Magic Quadrant for Help Desk Outsourcing, Europe
27 July 2010

Gianluca Tramacere, Claudio Da Rold, Frank Ridder

Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00201426

This Magic Quadrant examines 17 European providers. Use it to identify and evaluate the right providers to support your organization's IT help desk needs.

What You Need to Know

This Magic Quadrant is a useful starting point to identify and evaluate European external service providers that offer help desk outsourcing services. This market is complex because of European buyers' multilingual needs and the growing intricacy and requirements of multinational businesses operating in Europe and globally. Gartner's rigorous and multidimensional Magic Quadrant research process includes evaluation criteria that provide a comprehensive framework to analyze the capabilities of providers to deliver help desk outsourcing services in this market (see Note 1).

All service providers in this Magic Quadrant can provide help desk services, but their competencies, offerings, geographical and language capabilities, and strategies vary. Base your selection on a detailed evaluation of your outsourcing objective, your geographical, language, technical and business requirements, and a service provider's ability to fulfill these requirements (see Figure 1).

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Help Desk Outsourcing, Europe

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Help Desk Outsourcing, Europe

Source: Gartner (July 2010)

Market Overview

Increasing industrialization, global delivery, automation and multisourcing characterize the infrastructure outsourcing market. As these trends shape how service providers deliver help desk outsourcing services, the help desk has moved away from being simply a tactical part of an organization's IT infrastructure. It has become much more instrumental in monitoring and guaranteeing the IT operational efficiency of an organization.

This evolution requires client organizations to pay close attention to the strategic road maps, delivery methodologies and service portfolios of competing service providers in the market. The unique composition of multilingual Europe further complicates this evaluation and selection process.

All leading providers are supporting the shift toward the creation of multilingual help desk hubs to address this complexity while reducing cost. This trend continues to gain strength, especially in light of the recent economic recession which has forced many organizations to accelerate their journey toward global delivery as a way to reduce cost. At the same time, providers have invested heavily to underpin their global delivery capabilities with a common set of tools, processes and delivery methodologies to avoid hindering service delivery quality.

Today, providers competing for European help desk outsourcing business can rely on a vast amount of nearshore and offshore resources that are strategically positioned to address the needs of their key markets and clients. These key markets and clients require providers that can deliver help desk services in particular languages, demonstrate culturally compatible help desk services, help them reduce cost and risk, and provide access to IT skills.

Beyond global delivery, many providers continue to focus on help desk solutions that aim to proactively reduce the number of calls hitting Level 1 of the help desk. Gartner defines these solutions as "shift left," because they strive to lower the overall cost needed to support end users by reducing the number of calls that escalate from Level 1 toward the more expensive Level 2 and 3, which then may require an engineer to intervene on-site (see Note 2).

Providers usually enable shift-left solutions through self-help tools, automated solutions, remote infrastructure services (such as remote network management or remote server monitoring), or alternative contact methods, such as access to a Web portal with frequently asked questions or chat functions. However, they will need to move further toward a price-per-seat-with-SLAs model to release the potential of shift-left offers and support their adoption. Despite providers' investments in automation and self-help solutions, help desk outsourcing remains a labor- intensive activity.

Although differences in capabilities between providers exist, ITIL has become a "must have" component of the outsourcing market in Europe. Despite the overall focus on proactive service improvement and process excellence, many providers still need to focus more on root cause analysis to strengthen incident and problem management. This challenge appears even more complex when organizations multisource, which requires them to manage incidents across multiple providers.

Providers seldom sell help desk outsourcing as a stand-alone offering. Instead, providers often bundle help desk outsourcing services into broader desktop management initiatives. Given the increasing tendency of many European organizations to multisource, we expect the help desk to remain at the heart of governance and management of many complex outsourcing deals. As a result, managing the help desk is instrumental for providers that want to perform the service aggregator role in deals involving multiple providers.

The recent economic recession led many organizations to renegotiate deals to reduce costs by between 5% and 10%. In many cases, clients agreed to lengthen the contract term (normally by one or two years) or adopt no-frill SLAs. In many cases, the need to reduce cost has forced clients to continue to consolidate their help desk capabilities and reduce the number of languages supported (especially in after-hours support) while driving them to increasingly leverage standardized solutions and global delivery. This strategy has also affected service providers that have had to focus on protecting their profitability in delivering help desk outsourcing services.

Innovation remains a sensitive issue in the outsourcing world, and the help desk is no exception. Organizations often describe providers as reactive and too oriented toward maintaining the service delivery status quo. Clients, on the other hand, often fail to define and prepare for innovation by allocating the necessary people and skills. Not only do organizations rarely define innovation at the beginning of their outsourcing contracts, but innovation often means different things to different people. Some organizations understand innovation to mean introducing global delivery, while others interpret it to involve moving to business-oriented SLAs. This has helped to create the general negative perception that organizations have about providers' delivery of innovation.

The IT services providers represented in this Magic Quadrant generate combined revenue of about $3 billion in help desk outsourcing services in Europe. These 17 providers use around 26,000 staff to manage about 6,600 clients. They handle around 13 million European users and 70 million calls per year. The average service provider in this Magic Quadrant generates $150 million from help desk outsourcing through 1,600 staff. It manages 380 clients and supports more than 750,000 European users.

Providers included in this study vary significantly in terms of size, geographical coverage, investment in global delivery, and general help desk outsourcing vision and strategy.

Buyers may find additional, viable IT services provider options for their investments in help desk outsourcing in Europe, which haven't been evaluated in this Magic Quadrant. This Magic Quadrant doesn't include providers that didn't meet Gartner's qualitative and quantitative criteria. These providers include European players, such as Bull, EDB and Indra, as well as offshore providers, such as Cognizant, Infosys, TCS and Wipro.

