I have to confess this one came completely out of left-field while I was traveling, but does tally well with HP’s focus on bundled BPO. All-in-all, these are my key takeaways from this eventful day:
No-one saw this one coming, most of us were expecting one of the Indian providers merging with EDS. This now raises the possibility of further mergers in services, even though this was looking unlikely until recently. The incumbent Western providers need scale and depth to compete effectively with the lower-cost Indian firms, and we could see a response from one of the other top tier firms to swallow up one of the vulnerable services firms.
On the BPO side, this is a great move, with the merger filling both companies’ BPO portfolio gaps, most notably in finance and accounting (F&A) and HR processes. As we discussed a few weeks’ ago, BPO market leaders Accenture and IBM have already been aggressively pushing their combined portfolios of finance and accounting and HR BPO services, with increasing emphasis on bundling these services with their application outsourcing services. HP is looking to follow suit, with the likes of Cap Gemini, Infosys, Wipro and TCS avidly observing how they can broaden their global BPO and IT services depth, scale and industry specialization. Now HP has deep HR delivery expertise to draw on, which elevates its bundling capability, in addition to EDS’s $1 billion call center outsourcing and global IT services business.
Culturally, this is definitely an odd one to fathom, but Mark Hurd has the track record and financial discipline to make this merger a success. He also got a good valuation for the firm, so now was probably a good time to strike.
Interesting times… maybe we’ll have some more days like this in the coming months?