User Survey Analysis: IT Outsourcing Becomes Mainstream in Western Europe

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1 User Survey Analysis: IT Outsourcing Becomes Mainstream in Western Europe These materials can be reproduced only with Gartner's written approval. Such approvals must be requested via

2 Key Findings and Top Recommendations Key Findings IT outsourcing activity in Western Europe is set to increase consistently during the next two years. Companies that pursue a low-level use of IT outsourcing will decrease from the current 36% to a mere 14%. Although gaining internal consensus on the deal scope is defined as the biggest challenge, respondents gave a much-higher focus on sourcing strategy. This task (widely overlooked in the past) now has the focus of six out of 10 organizations. In Gartner s 2005 ITO survey; approximately one-third of respondents reported that they had a formal sourcing strategy; in 2007, 59% of respondents reported that they had developed a formal sourcing strategy. This shift signifies greater maturity in outsourcing and a movement away from tactical, ad hoc outsourcing Top Recommendations Customers renewed focus on sourcing strategy, coupled with a realistic use of outsourcing to reduce cost and improve operational efficiency, should drive providers to develop and market IT solutions designed to deliver technical excellence and improve business efficiency. Providers should carefully manage expectations around business transformation from the bidding phase as they will find it increasingly difficult to hide their responsibilities behind a presumed customer lack of definition in terms of deals objectives and sourcing strategy. 2 2

3 Introduction and Survey Objective During the second half of 2007, Gartner conducted a user survey in three major geographies (North America, Western Europe and the Asia/Pacific region) to better understand users practices, opinions, drivers/inhibitors, competency levels and satisfaction with IT outsourcing. This report highlights the aggregate responses of 356 Western European respondents. User surveys provide value by helping service providers/outsourcers to better understand end-user purchasing behavior and intentions, attitudes and awareness, contract and pricing preference, and other attributes of the client preparedness for outsourcing. Service providers that understand similarities and differences in user behavior and opinions in the various global markets will be betterprepared to respond to the dynamics of an increasingly competitive IT outsourcing marketplace. 3 3

4 Gartner Recommendations Based On Findings As ITO buyers in Western Europe continue to perceive security, loss of control and IP protection as key inhibitors to outsourcing, service providers should focus on communicating how they can cement trust in the relationship by deploying solid processes aimed at supporting change, problem and risk management Despite a generally positive level of satisfaction, customers declare failure in achieving the two biggest outsourcing drivers/objectives: price and flexibility. As these objectives contradict each other (flexibility comes with a price), service providers should manage expectations right from the beginning, provide support in terms of IT strategy and process compliance to maintain discipline and be prepared to renegotiate the deal in order to align it overtime to evolving customers IT and business needs. ITO is set to grow considerably. As the CEO and CIO remain the key roles defining the sourcing strategy of the majority of organizations, providers should target these roles in developing an outsourcing value proposition but avoid the mistake of bypassing the IT department until the deal is signed. In fact, IT managers and IT directors remain pivotal roles in terms of evaluation and selection and contract development. When evaluating and selecting providers, customers should not overlook the importance of global delivery capability. As the request for global delivery is likely to grow, providers should proactively communicate their road map to support global delivery and their processes, methodology and experience supporting relationship and service delivery management. 4 4

