More on the recent survey we ran (to which many of you contributed) on the immediate outsourcing intentions from the beleaguered financial sector.
The financial services sector has held back from many outsourcing opportunities in recent years through a stubborn resistance to change and a fear of losing control over non-core business processes. However, with this current tough financial climate, executives have little choice but to embrace global opportunities that afford both short and long-term cost-savings, access to process acumen and new technologies. When we delve deeper into the new survey data,
the major banks are clearly the most aggressive with ramping-up their plans to pursue outsourcing strategies:
Figure 1: Over the last month, has your firm been looking to increase / decrease your expenditure on outsourcing services (IT and BPO)?
n= 44 Major US Financial Institutions
It is those outsourcing services where initial investment outlays can be offset by a heavy labor arbitrage component that are now top of the agenda for the beleaguered banking sector.
To this end, the main service-lines where banks are focusing are banking-specific BPO services, application outsourcing, and Finance and accounting BPO (see Figure 2). Insurance companies also stated a strong focus on adopting insurance-specific BPO services in a 6-12 month period. Service lines not being so aggressively pursued are primarily HR outsourcing and IT staff augmentation projects:
Figure 2: How do you foresee your demand changing for the following outsourcing services over the next 6 months?
n= 29 Major US Banks
"Tough times call for tough measures, and outsourcing fits the bill for some financial organizations"
This data supports the position that banks are now seriously evaluating the lower-hanging fruit right now - they are looking to find solutions that can support their changing business models, and the more they can be supported by cost arbitrage, the more likely they are to move into an outsourcing transaction.
While current leadership discussions in this sector have clearly been dominated by mere survival strategies, the sourcing strategy talk will follow soon afterwards, whether they are going into an M&A situation, or simply looking to strip out cost. I predict a very bury Q1 2009 in this sector. What do you think and what are you seeing?