Archive for the ‘lbpo’ category

The Market Segments of MPHRO

August 2, 2011

NelsonHall’s 2011 Targeting Multi-Process HR Outsourcing (MPHRO) report identified four unique market segments that MPHRO buyers fall within and their characteristics.  Let’s take a closer look at each.

The first segment, “multi-country standardization,” makes up 15% of the MPHRO market and contains buyers looking to centralize processes within certain geographies.  Buyers in this category typically have a presence in more than 20 countries and more than 10k employees. MPHRO services are either deployed regionally for these clients or globally and include HR administration and payroll. Another service often incorporated in this segment is technology to support other HR functions.  The main driver for MPHRO within this sector is to centralize processes within geographies and gain consistency.  Of the four market segments, this one has the highest growth rate for the next five years.

“Client-specific shared service transformation” is the second market segment and the largest at 48%.  Again, buyers in this group have operations in 20+ countries, with an average of 50 countries.  Employee headcount is more than 30k and typically averages more than 100k. Services include the entire HR service line (i.e., HR administration, payroll, benefits, training administration, and learning administration) with buyers in this category purchasing MPHRO to make their HR departments more effective by implementing best practices.  In the next five years, growth will be modest, but its overall market share will shrink due to decreased total contract values.

The third segment contains buyers looking to focus on their core business.  This is the second largest category at 24%.  These buyers have operations in one or a small handful of countries and tend to be start-ups or buy-outs.  Average employee headcount is 8k, but can be as little as 1k.  MPHRO services utilized by this group are HR administration, payroll, and sometimes recruitment or training administration.  The main reason MPHRO services are procured by this group is to obtain HR capability quickly so internal focus can be applied somewhere else, as often experienced by organizations experiencing high growth, especially in emerging markets.  Growth for this segment will continue to be strong.

Buyers looking for “technology-led HR service enhancement” make up the final segment at 13%.  These organizations are usually in just one country with employee headcount ranging from 1k to 50k+.  The service scope includes a technology upgrade, HR administration, and payroll.  The driver for MPHRO services for this group is to update an antiquated system and improve processes.  Like the “core business focus” segment, growth for this segment will steadily continue.

Stay tuned to find out success factors for service providers within each segment.

Amy Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

ManpowerGroup Solutions Analyst Day – It’s All About Talent – Part II

June 13, 2011

In my blog last week I wrote a bit about RPO and briefly about the broader content presented at ManpowerGroup Solutions Analyst Day June 8th.  Now I’d like to take a broader view. A takeaway for me is there is no doubt in my mind that ManpowerGroup truly gets that there is a talent shortage globally, which is rapidly getting worse, and is actively helping its clients to attract and retain talent. Though unemployment rates may be high, there is a mismatch between availability of skills and demand for skills. Access to talent is going to be critical for companies to succeed! Estimates are that unemployment levels of skilled talent are 4-5% while unskilled talent is nearer the 20% range.

According to ManpowerGroup’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, 34% of employers are having difficulty filing vacancies. In the U.S. 52% of U.S. employers experience difficulty in filling mission critical positions. This is not just high-tech positions we are talking about but includes manufacturing, where an ever-increasing number of workers are retiring. It’s not just a U.S. problem, it is a global problem, including countries such as Japan, China and Australia, where 30,000 engineers are needed. As an example, to help solve the Australian problem, engineers in India are being looked at in addition to partnering with educational institutions to develop those skills.

At the end of the analyst event we were given a booklet written by ManpowerGroup, called “Entering The Human Age, Thought Leadership Insights”. In the introduction written by ManpowerGroup CEO Jeffrey Joerres, it states that “a new era is upon us, the Human Age, when optimizing human potential will be the single most important determinant of future business success and growth. From 2011, 10,000 baby-boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years. To thrive and grow, companies and governments will need to engage and motivate older workers to remain in the workforce longer, and find a way to engage and train their youth, particularly by aligning training and education systems with the skills required by employers”. Sounds to me like an opportunity for learning providers to be ready to help! There is much more valuable information and insight to be had at http://www.manpowergroup.com/humanage/index.html

In sum a very worthwhile day and if you are an RPO provider, Learning BPO provider and/or anyone in the talent management business, you are in the right job to help your clients succeed in the new Human Age.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Learning Services Acquisition Frenzy

March 17, 2011

Last year, we wrote quite a bit about all of the M&A activity in benefits administration including:

  • Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt completing its merger to become Towers Watson
  • ACS, a Xerox Company acquiring ExcellerateHRO
  • ADP acquiring Workscape
  • Aon acquiring Hewitt to become Aon Hewitt
  • Other acquisitions made by vendors including Mercer, Xafinity, and Capita.

Will learning be the next HR service area abundant in acquisitions?  Although we have seen learning services acquisitions in the past, including ACS acquiring Intellinex in 2006, and will likely continue to see more in the future, I don’t believe we will see any in learning that are equivalent in scale to the large benefits acquisitions.  However, if there was an award for the number of acquisitions in a short period of time, it would have to go to General Physics Corporation (GP). On March 10th, GP acquired RWD Technologies for $28m, its 8th acquisition in the past 18 months.  RWD is based in the U.S. near GP in Baltimore and has three additional U.S. locations as well as offices in the U.K. and Colombia.

GP got RWD at a bargain since RWD’s consulting revenues were $65m in 2010.  RWD was hit hard by the recession and GP came along at the right time with cash on hand.  As a result of the acquisition, GP inherits RWD’s IT learning expertise, where it had little prior experience.  The acquisition also strengthens GP in the petroleum, manufacturing, and automotive sectors.

Last month, GP acquired Communication Consulting to expand delivery of its training services in China.  GP’s other acquisitions were made in the U.S. and U.K. between September 2009 and December 2010.

GP’s 2010 revenues were $259.9m, an increase of 18.6% compared to 2009.  Growth was attributed to increased volumes from existing clients, new contract awards, and its acquisitions, which had the greatest impact.

Moving forward, what will happen?  Well for one thing, don’t count GP out from making future acquisitions.  GP still has ~$35m in revolving credit after the RWD deal and has stated that they will continue to seek acquisitions to grow globally.  However, with so many acquisitions, GP now faces the challenge of creating an integrated client experience and cross-selling into the strengths of these acquired companies to continue its rapid pace of growth.

It will be interesting to watch as things unfold this year.  In the meantime, we can finally put to rest the question “what’s happening with RWD”.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Top Topics at Last Week’s HRO Europe Summit

November 22, 2010

Although a working trip for me – as a learning session co-presenter with Raytheon, and on two panels, one on learning and one on RPO – I can easily say last week’s HRO Summit Europe got great marks in my book. About 40 percent of participants were buyers – a rare occurrence at conferences these days – with the balance being presenters, providers, analysts, press, researchers, staff and others. Discussions were lively and engaging, and…need I say anything about the beauty of Amsterdam, especially its architecture and canals?

My co-presentation with Raytheon, a learning outsourcing session called, “Bridging the Customer-Provider Divide,” was immediately followed by the learning panel, and witnessed buyer questions including: 1) What role does the retained HR learning organization play, including the role of the retained learning director, HR business partners and governance team?; 2) What lessons learned should a buyer that has just implemented a learning BPO contract incorporate?; 3) Why we are seeing more selective LBPO contracts and less full LBPO contracts?; and 4) What role does LBPO play in retaining knowledge as more employees will inevitably begin to retire? 

While tracks and presentations covered the HRO gamut, two of the major focuses were talent issues and RPO. Dr. Peter Cappelli, Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business, opened the conference with a keynote entitled, “A Question of Talent.” He began by discussing that, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 24 years of service with just one company was the average tenure per employee. At the time, companies invested heavily in continuous training, and believed in lateral and upward mobility. He then moved to the sobering stats of today’s workforce. Companies of course still want loyal employees, yet very few do little to give their employees in-turn loyalty, and only one in four of succession plans are utilized. The result is organizations spending thousands of dollars in employee development, only to lose them to competitors.

It almost feels as if organizations accept this as a looming cloud norm in today’s workforce environment. But I vehemently oppose that viewpoint. If you look at the pure financials alone, conservative estimates are that it costs one and a half times as much of an employee’s salary to replace that individual due to the cost of recruitment, development, learning curve, etc. How can that possibly be perceived as good business? I am feeling like an evangelist as I’ve written about it so many times in my blogs, but employee satisfaction and robust initiatives focused on talent retention are vital to competitive advantage and business growth.