Market Definition/Description

European Countries and Regions

For the scope of this Magic Quadrant, Gartner defines Europe as the combination of Eastern and Western Europe.

For the scope of this Magic Quadrant, Gartner's definition of Western Europe includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

For the scope of this Magic Quadrant, Gartner's definition of Eastern Europe includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

We subdivide Western Europe into the following regions:

Western Europe, Northwest: Ireland and the U.K.

Western Europe, Northeast: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden

Western Europe, Central West: Belgium, France and the Netherlands

Western Europe, Central East: Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Western Europe, South: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain

IT Outsourcing

IT outsourcing can include a portfolio of product support and professional services that provide the IT infrastructure and enterprise application services needed to help ensure the success of the client recipient's mission. Outsourcing always includes some IT management services, and IT outsourcing is further segmented into data center, desktop, network and enterprise application outsourcing.

IT Help Desk Services

Help desk services are the provision of end-user support for all IT services. IT help desk services are:

  • Help desk services

    • First-level support

    • Second-level support

  • Problem management services

    • Problem categorization and logging

    • Problem tracking and escalation

    • Problem resolution

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

We asked each service provider included in this Magic Quadrant to declare that it satisfies certain criteria. Each service provider had to:

  • Deliver help desk services as part of IT outsourcing engagements (related to infrastructures or applications delivered to end users). We excluded stand-alone product support services.

  • Demonstrate that it provides IT help desk outsourcing services as a sole-source, direct provider. We excluded providers that deliver help desk services entirely via partners or subcontractors.

  • Deliver IT help desk outsourcing services in local languages to clients based in at least three of the European regions listed under "European Countries and Regions" in the section titled "Market Definition/Description."

  • Show that it did not generate more than 70% of its total European desktop outsourcing revenue from clients based in a single country.

  • Generate at least 10% of its total European help desk outsourcing revenue in at least three European countries, each of which are in different regions. For example, a provider generating 65% of its help desk outsourcing revenue in Germany, 18% in the U.K. and 12% in Spain would qualify for the study.

  • Report at least €15 million in annual help desk outsourcing revenue in Europe.


This year, we added these vendors:

  • Cegedim

  • Dell

  • HCL Technologies

  • Getronics


This year, we didn't drop any providers from this Magic Quadrant.

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

Gartner evaluates external service providers based on the quality and efficacy of processes, systems, methods and procedures that enable IT provider performance to be competitive, efficient and effective, while positively affecting revenue, retention and reputation. We judge providers on their ability and success in capitalizing on their vision. As part of our evaluation of providers' ability to execute, we asked each provider to submit five references. Gartner also considered the feedback collected from separate interactions with customers that are engaged in help desk relationships with the providers included in the study.


This category, which we weighted as standard, evaluated each provider's service delivery capability and the services it offers. We considered service definition and capabilities, effective resourcing and transaction management. The subcategories for our study were:

  • Overall European help desk outsourcing revenue, client number and staff allocated

  • Help desk outsourcing delivery capabilities, sites, countries, languages and technologies

  • Number of end users, devices and applications supported

  • Management team and position in the corporate structure (We required providers to provide an organizational chart.)

  • Core and ancillary IT outsourcing services

  • Standard help desk outsourcing services, which compose a package that the provider has sold to many clients in the same way with standard service levels

  • Procedures for managing SLAs, including penalties or incentives tied to SLAs

  • Resource and transition management that focuses on the provider's ability to effectively provide relevant resources to the customer

Overall Viability

This category, which we weighted as "high," assessed the overall financial health of the service provider, the financial success of help desk outsourcing operations, and the likelihood of the individual help desk outsourcing business unit to continue to invest to support a state-of-the-art delivery within the organization's portfolio of products. We also considered the growth of volumes/units and revenue in the service provider's help desk outsourcing segment during the past three years, and the future outlook for this segment of the service provider's business. In particular, we evaluated whether revenue and margins were likely to grow, decline or remain stable.

Sales Execution and Pricing

This category, which we weighted "high," evaluated the provider's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. In particular, we considered the team in charge of deal management, pricing and the clarity of scope. The two areas that we reviewed in this section were contract/deal structure and pricing.

In the contract/deal structure subcategory, we assessed the management of various contracts, and how the relationship is structured to meet the needs of both parties. For the pricing subcategory, we evaluated the provider's ability to manage the price and reduce costs (through new offerings, improved productivity, management tools, quality, resource allocation or staff reductions).

We also asked clients for their feedback from a negotiation and pricing perspective.

Market Responsiveness and Track Record

This category, which we weighted "standard," assessed the ability to respond and change direction, flexibility, and the ability to achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customers' needs evolve and market dynamics change.

We considered how providers detect and react to global or local market changes, and how much of the negotiation power is local as opposed to centralized in Europe or abroad. We evaluated how the providers measure the effectiveness of their sales and business development teams and how many help desk outsourcing RFP or deal requests they had received in the past 12 months in Europe.

Client innovation and the ability of the provider to meet client needs were important criteria in this section. We asked for examples of innovation that service providers had brought to client engagements or to the market. We asked clients for their feedback about the providers' capability in flexibility and innovation.

Marketing Execution

This category, which we weighted "low," assessed the clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the providers' messages and influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the services, and positively associate the service/brand with the provider in the minds of buyers.

