Posted tagged ‘HRO providers’

Moorepay and NGA get even more SaaSy in the U.K.

March 14, 2012

The one question that I always have after acquisitions is, “How does it work out over time?” Some M&As put emphasis on “synergy” (i.e., consolidation and cost recovery). Others focus on skills and footprint in new geographies. NorthgateArinso (NGA) is one of the HRO service providers that use acquisitions in new markets as one type of growth strategies. Moorepay is a payroll and employment service provider in the U.K. with over 10,000 clients and it is one of those NGA acquisitions.

Growth through accretion of revenues and clients in new geographies – along with the access to in-country knowledge to service MNC clients – is a good rationale for M&A. But does the overall vendor system become stronger? Are new capabilities leveraged across opportunity areas? I have lived the life of trying to create change, fighting against the not-invented-here syndrome in the corporate world. This is one of the more subtle reasons for using HRO—to circumvent this internal tug of war.

Now back to Moorepay and NGA. Moorepay just released its newest service on March 12th, a SaaS HR and payroll platform that it will use for the small-employer market. I asked if the underlying technology was based on SAP or Oracle. The answer is “neither”; it is based on Preceda, a proprietary NGA system stemming from the 2010 acquisition of Neller in Australia. Preceda is already in use for ~4,000 clients and 500,000 participants in Australia, Philippines, and New Zealand, and now it is expanding to the U.K. Yeah, synergy, re-use, and leverage to improve capabilities and services for the underserved small-business market halfway around the world!

HRO SaaS is a proven cost-effective alternative to fully customized systems. Its very nature lends itself to offering needed benefits to the small and midsized employers (SME). SaaS brings the illusion of customization through configuration at an affordable cost. These are important attributes, especially important for the employer with less than 500 employees.

Moorepay is fully using the benefit of configuration to launch the new service with four pricing levels from the most basic HR and payroll that gives the option to easily turn on additional services like time and attendance, recruiting, and learning modules.

HR and payroll platforms also bring self-service for employees and streamlined HR processing for managers. According to Ann Fitzpatrick, Moorepay managing director, existing and prospective SME clients are asking for the same level of services that have been in the market for years for the large-employer market.

If the launch goes well, and Moorepay turns the rising demand and its first-mover advantage in the U.K. SME market into new and profitable growth, expect to see new NGA Preceda-based SaaS HRO offerings pop up elsewhere around the world.

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.

M&A Activity in Benefits Administration: Round 2

March 12, 2012

Following the benefits administration merger and acquisition (M&A) frenzy of 2010 that resulted in some major consolidations including Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson, Xerox/ACS and ExcellerateHRO, to name a few, are we poised to see round 2?

The second wave actually began in early 2011 and tends to consist of the more established providers, in their own right, acquiring Tier 2 health and welfare (H&W) administration companies in the U.S.  Examples include:

  • Towers Watson acquiring Aliquant in January 2011
  • Sedgwick, a leader in the leave of absence administration market with ~20% market share, acquiring the productivity solutions unit of Nationwide Better Health in May 2011
  • Morneau Shepell, the leading total benefits outsourcing (TBO) provider in Canada, acquiring SBC Systems Company in January 2012.

As of last week, we can now add ADP to this list since it signed a definitive agreement to acquire SHPS Human Resource Solutions—a subsidiary of SHPS, Inc. ADP has actually been making key acquisitions to strengthen components within its benefits administration offering for the last 18 months. It started with Workscape, which added compensation management services, and was followed by Asparity Decision Solutions for decision support tools and analytic capabilities.

Now, the SHPS acquisition strengthens ADP’s leave administration and reimbursement account administration offerings. The HSA and HRA components will be especially important considering the rising cost of health-care and the transition toward high-deductible health plans paired with these health savings accounts.

The H&W acquisition trend is also expanding beyond the U.S. It started in September 2010, when Capita – a U.K.-based HRO vendor providing total retirement outsourcing (TRO) exclusively in the U.K. – acquired FirstAssist Services Holdings for £12.5m. Then it continued when Mercer acquired REPCA – a brokering and advising firm for health and benefits (H&B) plans – to strengthen its H&B administration offering and advisory services in France.

The remaining question on my mind is whether U.S.-based TRO providers such as ING, Great-West, T. Rowe Price, etc. plan to jump on the H&W acquisition bandwagon to provide a one-stop shop for benefits administration like Fidelity Investments.

