Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Morgan Chambers acquired by EquaTerra

Action in the sourcing advisory arena today with EquaTerra's acquisition of Morgan Chambers.

You can read the press release here. The Houston Business Journal adds some additional comment.

This is big news - at least for those in the outsourcing and IT services space. Both firms are substantial players in the 'third party advisor' (TPA) market. The Black Book of Outsourcing 2007 names EquaTerra as the leading provider in the IT Outsourcing market while Morgan Chambers holds the same position in BPO.

As the two firms have different approaches to the market - EquaTerra takes an industry view while Morgan Chambers is more focused on countries - it'll be interesting to see how these are brought together. If done well, it will most likely result in a powerful approach that could easily spark further consolidation as others in the market try not to get left behind.

And there's plenty of competition around. TPI* says it is the largest sourcing advisory firm in the world (a claim not challenged by EquaTerra in the press release; instead it uses phrases like "market leading" and "advisory firm of choice").

Then think of other specialists like Everest, NeoIT and Alsbridge, the big management consultancy firms and even traditional analyst firms in the shape of Gartner Consulting, Ovum's Orbys and, increasingly, NelsonHall.

The power of the TPA has long been apparent to those AR professionals working in the IT services and outsourcing sector. In this market, they are far more important commercially than the industry analysts - although they do lack the 'rounded' influence that the typical industry analyst is capable of delivering.

(As background, there was a fascinating conversation back in late 2005 over here at ARmadgeddon on the relative importance of analysts v TPAs. Make sure to read the comments by HP's Carter and ex Gartner analyst, Vinnie!)

* It's an interesting side-step to remember that less than two years ago, EquaTerra was planning a merger with TPI. Just a few months later, this deal was terminated by 'mutual consent'.

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