The European learning Curve


This week, the NOA along with its European counterparts took part in the European Outsourcing Association (EOA) Summit in Brussels. The event brought together leading outsourcing suppliers, end users and support service providers from Europe, as well as countries as far afield as the Philippines, Egypt and Mauritius to discuss the latest innovations, trends and developments in the global outsourcing market.

The Summit provided a forum for key outsourcing players to examine the reality of pan-European outsourcing in the challenging economic climate. It’s clear that we have all been negatively impacted by the global recession to varying degrees, which has naturally had an effect on our industry, yet some countries have managed to weather the storm better than others.

The Dutch outsourcing industry seems to be at the forefront of European recovery. However, similar to the UK, a new government has only recently been elected, so it will take time for the socio-economic and political situation to re-stabilise in order to discern the true impact that it will have on outsourcing.

In the UK, modest growth in outsourcing has so far been reported for 2010. By all accounts this is set to increase substantially, particularly in the public sector as the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government aims to reduce the deficit by outsourcing a number of operations in a bid to remove waste and inefficiency.

The Belgian market is facing considerable challenges due to its minimal delivery capability, so it’s relying on outsourcing and offshoring to help it fulfil these needs. However, it’s currently not well advanced compared to the rest of Benelux and, as such, it will be investing in infrastructure management and remote infrastructure management.

Though not as established as the UK and Benelux, the German outsourcing market has the highest number of staff employed in outsourcing in Europe and is making significant inroads, focusing mainly on mid-sized and family owned businesses, preferring a multiple vendor approach, which seems to be the preferred route for most of Europe.

Surprisingly Spain, the latest member to join the EOA, has quite a mature outsourcing market; the third largest after the UK and Germany, on par with France. Financial services are seeing the most investment and overall, the sector is moving from body shopping to managed services.

The French market seems to be lagging significantly behind, largely down to compliance issues and complex legislation, though more and more mid-sized companies are looking to outsource and learn from the bigger deals, with shared services the preferred approach.

Though the rate of economic recovery and socio-economic, political and cultural factors vary significantly from country to country, there are considerable lessons to learn from our European neighbours to optimise the benefits of outsourcing.

The EOA Summit and other NOA events are the market-leading forums for this knowledge sharing to take place. For updated information on forthcoming events, visit .

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