This year brought the IT outsourcing industry an increase in hybrid offshoring, a greater focus on in-house service integration, a new \n\nlower-cost consulting model, smaller deals, and bigger governance requirements.\n\n[ Related: 2014 IT \n\nOutsourcing in Review: Grading Our Predictions ]\n\nCIO.com again asked outsourcing observers to peer into their crystal balls. And if they're right, 2015 could be the year IT outsourcing gets \n\nbusiness-focused, customers embrace standardization, sourcing decisions become fact-based, and the age-old RFP process gets some real \n\ncompetition.\n\n1. Outcomes Become the Name of the Game\n\nThe new year should see an increase in market facing process solution -- marketing, campaign management, inside sales--that enable \n\nproviders to align their compensation and incentives with the buyer's intended business outcomes, says Marc Tanowitz, partner with \n\noutsourcing consultancy Pace Harmon. "These solutions will incorporate increased use of cloud-based technologies to allow providers to \n\ncompete and differentiate based on their unique offerings and will allow buyers to partner with outsourced providers to transform the way they \n\nengage with their customers," Tanowitz adds. \n\nMeanwhile, says Susan Danino, partner with outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group, "outcome-based pricing is evolving as a \n\ntrue answer to solving some challenges of upfront one time investment costs when it comes to contracting with a third party."\n\n2. Dawn of the Cloud Robots\n\nIn 2015, autonomics and cloud technologies will meet, argues Jeff Augustin, managing director of outsourcing consultancy Alsbridge. \n\n"Smart robots will increasingly operate in the cloud, and we'll see a 'labor-as-a-service' approach emerge as clients and providers find that \n\nintelligent tools and virtual agents can be easily and flexibly hosted on cloud platforms," Augustin says. "This will build even more momentum \n\nand interest in autonomics." \n\n[ Related: 10 Careers Robots Are Taking From You ]\n\n3. Customers Embrace Standardization\n\nCloud, utility computing, and virtualization will converge in 2015, and everything will start to look the same in 2015, says Joshua B. \n\nKonvisser, partner with law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. "As the industry becomes more and more comfortable working with the \n\ncloud, the industry is becoming even more comfortable with the benefits of standardization -- increased efficiency, virtualization, reduced \n\nsupport costs, for example, Konvisser says. "Thus, even in bespoke outsourcing arrangements, there may well be more similarity than \n\ndifference, both within a single company's formerly complicated IT environment, and across companies -- both client and provider. The cloud, \n\nutility computing, and virtualization are converging to create this new operating model that will become the new paradigm for IT \n\noutsourcing.\n\n4. Renegotiation Reigns\n\nNext year, more than $100 billion dollars (yes, billion) worth of outsourcing contracts will be renegotiated, says ISG partner Stanton Jones. \n\nAnd many of those customers will forego the traditional tower-based outsourcing approach for a multisourcing cloud-based model. "Workload \n\n[will be] run from the most appropriate cloud, rather than centralized on dedicated infrastructure," Stanton says. "This will also drive \n\nawareness and uptake of cloud brokerage software, as buyers look to use analytics and automation to streamline and provide visibility into the \n\ncloud sourcing supply chain."\n\t\n\n\n5. Supplier Risk Takes Center Stage \n\nThis may be the year companies get serious about managing their IT supplier risk. "As end customers become more aware of a company's \n\nsupply chain, the brand risk that comes with a supplier failure go up dramatically," says Christine Ferrusi Ross, senior vice president with \n\noffshoring consultancy Neo Group. "In 2015, companies will begin to really integrate supplier risk into their daily operations, moving from \n\nquarterly meeting risk discussions to making key business decisions based on different risk events on a real-time basis."\n\n[ Related: Are Managed Services the 'Holy Grail' for App Outsourcing? ]\n\nPolitical and economic turmoil in countries such as Ukraine and Russia will cause outsourcing customer to care in a more tangible way \n\nabout the locations of their services providers, says Atul Vashistha, Neo Groups's CEO. "However, even though these formally would be \n\nconsidered geopolitical risks, because they primarily affect service providers, the location monitoring will fall to sourcing and shared services \n\nteams," Vashistha says. "This is the right approach as we see increased disruptions due to location issues such as shrinking labor pools, \n\nchanges in laws, weather issues and economic malaise."