UK Companies Partner With Service Providers to Map Out Post-pandemic Plans for Hybrid Workplaces

ISG Provider Lens report says UK enterprises are increasing engagement with providers as they navigate the end of work restrictions and the rising importance of employee experience

Enterprises in the UK are increasing their reliance on managed service providers to support digital workplace strategies and a safe return to offices as pandemic restrictions are lifted, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group , a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

“With the end of CJRS, enterprises in the U.K. need to re-examine their operating models”

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions report for the U.K. finds U.K. companies are evaluating options for continued remote work or hybrid models that include some employees coming into offices. U.K. surveys have shown remote work during the pandemic has increased work-related and mental stress, especially for workers with families, the report says.

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Though they did institute work from home, UK-based firms were slower than those elsewhere to change their business models during the pandemic, so the underlying work design of jobs did not change much, according to ISG. The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) allowed employees to be furloughed at 80 percent of their wages, but now that the program has expired, there is growing concern that long-furloughed workers will lose their jobs.

“With the end of CJRS, enterprises in the U.K. need to re-examine their operating models,” said Iain Fisher, leader, ISG Future of Work Solutions, based in the U.K. “Workplace outsourcing declined in 2020, but organizations now need to collaborate with service providers to adjust to changing requirements and deploy technologies that produce business results.”

Many U.K. companies have already begun to work more closely with managed service providers to reshape the workplace, the report says. This year, the average provider has seen approximately 40 percent of its U.K.-based clients increasing their engagement in consulting and strategy for workplace transformation, according to ISG. Meanwhile, managed service providers are ramping up to serve the growing demand for change. In the U.K., the average provider has increased its local pool of consultants by 17 percent.

As employee experience becomes more central to business success, UK enterprises want a broader range of managed digital workplace services, ISG says. For example, while about one-third of U.K.-based managed services clients are still managing on-premises video desktop infrastructure (VDI), about 27 percent are now using or migrating to a desktop-as-a-service model based on public cloud infrastructure. At the same time, many providers are developing solutions to secure and enhance clients’ on-premises office capabilities to foster more collaboration.

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The scope of managed employee experience services is also expanding, the report says. In addition to automated ticket resolution and predictive analytics, which are now standard offerings, providers have begun demonstrating effectiveness by drawing correlations between high-quality digital employee experiences and improved business performance. This market has strong potential for growth, as only 15 percent to 30 percent of providers’ U.K. clients have signed managed service contracts with service agreements based on specific digital experiences of end users, the report says.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Future of Work  Services and Solutions report for the U.K. evaluates the capabilities of 39 providers across four quadrants: Workplace Strategy Transformation Services, Managed Digital Workplace Services – Large Accounts, Managed Digital Workplace Services – Midmarket and Managed Employee Experience Services.

The report names Atos, Capgemini, Computacenter, Getronics, HCL, TCS and Wipro as Leaders in three quadrants each. It names DXC Technology, Fujitsu and Unisys as Leaders in two quadrants each and Accenture, CGI, NTT DATA, Orange Business Services and Vodafone as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Getronics and Hexaware are named as Rising Stars companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.

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