Global Outsourcing Survey


2018 global outsourcing survey

Disruptive outsourcing trends, technology, and innovation

Disruptive outsourcing leaps to the front. Our 2018 outsourcing survey of more than 500 executives from leading organizations indicates that disruptive outsourcing solutions—led by cloud and automation—are fundamentally transforming traditional outsourcing.

Disruptive outsourcing: The new normal

Outsourcing-led transformations can address both business and IT challenges. The state of the art is advanced disruptive outsourcing solutions, incorporating emerging technologies to drive innovation, speed to market, enhanced user experience, and improved performance.

Disruptive outsourcing solutions have the potential to be as extraordinary a change in the sourcing world as was the Bloomberg terminal to the trading desk. Cost reduction is generally expected, though many organizations expect to invest some of those savings, increasing budgets within a particular function, to more broadly advance the business, particularly when doing so can eradicate costs elsewhere in the enterprise.

Most survey respondents have accepted that they should change their outsourcing strategy. They are now thinking about how to change solutions, which partners can elevate them, how to construct an incentives regime that motivates them to continually innovate, and how to implement and manage this new outsourcing paradigm.

Explore the 2018 global outsourcing survey presentation

Three key trends emerged from 2018’s outsourcing survey

Outsourcing is enabling competitive advantage

While cost optimization is still a critically important criterion for outsourcing, it is no longer at the top of the list (nor even in the top five), since disruptive outsourcing, when executed well, can deliver competitive advantage by transforming the way organizations operate, and making them more agile, efficient, and effective. The advantages are obvious to respondents: approximately 84 percent of them have either initiated discussions, conducted pilots, or have implemented at least some disruptive solutions.

Organizations are embracing disruptive outsourcing technologies such as cloud and robotic process automation (RPA)

The vast majority of organizations—93 percent—are considering or adopting cloud solutions and 72 percent are considering or adopting RPA solutions. Seventy percent of respondents believe their service providers have a reasonable or advanced ability to implement disruptive solutions.

There are real challenges with adopting disruptive solutions

Data migration, security requirements, and application optimization/change are just a few examples of challenges related to cloud adoption. Organizational resistance, highly fragmented processes, and regulatory restraints are common challenges related to RPA adoption.

Organizations are adopting RPA and cloud

As with many initiatives, organizations are finding that delivering competitive advantage through disruptive outsourcing solutions is anything but simple; effort and expertise are needed to address potential data security and cyber risks, changing regulations, organizational resistance, skill gaps, and to help flatten fragmented processes. In this new world, place your bets on the brave and the good, and against the fearful and complacent.

— Doug Plotkin, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Lessons learned

We asked respondents what they would do differently when launching their next outsourcing initiative based on their past experiences.

  • Service provider selection. The top responses were related to the selection process: spend more time in RFP or service provider selection (42 percent), and use a competitive bidding process (39 percent). This may be due to the increasing maturity of both the procurement and vendor management functions within organizations. Many clients use a sole source approach to service provider selection, likely with the expectation that it is faster to execute the process with a single service provider; however, they will likely pay the price through higher fees, lower service levels,
    and less favorable terms. And, counterintuitively, it will usually take longer, since a competitive process creates more sense of urgency than a sole source approach does (though, of course, a poor deal
    can always be done quite quickly).
  • Strategic planning approach. Other popular answers involved taking a more strategic approach and planning a new outsourcing initiative: increase the scope of service (34 percent); transform the process rather than simply lifting and shifting (30 percent); invest in more robust service integration and transition (28 percent); use a third-party advisor (27 percent).

This suggests that organizations have come to recognize the value that transformation, improved processes, experienced counsel, and transition play on the success of their outsourcing programs.


Deloitte named the undisputed worldwide leader in business consulting services based on capability and strategy by IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) has named Deloitte a global leader in Worldwide Business Consulting in the IDC MarketScape reports for Business Consulting 2017 Vendor Analysis Worldwide. The IDC MarketScape reports recognize Deloitte as a leader in the report based on capabilities and strategies. “Deloitte is seen by consulting clients as the strongest firm worldwide at helping them to manage risk, reduce costs, transform significant processes, and develop their digital capabilities,” noted Cushing Anderson, program vice president, Business Consulting Services Research at IDC.

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Business Consulting Services 2017 Vendor Assessment by Cushing Anderson, March 2017.

Access previous editions of Deloitte's global outsourcing survey

2016 global outsourcing survey: executive summary

2014 global outsourcing survey: executive summary

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