We considered how each provider evaluates or measures the mind share, or consumer awareness or popularity, of help desk outsourcing services in Europe and drives that mind share through publicity, promotions, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience

This category, which we weighted "high," asked each provider for five European references for help desk outsourcing services. We expected references to follow the geographic distribution that was required to participate in the study and the different vertical industries that were addressed. We also asked about customer satisfaction, the degree of automation and industrialization, and any other relevant change in the past 12 months. We factored in overall customer satisfaction with the service and the relationship based on the references and other Gartner client interactions.

We also considered the important elements that create a successful customer experience and how service providers manage and measure these elements for each account. We assessed the continuous improvement processes, centrally and in the account management team.


This category, which we weighted "high," assessed each provider's ability to meet its financial and operational goals and commitments while satisfying contractual obligations for service delivery to clients. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles, such as human capital management plans, that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

We also considered the formal communication processes, quality control and quality assurance processes, customer satisfaction measurements, service-level results, problems or incidents, and continuous improvement procedures. Providers were asked to describe the roles of relationship, contract and service delivery management in day-to-day delivery, methodologies and the operational/tools expertise they offer customers.

We evaluated the principal platform, technologies, architectures and applications that the provider can manage in help desk outsourcing engagements and how the provider drives and executes consolidation and standardization decisions. We asked how many help desk outsourcing delivery entities are dedicated to clients as opposed to open to all clients. We also assessed the provider's global delivery models (see Table 1).

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization)
Sales Execution/Pricing
Market Responsiveness and Track Record
Marketing Execution
Customer Experience

Source: Gartner (July 2010)


Completeness of Vision

Gartner analysts evaluate service providers on their ability to convincingly articulate logical statements about current and future market direction, innovation, customer needs, and competitive forces and how well they map to the Gartner position. We rate service providers on their understanding of how they can exploit market forces to create opportunity for themselves.

Market Understanding

This category, which we weighted "high," assessed each provider's strategic plan and vision as it relates to the help desk outsourcing services market in Europe and the provider's commitment to aligning its services to future market needs. We evaluated how each provider is trying to address the main requirements of European clients and how the provider differentiates its strategic vision from its competitors. We also considered the provider's ability to demonstrate a well-defined and articulated vision that helps clients to link help desk outsourcing services to their business and technology strategy.

Marketing Strategy

This category, which we weighted "low," looked at each provider's main strategy and approach to marketing IT help desk outsourcing services in Europe. We considered the current and future value proposition for help desk outsourcing services and the importance of these services in the provider's broader IT services portfolio. We assessed the provider's go-to-market strategy, including its ability to clearly articulate its value proposition and differentiate its services.

Sales Strategy

This category, which we weighted "standard," asked each provider to illustrate its overall sales strategy and its ability to sell help desk outsourcing services. We considered the methods to measure sales effectiveness and the organizational setup to support the provider's sales and marketing strategy.

Offering Strategy

This category, which we weighted "high," asked each provider to specify the most important aspects of the service offering that differentiate the provider and offer value to clients.

We considered the practice area and evaluated its relative size, its revenue, the number of supported users or devices, its geographic reach, the management team leadership, and the team's position in the corporate structure. We also assessed the provider's operational/tool expertise.

Business Model

This category, which we weighted "high," asked each provider for a high-level description of its help desk outsourcing service business model and how this fits into its whole business model. We considered the provider's ability to address and satisfy two competing requirements: methodologies and management acumen.

Regarding methodologies, we evaluated offerings based on their comparability to industry standards, such as ITIL. We also looked at how the methodologies they use are linked to or embedded in larger methodologies. We reviewed procedures provided to customers, such as operational, transitional, program management, relationship management and change management procedures. We also assessed the effectiveness of the provider's sourcing management processes and its quality assurance methods.

We looked into the management structure and experience of the management personnel to assess each provider's management acumen. We evaluated the provider's plans, people and focus on ensuring that deals meet client needs. We also asked clients if they had access to the appropriate level of management to evaluate the experience and skill levels of the providers' executive management.

Vertical Strategy

This category, which we weighted "low," assessed each provider's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical industries.

We considered each service provider's penetration into different industries for help desk outsourcing services and its ability to demonstrate expertise in vertical markets and business processes that help desk outsourcing services underpin.


This category, which we weighted "high," evaluated each provider's position in the market as a thought leader and an innovator. We also evaluated each provider's leadership and investment to achieve its vision and develop innovative strategies in the help desk outsourcing market.

We considered each service provider's answers to these questions:

  • What investment is your company making to sustain and enhance its vision for innovative help desk outsourcing services?

  • How do you offer innovation to your existing and new customers?

  • What innovative solution have you provided to customers in the past 12 months in this area?

  • What global alliances do you have with other leading suppliers (with proven investments)?

  • Do you offer highly standardized services (a utility-based offering), with standardized processes and SLAs, utility pricing units, reduced baseline and increased flexibility?

We asked referenced clients to determine how they judged their providers' ability to innovate, including the technical aspects, proactive approach, adaptability, service flexibility, and ability to lower cost and improve the service.

Geographic Strategy

This category, which we weighted "standard," looked at regional capabilities, global consolidation processes, local alliances and partnerships, including each provider's:

  • Strategy to target different European country markets with the appropriate resources, skills and offerings to meet specific client needs

  • Infrastructure consolidation processes and how these are affecting the market

  • Relationships with product and service providers that add value and provide full-service solutions or make innovation a more likely reality for their clients

  • Ability and tendency to take responsibility for managing the service delivered, even when using subcontractors or partners

We asked clients for their feedback on local capabilities and the current or potential effects of consolidation and global delivery processes (see Table 2).

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria
Market Understanding
Marketing Strategy
Sales Strategy
Offering (Product) Strategy
Business Model
Vertical/Industry Strategy
Geographic Strategy

Source: Gartner (July 2010)



Leaders are performing skillfully. They have a clear vision of the market's direction and are developing competencies to maintain their leadership position. They shape the market, rather than follow it. The Leaders (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Atos Origin

  • Capgemini

  • CSC

  • Fujitsu

  • HP

  • IBM


Challengers execute well but have a less-defined view of market direction. They must become more aggressive in outlining and communicating their strategy, and must expand geographical coverage outside their major markets. The Challengers (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Siemens IT Solutions and Services

  • T-Systems


Visionaries have a clear vision of the market's direction and are focused on providing services to meet future market needs. They need to improve their ability to deliver and penetrate the European market. The only Visionary in this Magic Quadrant is:

  • TechTeam

Niche Players

Niche Players focus successfully on a limited number of European markets or on a limited market segment by size, vertical or service. This narrow focus may affect their ability to outperform or innovate. The Niche Players (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Cegedim

  • Computacenter

  • Dell

  • Getronics

  • HCL Technologies

  • Logica

  • Tieto

  • Unisys

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

Atos Origin

  • Atos Origin is focusing on key help desk outsourcing themes, such as automation, self-help solutions and remote infrastructure support. This will help to improve the level of service that clients receive while decreasing the overall cost which, in turn, is likely to make Atos Origin a more competitive player.

  • Atos Origin aims to increasingly take advantage of its global delivery locations. The provider's global-delivery capabilities that support the Western European help desk requirements include centers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Casablanca (Morocco), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Paramaribo (Suriname), São Paulo and Curitiba (Brazil) and Tenerife (Spain).

  • Atos Origin's clients underlined its technical excellence and its focus on quality assurance, efficient SLA management and service performance. They also praised its ability to deliver a reliable service and its focus on relationship management aimed at delivering an appropriate degree of flexibility.

  • Atos Origin would benefit from improving its footprint further in the European market. Its help desk outsourcing revenue was flat in 2009 even though the company deployed an increasing number of staff and supported more users across Europe in 2009. This means that the provider will need to continue to manage profitability while successfully strengthening its presence.

  • Atos Origin's focus on internal restructuring is a likely cause of its lack of growth in help desk outsourcing. The provider would need to more aggressively drive the deployment of its industrialized offerings and leverage low-cost locations more to grow this area of the business.

  • Clients mentioned that Atos Origin could more proactively deliver innovation, fine-tune request management, and maximize the positive impact that this often has on first-call resolution performance and escalation management.


  • Capgemini packages help desk solutions with a broad set of services (applications, business process outsourcing and infrastructure) in a unified service desk. When it deploys this unified service desk, the provider supports it with an integrated configuration management database, which increases the ability to fix problems and implement changes on a fully documented application-to-infrastructure map of dependencies. Capgemini's sound focus on the use of processes and methodologies to manage transitions makes its drive to consolidate and move toward global delivery easier for clients.

  • Capgemini has opened three new centers in lasi (Romania), Kolkata (India) and Guangzhou (China). This focus on enhancing global delivery is reinforced by its aim to integrate control center functions and the help desk in Capgemini's global Infrastructure Management Operations Centers. Capgemini's global-delivery capabilities that support help desks in the Western European market also include Buenos Aires (Argentina), Krakow and Katowice (Poland), and Mumbai (India).

  • Clients praised Capgemini for its efficiency in answering and documenting service requests, its focus on quality assurance, its willingness to address end users' needs and its flexible approach to service delivery management.

  • Although Capgemini's European presence is particularly strong in the U.K., France and Benelux, it remains limited in the U.S. and weak in Asia/Pacific. This is likely to put Capgemini at a competitive disadvantage when rolling out services from the U.S. to Europe, or for deals with European multinational corporations that operate in the U.S. and in Asia/Pacific. It can also limit Capgemini's growth potential in this service line.

  • Investment in new sites, an increase in staff and managed calls, and flat (or slightly shrinking) help desk revenue may drive Capgemini to accelerate global delivery to protect profitability in a competitive market. Capgemini will need to carefully manage and further increase customer satisfaction during this transition.

  • Clients mentioned that Capgemini could improve the time it takes to resolve low-priority calls; such an improvement would increase the number of problems resolved on the first call and provide help desk agents with more time to learn more about the client's IT and business environment.


  • Cegedim provides help desk outsourcing services mainly to its mobile users of customer relationship management (CRM) and information services in the life science industry. The provider focuses on typical themes, such as customer satisfaction and the effective delivery of services. Cegedim's management is strongly involved in ensuring help desk quality, and their bonuses depend largely on customer satisfaction.

  • A deep understanding of the industry and an in-depth view of business processes in the life science industry enables Cegedim to focus on supporting the mobile sales forces of enterprises within this industry. For example, Cegedim provides data services to sales personnel traveling to clients. This support includes services around Cegedim's CRM solution, as well as other platforms.

  • Clients praised Cegedim for its customer focus, especially how well and quickly it responds to client requirements and emerging issues, as well as its flexibility and ability to learn from change.

  • Cegedim is a small player in the European help desk industry. It focuses on selling end-to-end CRM solutions and not stand-alone help desk services. This strategy and its strong focus on the life science industry will challenge its ability to grow its market share. Although life science companies can take advantage of Cegedim's industry skills, the provider's limited scale, breadth and depth of services will place Cegedim at a disadvantage when competing outside its niche.

