Posted tagged ‘IBM Global Process Services’

Mobile Apps are Ringing up HRO

November 9, 2010

Smart phones, mobile devices and “apps” are more and more ubiquitous and indispensible in our personal and business lives. But while the HR phone is ringing in invitation, is HR, and are HRO providers, ready to answer?’s article, “Avoid These Hurdles to Adopting HR Mobile Apps,” covers a number of the issues HR faces with mobile apps, perhaps the most critical of which is employee and corporate data security. What data is accessible, and how can you safeguard secure data if the device is lost or stolen? Will only organization-provided devices be allowed mobile access to corporate data? To address this piece of the apps pie, IBM Global Process Services is currently developing HR mobile apps  with authentication and encryption capabilities to address its HRO clients’ data security issues, needs and concerns. It will move to client use and testing pilots in 2011.

In-house HR departments and internal IT groups can wrestle with issues across a variety of technology systems, vendors and applications. Those with a multi-process HRO provider,  or at least an HR technology and administration vendor, will have a partner that can lead in the development of security, integration and even the design of applications that work with the major HR ERP systems and integrate standalone applications, like talent management, thereby reducing the burden on in-house IT.

For buyers using the new SaaS HRO platforms, providers will be developing mobile apps that meet the needs of multiple clients, as well as rolling out applications as they become available by the provider of the underlying HR system (usually Oracle or SAP.)

What HR mobile use offerings make sense? Thoughtful design is required to develop a cost effective strategy for the client and the HRO provider, one based on user needs and usability in a mobile setting. Anything that smacks of bells and whistles and looks pretty but is too complex, or does not add to user productivity, will not add value. User research and testing must be utilized to identify and prioritize which features and functions will make sense from a cost, integration and security perspective.

One of the early entrants is RUN Powered by ADP® mobile payroll, now available on the App Store for its small business RUN payroll clients, and is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In early 2011, ADP will extend the app to other smart phone platforms like Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Droid.

My colleague Gary Bragar commented on mobile HR apps in his blog, HRO Themes at the HR Tech Conference: Portals, Platforms and Self-Service. He noted that not the just concept, but examples of specific uses, such ability to access your insurance medical provider data while traveling, would be valuable.

This is all now emerging technology for HR and HRO, but users are way ahead, with many adopting the “mobile lifestyle” for work and play on the go, anytime, anywhere. Will HRO be there?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Traits of the new HRO Buyer

November 3, 2010

While we see frequent mention of the “new normal” in analyst writings and the press, we are not sure yet what that really is or how it translates into HRO buyer behavior. I see likely parallels with a recent Chicago Tribune news article on the Five Traits of the American Consumer. Keying off these traits, let’s speculate on how to tie changes in consumer behaviors to HRO buying triggers.  

Optimism – fifty-five percent of consumers are classified as spend-shifters that are optimistic and resilient. The new consumer does not want to go overboard with radical frugality; instead, it simply seeks value for its money.

  • Overall cost is still a major concern, but the conversation can move more to total business value and growth over survival to play into a return of moderated optimism.

Brand consciousness – brand is equated more with value than with trendiness, and a trusted brand is worth a bit more.

  • Brand clarity and differentiation have value – make sure messaging is clear, backed up by data and client references.
  • In the midst of a round vendor M&As, financial stability and commitment to the HRO market is also important.

Authenticity-seekers – there is a desire for a more ethical and sustainable style of consumption and life.

  • Services delivered and commitments achieved – not marketing hype – are key.
  • Sustainability initiatives, and responsible shoring – vendor business practices matter.
  • Partnerships and the user experience fit in here as well.

Purpose-driven – there is interest in simplification and decluttering, and consumerism is tempered with thoughtful awareness of social and personal consequences.

  • Service enhancements should not look like optional bells and whistles. Instead, emphasize simplification and ease of use.
  • This trait can also support the current practicality of trading-off customization for process structure to manage costs.

Maturity – young adults are more likely to embrace responsibility and a more mature lifestyle with a greater focus on achieving goals.

  • Link the benefits of HRO to specific and realistic business impacts.
  • Works well with adding more employee and manager self services.

All service providers can debrief new inquiries and sales efforts to identify what is important to the new HRO buyer. Providers must also look for the alignment points with long-term business goals to refine their business value proposition and define enabling business strategies.

An example is IBM’s recent announcement to rename its Managed Business Process Services business unit as “IBM Global Process Services” in order to focus on the next generation of BPO services. IBM has reviewed its own intentions, strengths and differentiation, and reflected that clarity in its messaging.  In HRO, IBM is using its new identity to align investments and inititatives, with a revision in the processes for transitioning clients that reduces timelines and costs being one of the first projects that brings together new and existing best practices, and changes internal operations as well as client services.

Yet new names and brand messaging mean little if not translated into action and used to drive investments and initiatives. How are you identifying and responding to changes in HRO buying behaviors?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall