Posted tagged ‘HR BPO’

HRO Reduces TCO!

April 5, 2012

Buyers, how much will you save by implementing HRO services? Will it be 8% or over 50%?

ADP recently published the results of its latest total cost of ownership (TCO) study, The Hidden Benefits of Human Resources Business Process Outsourcing. The company has sponsored several PwC TCO studies since 2003 comparing the TCO of companies maintaining HR services in-house to those using ADP HR BPO. The 2012 study was completed by Sourcing Analytics and digs even deeper into the patterns established in the earlier PwC studies.

I touched on this topic last year, but it is well worth a second look because the research supports common HRO advice and counsel.

The good news remains: HRO of services including payroll, time and attendance, workforce administration, and health & welfare reduce TCO over in-house services.

The bad news is that HRO is not a quick financial fix and first year savings are usually modest. It takes time and hard work to transform HR operations and service delivery, but there are companies that have reduced TCO by 50% with 20-30% being possible for most over time.

Often, one or more HR services are outsourced with the focus mostly on the technology and transactions and may include more than one service provider. While there should be many benefits in new service features and functions and improved processing, the TCO impact is likely to be low, perhaps only 8%. To get both full value and full savings, more is needed.

Here are some of the building blocks that can be used to further increase your HRO TCO:

Technology and process

  • Use one vendor for integrated payroll and time and attendance to bump up savings a bit
  • Move to SaaS-based technology platforms to reduce technology costs the most
  • Make it real BPO, include contact center services
  • Multi-process HRO (MPHRO) saves more than best-of-breed services managed in-house, can significantly ramp up savings.

Process and people

  • Support initial transition, adoption, and utilization
  • Adopt standardized and centralized best practice processes across the entire enterprise
  • Follow through and reduce or re-deploy the retained organization
  • Keep working on it together; it may take up to five years to achieve maximum TCO savings as maturity is attained and more and more of the building blocks are added.

How much a particular client will save depends on a number of choices and options that are largely within the control of the client. In addition to great HRO performance, top-notch providers will be able to support each client in their journey to attain the most savings possible.

Next week, we will take a look at some of the factors and actions that shape the HRO journey.

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

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

Aon Hewitt 2011 Analyst and Consultant Briefing

June 30, 2011

At Aon Hewitt’s first analyst and consultant conference, Aon CEO Greg Case set the tone of the day with his enthusiastic overview about the company’s twofold focus on risk and people.  As of 2010, the risk segment makes up 60% of the business, while HR solutions is the remainder with an objective of a 50/50 split.

To achieve the 50/50 split, Bal Dail and Kristi Savacool, co-CEO’s of Aon Hewitt, shared their vision.  That is, for Aon Hewitt to be the most trusted partner for clients seeking HR solutions across its consulting, benefits administration, and HR BPO sectors.

Overall, the sectors are quite healthy with consulting leading the way.  Of particular interest to me is the HR BPO business since I recently completed the 2011 NelsonHall multi-process HRO (MPHRO) report.  HR BPO accounts for 13% of Aon Hewitt’s revenues and positions it as the global leader in the MPHRO space with a little more than 12% of market share.

It has 27 MPHRO clients, most recently adding Bank of America who was previously serviced by Fidelity.  The Bank of America contract is for five and a half years, for 290,000 employees, and covers the following services:

  • HR administration
  • Performance management
  • Payroll
  • Time keeping
  • H&W administration
  • Learning
  • Recruiting technology.

Most importantly, Aon Hewitt hasn’t lost any HRBPO clients to its competitors.  It lost Mervyns and Circuit City in 2009 due to liquidations and it has another client that has downsized to where there is no business case for MPHRO services.  Aon Hewitt, however, will still perform benefits administration services for this client.  The most immediate challenge in this space is renewing Air Canada and Prudential.

In terms of its standalone offerings, Aon Hewitt is strongly focused on RPO, which is provided as a standalone service as well as part of its HR BPO offering.  The company has 500 recruitment professionals, assesses 10m candidates annually, and fills 65,000 positions a year.  Current RPO clients include Bank of Montreal, Marriott, and the TSA.

Absence management is another standalone offering that Aon Hewitt is planning to make significant investments in.  It currently has 400 employees, 4 global service centers, and 55 clients.  Absence management is also offered within the company’s HR BPO portfolio.

One thing was very clear throughout the day, Aon Hewitt is excited and enthusiastic about the current direction it has positioned itself in.  But make no mistake, the company won’t sit idle with this strategy even if it is one of the largest HRO and consulting players in the world.  It will continue to evolve so it stays on top.

Amy Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Mercer 2011 Analyst Forum – Style and Substance

May 13, 2011

I enjoy HRO analyst forums, particularly the in-person presentations and the chance for casual conversation with service provider executives and fellow analysts. Live events showcase the personality of the host company. Personality comes through in who is invited, what is said, what is not said, and the venue itself. All have a tone that subtly provides context for content. Some are very nice and some are almost austere. None are luxurious parties.  Apparently HR BPO analysts do not rate that high!

Mercer’s session was on the high-end of venues; the meeting was seemingly casual and relaxed while still guiding attention where desired. The analyst meeting and accompanying client conference was well-prepared and well-presented, providing a consistent profile of Mercer, its style, and confidence. Even the smallest touches reinforced the company’s image of management competency, teamwork, and expertise in HR benefits.

Mercer is a $3.5bn benefits service provider with 27k clients and 20k employees with offices in over 40 countries, serving large market clients primarily based in the U.S. and mid-market clients worldwide. Consulting services bring in the greatest revenue at 2.4bn, followed by outsourcing at $700m, and investment services at a rapidly rising $400m. The largest outsourcing client segment is DC, followed by DB, and H&W. The company has seen significantly more interest in the last 18 months in its newest segment, absence management, with a small but growing base of clients. Mercer Q1 2011 revenues were $922m, up 9% year-over-year, 5% in constant currency compared to Q1 2010, outsourcing was flat in constant currency.

Strategically, Mercer is focusing on increasing revenues and building scale by leveraging existing client relationships to cross-sell, expand into select adjacent market opportunities, and build bundled solutions. These are not uncommon HRO strategies, but it is ability to execute that sets apart the leaders.

Reliance on its ability to work collaboratively across its business segments will be a critical success factor, a style that was amply present throughout the Mercer sessions and is also seen in its several new product offerings.  One is a new solution called Human Capital Connect, which is bringing together consulting and research expertise, software and web technology, and various forms of education to address metrics and analytics in a way that will help HR teams establish the needed foundation of HR information, data and report access, and understand and provide a roadmap to more advanced levels.

According to the soon to be published Mercer 2011 “What’s Working” report, employees are putting more importance on the value of benefits in the mix of total compensation. And we know that employers continue to be very cost conscious even as they return focus to talent management.

With a crowded field of top-tier benefits providers, including Mercer, which one will be able to best capitalize on the opportunities?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall