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Europe has regional data laws that affect the decision-making process when it comes to outsourcing. This makes data center location a crucial concern for outsourcing buyers. Also, with European firms having a regional nature, they are known to prefer local providers. Language and cultural barriers are also present particularly in France, Italy, and Spain.
Shuba Ramkumar, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies, advised providers to offer services that are localized or are focused within a specific region. Security and data confidentiality should also be guaranteed by the service providers to win potential customers.

Ramkumar said companies are now more focused on reallocating internal resources to the core processes of their business and becoming more economical. This is why organizations are looking for solutions such as managed hosting and data center services. 

Ramkumar also said cloud will propel colocation services. However, security and efficiency are expected to become long-standing problems to the growth of the cloud.

With the numerous changes and dynamic requirements in the data services segment today, hybrid services are now becoming popular among providers and buyers, resulting to a combination of colocation, managed hosting, and cloud solutions.

An article posted at Finance.Yahoo.com highlights several factors that are contributing to the continuous growth of the European data services market and the adoption of outsourcing. These include inter-machine connectivity, as well as the advancement of cloud technology and applications. The rising volume of data is also identified as a key growth driver as companies are strongly considering new innovative ways to address issues without having to deal with internal data centers.

Even with the challenges, the data services market of Europe is projected to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16 percent until 2018 with Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Benelux as the largest markets in the region.

5 Tips on Becoming a Thought Leader

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Monday, July 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

A service or productís success does not depend on the brand of the company alone. It is both the brand and reputation of the people behind it that influence business success.

What comes to mind when you think of the term Ďthought leaderí? An individual who invests his time and energy in pushing his personal brand is helping build credibility and at the same time enhancing not just his reputation but his companyís as well. To do that, one must establish himself as a thought leader. We know that closing deals and satisfying existing customers take up most of an industry leaderís time, but the good news is that not all personal branding strategies are time-consuming.

Entrepreneur lists five less tedious personal branding strategies that generate significant and positive results:

1. Identify your area of expertise.
A thought leader is the go-to individual or firm recognized for their expertise in a selected area of specialization. Most entrepreneurs and business leaders choose to focus on areas they have had a lot of past experience in.

Remember that the past experience needs to be connected with what you want to be known for in the future. Select an area that will bring in followers that can be either clients or advocates of what your company is selling.

2. Strengthen your LinkedIn profile.
If you donít have a good, strong profile on LinkedIn yet, you better start creating one. You canít avoid interested advocates looking to learn more about you and your company via your LinkedIn profile. Ask yourself, "Does my LinkedIn profile sell me and my company?" Your profile needs to look like an SEO landing page for you and your brand, not like a resume.

3. Follow other thought leaders in your area of specialization.
Advocate marketing is fast becoming the most effective form of marketing. Consumers are more likely to believe their friends and recognized experts than a website or a salesperson.

Start following the thought leaders and influencers in your space. Interact with them on social media: comment on their Facebook and LinkedIn posts, retweet and favorite their content on Twitter, comment on their blogs. Establish a relationship with them. Getting them to know you will pay off to a considerable degree.

4. Share content.
Donít forget to share relevant and compelling content, and keep the 80/20 content guide as a rule of thumb: 20% original and 80% curated.

5. Follow through.
Being a thought leader also entails building long-term relationships with your key customers, influencers, and future advocates. Return customer calls and respond when they send you an email. When customers, influencers, and advocates connect with you on social media, accept their invitation, or simply respond to them at the very least.

Global Outsourcing Industry Sets New ACV Record in Q2

by: Sarah Joson

Friday, July 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

A post at MarketWatch.com reveals the latest study done by market intelligence and advisory services company Information Services Group (ISG). The report shows that global outsourcing activity peaked during this yearís second quarter, and has likewise boosted contract values during 2014ís first half.

In ISGís Outsourcing Index, commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract value (ACV) of $5 million or more were recently analyzed. It was found that 340 contracts were signed during the second quarter. Most of the activity was detected from deals not exceeding $40 million annually.

Compared to last yearís second quarter, ACV is up by 72 percent, generating $6.4 billion. All of this happened even as the volume of mega deals - which are valued $100 million or more - dropped.
In addition to that, the strong figures posted during this yearís first quarter boosted the overall standing of this yearís first half with an impressive 30 percent increase in the total number of contracts (663). The total ACV for the period is $12.4 billion - the third best ACV ever recorded and is 34 percent higher than last year.

According to ISG President and Partner John Keppel, growth can be seen almost everywhere in outsourcing. He said the number of deals is growing incessantly, momentum in three key regions - Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific - continue to rise, ACVs all over the world are surging, and high-valued information technology outsourcing (ITO) gains traction. 
The rising number of smaller-sized deals is believed to be sustaining the market. This is because large companies are closing smaller contracts with shorter duration to several providers instead of sticking with just one. Mega deals, on the other hand, dropped from this yearís first quarter when 11 deals were signed, to just seven $100 million-plus deals signed during the second quarter. Still, the low volume of mega deals will equate to positive projections for the rest of the year.

