Archive for the ‘HRO Competition’ category

Highlights and Trends in the HRO Market for H1 2013: Part 2

August 14, 2013
Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Last week, I zeroed in on specific market activity within the payroll, learning and RPO service lines. This week, I’ll take a closer look at H1 2013 activity within benefits administration and MPHRO as well as provide some insights on what to expect in H2 2013 based on NelsonHall’s recent HRO Confidence Index.

Benefits Administration

Contract signings aside, there has been a plethora of activity within benefits administration in H1 2013, including:

  • New offerings:
    • Mercer launched a private benefits exchange, Mercer Marketplace
    • Buck Consultants launched an automatic enrollment offering in the U.K.
    • Secova launched a Coordination of Benefits (COB) audit offering to coordinate benefits with insurance carriers
  • Acquisitions: Wageworks acquired Crosby Benefit Systems and Benefit Concepts to strengthen its H&W administration offering, including reimbursement account and COBRA administration
  • Partnerships:
    • Fidelity partnered with Extend Health, a Towers Watson company, to provide retiree healthcare services
    • JLT Employee Benefits partnered with Vielife for health and wellbeing services in the U.K.
  • New technologies:
    • Xerox launched an account-based benefits portal, BenefitWallet, to assist with managing multiple health accounts on one platform, including HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, HIAs (health/wellness incentive accounts) and other specialized services
    • Aon Hewitt launched an absence management tool, 360 Absence Solutions, to help clients manage absence-related costs, compliance risks, the administrative burden and lost productivity
  • Educational resources:
    • Mercer and ADP both launched websites to provide information on healthcare reform
    • Ceridian launched an auto-enrollment knowledge center in the U.K.

MPHRO

In recent years, the MPHRO market has been relatively quiet in terms of contract announcements and H1 2013 was no exception. However, my last MPHRO research study, published in February 2013, revealed that the market is very much alive with new wins and contract renewals from all the major vendors, including IBM and Accenture. In fact, IBM recently won a new seven-year, multi-country MPHRO contract, which was bundled with F&A outsourcing services. Other wins include ADP and Marriott Vacations Worldwide for core HR, payroll, time & labor management and talent management covering ~9.2k employees.

Many vendors have been focused on their strategies for expansion, including Aon Hewitt with its acquisition of OmniPoint Workday Services. Although still early, NelsonHall expects ADP to make inroads in LATAM with its MPHRO services since it added RPO capabilities in this region from its acquisition of The RightThing and now expands its payroll footprint from the Payroll S.A. acquisition.

H2 2013

So what does the rest of the year have in store? NelsonHall’s recent HRO Confidence Index survey finds that overall expectations for HRO revenue growth remain at the same level as those reported for the last five quarters; with payroll leading followed by RPO. Top industry sectors for HRO services include healthcare, pharmaceuticals and high-tech. By geography, vendors have reported increased confidence for revenue growth in Central and Eastern Europe and Central and Latin America.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds for HRO.

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Highlights and Trends in the HRO Market for H1 2013: Part 1

August 7, 2013
Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

It’s hard to believe that H1 2013 is complete, which makes it an ideal time to recap highlights and trends from the HRO world this year.

Overall Activity

There was a healthy number of new contracts awarded across all HRO service lines in H1 2013. In addition, renewals and contract extensions signed were consistent with H1 2012. There was, however, an increase in activity with organizations changing their existing service provider, particularly within benefits administration and RPO.

For the last few years, attention has been on the mid-market (500-10k employees), among other things, as an area for growth within HRO. Quarter-over-quarter, mid-market activity has made strides relative to the large market. In fact, in H1 2013, the majority of activity reported was from the mid-market.

Beyond HRO, the number of HR software contracts signed globally was up substantially compared to H1 2012. For example, in the U.S., ADP was awarded a contract for its Vantage HCM platform, including HR, payroll, benefits and onboarding modules, by The Paradies Shops covering 4k employees. In the U.K., Ceridian gained traction with its automatic enrollment module with Asda for 175k employees and WH Smith for 16k employees.

Payroll

Despite being a mature service line, payroll outsourcing does not disappoint. The biggest news reported in H1 2013 would have to be ADP’s acquisition of Payroll S.A., which will expand its LATAM payroll capabilities to Chile, Argentina and Peru. ADP already had in-country services in Brazil, and had capabilities through GlobalView and Streamline to serve multinationals in other LATAM countries.

Other news within payroll includes Acrede opening an office in Singapore to expand its global payroll reach into Asia-Pacific. Growth opportunities in the region include Japan and South Asia-Pacific.

RPO

The RPO market continues to be a hot one to watch. Contracts were awarded in various countries, including the U.S., U.K. and China, and ~20% of contract activity in H1 2013 was from multi-country deals.