  • Over the past three years, the help desk market has focused strongly on service delivery improvement, which will require Cegedim to continue to increase the efficiency of its delivery model, tooling and agent-to-client ratio. This year, Cegedim started to roll out a globally consistent toolset that also enables new support channels, such as instant messaging.

  • Clients mentioned that Cegedim could more proactively support innovation, further enhance its root cause analysis, and better understand particular users' operational challenges. Clients also communicated their perception that Cegedim services come at a premium price due to the provider's specialization in the life science industry.


  • In addition to Computacenter's traditional U.K. and product distribution strongholds, the provider has increased its presence in Germany. Computacenter's focus on increasingly taking advantage of global delivery, as well as its self-service methodology (Pass12T) to improve services, underpins its help desk strategy.

  • Computacenter is working to radically standardize and industrialize help desk services with its Shared Factory Approach, which it has started offering in the U.K. and Germany. This approach aims to increase centralization and reduce on-site visits through a hardware swap model.

  • Clients praised Computacenter's ability to manage SLAs and incidents, and its reliable service delivery. They also value Computacenter's willingness to evaluate the potential to continuously improve help desk performance and its focus on multilanguage service delivery.

  • Computacenter is rationalizing its European presence, aiming to serve clients headquartered in three main countries: U.K., Germany and France. Its presence in Europe and its global delivery capabilities are, therefore, weak compared with those of its major competitors. The provider's delivery centers are located in Barcelona (Spain), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Cape Town (South Africa). Thus, most of Computacenter's help desk locations are in some of the world's more expensive offshore areas, which will limit the provider's potential to grow and price deals with flexibility.

  • Computacenter's focus on standardizing processes and methodologies across its different help desk sites is sound but late. Although the provider can keep customers satisfied if it manages the standardization process with care, its role as field service subprovider could inhibit service delivery standardization and limit its potential to leverage its integrated help desk and desktop services.

  • Clients pointed out that Computacenter could fine-tune its reporting, enhance its documentation and its knowledge database, and develop in-depth expertise of the client environment over time to support innovation.


  • During a year without growth in revenue, CSC continues to focus on key help desk themes, such as user self-assistance, enhanced reporting, global delivery and the changing needs, knowledge and attitude of end-user profiles, as well as improving the quality of its assets and service management processes.

  • CSC has made a positive investment to train and prepare agents for client support across the globe and increase their expertise in areas such as remote desktop management. This, coupled with a focus on knowledge management, enables CSC to potentially make service delivery even more effective and enhance customer satisfaction.

  • Clients praised CSC for its focus on customer satisfaction, service, and incident and change management. Clients also mentioned delivering to SLAs and a willingness to provide a consistent global service as key strengths.

  • CSC's investment to enhance and leverage its network of global delivery centers for help desk services in Prague (Czech Republic), Vilnius (Lithuania), Asturias (Spain) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) is starting to pay off, but its scale does not yet align CSC to the market leaders.

  • CSC's focus on creating an industrialized and standardized delivery platform is sound but late. As CSC's industrialized approach gains traction, CSC will need to take an even more customized approach and manage its deployment carefully across those key accounts that constitute the bulk of CSC's portfolio.

  • Clients reported that CSC needs to be more proactive in improving and innovating service delivery, develop further knowledge to manage complex problems and, in some cases, reduce how much time it spends addressing Level 1 issues to achieve first-call resolution targets.


  • Dell's European help desk strategy is centered on important themes, such as the reduction of calls/incidents (through a shift-left model aimed at empowering the end user), virtual service desk, and remote service delivery.

  • Dell has demonstrated its strong focus on ITIL v.3 and intent to use standard processes across its delivery locations. Its focus on standardized and industrialized service delivery is positive, even though it may require time to gain market presence.

  • Clients praised Dell for the performance of its help desk in terms of agents' availability and multilingual skills. They also underlined Dell's flexible approach to service delivery with a positive focus on SLA management, ITIL and quality assurance.

  • Despite its acquisition of Perot Systems, Dell has a limited European footprint and market awareness of its help desk outsourcing services, which will improve once the integration of Perot and the insourcing of partner help desks is complete. Dell relies on limited global delivery capabilities to support European help desk operations. Dell's global delivery network is primarily oriented toward supporting English-speaking users in the U.K. through its main location, Bangalore (India). Other locations include Bratislava (Slovakia) and Casablanca (Morocco).

  • As it works to increase its market share in Europe, Dell will need to increase its efforts to convince large clients of its real ability to move from product support into outsourcing and industrialized service offerings without jeopardizing service levels and negatively affecting customer satisfaction.

  • Clients mentioned that Dell needs to improve its transition management and its ability to proactively drive innovation, refine its problem management function, and communicate ticket updates more efficiently to end users.


  • Despite challenging market conditions, Fujitsu has succeeded in growing its European help desk outsourcing revenue while expanding the share of its business in the private sector. This growth has involved maintaining a strong focus on lean, proactive and standardized help desk services and now also global delivery with its expansion in Portugal and Poland and remote infrastructure services.

  • Supported by the Triole methodology and lean practices, Fujitsu has accelerated the consolidation and standardization of help desk services. This has enabled Fujitsu to define core components of help desk services that are interchangeable and that it can assemble differently to address client needs.

  • Clients praised Fujitsu for its focus on relationship and SLA management and the technical preparation and customer orientation of its agents. Its positive performance in meeting help desk SLAs, especially with regard to first-call resolution, reflects these strengths.

  • Compared with leading providers in Europe, Fujitsu maintains a relatively weak position in North America. This is likely to hinder Fujitsu's ability to compete for help desk rollouts delivered in Europe from the U.S. and vice versa.