5 Western European Users ITO: Drivers and Inhibitors Drivers Inhibitors Cost takeout 42% Loss of control 43% Speed, agility, flexibility 30% Data security or privacy issues 40% Improving IT to end users 29% Loss of IP or IT knowledge 33% Focus on core business 28% High costs of outsourcing 31% Greater cost predictability 27% Lack of trust in outsourcing vendors 25% Access technical expertise/skills 24% Keep control for industry compliance 19% Focus internal staff on strategic tasks 19% Loss of critical employees 18% Move IT problems to vendor 17% Past unsuccessful OS efforts 18% IT innovation 16% IT as a core competency 17% Aligning IT and business goals 12% Fear of HR backlash 17% Access industry skills 10% Labor laws prohibit outsourcing 9% Remove assets from balance sheet 10% Fund IT projects through outsourcer 8% Respond to senior executive mandate to OS 8% Note: Up to three responses allowed 5 Although decreasing from more than 50% in 2005 to the current 42%, the need to cut cost remains the key driver for outsourcing. Organizations focus beyond cost reduction to improve the level of competitiveness through outsourcing is proved by the fact that other key drivers include improving: flexibility/agility, the IT service delivered to the end users and focus on the core business. As in previous research, the ability to fund other projects through the use of an external service provider appears as a low driver as money saved through outsourcing is often used to improve the company's overall profitability. A final positive element appears when we see that the percentage of respondents indicating that outsourcing has been chosen to implement senior executives' initiatives has dropped from the previous 14% to the current 8%. In fact, although no outsourcing relationship is likely to succeed without senior executive sponsorship, outsourcing merely mandated by a senior executive can be termed compulsive outsourcing and may lead to a dysfunctional engagement as a result of a lack of clarity of goals and the consequent lack of effective metrics and management of the deal. The inhibitors that top the list as most critical in driving organizations away from the decision to outsource have remained unchanged from the previous survey: loss of control, security and IP protection. However, lack of trust as an inhibitor has seen a steep decrease, and is now being selected by 25% of respondents compared with the previous 36%. The influence of imperfect deals signed to aggressively reduce cost with little time for strategy signed during the period is starting to die out. In fact,18% (compared with the previous 22%) of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with previous outsourcing experiences. Finally it is important to note that inhibitors such as fear of HR backlash" or "labor laws prohibit outsourcing" are starting to lose traction and appear at the bottom of our list as the global competitive environment is driving organizations to look at outsourcing as a vehicle to reduce cost, increase competitiveness and access global delivery capabilities. 5

6 Outsourcing Activity Shows Growth Potential Across the Board Indicate which of the following IT services your organization currently outsources, which it plans to begin outsourcing in the next 12 months, and which it has no plans to outsource within the next 12 months (N = 356). Desktop 33% 24% 35% Network WAN 34% 27% 27% App Custom/Legacy 37% 31% 25% Network LAN 37% 27% 31% App Packaged ERP 38% 28% 23% Data Center 43% 23% 26% Technical Help Desk 47% 28% 20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Currently OS, either in part or fully Plan to OS within the next 12 months No plans to OS within next 12 months Note: Respondent base currently outsources one or more IT service, or has plans to outsource in the coming year. 6 As expected, mature infrastructure environments, such as the data center and the help desk, are the most outsourced, having being selected by nearly 1 out of 2 respondents. Both the data center and the help desk are currently impacted by trends such as centralization, consolidation, automation and global delivery. This explains the healthy growth potential for outsourcing expansion as one out of four respondents selected them as outsourcing targets for the next 12 months. Respondents confirmed that desktop-related services (including LAN operations), are less likely to be outsourced in the future, as 35% and 31% of respondents, respectively, confirmed no intention to outsource them. This is a characteristic of the European market where, typically, midsize organizations tend to maintain a closer control on distributed operations. Its also worth noting the large proportion of organizations that have already decided to outsource the management of all or part of their legacy and packaged applications. The application outsourcing market is set to experience healthy growth in the future, driven by the need shared by many organizations of rationalizing their application portfolio, address the need for scalability and specific skills and substitute unmanageable legacy systems. Although the application service market remains overcrowded, we expect providers with established client relationships and vertical-oriented capabilities to be more likely to benefit from growth in this area. The sector that is more likely to be the most outsourced in the future is the technical help desk only 20% of respondents mentioned it as an area for which there are no plans to outsource. The confidence in externalizing this activity is a result of the need of many organizations to consolidate operations, reduce cost and improve efficiency. As a consequence, this sector is likely to see an increased focus on global delivery, automation and proactive measures/tools deployed to reduce the number of calls reaching the help desk first level. However, because of its proximity to the end user, the technical help desk will remain a challenging environment to manage unless consistent improvements in terms of cost, efficiency and end users satisfaction can be delivered. 6

7 Organizations Plan Increased Use of ITO During the Next Two Years Which of the following most accurately describes your organization's overall use of ITO services today and 24 months from now? 100% 80% 2% 36% 1% 14% 60% 51% 40% 48% 20% 34% 14% 0% Today Two years time High level of IT outsourcing Moderate level of IT outsourcing Low level of IT outsourcing No outsourcing at all n=356 Note: Respondent base currently outsources one or more IT service, or has plans to outsource in the coming year. 7 The increase in terms of IT outsourcing (ITO) activity is further confirmed by the feedback our respondents gave to the question: Which of the following most accurately describes your organization's overall use of IT outsourcing services today and 24 months from now? In fact, while 62% of respondents described their current use of outsourcing as high or moderate, in two years this percentage is set to experience considerable growth, reaching 85%. If we keep looking at the data describing the respondents' level of ITO two years from now, we can immediately perceive how this use is set to increase. Companies that make a low-level use of ITO will decrease by 22% (going from the current 36% to a mere 14%). During the same period, companies with a high-level use of ITO are set to more than double, going from 14% to 34%. 7