One of the largest and most well attended tracks at the conference was on RPO. I was also a member of an RPO panel discussion entitled, “Deep Dive: Driving the Future State of RPO,” along with Alexander Mann Solutions, SourceRight Solutions and a professor from Lancaster University. One question posed by a buyer member in the audience was how RPO has evolved. Each panelist, of course, had its own answer. Mine, not surprisingly as an industry analyst, is that by providing what I call “value-added services” or what I consider to be the “richer RPO services,” you are a true end-to-end RPO provider. This means: 1) services on the front end in workforce planning, talent strategy and employment branding to ensure the right employees with staying power are hired; 2) services in the middle to manage internal recruiting/mobility; and 3) services on the back end, including robust onboarding and ongoing, bi-directional employee engagement.

There are other shifts occurring, including interest in global RPO, and I will cover more on that and learning outsourcing issues discussed at the conference in upcoming blogs!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Learning BPO Market Morphing by M&As, Partnerships and Organics to Meet Evolving Client Needs

November 11, 2010

Per the findings from NelsonHall’s recently published “Targeting Learning BPO” report, we saw only a modest growth rate of 2.5 percent in this HRO segment in 2009 – 2010, but predict a global compound average annual growth rate of 8.4 percent through our 2014 forecast period. So what’s driving this growth from the buy-side, and how are providers responding?

Buyers’ top driver for learning BPO (LBPO) remains reducing the cost of the learning function, followed by increasing the effectiveness and improving the quality of learning for employees. Other drivers include gaining a better return on the learning investment, right-time/right-level access to specialist trainers, obtaining a well-defined process from a provider with the ability to deliver higher quality, aligning learning with strategic objectives, contract flexibility and utilizing cutting-edge technologies for learning services delivery.

To meet these buyer needs, providers must step up their game in a range of areas including the ability to manage a global network of delivery suppliers, and providing access to the technologies required to effectively deliver and manage all aspects of the learning function via learning management systems, Web 2.0., virtual instructor-led training, e-learning, m-learning, virtual world technologies, gaming and learning analytics. Providers also need to have global learning capabilities across all four learning towers: Learning Administration, Content Development, Learning Delivery and Technology.

LBPO providers are taking a variety of paths to address these evolving, and in cases daunting, buyer requirements. Some, including Raytheon Professional Services, Expertus, Edvantage Group and RWD, are growing organically, with new service offerings including new technology, content and geographic delivery capabilities. Acquisitions and partnerships are also occurring.

2010 acquisitions in the LBPO space include:

  • Kenexa’s acquisition of The Centre for High Performance Development to strengthen leadership develop and management training
  • Talent2’s purchase of Origin HR and Sugar International to expand vocational training capabilities
  • General Physics’ acquisition of Marton House to strengthen e-learning content development in the U.K., and its purchase of PerformTech to strengthen learning services for the U.S. government

 And 2010 LBPO partnerships include:

  • NIIT and SENA to provide learning services in Colombia
  • Edvantage Group and Mediapharm to offer a pharma online portal

Bottom line is, for the LBPO market to grow and prosper, it is all about meeting client’s learning needs: delivering what they need, where they need it, when they need it and how they need it. Organic is great, but not always feasible, and not necessarily always the best option for the involved parties. Thus, I beleive we will continue to see more acquisitions, and even more partnerships, in the LBPO space in the next 12 months.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO (and overall BPO) Total Contract Values up in Q1 – Q3 2010

October 14, 2010

During NelsonHall’s recent quarterly BPO Index Call, our CEO John Willmott stated overall BPO contract values were up for all BPO sectors, including HRO, both on a rolling twelve-month basis from 2009 – 2010 as compared to 2008 – 2009, and up year-to-date Q1 – Q3 2010 as compared to Q1 – Q3 2009. This is all good news, but not a surprise given that we are beginning to see some recovery from the recession.