I’m eager to see who will make the next M&A move in benefits administration.  In the meantime, it’s always fun to hear about cross-selling opportunities that resulted in contract scope expansions.  Stay tuned.

Amy L. Gurchensky, 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.

Transformational MPHRO is Thriving at IBM

March 1, 2012

I love covering MPHRO news! I still believe that broad-scope MPHRO has the greatest potential for long-term partnerships that create significant HR business impact and financial results for clients.

A summary of IBM HRO wins in the second half of 2011 shows that it is doing well in a still tough market for large-scale MPHRO while winning major MPHRO awards, including transformational deals.

Let’s start with the 13-year multitower award from Algar Group in Brazil that covers HR, F&A, and procurement supply chain management. The contract is valued at $100m and covers seven of Algar’s business segments and ~13,000 employees. While Algar Group covers a wide range of services: telecom, IT, agribusiness, and even tourism, it wants a standardized platform for back-office services with efficient processes, high quality, and lower costs. The HR portion includes call center, personnel management, benefits administration, payroll, training, and performance management.

There was also a unique long-term multitower award from Tanfeeth that covers HR, F&A, banking and other vertical back office, and client-facing BPO services. Tanfeeth is a fully owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, the largest bank in UAE. IBM will provide managed services for the Tanfeeth shared services center, including BPO management and workflow services, predictive analytics, tools and training, and managing part of Tanfeeth’s delivery portfolio. The shared services center will also use IBM’s software applications to provide and manage the services and will support Emirates NBD’s 8,000 employees.

Tanfeeth will also provide services to other UAE organizations as the Gulf Cooperation Council’s first authorized multi-employer service center. This is a major strategic step for IBM in bringing larger-scale BPO to the Middle East. Tanfeeth has the needed local knowledge and long-term relationships, and IBM will bring its expertise in process, training, service delivery, and systems management.

As part of a planned transformational journey, there is a built-in attention for the employees of Tanfeeth and its clients covering change management, training and development, and even the opportunity for high-performance employees to participate in IBM’s worldwide leadership training program.

Then there is the competitive-bid MPHRO contract award from Air Canada for almost eight years and worth an estimated $76m. The deal is for full-scope MPHRO serving Air Canada’s 26,000 employees in North America and includes HR contact center, employee data management, employee travel support, payroll, benefits administration, leave management, recruiting services (with select support from manpower), and software application support for the HR systems used to provide the services.

Why is IBM continuing its MPHRO winning streak? According to Kevin Howlett, Air Canada’s senior vice president of employee relations, “IBM’s core strengths as a market leader in innovation played an important role in our decision-making process.” It also helped that the client felt IBM also had the strongest service offerings, a commitment to transformation, and the proven ability to ensure delivery performance and lower cost.

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.

The Fertile Ground of HRO Innovation

February 9, 2012

Kelly Services’ recent announcement of its new Office of Innovation was fascinating as the company has long been a leader and innovator in the staffing services field. Go global, check. Provide MSP, check. Add RPO, check. Add consulting, check. Launch mobile access applications, check. Supply chain management, check. Its success shows in the results, with 2011 revenues totaling $5.6 billion, a 12% increase over 2010.

To find out more, I had a lively discussion with Kelly Services’ Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Rolf Kleiner. Basically, Kelly Services has already done so much that it is focusing on new solutions and capabilities to remain ahead of the competition and keep up with its many Fortune 500 clients.

According to Kleiner, the company has always done well with the “little I” incremental innovations that improve and enhance its current services and capabilities. Kelly Services is also looking for new “big I” innovations, those that can move the needle on results and set precedents within the company and in the marketplace. It was felt that by adding more visibility and vetting larger scale opportunities, the Office of Innovation will be able to identify, develop, and bring new innovations to market faster.

Kleiner plans to set up a “pull” process for ideas that includes many stakeholder groups including employees, clients, suppliers, and other industry experts. He likened the process to farming. It will take working with the communities of interest on an on-going collaborative basis to develop a harvest of ideas.

There were several items I found especially interesting. One is using this effort as an opportunity for talent management. Some proof of concept and development projects will be managed by the Office of Innovation and will provide highly visible opportunities for those assigned. When projects are managed outside of the normal lines of business, integration and communications will be maintained which brings reality to planning and brings market needs and innovation participation deep into the infrastructure and culture of Kelly Services.