  • Fujitsu needs to successfully manage its consolidation of smaller help desk locations, the completion of the integration of Fujitsu Siemens and the increasing leverage of global delivery capabilities to become enablers and not obstacles to the creation of a homogeneous global delivery model.

  • Clients mentioned that Fujitsu could improve its ability to efficiently manage waiting times/peaks in demand, and look beyond existing methodologies to more effectively identify problems and improve service delivery.


  • Getronics' strong focus on important themes support its help desk outsourcing strategy. These themes include process improvement, proactive action/call avoidance, knowledge management, and agent training concerning attitude, technical competencies and process competencies.

  • The market still recognizes Getronics' long-term experience in help desk services. This expertise/maturity provides Getronics with the authority and capability to build and manage wider desktop outsourcing opportunities through its workplace alliance's complex business model.

  • Clients praised Getronics for the professional, friendly and helpful attitude of its agents and its complementary focus on the quality of process and service delivery.

  • Getronics' investment in global delivery lags behind that of leading players in this market and is limited to locations such as Budapest (Hungary) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). This is likely to inhibit Getronics' price competitiveness. In addition, the willingness of Getronics Workspace Alliance (GWA) members to maintain control over local business could limit Getronics' ability to take advantage of key help desk components, such as shift left, automation and remote infrastructure management.

  • Last year, Getronics reacted to the considerable reduction in its footprint by launching the GWA as part of its global strategy. It will have to address its strategic dependence on KPN's business strategy. While competing for new business, however, the provider must continue to focus on profitability and avoid the temptation to compete for an unmanageable number of opportunities.

  • Clients mentioned that Getronics could more effectively manage transitions and backlogs, learn more about the role and business environment of the users supported by the provider, and more proactively support service delivery improvement and innovation.

HCL Technologies

  • Although HCL is not widely recognized in Europe, it has a long tradition in infrastructure management, which started in India and then continued in the U.S. HCL's knowledge management, automation and remote infrastructure services, coupled with its proactive approach and focus on self-help solutions, underpin its help desk offering.

  • HCL's service readiness concept, staff empowerment philosophy and service improvement team have succeeded in reinforcing its help desk delivery strategy. This approach to service will help HCL to minimize disruption in transition and continuously improve service delivery, which are two traditional challenges of outsourcing.

  • Clients praised HCL for its flexibility in adapting to new client requirements, its services ethos, which supports customer satisfaction, and its technical and process expertise.

  • Despite its impressive growth over the past few years, HCL remains affected by its low penetration of the European market and the perception that it is unable to compete outside of international accounts, in individual countries.

  • HCL has not yet managed to dispel the perception that its value proposition is primarily based on cost savings and labor cost arbitrage. Despite some landmark deals in Europe, its global delivery capabilities that support European help desk operations appear limited compared with those of competitors. HCL's European delivery centers are in Krakow (Poland), Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Espoo (Finland).

  • Clients mentioned that HCL could improve its transition management and first-call resolution. Clients also said that the provider could develop more in-depth knowledge about its clients' business environments and act more proactively and with more leadership to drive help desk innovation.


  • With its pervasive penetration of the European market, HP appears ideally positioned to exploit opportunities for global help desk rollouts to and from Europe. HP also relies on a strong set of low-cost locations to deliver help desk services. These include Sofia (Bulgaria), Dublin (Ireland), Bari (Italy), Budapest and Miskolc (Hungary), Rabat (Morocco), Lodz (Poland) and Tunis (Tunisia).

  • HP takes a holistic approach to the service desk, using its solution adoption program to focus on user behavior, expectations and knowledge management. HP also continues to pay attention to change management and reward-based pricing as an emerging approach that it differentiates from pure commodity-style services.

  • Clients praised HP for the quality of its resources and its positive performance in first-call resolution, which are supported by its focus on process quality (for example, documentation) and its flexible attitude to managing help desk services.

  • Although HP has focused on finalizing the creation of a single help desk delivery engine since it acquired EDS, HP needs to accelerate its rollout of a consistent toolset designed to support self-service and automation. This evolution toward a unified and industrialized delivery model is necessary to support profitable growth, but it has caused a reduction in customer satisfaction that HP must reverse to avoid limiting its potential to grow.

  • HP needs to speed up the implementation and delivery of new initiatives, such as automation, end-user empowerment and collaborative tools. It also needs to transform these initiatives into outcome-based offerings with competitive pricing to drive end-to-end efficiency and support the growth of this business line, which hasn't grown since HP acquired EDS.

  • Clients mentioned that HP could strengthen its language skills, better align the performance and processes of some global delivery locations, and more efficiently manage the inconsistent performance of agents.


  • IBM maintains a leading position in the European help desk outsourcing market. IBM relies on its thorough market penetration in Europe and appears ideally positioned to exploit opportunities for global help desk rollouts to and from Europe. Its global delivery network for help desks includes Brno (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Tres Cantos (Spain), Dublin (Ireland) and other locations in India, South Africa and Argentina.

  • Investments around key areas of the help desk, such as global delivery, process and tool alignment, remote infrastructure services, and the development of self-enabling solutions and methodologies, underpin IBM's strategy.

  • Clients praised IBM for its technical skills, its focus on SLA management, and the willingness of its agents to support end users. Clients also recognized IBM for its ITIL/process expertise and the comprehensive list of global delivery options it can offer.

  • Despite IBM's overall profitability, Gartner estimates that its revenue in the help desk market remains flat. To maintain a leadership role in coming years, IBM would need to leverage its help desk solutions, supported by elements such as automation and global delivery, and focus on margins without compromising client satisfaction. This would enable IBM to win medium- to short-term deals, which would support future growth because these types of deals increasingly represent the majority share of stand-alone help desk contracts.

