Gartner Says Fewer Outsourcing Megadeals Were Signed in 2005, But Market Will Continue to Grow

Smaller Deals with Shorter Terms Will Increase as Maturing Markets Move Toward Use of Multiple Service Providers

STAMFORD, Conn., April 26, 2006 – As companies attempt to implement more multisourcing agreements, the number of megadeals awarded to a single service provider has declined, according to Gartner, Inc. Megadeals are characterized as being worth more than $1 billion. In 2005, 11 outsourcing megadeals were awarded, a decline from 12 in 2004 and 16 in 2003.

“This is part of a trend we see in IT outsourcing (ITO) in which comprehensive, end-to-end contracts signed with a single vendor are declining. Even some existing megadeals are being re-competed and broken up among multiple providers that bring best-of-breed skills,” said Kurt Potter, research director for Gartner’s IT services and outsourcing research group. “Business process outsourcing (BPO) megadeals will continue to be the exception rather than the rule as most BPO activity will continue around smaller more-focused deals, primarily in the back-office and horizontal functions with human resources, finance and accounting.”

Although the contract value of individual outsourcing deals continues to decrease, there will be more of them and they will drive the outsourcing market to a growth rate of 7.3 percent from 2004 through 2009. The uptake in outsourcing as a business tool will continue and ITO will experience mature growth in 2006 at 5.1 percent, while the less-mature BPO market will grow faster at 8.7 percent in 2006.

Gartner has maintained an Outsourcing Contract Trends Database since the early 1990s as a means of tracking the activity and trends in the outsourcing market for public and private organizations. All of these contracts publicly disclosed their dollar value and the duration, as well as the nature of their services and the name of the client and the outsourcer. The database is a comprehensive history of all publicly disclosed contracts, but is representative. Contracts from more than 400 outsourcing vendors, 12 industries and the major global regions are included.

“In regions with mature outsourcing practices such as North America and Western Europe, the decline in megadeals is caused by a move to selective outsourcing � signing smaller deals with multiple service providers – and more experience in outsourcing in the largest enterprises, where that experience can help them pick and choose the best vendors and services at the appropriate price therefore reducing possibilities for megadeals,” Mr. Potter said.

Megadeals represent a significant share of total outsourcing contract value averaging $25.3 billion per year between 2003 and 2005. On average, megadeals represent 52 percent of publicly reported outsourcing contract value, and represent more contract value than all contract value categories combined. “Given that megadeals are set to decline in the near future, increasing numbers of outsourcing deals will occur in the $100 million to $999 million range. This is a consequence of a renewed service provider focus on the midsize market and will become the new battleground for the megadeal providers,” said Mr. Potter.

Contract term lengths are also on the decline. The average of length of an ITO contract declined from 6.2 years to 5.3 years from 2003 through 2005. The average length of a BPO contract declined from 5.5 years to 4.8 years during the same period. When measured independently by year and type of outsourcing, the median length is consistently five years. The largest BPO deals are trending longer than the largest ITO deals because of lack of standardization and maturity in the market, which forces longer terms by service providers to recoup transition costs.

“The days of the 10-year outsourcing contract are numbered,” said Mr. Potter. “End-user organizations have tough experience from their first-generation outsourcing deals and learned how quickly their outsourcing contract becomes outdated. Declining asset lifecycles, constant business changes, cost, innovation and cultural/business fit are affecting the contract length in the life of an outsourcing relationship. Organizations want shorter contracts with flexibility that won’t lock them in.”

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Market Trends: Outsourcing Contracts, Worldwide, 2005.” This report examines the outsourcing contract activity captured in the Gartner Outsourcing Contract Database from 2003 through 2005, but longer and shorter views are also provided. The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at

Gartner analysts will further discuss outsourcing trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2006, to be held May 14-18 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry’s largest and most strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. For more than 10,000 IT professionals from the world’s leading enterprises, these annual events are key components of their annual planning efforts. Attendees rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use technology to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

In San Francisco, an integral part of the Gartner Symposium is the ITxpo showfloor, where more than 100 technology companies are showcasing the latest technology solutions. There are nine ITxpo marketplaces, including business applications and BPM, business intelligence and data warehousing, outsourcing and IT services and security. ITxpo marketplaces are focused areas designed to aggregate solution providers into a specific market and link conference topics to market solutions. Attendees can attend technology company presentations and schedule face-to-face meetings with exhibitors of their choice.

For more information, please visit

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. Gartner serves 10,000 organizations, including chief information officers and other senior IT executives in corporations and government agencies, as well as technology companies and the investment community. The Company consists of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 3,700 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 75 countries worldwide. For more information, visit