The Seams Matter in HRO

To complete our review of HRO’s total cost of ownership (TCO), I want to expand on the factors that can either ramp-up or create a drag maximizing savings. The ADP studies on TCO do more than show the savings that real customers are achieving; the research also looks at why.

First, we need to understand what goes into TCO, which can help create a base case for outsourcing and in tracking the results. Included in the ADP TCO research are:

  • Systems cost for initial implementation, upgrades (both amortized over three years), and system maintenance
  • Direct fully loaded labor costs for associated administrative and IT employees
  • Non-direct labor cost for overheads like facilities and corporate overheads
  • Supplier or outsourcing costs.

Some of the costs are hidden in budgets other than HR’s, including IT, finance, or corporate. Remember that some of the employee costs are also hidden out in the field. We call them the shadow staff—people who support HR processes part-time. It’s important to understand the full cost of providing pre-outsourced services to be able to determine the difference in operating expenses after outsourcing.

There are also costs that result from the “seams.” Seams create gaps and can be found between technologies, processes, and people. These costs are seldom apparent or included in base cases, but they are real and can make the difference in 8-10% savings versus 20-30% savings.

Why does using a single vendor for multiple integrated processes create additional savings? With more services on one vendor integrated platform there are fewer interfaces to maintain, which costs less. When using various separate technologies and vendors, more complexity is in the system, and that generates an increased need to ensure that interfaces are maintained and addressed every time a change is introduced; it also increases the need for customizations and workarounds. When a payroll change was made, I could not understand why it took so long. It was because payroll data touches so many other HR processes that every calculation and interface needs to be addressed, tested, and ensured, many of which touch other suppliers and outsourcers, which adds even more time and cost.

Fewer systems, fewer non-integrated interfaces, and fewer vendors reduce complexity and can further reduce cost. The same concept is true for processes and people. Changing and standardizing internal processes and behaviors across the enterprise is hard. Persistence over time can make the difference in achieving 20% savings and 40% or greater savings.

The good news is that you do not have to do this all alone. Understand what you can expect from your primary HRO vendor(s) and what is included in standard pricing and what additional services are available at additional cost. HRO vendors like ADP, IBM, and Infosys, while specializing in various areas of HRO services, understand the importance of ongoing HRO governance, relationship management, change management, and step-by-step maturity along the way to maximizing the TCO benefits of HRO.

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Change Management, Employee Costs, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO Governance, HRO providers, hro research, nelsonhall, payroll outsourcing, TCO, Total cost of ownership

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