  • Although IBM's Right-to-Left strategy is improving service delivery, it needs to be made more aggressively available to its client base. IBM will need to more rapidly deploy other innovative help desk solutions to increase (or maintain) its market share, further enhance client satisfaction and retain a leading position in terms of its help desk vision.

  • Clients mentioned that IBM needs to intensify its focus on problem management and root cause analysis, more efficiently manage and balance the training and attrition of agents, and fine-tune processes across global delivery sites.


  • Logica's share of the infrastructure outsourcing market continues to grow. Logica maintains a pervasive Pan-European presence and can support local operations and Pan-European opportunities with its broad portfolio of services.

  • In addition to its acceleration of standardization and the creation of centralized, low-cost, high-quality service farms, Logica is focused on enhancing the quality of its resources. Agent training and reward programs, which are the foundation of Logica's help desk philosophy, aim to improve the customer experience.

  • Clients praised Logica for the flexibility and good quality of its help desk services and the availability and attitude of its agents. This drives end-user satisfaction and helps Logica to improve service performance by developing expertise and an understanding of the clients' business model and needs.

  • Logica is working to finish centralizing and standardizing its multicountry delivery approach, but it needs to communicate how it plans to address its lack of presence in the U.S. and Asia/Pacific. As Logica increases its profile, this gap could limit its ability to exploit global deal opportunities originating in Europe.

  • Logica's investments to enhance and leverage its global delivery capabilities for help desks are increasing, but at a slower pace compared with the competition. This could create a cost-competitive challenge in the long term. Currently, its help desk global delivery network includes centers in Lisbon (Portugal), Casablanca (Morocco), and Bangalore and Chennai (India).

  • Clients mentioned that Logica could improve the efficiency and technical skills required to manage complex issues, reduce staff turnover through rigorous resource management, and focus agent training on maintaining a local touch.

Siemens IT Solutions and Services

  • Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS) maintains a strong foothold in Germany and in the European global voice services segment. The provider's focus on leveraging vertical-industry solutions and knowledge has reinforced its help desk strategy. This could help SIS attract clients that are looking for support that goes beyond pure technical help desk services.

  • SIS has confirmed its plan to aggressively deploy automation and self-help solutions (with features such as a ticketing portal and real-time monitoring), while consolidating its help desk delivery model into a limited number of relatively large production centers. It also plans to maintain its traditional focus on client relationships while supporting the evolution toward a new combination of user devices.

  • Clients praised SIS for its agents' dedication to customer service and their high technical ability, as well as its focus on offering a structured delivery model supported by sound orientation toward ITIL/processes and SLA management.

  • Despite an improved focus, SIS needs to continue to improve and leverage its global help desk facilities, which include centers in Istanbul (Turkey) and Cork (Ireland). The development of its Manila (Philippines) and Chengdu (China) centers is a positive step toward this goal.

  • SIS needs to carefully manage its current internal restructuring with its new management structure, portfolio consolidation and increased transition toward global delivery to avoid challenging the quality of service delivery and further reduce clients' satisfaction.

  • Clients mentioned that SIS could improve how it manages transitions, its ability to respond to spikes in demand in a timely and efficient way, and its ability to proactively identify potential faults and new ways to increase its resolution rate.


  • T-Systems remains a major player in Germany and in the automotive sector. Its strategy and investment to create a harmonized (integrated but standardized) delivery structure with common processes and tools, such as a ticketing system, supports the provider's commitment, albeit late, to further increase its position as an international IT outsourcing player.

  • T-Systems' view of the help desk as key to the integration of end-to-end service delivery is sound. Its focus on responding proactively to client needs and its increasing emphasis on global delivery reinforce this vision. In addition, T-Systems' help desk pricing is shifting toward the price-per-seat-with-SLAs model, which is necessary to release the potential of shift-left offers.

  • Clients praised T-Systems for its flexibility, its focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement, and its agent training and onboarding program. They also mentioned friendly agents, the provider's technical expertise and its realization of its plans to deploy standardized help desk service delivery processes as key strengths.

  • T-Systems' geographic footprint in the European help desk market would benefit from improvement in the Nordic countries, which represent a visible gap in coverage, and the Netherlands, where more can be achieved. Its network of global delivery capabilities has recently become stronger but has not yet reached the capability level of the current market leaders. T-Systems main global delivery centers are located in Budapest and Debrecen (Hungary) and Barcelona and Madrid (Spain).

  • In boosting its help desk business, T-Systems must maintain a tight bid qualification process to protect its profitability. To streamline its help desk service delivery and protect customer satisfaction, T-Systems must also accelerate the deployment of automation to manage its online knowledge/process documentation.

  • Clients pointed out that T-Systems could improve its ability to innovate the delivery of help desk outsourcing, manage incidents, problems and resources, such as multilingual agents, and increase its first-call resolution rate.


  • TechTeam has executed a solid help desk services strategy, which has helped to improve margins for the past three years in a row. TechTeam focuses on midsize to very large multinational organizations that require multilingual help desk services. With other IT companies, TechTeam has also established a channel for its services that is helping it grow its top line.

  • TechTeam focuses on creating more standardized help desk infrastructure, delivery and methodologies and aims to centralize service delivery from a few facilities. It continues to implement a consistent global program to address themes, such as lean ITIL, shift left, proactive services and improvements to global delivery. TechTeam has also implemented a business service desk initiative that focuses on providing support for various business processes.