Also, there is a very crisp vision for the strategic initiative and clear criteria for the kind of innovation opportunities that are being sought. There is solid alignment with the goals of the company, scale for sizing market opportunities, and an openness to solutions that could include internal developments, partnerships, supplier networks, etc.

Finally, the selection of Kleiner as head of the Office of Innovation is a strong indication of Kelly Services’ seriousness with this endeavor. He reports directly to the CEO and his previous assignment was as Senior Vice President and General Manager for the KellyOCG group, which provides consulting and outsourcing services. The pulse of the market, the voice of the customer, and the operational beat of the business are all fresh and fertile ground for Kleiner’s new challenge.

Our NelsonHall HRO team always advises clients to look for service providers that can meet today’s needs as well as offer partnership for meeting the needs of tomorrow. How is your HRO vendor focusing on the future?

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.

U.S. Jobs Grow – How Will It Impact HRO

February 7, 2012

By now, most have heard last Friday’s favorable jobs news.

In the U.S., 243,000 jobs were added in January, bringing the unemployment rate down to 8.3%, and as noted on one of the staffing provider’s earnings calls last week, down to 4.2% for college graduates. Government jobs have contracted as expected, while the private sector had the gains in the services industry, specifically in leisure, hospitality, education, healthcare, and retail, and in manufacturing, including construction.

Also last February 3, Randstad reported a five-point rise in its U.S. Employee Confidence Index.  The index measures the workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the economic environment. This is the biggest increase since the survey started seven years ago.

With good reason to be optimistic, many RPO providers are realizing the gains with increased hiring volumes by existing clients. Even before this welcome employment news, 2011 had been a good year for HRO. In RPO, many vendors achieved significant growth, including Kelly OCG, whose RPO revenue was up 40% year-over-year from 2010; Pinstripe was up 58% y-o-y with 21 new contracts and extensions; and for Q4, Kenexa reported an RPO growth of 54% y-o-y.

But the benefits go far beyond RPO. Increased hiring bodes well for providers of payroll, benefits, and learning as the number of employees they serve increases. For example, ADP, who already pays 1 of 6 U.S. employees, announced the number of employees on its U.S. client payroll increased by 2.8% in fiscal Q2 2012, for the period ending December 31, 2011. Benefits administration providers including Aon Hewitt, Fidelity, and Mercer reported numerous contract awards in 2011. In MPHRO, in North America, ADP won several new contracts, while IBM was awarded a large MPHRO contract with Air Canada and NorthgateArinso awarded a seven-year MPHRO renewal by Fifth Third Bank. In learning, vendors including Raytheon, Xerox, and Accenture won several contracts. There are more updates to follow on learning as NelsonHall is currently conducting a global learning BPO market analysis.

However, a few words of caution by ManpowerGroup were given last February 3 that demand is expected to continue to fluctuate and it would be prudent for employers to adopt flexible workforce models that include: full-time, contingent, and virtual-skilled workers to ensure productivity.

There are a few key implications here:

  • Providers who haven’t yet provided recruitment services that include RPO, MSP, and Contingent Workforce services would be prudent to evaluate doing so and/or consider partnering with a vendor that does
  • Given the ManpowerGroup statistic that 52% of U.S. companies are struggling to fill key jobs, focus on the development and retention of talent is more paramount than ever. Buy-side organizations should be continuously monitoring employee satisfaction, reviewing attrition rates, conducting exit interviews to find out why people leave, and developing action plans to improve organizational effectiveness. If buyers do not have this capability, they may want to consider a talent management vendor who can help them, which has become a key HRO vendor focus and for good reason!

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, 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.

The Changing Shape of DB and DC Administration

February 3, 2012

Practically all large market organizations have already outsourced defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) administration. Therefore, DB and DC administration contract activity is more about competitive wins.  When reading these contract award announcements, the first question I ask myself is, why did the client change service providers?

Some clients have a preference in the type of vendor used due to the large-scale financial worth of these portfolios. Some client executives prefer the independence of a non-financial administrator like Aon Hewitt, ACS/Xerox, or Mercer, while others prefer the industry closeness of a financial-type provider like Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, or Vanguard.

