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Europe’s IT and Business Services Market Shows Mixed Results in Q1, ISG Index Finds

Managed services up 4% sequentially on record deal activity, while XaaS drops 6% vs. prior year

First-quarter demand for IT and business services in Europe fell 5 percent from a record first quarter last year, continuing a string of four straight quarters of sequential declines, according to the latest state-of-the-industry report from Information Services Group, a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

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“There continues to be more scrutiny on deal signings, especially in discretionary spending areas. Enterprises are revisiting cost optimization, efficiency gains and vendor consolidation deals.”

The EMEA ISG Index, which measures commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract value (ACV) of US $5 million or more, shows ACV for the combined market (both managed services and cloud-based as-a-service) at US $7.4 billion in the first quarter, down 5 percent from the prior year, but essentially flat with the fourth quarter.

“The broader market in EMEA saw mixed results in the first quarter,” said Steve Hall, president, EMEA, for ISG. “The managed services market had a relatively stable performance in Q1, with ACV up sequentially on strong restructuring activity and a record number of contracts awarded. Cloud services ACV, though, was down only for the second time year on year, registering its largest quarterly decline ever at minus 6 percent.”

Managed services ACV, at US $3.7 billion, was up 4 percent sequentially from the fourth quarter, but down 4 percent from the prior year. Organizations in the region inked a record 292 contracts during the quarter, up 14 percent against the previous quarter and up 5 percent versus the prior year.

Within managed services, IT outsourcing (ITO) rose 5 percent year on year, to US $3.0 billion, with strength in application development and maintenance services, up 38 percent, to US $1.9 billion, bolstering the market. Business process outsourcing (BPO), meanwhile, slumped 30 percent year on year, to US $750 million. The BPO segments that grew for the quarter were engineering services, finance and accounting services and facilities management services.

Demand for cloud-based services (XaaS) declined 6 percent versus the prior year, to US $3.7 billion, with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) off 10 percent, at US $2.7 billion, even as software-as-a-service (SaaS) rose 6 percent, to US $1.1 billion.

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Geographic Performance

The U.K. remains the largest geographic market in EMEA, with managed services ACV of US $1.2 billion in the first quarter, down 2 percent year on year but up 36 percent from the fourth quarter.

The DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) market got off to sluggish start in 2023, with ACV of US $730 million down 21 percent versus the prior year and off 20 percent versus the fourth quarter. This was due primarily to an absence of large deals in the market, even though overall deal flow was up 38 percent year on year.

Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa (SEMEA), led by France, continued its strong performance in the first quarter. The SEMEA market saw more than 90 managed services deals, valued at more than US $1.2 billion of ACV, awarded in the quarter. France alone generated US $635 million of managed services ACV in the quarter, up 27 percent year on year.

2023 Global Forecast

ISG lowered its forecast for global XaaS growth in 2023 to 15 percent, down 200 basis points from its January forecast, and maintained its global growth forecast for managed services at 5 percent.

“The macro environment remains uncertain, with interest rates, inflation and trouble in the banking sector topping concerns for enterprise clients,” said Hall. “There continues to be more scrutiny on deal signings, especially in discretionary spending areas. Enterprises are revisiting cost optimization, efficiency gains and vendor consolidation deals.”

Hall said attrition has stabilized and ISG expects hiring to improve in the back half of the year. The decline in XaaS bookings is expected to last through the second quarter, with demand picking up again in the second half, he said

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