The level of M&A activity was consistent with H1 2012, but the level of RPO partnerships has dwindled. Nevertheless, RPO vendors were busy expanding service offerings and delivery capabilities, and launching new websites. Some examples include:

  • Randstad Sourceright launching an RPO integrated assessment program
  • Manpower U.S. launching a multi-channel delivery model
  • Ochre House launching a COE to drive innovation
  • Randstad Sourceright opening a shared services center in Budapest
  • Hays launching a new mobile website
  • AMN Healthcare launching a redesigned website.

Although technically within H2, it is timely to mention the Pinstripe and Ochre House merger.

Learning

After a rather long lull, the learning BPO market has shown many signs of improvement. New contracts include Raytheon and GM Korea for content development and training administration services, and delivery of sales and non-technical training.

GP continued its acquisition frenzy focused on strengthening and expanding its geographic footprint with Prospero Learning Solutions (Canada) and Lorien Engineering Solutions (U.K. and Poland). Not to mention Capita’s acquisition of KnowledgePool.

Stay tuned next week for more highlights and trends from H1 2013 that are specific to benefits administration and MPHRO. I’ll also share some insights on what to expect in H2 2013 based on NelsonHall’s recent HRO Confidence Index survey.

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NGA’s Broadening Offerings

July 24, 2013
Liz Rennie, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Liz Rennie, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Last week we attended the Advisor & Analyst Summit with NGA where CEO Adel Al-Saleh presented the highlights for FY2013 (up to 30 April 2013) and described the company as an “IP-led HR services company.” Focus was given to the company’s ability to support global payrolls, whatever the HRIS platform, as NGA supports multiple platforms such as Workday, SuccessFactors, PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP. Further, NGA announced that BPO agreements are in place with all the above-mentioned technology companies.

NGA serves all size companies and is particularly focused on global enterprise clients. Multi-country BPO HR/payroll is where NGA sees growth. Over the last year NGA experienced flat revenues, the downturn in the consulting was cited as the main reason; however, EBITDA was up by 8.6% to $157m. Workforce administration and global payroll were cited as areas which were experiencing growth. A “sweet-spot” client would be a client who wants its IT to be managed and requires service components for HR administration and/or payroll.

New wins and renewals for FY 2013 were cited as Aer Lingus (Irish HRO client based on ResourceLink), Textron (PeopleSoft renewal), Pirelli (40 countries in scope), State of Texas, McGraw-Hill and Orica.

FY 2014 priorities

  • Evolve the client-centric coverage. This means to increase the reporting and visibility of customer satisfaction to drive this higher
  • Drive the maturity of global delivery capabilities
  • Evolve the transformation consulting services
  • Invest and launch key IP platforms, including:
    – Global payroll
    – Service center tools & utilities
    – euHReka – Preceda – ResourceLink – Moorepay
  • Increase traction of key partnerships:
    – Workday
    – SuccessFactors-SAP
    – Oracle.

NGA already has more than 8 clients utilizing the Workday platform.

NGA presented its Global Delivery Model, which demonstrates the maturity and scale of NGA’s global delivery, including approximately 1.2k employees in Manila, 1k in Kochi, 100 in Dalian, China, 150 in Katowice, Poland, 500 in Granada, Spain and 200 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These centers have been undergoing a center standardization based on Six Sigma to improve alignment.

NGA’s depth of knowledge is evident in the 8 IP components presented, including its NGA Service Catalogue, Global Statutory Center, ePIM Implementation Methodology, SunEXo (to track payroll status), ScopeHR (to configure scope), Online Reference Guide (for processes and instructions), Global Standard Training and Global Process Framework.

Being an IP-led HR services company, NGA has to clearly articulate the value of the IP to the client and then ensure that the IP roadmap is closely following its client’s needs. Furthermore, increasing technology capability with a broader partner ecosystem could bring further challenges, such as:

  • Finding the right technical solution for a client without confusing them; especially where they are simply asking for a service
  • When the IP becomes less technology centric, NGA could lose some of the depth of knowledge that is already built into the IP.

NGA continues to be a company that is flexible to the needs of its clients. In this current climate companies need agility in HR solutions, services, prices and (now more than ever) technology. NGA offers a global delivery network that is experienced and always hungry for more business.

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Talent2’s Competitive Edge

July 8, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The NelsonHall HRO team recently spoke with Mary-Sue Rogers, Talent2’s global general manager for HR managed services, for an update on the major Asia-Pacific, pan-regional HRO service provider with ~2.6k clients across 30 countries. Its client base includes companies of all sizes in both the private and public sectors. The company had a busy fiscal Q4 2013 winning more than 60 contract awards across its service lines, including payroll, RPO, learning and HR advisory services.