Looking specifically at HRO, total contract value (which includes the value of the full term contract plus any renewals) in Q1 – Q3 2010 was up nine percent. The growth came primarily from North America, while Europe declined as it is coming out of the recession a bit slower and clients in that region continue to be more cautious about outsourcing their HR processes. Although its total contract values isn’t as large as in North America, contracts are still being awarded in Europe, e.g., wins in Q3 by Logica, Midland HR, HR Access, Raet and CPH Consulting, as recently cited by my colleague Linda.

HRO growth in Q3 2010 was particularly led by RPO, similar to numerous other points during these tumultuous times. But here, I’d like to take a quick look at why the learning services market is starting to recover (please see Linda’s October 5 blog entitled, “Recapping the Not-so-Dog-Days of HRO’s 2010 Summer” to see a few of the recent learning contract awards.)

In learning, providers are introducing new training offerings largely focused on certified training courses, primarily technical areas including IT. Training is coming back to life, and the initial emphasis is on strengthening direct job-related skills. Making sure IT professionals can keep up with professional certifications can also be a way to build engagement and head off turnover as the employment market improves. There was also some introduction of new leadership development courses, perhaps indicating a return to a focus on the future by investing in management skills development. Finally, social learning is continuing to make inroads, and Expertus introduced its new platform, ExpertusONE, which facilitates communities of practice, expert networks and mentoring, in addition to normal learning system functions. Other new learning offerings introduced in Q3 included those from Raytheon Professional Services, QA and Edvantage Group.

It will be interesting to see, at the end of Q4, which HRO processes, regions and industries are the leaders and laggards. But much, much more to cover before then, including my “Targeting Learning BPO Market Analysis” to be published later this month.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Learning 2.0 Portals – From Buzz to Abundant Value to Increasing Innovation

September 16, 2010

In blogs earlier this year, I wrote about “The Buzz About Learning 2.0 Portals” and “The Abundant Value of Learning 2.0 Portals.” We’re now seeing providers building increasingly innovative components and capabilities into their learning portals, which can exponentially increase their value and usage.

For example, just yesterday Expertus announced it was recently awarded a virtual instructor-led training (ILT) contract by a large global software provider. Expertus will develop a virtual ILT program to train the client’s sales force on new products, and to educate technical sales architects. Delivered over the ExpertusOne social learning platform, components of the program include hosted live events around the world, live chat with international subject matter experts, hands-on labs, virtual classrooms, online proctors and technical support. And the client’s anticipated cost savings – through elimination of worldwide travel and events expenses – is up to $5 million. While these types of portals of course require a financial investment, such potential hefty cost savings provide justification.

Other examples:

• OCLC, a nonprofit, membership-based computer library service and research organization needed to bring together library staff and organizations around the world, and provide a venue that would allow them to engage in discussions, participate in groups, share content and engage in collaborative learning development. The solution it selected was Plateau’s Talent Gateway platform, which integrates social tools, content management, Plateau learning management, customer management and virtual meeting spaces. It’s enabling OCLC members to connect with colleagues across the library community using social tools, create custom content, join in conversations, create ad-hoc communities and learn relevant skills.

• Liberty Mutual is using Cornerstone OnDemand’s Cornerstone Connect to facilitate informal learning as part of the company’s front line management training program. Participants take part in an in-person, weeklong program, supported by supplemental online courses via Cornerstone’s learning management system. Using Cornerstone Connect, Liberty Mutual’s team has created a management community to maximize and extend the benefits of the training program. Components of the Cornerstone Connect platform include rich user profiles, status updates, live feed views, communities of practice, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, rating and sharing of content, knowledge management, tag clouds and RSS feeds.

One of the common, and critical, capabilities across all these platforms – as well as those already offered or under development by other providers – is engagement. In an isolated e-learning environment, it’s all too easy for the mind to wander (“Did I remember to send that memo?” “Hum, I wonder if there’s any cake in the break room?”) and equally challenging to feel a sense of connection (“Is anyone else unclear about that point the instructor just made?” “Who can I ask, other than my boss?”) Social media capabilities such as discussion boards and live chats with peers and subject matter experts can significantly enhance engagement in, and the resulting value of, e-learning.

Expect to see an increase in uptake of Learning 2.0 portals that enable engagement via social media capabilities. The rapid deployment, learning enhancement and cost savings value prop is über compelling.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall