity in EMEA is off to its best start to the year since 2010, with both contract value and counts up by double digits, says a researcher. But business process outsourcing is in decline.

The ISG Outsourcing Index for Q1 saw the annual EMEA contract value at €2.4 bn – up 10% quarter-on-quarter and 29% year-on-year; 165 contracts were awarded in total – up 21% year-on-year.

Growth was largely supported by five mega relationships – contracts valued at more than €80 million – signed in the region this quarter, including contracts in the UK, France and the Nordics, a marked increase from two such deals in each of the first and fourth quarters of 2013.

With more than half of all global outsourcing activity concentrated in EMEA, both by ACV and contract counts, the region continues to dominate outsourcing activity in the global market.

The majority of contracts awarded in EMEA were new scope, accounting for 76% of all contract value in the region, an increase of 48% year-on-year and the highest quarterly value in four years. Conversely, restructuring values declined by one third both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year.

The IT Outsourcing market continued to dominate the EMEA market. The €2bn of ITO ACV awarded in the first quarter was up 18% quarter-on-quarter, and accounted for a full 85% of the overall EMEA market. The 127 ITO contracts signed during this period was the region’s highest number ever recorded in a single quarter.

By contrast, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) market declined for the third successive quarter, with modest values recorded in ACV of €370m and contract counts (38).

John Keppel, partner and president, ISG North Europe, said: “The EMEA market has had a strong start in 2014. Activity levels in the region remain high and the return of mega-relationship awards in the quarter boosted the market values. Although these larger contracts have a strong role to play in the market, the smaller deal size brackets will continue to grow more sharply as enterprises opt for greater flexibility and more specialized services from a greater number of providers. Multi-sourcing, increasing competition among providers and lower technology costs will continue to be the factors that drive the market for the foreseeable future.”

The United Kingdom continued its strong showing, with ACV of just over €1 billion awarded, a quarter-on-quarter increase of 33% and up 66% year-on-year. The 59 contracts recorded was the highest number of contract awards in a quarter over the last three years.

Germany saw a slight dip in contract values for the quarter, with around €330m in ACV recorded, down slightly quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. However, contract counts increased by 21% qtr/qtr and rose 52% compared with the weaker-than-usual first quarter of 2013.

France, driven by mega-relationship awards, experienced an impressive jump in market values for the quarter. The €630m in ACV awarded placed France as the second biggest market in EMEA this quarter. France saw a growth of almost 300% qtr/qtr as it marked its best first quarter ever by both contract value and number of awards.