\n\n6. MultiSourcing Multiplies\n\nThere's little doubt that smaller deals among multiple providers is the established model for IT sourcing. But in 2015, outsourcers per \n\ncustomers will multiply even further. "\n\n[ Related: Number of New \n\nIT Outsourcing Deals Hits All-Time High ]\n\n"The number of service providers each company uses will grow dramatically, driven by growing popularity of cloud in general and \n\nSoftware-as-a-Service [SaaS] in particular," says Scott Feuless, principal consultant with outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group. \n\n\n\nThat means governance requirements will also magnify. "Managing service providers, due to increasing application focus and the \n\ncommoditization of infrastructure, will take on characteristics that we see in software portfolio management today -- elimination of duplicated \n\nand unused services, allowing for growth, negotiating and negotiating again," says Scott Fueless, principal consultant with ISG. "Integration \n\nwill be absolutely critical and is likely to be the key differentiator between one organization's IT effectiveness and another's."\n\n7. The Business Takes Over\n\nMore technology services will be purchased by business leaders rather than IT in 2015. "As consumer products like cars and washing \n\nmachines and thermostats continue to embed technology, more and more product engineering teams will treat IT and IT services as core \n\npurchases and will take over those contracts directly," says Ferussi Ross of Neo Group. "This will split current shared services organizations \n\nthat don't understand the trend." In the short term, it will also shift power to suppliers who have new buyers to target -- minus the \n\n burdensome bidding and RFP processes of the past.\n\n"IT will struggle to migrate itself successfully to a service brokerage model, pulling disparate services back in from business units that \n\nhave put their own applications in the cloud rather than wait for IT to provision infrastructure," adds Fueless. "IT's case will be compelling \n\nwhere they can deliver savings through rationalization, integration and superior service measurement and selection."\n\n8. The RFP Fades\n\nSpeaking of traditional IT procurement processes, the tried-and-true RFP process will begin to lose its luster. In today's dynamic era of \n\ntechnology change, the traditional RFP simply takes too long and costs too much. By the time the proposals come in, the business \n\nrequirements have often changed.\n\nLook for new purchasing processes, such as enterprise marketplaces, to take the place of RFPs. "Imagine floating a 'request for food' every \n\ntime you're deciding on a restaurant," says Pratham Mittal co-founder of VenturePact, a marketplace connecting providers with customers. \n\n\n\n"Emerging technologies are not a good fit for the RFP model. There are new technologies coming up every day that enterprises may not \n\nunderstand. Think Google Glass. Think wearables. Big companies need to collaboratively work with service providers to really figure out how \n\nthis can be used in their enterprise."\n\n9. The Cloud Comes Down to Earth\n\nOkay, we predicted last year that the cloud would get grounded. In 2015, it will. \n\n"Enterprises will take a pragmatic approach to cloud-provided infrastructure and solutions, gaining confidence and building internal \n\nexpertise along the way," says Andy Sealock, partner with outsourcing consultancy Pace Harmon. Cloud-based solutions will continue to serve \n\nas point solutions within given functions, while more general cloud computing and storage solutions will progress down two distinct paths. \n\n"The first path, which will progress faster, is for new applications that can be designed from the beginning to optimize cloud \n\ninfrastructure.\n Early adopters may set official policies whereby they need an exception from the governance process to not develop new apps optimized \n\nfor the private or public cloud," Sealock says. "The second path addresses porting existing apps over to cloud infrastructure. For large, complex \n\nFortune 2000 IT environments with a very heterogeneous application footprint, this requires app-by-app analysis and testing to ensure that it \n\nwill perform and maintain SLAs, and that it won't inefficiently use the cloud infrastructure and run up variable costs that will sink the business \n\ncase."\n\n\n"Amazon Web Services and Softlayer are both well positioned to see significant growth at the enterprise layer," says Hall of ISG. \n\nCompanies will have to get past their security and business continuity concerns. And they may abandon the term "cloud" altogether. \n\nCompanies will recognize "that the term no longer means anything at all," says Fueless. "Providers and pundits will need to specify \n\n[Infrastructure-as-a-Service] IaaS, [Platform-as-a-Service] PaaS or SaaS at a minimum, with qualifiers like dedicated, shared, public, private, \n\non-premises, off-premises to participate in any useful discussion of infrastructure services."\n\n10. The Sourcing Decision Becomes Data-Driven\n\n"Data and analytics will play a central role in sourcing advisory," predicts Vashistha of Neo Group. "As the complexity of sourcing rises and \n\nclients become increasingly sophisticated, the need to find the next set of opportunities and optimization will benefit greatly from analytics \n\nand not just expert advice." \n\n"Enterprises will rely on better data and cost transparency to understand optimization opportunities and require better integration of their \n\nmanagement processes to integrate multiple cloud providers and service providers," says Hall of ISG.