The growing market also signifies growth in restructured contracts and even flow of new scope awards. In addition to that, restructured contracts with a combined value of $4.5 billion broke records in the first half, while new-scope ACV with $7.9 billion is in line with the usual levels over the past few years.

The Social Media Success Team

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, July 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Updating social media profiles on a regular basis seems like a fairly easy job, but it isn't. To manage multiple brand pages is just as taxing as the need to create relevant, unique, and compelling content constantly.

The Social Media Success Team

The sales department of outsourcing service providers faces several challenges every day. They have to work with their marketing team in setting realistic expectations when it comes to lead generation, the number of requests for proposal (RFP) which is diminishing by the hour because of tight competition, and the hard sell or cold call approach that is not as effective as it was before. They also have to deal with the constant pressure from their organizations executives.

Itís hard to blame them when deals lose their luster, especially in long-term outsourcing contracts. It has become a constant struggle for outsourcing deals to survive because what happens is for the first few years, the provider does well, then they become complacent and careless, and right before the contract ends, they will do whatever they can to salvage whateverís left of the outsourcing relationship in hopes of getting the client to renew their contract.   

A post at HorsesforSources.com shared four ways that can help restore and reinforce client-provider relationships in the outsourcing industry:

1. Look past the contract. When it comes to closing deals, providers often become too focused on landing a contract, that they say all the right things to win the client over. However, they soon forget the promises they made when they were still in the courting stage and leave the clients on their own.

Service providers should have a concrete structure where their propositions are realistic and achievable, instead of filling presentations with buzzwords that are only used to confuse the clients. There are numerous opportunities for them to develop and cultivate their relationships that can break contract longevity records, as opposed to providing quick fixes for clients. Also, it has been found that outsourcing relationships that are built on trust and collaboration become more successful.

2. Perform a standard background check. There are several ways for buyers to know the real providers. What happens next once the contract is signed? Are they still as accommodating and amicable as they were during the RFP process?

They can hire an expert who will do the work for them, or they can contact past clients to see their real track record.

3. Early termination should be covered by the contract.
It should have provisions for early termination, as well as sufficient rewards until the deal expires. This way, providers will be able to properly set their goals according to the initial agreement.

For the providers, it will serve as protection should the client go on a power-tripping frenzy and begin to lowball or set unworkable goals.

4. Appoint a POC.
Having a point of contact will make it easier both for the outsourcing services provider and the client. The POC is assigned to handle the operation and act as the middle man who will ensure that the concerns and deliverables of each party are addressed.

With rapid developments in todayís digital world, PR professionals are expected to come up with innovative ways to maximize different types of content for numerous digital platforms. Apart from videos and digital posters, blog posts, bylines, ebooks, and even white papers still help boost a brandís recognition and reach a companyís target audience.
So what exactly can a PR professional do to stay on top of the content marketing game? Vocus.com listed down three easy ways:
Keep a steady schedule for content production.
Having a blog on your corporate website not only reinforces your lead generation strategies - it also provides great material for social media posts. With your social media posts, businesses are able to interact with their target audience on a more personal level. 

Repurpose your original content.

Businesses put a lot of time and effort in collecting data to use in informative and original content. Why waste those efforts on a one-hit-number when you can repurpose and translate it in different ways? That way, you will have more opportunities in interacting with the different personalities of your target audience. For instance, last monthís presentation can be reused as a press release this month. 

Do not forget about SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) still plays a vital role in maximizing your contentís influence. By utilizing keywords that are related to your topic and have a high search volume, you will be able to gain more presence in search results pages and have a better chance of being exposed to your target market.  

More and more data center facilities are being constructed in Turkey, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. A report stated that the increase in data center facilities in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region aims to address the impending expansion of their respective local data center markets.

A couple of years ago, MEA countries were seen outsourcing IT and computing processes offshore, but since more and more data centers will be operating domestically, outsourcing is expected to drop, the market in these areas will rise, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.55 percent from 2013-2018.

Even with the risks and issues such as the need for high capital investment in establishing data centers and proper cooling systems that will protect the facilities from harsh climates in the MEA region, the market is expected to keep on growing. Some of the factors that are predicted to contribute to the growth are the mass volume of digital content produced on a daily basis, as well as the increase in the use of cloud technology in Gulf countries.   

However, new trends are slowly gaining traction in the segment. One of which is the adoption of eco-friendly data center solutions. Green computing and having sustainable facilities are increasing among corporations and end users around the world.  As a result, the types of services demanded in the market are also evolving.

Data center hardware vendors have been seen working on ways to develop innovative, high-power, and ecological equipment and management solutions. Moreover, economizer technology services are being developed to reduce operational costs of data centers.


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