Economic fluctuations and business uncertainty, accelerated service globalisation, and increasing competition of IT services are major factors that could force businesses to move further toward low-cost IT, according to Gartner, Inc.
Gartner defines low-cost IT as the delivery of managed IT services (infrastructure, application, business process services) designed and implemented to minimise IT price — per-user/unit per-month (PUPM) — while maximising the number of client organisations and users that adopt the services.
“The price of IT will continue to drive decision making,” said Claudio Da Rold, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. He adds that cost-cutting, restructuring and the move toward offshore outsourcing continue to increase while growth in emerging countries accelerates, widening the gap between high-growth areas and stagnant economies, and low and high-cost IT providers. "This trend could drive a prolonged reduction in the unit cost of IT services, significantly affecting
the IT services market by 2013.”
The industrialisation of IT services is also enabling a greater orientation toward outcome-based and pay-per-use services. Early offerings like infrastructure utilities or cloud e-mail show that providers can deliver one-to-many services at price points that are one third of in-house/traditional costs, due to the right combination of industrialised one-to-many services, offshore outsourcing and technologies such as virtualisation and automation.
Gartner analysts note that based on the proliferation of advertising "IT as a service" as a pricing model, business buyers would force traditional providers to switch to PUPM pricing models by 2012.
“If the scenario of low-cost IT accelerates in the next few years, we foresee a growing number of delivery models that could cut the cost of IT by a third or more. This could lead to the emergence of viable low-cost IT providers,” reveals Frank Ridder, research vice president at Gartner.
In such a scenario, the IT services market could sustain a year-on-year reduction of 10% to 25% in the average market unit price PUPM for three to five years. A yearly reduction of 10% to 25% in IT services costs, affecting 30% of the market, could cause the overall, average market price to decline by 5% to 10% yearly. This worst case scenario reduction would equal the revenue of two to four of the largest IT service providers. “This reduction is possible because, in 2009, we saw the IT services market shrink 4%, with a market loss of US$42 billion, with outsourcing prices plummeting,” says Ridder said. “Such extensive reductions in price and market size would stall growth in the overall IT services market by 2013.”
“Organisations must invest in scenario planning and risk management,” adds Da Rold. “About two or three times a year — depending on dynamics in their business environment — they need to assess their multisourcing environment against risks, including changing service pricing, regulatory changes and providers' viability. They also need to consider leveraging new IT services options depending on their compatibility with their corporate risk profile, and add business value through risk mitigation and business continuity planning.”