8 Tactical Use of Outsourcing Declines Which statement best describes your organization s approach to making ITO decisions? (N = 356) We have no formal enterprise-wide sourcing strategy - we make sourcing decisions on a case-by-case basis 41% We have a formal enterprise-wide sourcing strategy 59% 8 It is important to underline an important change emerging from this year s survey. While in the past, organizations made a tactical use of outsourcing with only a minority focusing on developing a sourcing strategy, in this survey 59% of respondents confirmed that they had developed a formal sourcing strategy. Therefore, if we consider that 62% of respondents described their current use of outsourcing as high or moderate, it is positive to see that the great majority of them do so with the support of a sourcing strategy. This signals an important increase (compared with the past, when only around one-third of organizations had confirmed an effort in developing a sourcing strategy), and it signals market maturity. Although renegotiations in outsourcing are not likely to disappear, this data point makes us believe that in the future they will be focused on maintaining the deal aligned to evolving business and IT objectives rather than reactively solving frictions around topics such as performance, governance, scope or pricing issues. This, however, should not hide the fact that there are still a proportion of European organizations that adopt outsourcing tactically. With little slowdown in the number of service providers being used, the risk is to fail to exploit the maximum benefit that disciplined multisourcing can deliver. 8

9 Sourcing Strategy Competence Has Room for Improvement On a 7-point scale, rate the strength of your organization in terms of its ability to successfully implement the phases of an OS engagement life cycle. (N = 356) Rating OS strategy, assessment and risk analysis Evaluation & selection of OS vendor(s) RFP/contract dev., performance metrics, SLA dev., payment models Ongoing OS relationship mngmt & governance 9 Despite the improved focus on developing a sourcing strategy before entering into an outsourcing deal, our survey respondents recognized that their ability to successfully manage this task, while positive, is not yet at the same level as the others. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is not strong at all and 7 is very strong, respondents gave a positive self-assessment score of 5.1, which is the lowest of the four phases. The survey results also prove that customers traditional focus on two phases that Gartner considers important but yet tactical (evaluation and selection of providers and contract development) is still present and the focus point of attracting most resources. Both received a score of 5.3. Finally it is worth noting that the improved maturity of the outsourcing market, which we mentioned previously, is once again reflected by the score of 5.3 that ongoing relationship management and governance achieved. This phase, together with sourcing strategy, represent the two strategic steps of a sourcing life cycle, and it is particularly important to maintain expectations aligned to the objectives, manage change, positively support renegotiations and introduce the right balance between flexibility and governance in the deal. 9

10 Strategy and RFP Development Require Longer Cycles in the Four Phases of the Sourcing Cycle In making the sourcing decision for your most significant ITO contract, what was the length of time required by your organization in each of the following phases? (N = 277) Base: Organization currently outsources one or more IT services Strategy 18% 29% 20% 17% 11% RFP development 16% 28% 24% 16% 8% Providers Evaluation & selection 23% 33% 17% 14% 9% Contract development & negotiation 24% 30% 16% 16% 10% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Less than four months Four to six months Seven to nine months 10 to 12 months More than 12 months 10 While the results to the question, In making the sourcing decision for your most significant ITO contract, what was the length of time required by your organization in each of the following phases? should be evaluated together with the respective scope, size and objectives of each deal, we can generally state that organizations often fail to manage these tasks in a time-efficient manner. If we look at the strategy phase for example, only 52% of respondents indicated what Gartner would expect to be an appropriate amount of time between four and nine months, depending on the complexity of the deal. This leads us to believe that one out of two organizations is likely to have spent either too little (less than four months) or too much time (more than 12 months). The RFP development and the evaluation and selection of providers are considered as crucial but tactical tasks that should not normally require more than six months, especially if coming as a consequence of a thorough sourcing strategy. However, only six out of 10 respondents seem to be able to complete them in this time frame. Although ambitious for large international or global deals, the contract development task should normally be completed in about four months. Our data shows that just one out of four respondents managed to achieve it in this time frame. This poor result is because often during this phase organizations and providers focus on finally solving all pending issues. 10

