Posted tagged ‘High-tech’

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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HRO Déjà Vu

April 11, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Each quarter, we publish the NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Confidence Index (HROCI) for our clients and the participating service providers. I like to share some of the highlights in my blog, but it can be hard to make fresh insights during times when the results are stable from quarter to quarter. When the confidence ratings are generally strong, as they are, then stability is pretty good news for HRO service providers.

Overall Confidence Remains Stable

The most recent HROCI shows a vendor confidence level of 157 for Q1 2013, where 100 represents unchanged confidence and higher scores indicate increased confidence. That is in line with the 156 from Q4 2012 and a bit up from the 153 one year ago. Confidence dipped mid-2012 with Q2 at 138 and Q3 at 140, which was not too surprising given the political and economic uncertainty we saw last year:

  • While the overall confidence score at 157 remains stable, those suppliers reporting slightly more or much more confidence increased 13% quarter over quarter
  • Increased confidence is reflective of solid pipelines of potential new sales and expectations for growth.

Growth Expectations Vary

Service lines: HR business process outsourcing service lines do not grow at the same rate. Some services like RPO and payroll remain steady performers, followed closely by benefits administration. The pipeline for benefits administration is looking especially strong. Expectations for multi-process HRO and learning remain about the same, which indicates continued slow growth.

Geography: Location matters in HRO and the patterns of growth also vary by region. The economic recovery is uneven in pace, readiness for HRO is uneven, and multi-country deals are a smaller part of the mix than in the recent past.

Overall, vendor confidence by geography has weakened with many regions showing some decline in confidence. North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America show the strongest numbers, but there can be significant variation country by country. As we have seen for some time, growth expectations for Europe and the Middle East remain dampened.

Industry: High-tech and retail look to be the optimistic growth industries with most sectors remaining within prior modest expectations for growth. Expectations remain low for federal government and defense.

Mostly Steady and Stable Ahead

It is good to see the balancing of demand for cost savings and process standardization continuing. Client pricing expectations may still be unrealistic as there are always those who want a quick 50% off along with some freebies thrown in at the same time.

One area to watch is the growing client interest in and adoption of platform-based services. Some buyers are specifying SaaS and cloud-based services in proposals. We need to help educate buyers on leaving some room for discovering the best solution fit for each client situation.

To end on a positive note, 79% of HRO suppliers believe that a net up-turn in decision-making is taking place. Let’s get out there and get those deals signed!

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.

Fast or Slow for HRO?

August 5, 2011

The economic signals for the second half of 2011 remain mixed. Looking at the macro markets combined with global debt situations and unemployment rates, it looks like we are on the edge again. The long struggle to reaching agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling rattled nerves around the world.

Alternately, if we look at the NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index for Q2 2011, we see that service provider’s confidence level is 168, near the all time high of 170. Supplier expectations for 2011 for most industry sectors have improved with banking remaining the strongest followed by high-tech and telecoms, with the state and local government sector also up. Expectations are a bit lower for automotive, professional services, and transportation. Geographic growth expectations continue to be positive in emerging markets and have strengthened in the mature markets like the U.S. and some areas of Europe.

HRO vendors see what is happening in the larger economy, they know there is a chance of a double-dip recession or at least several more sideways quarters. At the same time, strength in new sales and expanded scope with existing clients along with still strong pipelines provides them with a more optimistic view. Let’s hope they are right!

ADP echoed this divergent view on its FY 2011 earnings call. It is well aware of the current economic conditions, including a still possible downgrade in the U.S. credit rating. ADP’s FY2012 forecast calls for continued growth based on its strong performance in FY2011, with Employer Services (ES) up 8% to $6.9bn, and a better-than-ever pipeline. It is also benefiting from recent acquisitions and new service innovations that have broadened and refreshed its service lines, especially adding more beyond payroll options in Europe. While payroll continues to be the largest service line for ADP at 66% of ES revenues, 33% is now from beyond payroll services including full HR BPO. In the pipeline, it is now an almost even split: 52% payroll, 48% beyond payroll.

As seen during the recession, HRO can be hit hard and fast in a full-fledged downturn. So, how can a HRO provider like ADP defy the larger economic outlook now? ADP was willing to take a small hit to operating margins to hire and train several hundred sales and service people ahead of the upturn. It was able to affordably acquire added capabilities to round out service lines and invest in new services that have been successful right out of the box, including Workforce Now and Run, which currently has over 120k clients in the small market on its cloud platform using self-service and Smartphone access. At the same time, ADP retains focus on client satisfaction and retention to stabilize recurring revenues.

In a recovery, even a weak one like we are experiencing, a well-prepared HRO vendor can beat the odds. Is your HRO provider one that is beating the odds?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall