Posted tagged ‘business process outsourcing’

Targeting Payroll BPO, Part II

April 26, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

There is so much in my colleague Gary Bragar’s NelsonHall Targeting Payroll BPO market analysis that I will cover a few more items this week. The payroll market is divided into three parts: payroll software services; service bureau payroll (also called managed payroll, where the vendor manages payroll production and the client manages data input and employee help desk services); and payroll business process outsourcing (where the end-to-end payroll process is outsourced, including tier 1 and tier 2 employee help desk support).

Payroll BPO market share is growing

Payroll BPO is what NelsonHall follows most of all, and it is a growing part of the overall payroll market. Even as SaaS payroll products become more ubiquitous, many clients will still want support for the whole process. We can see some of the reasons why in the changing pattern of client requirements. As I covered in the first Targeting Payroll blog, cost remains the number one priority. However, other needs have increased in importance over time:

  • Standardization of centralization of processes and technology: Instead of defending customization, now buyers are demanding standardization to increase efficiency and reduce costs from maintaining disparate systems
  • Compliance/risk management: Compliance with ever-more complex and changing regulations and work rules needs the time and attention of fulltime experts. For example, in Europe the complexity of regulations combined with employee populations spread over multiple countries adds to the challenges of compliance
  • Better employee experience: Users want access that is easier and simpler, including 24×7 access to data, self-service, and mobile. Payroll self-service is widely available and has become table stakes. The vendors that deliver the most useful mobile applications, the fastest and with the greatest security, will create valuable market differentiation.
  • Payroll subject matter expertise: Clients expect improved quality of payroll with augmented accuracy, which can lower overpayment and off-cycle payroll runs.

Payroll Cost #1 with a new spin

While cost remains the number-one client requirement, there is a new aspect and it is the same one NelsonHall is seeing in other HRO areas; balancing cost with value. Value for price is especially understood by second- and third-generation buyers who indicate their willingness to change vendors to get it!

Payroll Analytics

It has been my view for some time that the focus on improved payroll processes and systems is driven by more than the need to pay employees timely and accurately. It is also driven by the need to manage the total cost of labor with real-time access to data and analytics for decision-making that leads to improved business performance. Payroll is increasingly being seen as a valuable management strategic tool, and clients will be looking to payroll BPO providers to help them access and develop workforce analytics expertise.

It great to see how dynamic the payroll outsourcing industry has become!

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Targeting Payroll BPO, Part I

April 18, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The NelsonHall Targeting Payroll BPO report has recently been released by my colleague, Gary Bragar. Payroll is such a well-accepted mainstay of HR outsourcing that it’s nice to see it still showing steady growth year after year.

Gary regularly produces the payroll market analysis, and profiles leading vendors in this space. Over time you can see how what seems like a basic service has grown, evolved and increased in strategic importance. What has not changed is that buyers are looking for savings by outsourcing payroll. The good news is that payroll BPO delivers: first-time payroll outsourcing can save from 15% to +40% depending on the degree of complexity and variables (like the number of locations, with everything from a single location to more than 100 countries).

The full report includes more on what buyers want from payroll outsourcing and what’s key in vendor selection; including where data needs vary between the mid-market and large market. Here are a few highlights of the report:

Why Outsource Payroll?

Cost saving remains the number-one reason to outsource payroll, and several nuances have been added including:

  • Clients want a more variable cost structure and less fixed costs
  • Savings now often include not having to refresh client technology (cost avoidance)
  • Simplifying payroll after a series of M&As or restructurings reduces cost
  • Reduction in payroll losses from ineligible and overpayments.

Centralization and standardization of process and technology has increased in importance, similar to what has been seen in other HRO areas. Where clients used to want customization, many are now seeing the benefits of standardization to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and to increase timely access to accurate payroll data across the enterprise.

With constantly-changing regulations and taxation across multiple jurisdictions, accuracy, compliance and risk management remain core payroll benefits.

Multi-Country Payroll

For MNCs, multi-country payroll remains a sought-after capability. MNCs want one vendor, one contract, and one payroll platform. Also wanted is visibility to aggregated costs and data reporting, in addition to the flexibility and scalability to add or change geographies.

Payroll BPO vendors have responded to the blended needs of clients for cost savings and global coverage by:

  • Increasing nearshore and offshore service centers
  • Partnering for coverage in some countries
  • Offering multiple technology platforms from SaaS to ERPs.

Pricing Pressure

Given the focus on cost reduction, pricing pressure should be no surprise. This is a market with many mature and capable suppliers, which in itself adds competitive pricing pressure and the need for differentiation to focus on value as well as cost.

As an indicator of payroll service provider capabilities to compete, I earlier mentioned the steady year-over-year revenue growth. That growth has been achieved at the same time as the average price per-payslip has fallen significantly over the last three years!

There is so much more in the Targeting Payroll BPO market analysis, look for more highlights in a future blog.

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The Sun is Rising on HRO in Asia Pacific

December 16, 2011

As an “emerging market” the Asia Pacific (A/P) has more and more A/P companies become forces in the global marketplace as buyers and as producers – providing growth opportunities for product and service sales for companies headquartered in other regions (usually the West).

Do be aware that the markets for services like HRO already exist and are served by local and regional providers. Hence, new entrants offering unfamiliar brands to A/P buyers will need to assess their competitive value propositions for this vast, yet very localized market with a wide range of languages, price sensitivity, and HRO needs.

One of the largest A/P regional HRO service providers is Talent2, which offers payroll, RPO, traditional recruiting searches, HR administration, learning, talent management, and HR advisory services. Talent2 has services in 31 Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern countries, and its FY 2011 (ended June 30, 2011) revenues were AU$360m, up 26% from FY 2010. In operations since 2003, the company has ~1,700 personnel with offices and service centers spread across the region.

Talent2’s growth over the years had been organic, until 2008 when it added acquisition as a growth strategy and subsequently bought PCA in Japan, a payroll outsourcing and HR consulting provider. In 2010, it acquired Singapore-based Zapper Services with payroll outsourcing and HR administration in 14 A/P countries, adding ~1,000 clients, including multinational corporations (MNCs).

Having an available range of technologies and services is a benefit, especially when there are clients that are expanding their businesses for the first time and need a foundation of basic HR services with a high degree of subject matter expertise. This is also the case for large clients in mature markets looking for top quality and performance at a lower cost. Talent2 has multiple payroll offerings and other services to mix and match to meet the specific needs of clients of many sizes, verticals, with employees in one country to pan-national or global, using a broad range of languages and onshore and nearshore locations.

ADP and NorthgateArinso are two major global players that have been in the region for many years. As the A/P HRO market expands, more players will be looking to gain a foothold. With growth in many areas and services, Talent2 will need to focus its own value proposition and investments to maximize its regional advantages against what will be an even more competitive market. A sign that the company is ready to do just that is the addition of Mary Sue Rogers, one of the leading lights in the HRO community and previously the global leader of HRO for IBM. Rogers recently joined Talent2 as the Global Managing Director of HR services including payroll, HR advisory, and learning services.

No matter where the sun sets, at the end of the day, succeeding in emerging markets is the same as achieving HRO success anywhere: provide high-quality, high-performance subject matter expert services at the optimum price that solves business problems and delivers business results.

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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Does HRO Stifle Innovation?

September 7, 2011

A question since the earliest days of HRO has been, what about innovation? We all want cake and want to eat it too, and that’s what buyers have always wanted: lower costs, improved performance, and innovation in HR business process management. Even when a deal was structured for the lowest cost pricing and standard SLA performance, clients soon asked “where’s the innovation?”

Knowing if a service provider is a market leader in HRO innovation is important to some clients, especially those companies that use innovation as a competitive advantage. Perhaps an equally important question is can an innovative company risk using HRO and will it help or hurt?

The Forbes List of The World’s Most Innovative Companies may help us determine if HRO providers can be innovative and if HRO is being used by innovative companies. The list is based on an “innovation premium” which is defined as “the premium the stock market gives a company because investors expect it to launch new offerings and enter new markets that will generate even bigger income streams.”

First, can HRO providers be innovative? Well, ADP (#87) is on the list of the top 100 that includes the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Starbucks. Infosys (#15) is on the list and it also offers HRO services. Congratulations to both ADP and Infosys!

Next, can innovative companies risk using HRO? Yes, they can and they do. Here are some of the top 100 companies on the list known to use HRO and their vendor partners. Notable is IBM HRO with at least three clients on the list: P&G, Kraft, and Avon Products. IBM HRO focuses on large market HRO and clearly can be a valued partner in HR transformation with leading innovators.  Other partnerships include Unilever with Accenture; KAO with ADP; Kellogg and PepsiCo with Aon Hewitt; and Agilent with NorthgateArinso. RPO providers are also represented with the triple threat of The RightThing providing RPO support for Amazon, Campbell Soup, and Praxair. I am sure there are many more connections to HRO among the top 100. Congratulations to all, let’s have a piece of cake in their honor!

According to the newly published “The Innovator’s DNA,” the 3P framework for innovation is people, processes, and philosophies that foster innovation as everyone’s job and there are key leadership skills and behaviors than can be developed to weave innovation DNA into the company. Of course HRO, even at its most innovative, cannot make a client an innovator. That must come from within. HRO can support each element of the framework for innovation and become an enabling partner to clients that are innovative or those that are striving to be.

Do you have an innovation premium? Is your HRO service provider capable of enhancing your journey of innovation?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall