A report by market analyst firm Datamonitor has revealed the growing global opportunities in the service industry, particularly the retail sector. Retailing in a Recession: The Opportunities for Outsourcing examines the business processes that retailers outsource and why, finding opportunities in Western Europe and North America. "Many [retailers] are looking to technology and services to help cut the cost of managing inventory, non-critical business processes and store operations," noted report author Christine Bardwell. "Although retailers are outsourcing in a recession, the types of contracts have changed; large scale infrastructure overhauls are less common. Instead retailers are requesting a mixture of services on lower value contracts, or transformational deals over longer periods of time." But these companies aren't just looking for someone to supply a solution: they want a partner, Bardwell discovered. Suppliers that can show simpatico with a retailer will rise to the top in what is a very competitive environment. "A service provider that takes strides to understand the pulse of the organisation will win over," said Bardwell.