Infosys, Wipro, TCS and other Offshore Providers: How Strong an HRO Play Can They Make?

Against the backdrop of Infosys’ most recent quarter-end financials announcement – of which 6.1 percent of revenue was attributed to BPO, and five to 10 percent of that BPO revenue is estimated to have come from HRO – how viable can it and its Indian brethren be in the HRO space? Despite inherent challenges and both real and perceived buyer concerns about offshoring HR processes, offshore providers are making strong investments in and “upping the ante” of their HRO capabilities.

For example, Infosys within the last several months launched a new SaaS plus BPO platform offering which supports HR processes. And other Indian providers such as Wipro, Caliber Point, Secova, Modis and TCS are partnering, primarily with Oracle and SAP, for a technological BPO backbone which supports HRO processes, and then building more standardized BPO services around that technology.

Further, to address language and cultural barrier concerns of many buyers, India-based offshore providers are understandably touting their centers in locations such as Romania and Poland as HRO delivery sites.

Finally, price points are clearly lower in India and other low-cost locations such as the Philippines in which offshore providers have centers. In today’s economy, given that providers such as Hewitt and Convergys have been challenged to meet the cost-cutting requirements of their existing clients without themselves utilizing offshore resources, there are clearly some natural opportunities for offshore providers.

But the operative word above is “some” natural opportunities. Remember, there are many concrete and ostensible inhibitors to offshore HRO. So where are offshore providers making, and can they make, their play?

At least for the relative near-term, it’s in the low-cost transactional services and low- and mid-level analytics processes. For example:

•  In recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), CV/resume screening and, in some cases, candidate short-listing. But beyond these initial activities, most will require onshore hand-off

•  In learning business process outsourcing (LBPO), managing course scheduling and learner assistance around which courses are suitable, etc. But with language, cultural and proximity issues, the possibility of venue management, course development and learning delivery is null to void

•  In back-office processes, those which are non-voice-related, such as payroll reconciliations, accounting within pensions arrangements, fulfillment, etc., in benefits administration

•  In HRO analytics, low-end processes such as monthly and quarterly reporting on employees per business unit, geography or employee population diversity; cost per hire; hiring manager satisfaction; learner satisfaction and utilization rates for decision support tools. Mid-level analytics provided by offshore providers could include loyalty and attrition modeling

•  And of course the IT support around all of these HR processes

The bottom line is that offshore providers are viable contenders in the HRO space, but we believe buyers are still cautious about fully embracing offshore outsourcing, so are likely to engage only in the non-high-touch areas. If a buyer is seeking lower cost, transactional services, offshore HRO is certainly worth examining.

Helen Neale, Research Director, Human Resources Outsourcing, NelsonHall

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6 Comments on “Infosys, Wipro, TCS and other Offshore Providers: How Strong an HRO Play Can They Make?”

  1. Shahnawaz Says:

    Great job. Nice post on BPO Services Partner Program. keep posting such a nice post

  2. anoop Says:

    Most of the offshore providers are going global and have the capability of providing services to customers both from offshore and onsite. This would mean processes without any touchpoint can be serviced from offshore and the the others from either a nearshore or onshore location.

    Global customers would be benefited through working with an offshore HRO provider since the cost and value proposition that they bring to the table would defenitely be better than the others in the market

    • hjneale Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Anoop. I agree that providers are going global, but it remains to be seen whether a large enough proportion of the buyers in HRO are comfortable with this proposition for swaths of their HR function even at lower price points, particuarly after lessons learnt from the first generation of multi-process deals which promised much, but were tough to deliver on both for buyer and provider.

  3. AntideAnync Says:

    Thank you championing details. It helped me in my responsibility


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