Posted tagged ‘Analytics’

Mercer on the Move

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

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

This week I attended Mercer’s always well managed and informative analyst forum in Boston, MA. The meeting was focused on the talent consulting line of business.

Talent Management on the Rise

Mercer research indicates that human capital issues are a top CEO concern and managing talent is becoming a board of directors’ issue, moving beyond the traditional CEO succession planning and compensation to overall talent and workforce planning. The new Mercer Talent Barometer Survey, which was introduced at the 2013 World Economic Forum, reports that 60% of the 1,200 global companies surveyed are investing more in talent, but only 30% feel that their workforce plans are highly effective.

The business of talent has become both exciting and disruptive, with possible new entrants, globalization, media, innovations, and opportunities. (Talk about new entrants, eHarmony is considering getting into the talent matching game!)

With a possibility of double-digit growth, the talent group looked at how to grow across the talent value chain by expanding its services, tools and technology offerings for talent, rewards, and communications to increase growth and leverage Mercer’s depth of experience and capabilities.

The answer will become apparent over the next few months as more packaged solutions are launched that combine consulting, information, and technology to meet the needs of clients that want a less-customized consulting approach with “off-the-shelf” packaged and reusable services and tools.

Workforce Planning Versus HR Analytics

Some elements that will be leveraged are already mature and solid revenue producers. Surveys, benchmarks, and analytics for compensation/total rewards and job structures are a more than $200m line of business. Globalization of the revenues is already well on its way, with about equal distribution from North America, Europe, and emerging markets across 57 countries.

Instead of focusing on HR analytics, Mercer is emphasizing data acquisition and integration, data modeling, as well as data visualization as it applies to a wide range of workforce and data that drives business results. This may mean a consulting and outsourcing services engagement, it may mean workshops and training, or self-service use of integrated SaaS technology platforms with one or more Mercer products.

Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast

There are a lot of moving parts in Mercer’s strategy to create an integrated talent solutions portfolio.

It is brought together under the go-to-market Talent Impact label that includes new and existing products and services to forecast, engage, mobilize, reward and assess talent. Behind the scenes Mercer will be streamlining its own architecture into fewer and more integrated technology platforms to support the new offerings.

There is a lot to be done in a short time, but that is in alignment with the “think big, start small, and move fast” philosophy of Orlando Ashford, senior partner and president of Mercer’s talent business. Mercer is on the move!

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Global Clients Join Analysts at Futurestep Showcase

March 15, 2013
Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Congratulations to Futurestep on a job well done! The company brought several clients to the entire analyst event as well as Futurestep leaders from EMEA, APAC, including China and New Zealand, North America, LATAM, and all functional leaders.

Korn/Ferry

Parent company Korn/Ferry CEO Gary Burnison shared his perspectives on leadership including how employees want to be part of something where they can grow and be stimulated and what Korn/Ferry can do to better work with clients and help them make their business successful; it all boils down to its people! Korn/Ferry understands that companies focused on people outperform the market in terms of growth by linking its business strategy to its talent strategy.

Futurestep Offerings / Capability

Continuing its people focus, Futurestep CEO Byrne Mulrooney talked about a new career development tool called Forte. Career development is a top reason why employees stay with a company. Forte will be deployed throughout Futurestep starting with the top 100 people. Futurestep has also begun to market Forte globally to complement (but not replace) talent management platforms.

Regional and practice RPO leaders talked about how Futurestep makes a difference including its focus on:

  • Understanding customer needs: per a recent OI RPO client satisfaction survey, Futurestep achieved top ranking in understanding client needs; I believe a leading factor is that a high percentage of Futurestep employees sit on site with clients
  • Sourcing, assessments, talent communications/employer branding, contract management, technology, the recruitment process, vendor management, and metrics
  • Its ~800 professionals in 20 countries organized by industry sectors with specialists including:
    • Life sciences
    • Financial services
    • Consumer/retail
    • Technology
    • Industrial
    • Government/public sector
  • Building talent communities in all RPO contracts at no extra charge
  • Using analytics with a dashboard to look across all RPO clients for benchmarking purposes.