Other reasons for changing vendors include client dissatisfaction with the existing service or wanting to obtain a lower price or perhaps both.  Another cause revolves around vendor consolidation for both total retirement outsourcing (TRO) and total benefits outsourcing (TBO), which also includes health and welfare (H&W) administration. Consolidation is driven by a desire to reduce the number of vendors to a select few. Mergers and acquisitions also add to consolidation as integration occurs.

Last year produced a string of TRO and TBO contract awards due to consolidation, including the following:

  • HP in North America: Fidelity became the exclusive TRO provider for HP, which had ~162,000 participants from EDS being served by other providers
  • Office Depot: Fidelity was awarded this new TBO contract from three different providers that had administered the 401(k), H&W, and stock plans.

With an estimated $11bn market at stake, both financial and non-financial administrators need to remain competitive in the TRO and even TBO space. As a result, benefits administrators are offering additional service features such as automatic enrollment and automatic contribution escalation for client-employers, and resources to educate participants so that they become more accountable for their retirement savings.

This strategy is reinforced by Aon Hewitt’s recent survey of 500 large market U.S. employers representing more than 12m employees. The survey found that just 4% of employers are very confident that their employees will retire with enough savings, down from 30% last year. Examples of services and solutions recently launched to create a competitive edge include:

  • Aon Hewitt’s DC advisory offering: providing online personalized advice and professional management with Financial Engines serving as a sub-advisor
  • ADP’s strategic advisory services group: helping clients maximize the value of in-depth benefits data and analysis
  • Mercer’s RetireTALK: an interactive website with hypothetical scenarios, designed to motivate and educate users on retirement planning
  • Fidelity’s myPlan tool: offering online retirement advice based on answers to a few questions.

The Aon Hewitt survey also found that only 10% of employers are very confident that their employees are taking accountability for their own retirement success.  The remaining issue then is how to encourage employees to utilize these services and solutions that are already available to them and which service provider will best help both the employer and employees achieve their goals.

Amy L. Gurchensky, 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.

HRO Focuses on the Future

February 1, 2012

HRO buyers want service providers that meet today’s needs. Sophisticated buyers also want partners who can help manage changes over time as new service needs and technologies emerge. In a rapidly changing industry, it is not enough to know what customers are buying and what their competitors are currently doing today, each vendor must also invest in the future.

Here are three different ways service providers are focusing on the future:

  • Ÿ   Kelly Services recently opened an Office of Innovation and appointed a Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer to define the next generation of workforce solutions for its global customer base. To meet the rapid rate of workplace changes, Kelly intends to accelerate the process of creating and launching new services. Kelly Services was one of the founders of the temporary services market and has evolved into providing a full suite of services including outsourcing and consulting. Given the company’s history of innovation, it makes sense for Kelly Services to see added strategic focus and investment in order to continue as a market-leading innovator of HRO services.
  • Ÿ   Infosys opened a new ‘Alternative Delivery Model’ HR-shared service center in a Tier 4 town in India. The company considers this as an important strategic move to differentiate its services and benefit clients by providing additional flexibility and competitiveness. Infosys is partnering with local suppliers, like Desicrew, to set up centers in Tier 3 and Tier 4 communities, creating a more sustainable model to access talent and provide long-term career opportunities in other areas of India. My NelsonHall HRO colleague, Gary Bragar, commented that by opening up a center in a Tier 4 city, Infosys can offer clients a reduced offshore price point, with the added promise of greater staff loyalty and lower attrition rates.
  • Ÿ   Lumesse, a provider of integrated talent management applications and services, completed its acquisition of SaaS-based learning provider Edvantage Group last October to add a full suite of learning services including learning management, content development and management, online content delivery, and custom course development. The combined business will have over 1,900 customers in 70 countries worldwide and around 2 million active users of its technology.

Just like buyers and vendors, in following news of the HRO community, we tend to focus more on the current activities and news of the day. Stopping periodically to review HRO business news over a several month period reveals trends and provides clues on service provider strategies for growth and the future.

Lumesse made a big acquisition to quickly add a major new service line. Infosys is adding cost-competitive capabilities for clients and the company should benefit from the reduced operating costs due to lower turnover in the outlying centers. Kelly Services is continuing its heritage of innovation to internally develop and speed to market new capabilities.

There is no single approach to preparing for the future, there are many ways to buy, build, or partner your way forward in HRO.

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.