HRO Today Forum Europe 2012 Demonstrates the Value of HRO

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

I attended HRO Today Forum Europe in Dublin, Ireland from November 13th to 15th to present my “State of the Learning BPO Marketplace” analysis and to introduce subsequent speakers of the learning track.This conference was different than those I’ve attended in the past as several of the sessions were interactive small group discussions. The small groups allowed us to learn from each other, and created energy and enthusiasm!

Interactive sessions I attended included:

  • The opening recruitment session where we identified top challenges and solutions
  • A leadership development program workshop to identify top challenges and solutions.

There were ~260 registered attendees (the same as in Amsterdam two years ago), of which 87% were in attendance throughout the three days including ~50 HR practitioners. Here are some of the highlights from the forum:

Opening remarks: Elliott Clark, CEO of SharedXpertise, opened the conference by sharing some enlightening data from a recent survey, primarily Europe centric:

  • Twice the percentage of providers think HRO is thriving compared to buyers
  • 77% of vendors think M&A is good for HRO compared to 55% of buyers.

Opening keynote: David Andrews, CEO of AOI and founder of Xchanging, presented “Reshaping the HR Business and Lessons Learned from Across Europe.” David began by talking about the history of HR BPO and how BP was the first company to sign a major HRO contract with Exult in 1998 to obtain 40% cost savings to remain competitive. David’s concluding remarks were that the outsourcing space in the U.K. needs to be bigger since ~$18bn is spent by the U.K. government on back-office processes and only ~$700m is outsourced.

Panel discussion: “State of the Market Debate” was hosted by David Andrews and participants included Accenture, IBM, Logica, NorthgateArinso, and Xchanging. Margaret Spink, Managing Director of HR Services at Xchanging, stated SaaS will be the most important phenomenon in the industry and the mid-market will be the biggest growth area. I agreed with Margaret’s mid-market comment, but spent the next day wondering about SaaS until the Xchanging hosted breakfast when Margaret stated that HRO is not just about technology – I couldn’t agree more! Technology is an enabler and I believe more focus should be on implementation, process, utilization, effectiveness, and achievement of desired outcomes.

General session: The conference concluded with a payroll presentation led by Julie Fernandez of ISG followed by a panel that included SD Worx, Ceridian, and CloudPay. The focus of Julie’s presentation and panel were on multi-country payroll beginning with the benefits that include:

  • Reduced number of payroll providers for better procurement pricing and contract terms
  • Consolidated interfaces to HR
  • Improved visibility and reporting of employee headcount and cost
  • Reduced compliance and financial risk
  • Harmonized payroll processes and improved governance.

Challenges of multi-country payroll include securing buy-in of all the countries and funding. Part of the challenge is the implication that all countries must fit one model using one provider. All three panelists use partners in countries where they are not able to provide service themselves.

Q&As from the multi-country payroll session included:

  • Q: How do you get internal finance to have confidence in the provider to prevent an extra layer of checking on vendor performance?
  • A: CloudPay stated that multi-country payroll reports into the client CFO and that one way to satisfy finance is for the vendor to do more self-audits and disclosure.

An interesting discussion also took place on “cloud” with the panel in agreement that the true meaning is you can do anything from anywhere for anything, but that the industry is not there yet due to the concern of knowing where data resides. The industry will, however, grow into acceptance.

In sum, it was a worthwhile conference for anyone interested in learning, networking, and meeting potential clients. I look forward to HRO Today Forum Europe 2013 in London, November 12th to 14th, expected to be the biggest event yet.

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Explore posts in the same categories: HR BPO, hr outsourcing, hro, HRO Today, HRO Today Forum, HRO Today Forum Europe, Learning BPO, Value of HRO

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