11 Roles and Responsibilities in Outsourcing: Chief Corporate Officer Decides, IT Executes Indicate which individual/roles in your organization are most influential during the following phase of the ITO decision process. (N = 356) CEO/COO/president/ executive office Chief Information Officer IT manager Chief Financial Officer Business unit leaders Chief Sourcing Officer Procurement officer 3rd-party consultant End users Strategy Providers evaluation & selection Contract development & negotiation Managing relationship Percentage of Respondents 11 As expected, respondents' feedback confirms that the role of defining the strategy supporting the decision to outsource is primarily confined to the CEO and CIO. Although CIOs and IT managers (traditionally protective of the internal IT operations) maintain a focus on tasks such as evaluation and selection of providers and contract development, their involvement in the sourcing strategy phase should not be overlooked. This confirms that sourcing is now seen as a necessary option to achieve cost optimization but also to support the business operations of the company and enhance its competitiveness in the market. The majority of organizations are in fact promoting the transformation of their IT department into a more-strategic role of broker of services in charge of aligning business units objectives to internal and external capabilities. The chief sourcing officer is a position that is gaining increased visibility in the market. Its role, however, seems to be more focused on the tactical tasks rather than the expected strategic ones of strategy definition and relationship (hence change) management. In fact, in terms of relationship management, beyond the CEO and CIO, business unit leaders seem to play an important role. While it is crucial to actively involve and achieve buy-in from the business units, letting business unit leaders play a key role in terms of relationship management can, in some deals, lead to the creation of a separate agenda with a new set of objectives and priorities. This may result in a misaligned deal. Finally the need to optimize cost keeps CFOs involved in the evaluation and selection and contract development phases. Therefore, providers need to be prepared to address a variety of constituencies and roles throughout the engagement life cycle. 11

12 Buyers Views on Expectations and Benefits of Outsourcing Which of the following most accurately describes the primary benefit your company expects to receive from ITO? (N = 356) Percentage of Respondents Controlled or reduced operations cost In a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is not at all effective and 7 is extremely effective, rate your overall impression of ITO as an effective tool to deliver tangible benefits in each of the following areas. (N = 356) Rating Controlling or reducing operation cost Enhanced operational outcomes & performance Enhancing operational outcomes & performance Transformation of our business or operating model Transforming our business or operating model 12 Confirming what they said in terms of outsourcing drivers and providers evaluation and selection criteria, half of the respondents pointed to controlled or reduced cost as the major benefit expected from ITO. While more can be achieved, it is reassuring to see that respondents gave a positive rating of 5.1 (on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 was not at all effective and 7 was extremely effective) to the efficiency of the outsourcing model in achieving the expected cost advantages. 40% of organizations surveyed looked at outsourcing as a vehicle to enhance operational performance. Although more can be achieved, once again this expectation has been reasonably fulfilled as outsourcing received a score of 4.8 in terms of supporting the achievement of this objective. Only 10% of respondents expect to achieve a transformation of their business operating model. In this case, outsourcing reached a score of nearly 4.6 in terms of effectiveness in fulfilling the objective. 12

13 Despite the Challenges, Outsourcing Buyers Show Positive Level of Satisfaction How satisfied has your organization been with the outsourcing of each of the following services? (N = 293) Data center Network (LAN) Technical help desk Applications (custom/legacy) Network (WAN) Applications (packaged ERP) Desktop Rating 13 ITO is a mature service delivery model, especially if adopted for infrastructure services such as the data center or the network. With many organizations inside the second or third generation of deals, the level of satisfaction remains rather positive. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is not at all satisfied and 7 is extremely satisfied, all environments surveyed achieved a score of about 5. This result is particularly important as it includes not only traditional mature infrastructure offerings, but also deals focused on packaged and legacy application outsourcing. Here the level of satisfaction is telling as it depends on elements going beyond cost reduction to create a positive impact on the IT efficiency and business model of the organization: scalability and quality of resources, vertical competence, solution design, and project management. However, on the other side, we need to underline how environments such as the data center or the desktop, which have traditionally been a target for externalization, fail to reach a higher level of satisfaction. As customers consider a viable option transferring specific services from the incumbent to a new outsourcer, service providers should focus on proactivity driving continuous improvement and demonstrate reasonable flexibility in managing change. Ultimately, this will increase customer satisfaction and support customer retention. 13

