Organisations Must Review Outsourcing Arrangements To Mitigate Geopolitical Risk, Says Gartner
An employee wears a headset while working at a call center in Kolkata, India. (Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg)

Organisations Must Review Outsourcing Arrangements To Mitigate Geopolitical Risk, Says Gartner

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Fears of geopolitical instability may impact the global offshore services market, as sourcing, procurement and vendor management executives review their options to mitigate risk, according to Gartner, Inc.

The offshore outsourcing market has been relatively stable in recent years, with organisations using a mix of onshore, nearshore and offshore resources with relatively stable demand and supply patterns, the research and advisory firm said.

However, recent events like the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, the U.S.-China trade dispute and political tensions in Hong Kong are raising fears of delivery disruptions, it said.

"Political and economic stability is an important factor in offshore outsourcing arrangements," said Jim Longwood, research vice-president at Gartner.

Gartner has started fielding more questions from clients about how to address these scenarios. This includes whether to stop sourcing services from a particular country, move services to another country or bring them back onshore. Each option is quite costly and can disrupt service delivery in the short-to-medium term.
Jim Longwood, Research Vice-President, Gartner

For example, Gartner estimates that China exports around $10 billion of IT application and business process services, primarily to North America, Western Europe, Asia/Pacific and Japan.

Indian outsourcing firms generated more than $45 billion in global services in 2018. “How the trade talks progress may hinder China's ability to deliver IT services," said Longwood.

"Concerns include potential disruption to or cessation of services, increased tax added to export labour rates and reduced quality of service due to 'patriotic' backlashes by local staff. However, instability is not limited to the U.S./China situation. All organisations should review their offshoring and nearshoring arrangements," he said.

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 65 percent of larger enterprises using captive offshore or nearshore service delivery centres will have adopted a multi-country sourcing strategy for these services. It recommended that organisations build a roadmap to split risks across multiple countries and/or onshore low-cost centres, including automation of service delivery.

Through 2022, Gartner believes the potential for further geopolitical disruptions will accelerate uptake of intelligent automation of managed services by more than 25 percent and will spur the movement of these services onshore to mature country locations.

Organisations should proactively assess their key in-country risks and short-term options for anticipated scenarios by identifying key signposts when significant action will be required.

Also read: Forced or Not? Why U.S. Says China Steals Technology

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