The Asia-Pacific HRO Market is Competitive

Asia-Pacific is a huge and diverse region with many of the individual nations still considered “emerging markets,” with opportunities for long-term growth. Talent2’s in-region competitors are largely global HRO providers, some span all service lines and others go head-to-head-on a single service like RPO.

So how does a ten-year-young company compete with many of the biggest names in HRO? Its competitors also have in-region locations but find it hard to match Talent2’s 40+ HRO-dedicated locations supporting 31 languages in 16 Asia-Pacific countries, including parts of the Middle East. In May 2013, Talent2 further expanded its operations in support of the Asia-Pacific region by opening a service delivery center in the Philippines.

Succeed With a HRO Competitive Edge

It is a core part of providing multi-country services to offer local subject-matter expertise on employment rules, regulations, taxation and compliance reporting, and all of the competitors can provide such services directly or through vetted local partners.

Talent2 demonstrates deep knowledge of local regulations as well as cultural and business environments. It knows the nuances that others may miss, which can help develop a service offer that is right on the mark for design and cost. For example, in the first instance, Talent2 addresses the following questions:

  • What style of payroll service center support is preferred by employees in different areas of its region?
  • What are the differences in an MNC headquartered in the West versus one headquartered in the target region?

As a result, 50% of its clients use multi-country services led by payroll and followed by RPO. Some start with one targeted country and add more over time.

Quality services and competitive pricing, along with its deep knowledge, provides a winning combination for Talent2, achieving a NelsonHall estimated ~10% growth in FY 2013.

Then Change to Remain Competitive

Talent2, which became a private company in 2012, is working its way through its stated development roadmap. The multi-pronged plan is focused on upgrading and rationalizing its technology platform to meet current and future client needs and going environmentally green to control internal costs and lower the total cost of ownership for its clients.

HR services are changing rapidly all over the world, as are client needs and interests, and no service provider can long rest on its laurels. Therefore, the question arises: does your HRO service provider’s competitive edge match your needs today, and will it tomorrow?

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HRO Inflection Points

June 28, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Everywhere around us inflection points are occurring. Inflection points are a sign that change is occurring that will create a new order of things. Whether we see them, understand their long-term implications, and leverage them to our advantage is another issue.

Social Inflection Points Impact HRO

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two issues impacting marriage law that will change who is entitled to marriage-related federal benefits.

Major social change invariably impacts HR and HRO services, and the marriage law rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court will have wide-ranging implications for workplace benefit plans in at least 12 states.

The long-term implications may take many years to become clear, but leveraging in the short term has already begun. ADP was the first HRO vendor I saw tweet about the court’s ruling by announcing an upcoming webinar on the changes to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Mercer quickly followed with a ‘benefits administration alert’ letter.

Technology Inflection Points Impact HRO

As a disruptive technology, SaaS has started a global “cloud war” that is only just beginning. HR and HRO are just a small piece of the IT landscape and we will see skirmishes as new entrants and long-term leaders battle for market share, industry leadership and shareholder value as they transform not only technology offerings, but revenue streams and business models.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison has been in the news for the last two weeks reporting on earnings that were already impacted by SaaS and the cloud war. Here was one of the industry’s titans comparing Oracle’s SaaS revenues (annualized at ~$1bn) to comparable revenues posted by perennial competitor SAP and upstart Workday!

Upgrade or rip-and-replace decisions are becoming imminent for HR clients and HRO services providers. Many vendors, including Ceridian, Mercer and Talent2, are already developing integrated service platforms and more cloud offerings for organizations of all sizes.

Client Inflection Points Impact HRO

To identify current trends in HRO customer requirements I reviewed current (2013) sources, including NelsonHall’s Targeting Payroll BPO market analysis and HR Outsourcing Confidence Index, and also HRO vendor discussions. Further, I reviewed a research survey by Mandy Sim, a University Teaching Fellow with the Business School at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, entitled the HRO Adoption Survey Report 2012, which identified key Asia-Pacific HRO practices based on a survey conducted on delegates who attended the HRO Today Forum APAC 2012.

Following are my findings on what today’s HRO clients, across service lines and geographies, are wanting from prospective vendors:

  • Value for price, balancing cost with improved outcomes and business impact
  • Standardization of processes and technologies
  • Advanced subject-matter expertise and best practices
  • Scalability across services and geographies
  • Access to new tools, technologies and services.

Ready or not, change is coming to HRO. Are you ready for how will it impact you and your organization?

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HRO and Innovation – Getting Practical

May 31, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Innovation in multi-process HRO (MPHRO) has been a topic of discussion, and some contention, since the early mega-deals that created the modern MPHRO market more than ten years ago.