14 Western European Buyers Report Highest Satisfaction With Provider Relationship and Lowest Satisfaction With Price and Flexibility On a seven point scale, how satisfied have you been with each of the following areas of ITO relationship? (N = 293) Base: Organization currently outsources one or more IT services Overall relationship with outsourcing provider Service quality Performance to service levels Problem resolution Extent to which is has solved a business problem Technical innovation Cost-savings achieved Price of services Flexibility in the contract Rating 14 The positive level of satisfaction is also reflected when we explore various characteristics of the deal. Important indicators, such as overall relationship with the provider service quality and performance to service levels, top the table with scores of about 5.3. Although more can be achieved, the survey responses do not just confirm providers ability to keep the engine running. The scores for tasks such as problem resolution or solving a business problem are positively above 5, proving that service providers are trying to offer further flexibility and are prepared to go (within reason) beyond what is strictly defined in the contract. Even a notoriously challenging topic, such as technical innovation, seems to be materializing in current deals, although our experience confirms that this expectation often remains unfulfilled. This often results from either a failure to be clear about what the expected outcome of such innovation is, or a failure to build it into a contract, establishing joint processes to ensure that it happens. Last but not least, this graphic partially explains why it is difficult to talk about maturity and full satisfaction in the outsourcing market. The most-important drivers of outsourcing activity, cost savings, flexibility and price of services, are the ones that most disappoint customers expectations. Although cost-savings expectations may be oversold during the bidding phase, generating unrealistic expectations, it is also necessary to say that customers often expect flexibility to materialize by default, even if their negotiation has been solely focused on achieving the lowest possible price. To address problems around the balance of price versus performance of services over time, Gartner believes that both parties should agree on introducing a benchmarking close in the deal to demonstrate that, at any point in time, the provider is delivering services at a competitive value for money. 14

15 Internal Agreement on Contract Scope Is Key Obstacle for European Organizations What do you consider to be the top three obstacles encountered when making the decision to outsource the services included in your most significant ITO contract? (N = 293) Base: Organization currently outsources one or more IT services. Agreeing internally the contract scope Difficult contract negotiations Legal matters needed to be resolved Agreeing which provider to use Difficulty obtaining management buy-in Lack of end-user consensus on outsourcing Government intervention during the process Others No obstacles encountered Up To Three Responses Allowed Percentage of Respondents 15 When asked to identify the major obstacles encountered when making the decision to outsource, 42% of respondents pointed to agreeing internally on the scope of the deal. This is not unusual in either infrastructure- or application-based contracts as often, being pressured by time, organizations decide to begin the relationship on a smaller scale and then expand it to include further country or business operations. Unsurprisingly difficult contract negotiations and legal matters are also described as obstacles to be dealt with. While negotiations start in reality with the due diligence, time pressure often leaves issues unresolved, which then get dealt with inside the first 12 months of the deal, often challenging the critical transition phase. Nearly one-third of respondents mentioned internal (management or end-user) buy-in as a key obstacle. Unfortunately there is still a significant portion of deals that are signed before these disputes are resolved. These are the deals that over time generate the lowest level of satisfaction, with challenges emerging in terms of benefit realization, governance, satisfaction and relationship management. While government intervention during the outsourcing decision-making process remains a concrete threat in countries such as Germany, Italy or France, where job legislation remains strict, once again we see how this topic remains at the bottom of the table, hindering the growth of outsourcing. 15

16 Price and Technical Expertise Remain Biggest Evaluation and Selection Decision Influencers On a 7-point scale, rate the importance of each of the following factors to your organization when selecting an outsourcing provider. Price of services Specific technical expertise Project management expertise Service provider's financial stability Reputation in the market Industry certifications Client references Strength of local presence Vertical industry expertise Years in business Cultural fit with our company Global delivery capabilities Rating n= Despite the recent talks in the market around flexibility and efficiency, cost-reduction remains for European respondents the most-important evaluation criterion. As a consequence, providers are expected to continue to focus on profitability by increasingly evolving their service delivery model to include centralization, standardization, automation and global delivery. However, we must also note that the gap between cost and other drivers, such as technical and project management capabilities, appears to be reduced. Although technical capabilities are considered a must-have rather than a differentiator, once the deal has entered into the delivery phase, the focus will move to the provider's ability in offering experienced and reliable project management skills. Financial stability and reputation in the market (and years in business) are also considered as key requirements. This is because of the fact that the ITO market remains highly competitive, crowded and characterized by frequent mergers, acquisitions and divestures. Industry certification and, in particular, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is seen as a key requirement to underpin the solidity of service delivery, guarantee a focus on quality assurance and support ongoing improvement. Client references remain an area overlooked by customers that tend to avoid or rush through this task, missing the opportunity to evaluate the provider s ability to deliver on expectations through crucial phases of change such as transition, technology refresh or innovation initiatives. Although it achieved a positive score of 4.74, it is surprising to see cultural fit as one of the least-important criteria. Outsourcing customers continue to fail to recognize how important the human and cultural factors are to efficiently manage change in a long-term relationship. Although the strength of local presence appears in the second half of the graphic, global delivery capabilities have been judged even less important. This, in our opinion, is because outside of the U.K. the majority of organizations prefer to consider global delivery as an opportunity once the deal has reached a certain level of stability. Gartner, however, expects the adoption of global delivery to continue to increase, even in challenging markets, such as France and Germany. To remain competitive with pure offshore providers, European and global service providers are proactively establishing or consolidating their delivery capabilities around the globe. 16

