December 17, 2012, 2:00 PM — Last year at this time, CIO.com and its outsourcing experts made some bold predictions for IT services in 2012. This would be the year all the cloud computing hype would finally blow over. Application development would migrate from offshore to second-tier cities stateside. And IT service providers would give sales-incentivized account managers the boot in favor of a more relationship-oriented approach.
None of those particular prognostications came to pass, of course. In reviewing last year's prophecies, one third of them were just wishful thinking. Almost half turned up in fits and starts. It seems 2012 was more about evolution than revolution in the IT outsourcing market. And a quarter of them were dead on.
As we pull together our 2013 forecast, here's how we rated those 2012 predictions:
Right On Target
2012 Will Be a Mixed Bag of M&A Activity
As predicted, there were no earth-shattering mega-deals in the IT services space. "Service providers gobbled up a few smaller service providers, but the valuations have driven them to acquire capability through better deal making with buyers," says Tony Filippone, executive vice president of research for outsourcing analyst firm HfS Research. HP's previous acquisitions of Autonomy and EDS made headlines throughout the year--for all the wrong reasons. "With HP's financial issues, one has to wonder if [CEO] Meg [Whitman] is going to sell," says Mark Ruckman, outsourcing consultant with Sanda Partners.
"By comparison, in 2012 IBM acquired at least eight mid-sized companies that provide various types of domain expertise that IBM likely will use throughout the enterprise-not just in the services division," says Bob Zahler, a partner in law firm Pillsbury's global sourcing group.
IT Service Buyers Look Beyond Labor Arbitrage (But Vendors Don't)
Indeed, outsourcing customers began placing more of a premium on business outcomes than incremental cost savings while many service providers outcome-based contracting talk was simply that. "They too often fell back on replicating the same activities and service while using lower cost labor as the fundamental value proposition," says David Rutchik, partner with outsourcing consultancy Pace Harmon.