Even in the early days there was a desire for innovation, but there was also a lack of common definitions and mutual understanding, along with difficulty in articulating innovation in contract language.

There was an even greater barrier – systems spaghetti. Early MPHRO clients had highly-customized ERP infrastructure, aging legacy systems, and third-party applications, much of which may have been non-centralized and non-integrated. Each major customer was in their own bubble of services and systems. It quickly became apparent that it would be hard to add new and different innovations within the constraints of the contracts and the technologies.

Platforms for Innovation

Major MPHRO service providers now have global multi-client service delivery and data centers with sophisticated workflow processes. Early clients have been moved bit-by-bit into the common support infrastructure, even if they remain on their own, licensed ERP systems.

Many HRO clients are ready for increased standardization and multi-client platforms to reduce cost and to improve performance. Innovative cloud-based SaaS and services platforms are opening up new services to the mid-market and parts of the large client market:

  • Clients on a shared service platform benefit from ongoing incremental improvements
  • Clients benefit from access to new products and services without paying a significant portion of the R&D needed for a one-off innovation.

Some tension between continuous improvement and innovation is natural, as the line between an “included enhancement” and what is “new and different to be added as an extra charge” looks very different depending on whether you are a buyer or a supplier.

Collaborative Innovation

Client user groups support both HRO improvement and innovation. Vendors were originally reluctant to let clients communicate with each other (partially because the clients might “gang-up” on the vendor – and sometimes they did!).

Companies like IBM and Xerox were leaders in developing client advisory boards. These interactive groups provide feedback on the services, give input into common needs, and even offer guidance on parts of the vendor’s development roadmap. They are not just “the voice of the customer”; they are also a built-in base of beta testers. Willingness to put some skin into the game is also a great way to test market viability and further strengthen relationships.

Infrastructure of Innovation

Buyers can develop their processes for HRO innovation in the following ways:

  • Assess vendors for innovation capabilities as part of the selection process
  • Develop the language and mutual expectations for measurable innovation upfront and include in the terms of contract. Include who pays, and when, determine if there will be vendor incentives, and clarify the client’s role
  • Use the governance process to jointly monitor, manage, and measure improvements and innovations over the course of the relationship.

The good news is that we are beginning to build the HRO infrastructure for future innovation; common language, standardized multi-client platforms, and client user groups.

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HRO and Innovation – a Changing Dynamic

May 14, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Last week the Human Resources Outsourcing Association’s (HROA) Publications & Practices Committee held a webinar on collaborative innovation in HRO with industry experts Lisa Johnson, director of recruiting, North America at Gate Gourmet, Rolf Kleiner, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Kelly Services, Inc. and Dr. Greg McLaughlin, senior vice president of research & development for Global Targeting, Inc.

Understanding Innovation

Innovation has been a conundrum for years for HRO buyers and suppliers. There are many ways to define the word ‘innovation’ and that makes it hard to be sure each party is speaking the same language. All three experts agreed that open discussions between clients and service providers are needed to develop a mutual understanding of what innovation means in the context of the relationship and contract.

Greg walked us through aspects of innovation range from the conceptual “innovation is an experience”, to the practical “innovation begins with a need and ends with an outcome that creates a competitive advantage.”

Lisa looks for HRO suppliers with the spirit of innovation – backed by experience. Rolf looks for employees who “rise above the white noise” to work on special innovation projects that also support talent management.

Innovation and Continuous Improvement

The HROA Buyers Group’s survey on innovation and continuous improvement showed there is a commonality in basic definition and understanding developing across the community of buyers, service providers, and advisors. From the words of HRO community members:

  • Continuous improvement is an enhancement of a product, service or process that already exists:
    • Increased operational efficiency, improved user experience, ongoing, incremental, and step changes
    • Efficiency and effectiveness gains that “keep pace with the market”
  • Innovation is something new and different:
    • Cutting edge, transformational, precedent setting, competitive advantage, disruptive, and dramatic
    • A significant and often transformational change that, once introduced, “you wonder how you ever lived without it.”

The HRO community is in agreement that continuous improvement and innovation should be a collaborative effort between the HRO service provider and the client:

  • 92% of respondents agree that this collaborative effort is what should be happening between service provider and client, but only 59% see that as true now, with 40% of buyers and only 22% of providers agreeing that collaboration is actually happening in the marketplace right now
  • 77% agreed that innovation should be a collaborative effort among the parties, with agreement from 100% of advisors, 60% of HR practitioners, and 83% of providers.

 The Innovation Gaps

Significant gaps – and therefore opportunities – remain:

  • 75% of respondents said that continuous improvement is in the HRO contract
  • Only 42% agreed that innovation is included in the HRO contract.

In the next blog I will be getting practical about innovation in HRO.

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