17 Methodology A Web-based study was conducted from May through August 2007 to help Gartner explore the state of ITO among buyers in three regions: North America, Western Europe and Asia/Pacific. The intent was to gather end-user data on a worldwide basis to enable analysis on a geography/country-level basis or to enable geographic comparison, to contrast drivers and inhibitors, satisfaction, requirements for IT services (infrastructure and applications) outsourcing, among other issues. This report focuses on providing the data from Western Europe; other reports will also be published to provide analysis of the global findings and other regions. By ITO, we mean a service that is bought through a multiyear contract with an external service provider, or outsourcer, for day-to-day management of IT operations that provides technical assistance to employees (business applications, data centers, server/host computing, desktop computing, networks [voice and data], and help desk services). ITO is not the same as staff augmentation services or project-based services. In all geographies, we reached out to organizations with at least 250 employees, and our goal was to have a representation across all industries. This survey data does not represent a random sample; rather we qualified respondents who were knowledgeable about outsourcing by including only those organizations that were already outsourcing or planning to outsource within the next year in a multiyear contract (not staff augmentation or project-based work) for any or all of the following services: data center, technical help desk, desktop, network (LAN or WAN), and applications (legacy/custom or packaged). 17 The survey was developed collaboratively by a team of Gartner analysts who follow this market and was reviewed, tested and administered by Gartner's Primary Research Management (PRM) team. The sample universe was drawn from an external panel of IT management professionals. Qualified participants were those with a role in ITO strategy and/or decisions for their organizations. In all, 750 qualified respondents participated: North America U.S. (N = 165) and Canada (N = 26) Western Europe U.K. (N = 73), Germany (N = 69), France (N = 53), Spain (N = 52), Italy (N = 54) and the Netherlands (N = 55) Asia/Pacific Australia (N = 86), Singapore (N = 53) and India (N = 64) Definitions of ITO: Some product support, consulting, integration, and education and training services may be included, but ITO is primarily a management service. IT assets and human resources may or may not be transferred from a client to an outsourcer. Again, it should be noted that the results of this study are representative of a qualified respondent base that was knowledgeable about and experienced with outsourcing, and not necessarily the market as a whole. 17

18 Respondent Demographics Number of Respondents by Country Rating U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Netherlands Number of Respondents by Country and Company Size Percentage of Respondents EMEA Total U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Netherlands 250 to 499 employees 500 to 999 employees 1,000 to 2,499 employees 2,500 to 4,999 employees 5,000 to 9,999 employees 10,000 or more employees 18 During the second half of 2007, Gartner interviewed 356 IT executives in Western Europe from 15 different vertical industries. To qualify for the study, respondents had to be involved in an outsourcing relationship or intending to outsource part of their IT infrastructure or application operations. Participants also had to confirm that they were knowledgeable about their organization's ITO strategy. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and North America, the focus was on larger organizations because of the demographics of company size in those regions; in Asia/Pacific, smaller organizations are the norm. 18

19 Definitions To ensure a common understanding of terms, respondents were advised that the topic of the research survey was ITO. We defined this to the respondent as a service that is bought through a multiyear contract with an external service provider, or outsourcer, for day-to-day management of IT operations. These operations include business applications, data centers (or server/host computing), desktop computing, networks (voice and data), and help desk services that provide technical assistance to employees. We further clarified that some product support, consulting, integration, and education and training services may be included, but ITO is primarily a management service. Also, we emphasized that IT assets and human resources may or may not be transferred from a client to an outsourcer, and that ITO is not the same as staff augmentation services or project-based services

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