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Irene Pimentel

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Irene Pimentel is an IBRS analyst who focuses on news and information on the global IT Outsourcing market. Irene provides IBRS clients with up to date information on all outsourcing deals that are taking place helping our clients understand who is winning business in what markets. With over 10 years experience as a management consultant, Irene has worked with some of Australia's largest blue chip companies and public sector organisations. Irene has also worked as a research manager for an IT sourcing consultancy, providing clients with targeted intelligence and advice for their specific IT sourcing transactions.

Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding partnerships and acquisitions with the specific aim of expanding reseller businesses to include managed services have been prominent. Specifically there have been a number of investments, acquisitions and partnerships to transition resellers into service providers. This type of consolidation can be beneficial by enhancing offerings, assisting with collaboration and evolution, as well as providing access to new skills and products vendors have been lacking. Investments have also been made to educate traditional resellers on the benefits of becoming managed service providers with a focus on obtaining new customers and channel distribution of managed services. This flags a shift in customer demand for service-based value models which can be specifically targeted to individual business needs, and will ultimately be positive for both vendors and their clients.


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Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding technologies used to facilitate highly specialised business functions have been prominent. Tailored solutions which focus on the performance of tasks, such as case outcome predictions, automated insurance claims, water monitoring for farms, sensors in apartment foundations to identify faults early and health risk identification, are amongst those discussed. These new solutions and frameworks can be beneficial for customers by automating tasks to address resource and skills shortages, as well as being cost-effective. However, these can be sensitive markets, performing very delicate functions that do warrant a certain degree of caution for vendors and customers when adopting, and a great deal of diligence afterwards. Investment in infrastructure because of expanding platforms, networks or associated equipment, training and consolidation with existing business operations are amongst the issues that may arise. Wrapping new solutions and service elements around other core services and operations can become a complex task. While customers do demand advanced offerings, vendors must find ways to increase value to clients by ensuring they acquire or have access to resources and skills that can be leveraged to support these new function-based solutions and associated issues.


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Conclusion: This month, there has been increased discussion regarding security services; in particular, the growth of the Australian security service provider industry and benefits associated with procuring locally. Now that customers recognise security as a basic function, a strong local security services sector has evolved. Local vendor expertise within the Australian market, regulations, customer demands and the security environment as it pertains to Australian businesses is invaluable when establishing mechanisms to avoid and respond to security incidents. Security is a necessity, but vendors must be prepared, and more importantly understand the local market, as well as businesses, to ensure customers can avoid, continually educate staff about and respond to security incidents effectively.


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Conclusion: This month, attention has been drawn to vendors and managed service providers requiring customer transformation or migration to new frameworks and associated customer reluctance to do so. For instance, platform enhancements may necessitate migration to new systems or upgrades because of an inability to support ageing systems. Old platforms may simply not be compatible with newer resources, technologies or procurement models. However, these types of enhancements can be disruptive or costly for customers if they are not prepared for changes. Further difficulties can arise with existence of intertwined, hybrid systems within enterprises or systems which perform critical functions if changes interfere with business operations. Simply removing the capacity to access ageing systems and associated support is not sufficient. Businesses must prepare in advance when investing in products and services, in conjunction with vendors. The development of strategies and sharing responsibility for forward planning, education and engagement, as well as support for shifts, are necessary. The provision of other resources or advice from vendors, or obtaining services from third-party specialists dedicated to transformation strategy development and implementations, can also be beneficial. Whilst vendors must evolve, customers must also be prepared to make these changes and understand what kind of impact it can have on their operations.


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Conclusion: This month, the high activity in mergers and acquisitions has continued. However, there has been additional discussion on the impact of these acquisitions on the industry in general, as well as the high volume, and whether this type of activity could have a negative effect on the Australian market – in particular, if the current regulatory frameworks governing mergers and acquisitions are sufficient to protect competition and avert potential misuse of market power. It is critical that regulators are aware of industry trends and how new practices may affect the market, as well as be open to feedback from vendors that have direct experience with circumstances regulators may not be familiar with.


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Conclusion: This month, a number of failures due to external vendor systems performing essential functions have been prominent. Disruption caused by these types of outsourced solution failures become disproportionate when they facilitate critical tasks conducted by consumers. Similarly, reactions can be disproportionate when tasks are deeply intertwined with others, such as government agencies requiring submissions of consumer information or reports to set schedules. These types of failures highlight the fragility of systems and the need for sturdy response measures in case of disruption – responses which must extend beyond technical and local issues, but also cater to practical matters. For instance, an acknowledgement from certain government agencies that consumers depend on vendors to fulfil regulatory requirements, and allowances from agencies when failures interfere with customers meeting their responsibilities to these agencies. Vendors require different layers of protection and responses. This includes dealing with externals and their associated issues that can increase difficulties of failures if not identified and factored into vendor response measures.


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Conclusion: This month, the number of tenders and plans has continued to grow, highlighting the important role projects play when it becomes necessary to replace legacy systems, capitalise on new or evolving solutions or simply adapt to changed business operations or environments. Customers understand that avoiding complacency and market disconnect is critical, yet this still exists, with project plans to replace technologies such as paper-based messaging or tape data storage being announced just this month. It is critical for vendors to provide advice and ongoing support for customers in order to strengthen and simplify migrations and transformation, and more importantly, identify project objectives and final goals when replacing legacy systems.


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Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding rising costs associated with outsourcing have been prominent. Whilst benefits from outsourcing in the form of efficiency and financial savings have been clear for some time, customers can find that savings are not as high as expected due to increased complexities associated with new offerings and associated implementation. For instance, customers that moved to the Cloud for storage and compute solutions benefited from the large number of vendors in the market and more competition. However, as the market has matured, customers demand more sophisticated offerings to leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. As a result, infrastructure and associated services have become more costly, coupled with add-ons and Software-as-a-Service costs. Whilst cost benefits remain a priority for customers, it is also important for thorough cost optimisation reviews, and the engagement of specialist services to rationalise and assist with the management and restraint of outsourcing expenses.


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Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding offshoring initiatives have been prominent following announcements by two vendors that plans are in progress to send work overseas. Though offshoring can be beneficial in terms of cost and the ability to obtain talent not available in the local market, the approach can cause difficulties for organisations. For instance, local protest or a loss of customer confidence can arise due to perceptions that offshoring practices are simple cost-cutting efforts which come at the expense of quality service. However, offshoring initiatives can be critical to meet demands for vendors to provide new, quality offerings in a highly competitive environment. The need to go beyond the local market is driven by more than mounting staff costs. Although risks associated with cultural barriers or customer backlash exist, benefits can be significant when providing unique and high-quality offerings. Vendors must achieve a balance between local and overseas services, as well as maintaining a positive view of offshoring as more than a simple cost-cutting exercise which results in low quality service, to an exercise that can enhance offerings resulting in improved services.


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Conclusion: This month, security issues and responses to threats specific to managed service providers have been discussed. Attacks on vendors can be particularly serious because of provider interaction with customer environments and access to information. These difficulties can be exacerbated by other issues facing vendors, such as obtaining additional resources from contractors, inexperience or lack of expertise with complex, unfamiliar environments. Recent attacks on service providers have raised concerns because of threats to customer environments, as well as flow-on effects such as uncertainties relating to vendors and difficulties establishing trust with customers. New programs, education and vendor collaboration have been launched to address provider-specific security issues. It has been recognised that establishing best practices and protocols to help avert, detect and respond to security threats is required in the industry.


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