Taking a Pulse on the Global Business Services Market: What’s on the Agenda for 2013?

Stan Lepeak, Global Research Director, KPMG LLP Advisory

KPMG recently released the results of its global 4Q12 Sourcing Advisory Pulse surveys. These Pulse surveys provide insights into trends and projections in end-user organizations’ usage of global business services (GBS). A prior blog reviews the highlights of this quarter’s Pulse.   

As is does in each fourth quarter Pulse, KPMG polls leading third party business and IT service providers as well as its member firms’ professionals globally across its Tax, Audit and Advisory services groups as to what are the top trends and predictions in client accounts for the coming year.  Figure one illustrates what are the top user organizations initiatives for 2013. 


The clear top initiative cited for organizations in 2013 remains continuing to drive down operating costsThis initiative is cited by 78 percent KPMG professionals and 92 percent of service providers. This remains a constant theme in the market today.  The challenge for organizations is how to balance the desire to drive down costs with the needs of the other top initiatives identified, most of which require making investments.  This was also the top priority identified in last year’s Pulse.

The second most popular initiative cited by 52 percent of advisors is redesign and/or reengineer core business processes.  This is in line with other Pulse findings that show this is one of the top approaches organizations are employing to improve their global business services  capabilities, and clearly one way to potentially drive down operating costs. 

Service providers ranked second invest in new and/or improve IT capabilities, such as enterprise software systems, business intelligence, cloud, and social media, which KPMG professionals ranked third.   Organizations will need to balance these investments against driving down operating costs. In terms of growing business organizations will focus much more heavily on investing and expanding operations in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil, much more so than on investing in Western markets, further exacerbating Western market growth, employment, and debt problems.

Organizations will face many challenges achieving success in these initiatives, including as identified by Pulse survey participants weak management and management practices and scarcity of skilled talent.  Subsequent blogs will address these and other Pulse survey findings. 

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