Futurestep’s analytics, included for all new clients and to be added for existing clients by Q3, allow users to:

  • View detailed data and trends including productivity, job placements by job type and gender, the top seven markets for the top seven functions, etc.
  • Perform predictive analysis, e.g., top sources of hires.

Futurestep Clients

Of all analyst events I’ve been to this had the highest number of client attendees and case studies combined with presentations and dialogue around the table. Clients talked about why they outsourced, why Futurestep was chosen, benefits received to date, and what they would like to receive in the future. For example:

  • An APAC client is going to use Futurestep for internal candidate hiring next
  • Another client is looking to enhance its employment branding
  • A North America client plans to expand globally with Futurestep including in EMEA
  • A MNC client changed providers because it found Futurestep to be more of a consultant and partner.

Case studies provided examples of documented benefits obtained by clients including:

  • Reduced agency hiring
  • Cost savings
  • Reduced time to hire, including time to deliver a short list of candidates
  • Hiring manager satisfaction, etc.

Summary

I was impressed by the ability to speak directly with clients and Futurestep leaders across all regions and to learn about Futurestep’s capabilities.

Can HRO be Social, Smart, Quick, and Effective?

February 1, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Smarter Workforce and Smarter Commerce are the two major themes of this year’s conference for customers and business partners at IBM Connect 2013.

IBM is Messaging, Managing, and Delivering

First, I want to complement IBM on the clarity and alignment of its strategy with action. I have not seen this level of aligned organization and action across such a large and complex corporation before.

Building out under the Smarter Planet umbrella, IBM is bundling its many products and services, coordinating internal research and development, making targeted acquisitions, working across product and organization lines, and communicating clearly in its go-to-market campaigns. Given the great number of successful Smarter Workforce client case studies being presented, the proof points are already building to show business value can be delivered.

Smarter Workforce Supports Smarter Commerce

Smarter Workforce and Smarter Commerce are each separate service lines that can be coordinated to achieve greater business impact. Each is a combination of the IBM Platform for Social Business (social networking, social analytics, and social content) bundled with other new and existing products and services. Under the hood is a myriad of product lines making it work operationally, all tied together by messaging:

  • Smarter Workforce: Activate the workforce to improve productivity and unleash innovation
  • Smarter Commerce: Delight customers to increase loyalty, advocacy, and revenue.

Balance Individual Focus with Collective Value

Jonathon Ferrar, IBM vice president of Smarter Workforce, talked about the need to be social, smart, quick, and effective. Other words that were used a lot included community and relationships. Connecting communities of practice and building relationships, not for social intimacy, but for learning, leveraging, and leading to delighted customers and achieve business success.

Embedded throughout the social aspects of the services is a focus on the individual user that takes into account ease of use, mobile device access, points of need, and other behavioral aspects that are built in to increase collective business value creation.

Kenexa is Key to Smarter Workforce

The Kenexa acquisition closed in December 2012 and it is already being integrated into current offerings and it will be a key to plans for enhanced Smarter Workforce services as early as the second half of 2013:

  • Kenexa’s software platforms for recruiting and learning will be used for RPO and learning BPO services as well as integrated with the social business platform
  • Kenexa’s behavioral science expertise will be used to inform leadership, organizational, and talent management services and add to the analytics component.

IBM’s HRO services will be impacted by the changes. New options will be available to existing and new clients as talent management, learning, and RPO are brought together.

A lot of complexity remains to be managed, but it would be great to see IBM set a new high bar for making its services, client workforces, and HRO social, smart, quick, and effective!