  • Clients praised TechTeam for proactively driving continuous improvement, delivering consistency in process quality (such as SLAs and change management) and ensuring that agents have the necessary customer-focused attitude, flexibility and technical skills.

  • TechTeam remains a small player for help desk services in Europe, and it needs to continue to invest in improving and broadening its communications with the market. The continuous market trend to bundle and industrialize complete IT solutions, as well as TechTeam's limited number of sales personnel in Europe, might challenge its growth ambitions, which were disappointed in 2009 by an 11% decrease in European help desk revenue.

  • The advantage of TechTeam's early move into Eastern Europe diminishes as large competitors also continue to build centers there. As providers vie for good agents, staff turnover and compensation could increase, putting pressure on margins. TechTeam needs to carefully manage this trend and continue to identify ways to achieve higher levels of automation and to extend its global delivery network.

  • Clients mentioned that TechTeam could more efficiently manage staff turnover by focusing on recruiting and training to fill language and technical gaps. Clients also pointed out that TechTeam should focus on elevating its knowledge and support of its client base beyond pure IT.


  • Tieto is a strong provider in the Scandinavian market, with a solid reputation and focus on customer relationships. Its geographical focus of expanding from Northern Europe to Germany and Russia is pragmatic and will deliver growth if supported by the development of vertical and "as a service" solutions and services.

  • Tieto has reinforced its focus on key traditional help desk themes, such as a proactive approach and support of innovative collaboration tools for end users, and its vision of the help desk as a platform serving a world of traditional and cloud services that coexist. Tieto is working to integrate cloud services into its traditional service desk offerings.

  • Clients praised Tieto for its flexibility, the service orientation of its agents, its focus on positive SLA management and its ability to provide a reliable help desk outsourcing service that meets contracted SLAs.

  • Tieto's global-delivery capabilities that serve the Western European help desk outsourcing market have recently improved but remain limited compared with those of its direct competitors. The provider's main delivery centers are located in Ostrava (Czech Republic), Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania).

  • Tieto's share of the European help desk outsourcing market has been flat for the past few years. To boost its market share, Tieto will need to increase its brand awareness outside its key markets and consider smaller opportunities. The provider will also need to accelerate the deployment of its industrialized help desk offerings (which include global delivery) and manage the transition with care to maintain current levels of client satisfaction.

  • Clients mentioned that Tieto could improve its technical and client knowledge in some areas, strengthen its ability to proactively drive service delivery improvements and innovation, and more efficiently manage unusual service requests.


  • Unisys considers help desk and desktop services as central to its portfolio. Its pragmatic and rigorous deal qualification program underpins its strategic determination to become a successful Tier 2 provider focused on capturing medium to large opportunities spanning multiple European geographies.

  • Unisys has programs in place to proactively reduce incidents and increase service delivery efficiency and customer satisfaction. Its strategy to take advantage of a self-service portal, remote diagnostics, a single one-call global model and a plan to put all new clients on a BMC Software-based platform supports these initiatives.

  • Clients praised Unisys for the service culture and professional approach of its agents, its ability to manage resources (including training) to support variation in demand, and its focus on help desk quality assurance, continuous improvement and key processes, such as SLA and change management.

  • Unisys' penetration of the European market outside of the U.K. is improving but remains patchy. This may hinder its ability to capture opportunities that originate from key markets, such as Germany or France, and have a multinational scope. Although Unisys is increasingly leveraging its global delivery capabilities, its global help desk delivery capabilities supporting European operations remains limited to Budapest (Hungary) and Bangalore (India).

  • After Unisys completes its internal restructuring, its board and shareholders will expect it to focus on growth. Achieving this in the face of continued pressure to reduce prices will require Unisys to adapt its portfolio of services to create standardized offers that, at the same time, satisfy the challenging needs of midsize client organizations that may have operations dispersed across many European countries.

  • Clients mentioned that Unisys could improve the efficiency of its first-call resolution, apply lessons learned to processes more frequently and better communicate the status of specific incidents. In addition, some clients perceive its management structure as more complex than before. These clients pointed out that Unisys should also reduce this complexity, which is hindering its performance in relationship management.

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Note 1

"Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market" details the research process that analysts follow to develop Magic Quadrants. Magic Quadrants depict markets in the middle phases of their life cycles by using a two-dimensional matrix that evaluates vendors based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. Gartner uses 15 weighted criteria to plot vendors in the Magic Quadrant on the basis of their relative strengths in the market. (See the Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute sections in this Magic Quadrant for further details about these criteria.)

To evaluate the 17 vendors in this Magic Quadrant according to these criteria, Gartner analysts engaged in research activities that included:

  • Attending 17 vendor briefings

  • Requesting each vendor to provide five client references (Vendors provided between four and seven client references.)

  • Interviewing a total of 85 client references (in writing and on the phone)

  • Talking to Gartner clients throughout the year

  • Obtaining input from 10 Gartner analysts

Note 2
Shift-Left Solutions

During the past two years, help desk outsourcing customers have focused on offerings that are designed to proactively reduce the number of calls reaching Level 1 of the help desk. These solutions are widely defined as shift-left and rely on solutions such as automation (automated password reset); Web portals with frequently asked questions that enable users to help themselves to a solution; and remote infrastructure services (monitoring and management), which aim to identify potential failures before they negatively affect the end users' IT performance.

Vendors Added or Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor that compete in/serve the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills, etc., whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization): Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood of the individual business unit to continue investing in the product, to continue offering the product and to advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message in order to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional, thought leadership, word-of-mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, SLAs, etc.

Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.

Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the Web site, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling product that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature set as they map to current and future requirements.

Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including verticals.

Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.

Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.