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The CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey and HRO: Part 1

December 7, 2012
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Lexy Martin, CedarCrestone’s research and analytics vice president, debuted the 2012-2013 HR Systems Survey at the HR Technology Conference. I always enjoy pouring over this research, particularly now as it is in its 15th year and is full of trends and insights into what is happening with HR technology. The findings are especially interesting this year as we see the emergence of newer technologies come into usage and high expectations for the future growth of HR SaaS HRMS, analytics, social, and mobile technologies.There is a lot of good news for HRO service providers and HR technology vendors. As we know, technology investments have seen some lean years recently. This year, the survey of 1,246 respondents from HR, IT, finance, operations, and executives indicates that 50% of large and medium-sized organizations will be increasing HR technology spend for 2013. Interestingly, the largest increase will be from organizations outside of the U.S. and Europe (59% to 44%).

The top HR technology initiatives for 2012-2013 include:

  • Business process improvements and innovations
  • Talent management processes and automation
  • Service delivery improvements
  • Business intelligence/workforce metrics.

While the greatest growth over the next three years is expected for workforce analytics/planning (142%), social media tools (81%), and service delivery (57%), it is important to remember that adoption of the more common technologies is not at 100%. HR administration is highest at 95%, but service delivery applications, which include employee and manager self-service is only at 49%. Check the full report for results by size and industry. For example, large enterprises have higher adoption rates, and industry varies with early adopters seen in high tech, financial services, and retail and late adopters seen in higher education and public administration.

Key Observations

  • A shared services delivery model that includes an HR help desk application and self-service delivers the highest level of efficiency to enterprises and saves at least 15% in administration costs
  • Basic workforce management technologies including time management self-service, absence management, labor scheduling, and labor budgeting can grow operating income faster
  • An integrated HRMS and talent management solution can yield up to 33% higher revenue per employee.

The survey is not about HR outsourcing, but it sure applies. Between the HR technology initiatives, state of adoption of HR technologies, and evidence of results who better to help a client out than your friendly HR service provider!

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The Parable of IBM and Kenexa: Part I

September 13, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

I have not seen such a range of varied opinions from members of the HRO and HR tech communities as those about IBM’s acquisition of Kenexa. The commentary showed that many were taken a bit by surprise and weren’t sure how to analyze the news that IBM was acquiring Kenexa for $1.3bn.

IBM Bought Kenexa?

The surprise was not the purchase of Kenexa, which was foreshadowed by the acquisition of Taleo by Oracle and SuccessFactors by SAP. It was more about the fact that IBM was doing the purchasing.

A few  thought that ADP might make such an acquisition since it had already expanded its benefits capabilities with Workscape and SHPS and its RPO capabilities with The RightThing, so wouldn’t talent management make sense? Speculation continued, perhaps Mercer, Ceridian, or even ADP would be the target of an acquisition or merger.

IBM itself was considered likely to continue its acquisitive ways with something more in the talent management / HCM space. Likely targets mentioned included Cornerstone OnDemand, SilkRoad, SumTotal, Saba, with a few suggesting Halogen, Peoplefluent, and others. In short, someone is going to buy something else.

The Meaning of the Deal?

What does this mean we all asked, much like the tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant as was suggested by the leading light Naomi Bloom. Early viewpoints on the acquisition included:

  • Continuing IBM’s move into social media and analytics
  • Continuing IBM’s move into professional services including strengthening RPO
  • Disrupting the HCM market and becoming a talent management player
  • Delivering value to the HR executive
  • Delivering value to the C-suite and bypassing HR
  • Primarily being a HRO deal with some software attached
  • Primarily being a software deal with some HRO attached
  • Upping competition with SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and even Workday
  • Selling into Kenexa’s IBM-like customer base of Fortune 500 clients.

IBM’s news crossed many markets including HRO, HCM, HR tech (software, platform, cloud, etc.), BPO, social media, talent management, and financial and market analysts. Each commenter viewed the same information through the lens of their personal perspective and professional interest, much like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant.

With so many options before it, including IBM’s own announced intentions for the addition of Kenexa, the opportunities are new and exciting. Given the inherent complexities, IBM will face many risks as well. Look for more on The Parable of IBM and Kenexa coming in Part II.

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