Posted tagged ‘lbpo’

HR Tech: Another Winner!

October 6, 2011

Kudos to Bill Kutik and everyone involved in planning and organizing the 14th Annual HR Tech Conference that took place October 3 -5. Surveys are still being collected, but I’d rate it as a success! As an analyst, I did attend a couple presentations and briefly visited the showroom floor but, the majority of my time was spent in small meetings learning about new outsourcing contract activity and technology offerings, which included demos.  Highlights from some meetings included:

  • IBM, already a major global MPHRO and LBPO provider, winning three significant contracts in the past month with clients headquartered in three different continents including a MPHRO contract with Air Canada (press release issued this morning). More to follow on the Air Canada win as well as the other MPHRO and LBPO contract awards as those press releases are issued.
  • ManpowerGroup Solutions’ RPO business continuing to grow at > 50% thus far in 2011 with dozens of new clients added YTD in countries that include: U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Japan, U.K., Israel, Belgium, Finland, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, and France.
  • ADP’s demo of Vantage HCM, which is initially targeted in the U.S. for organizations with 1,000 – 20,000 employees.  I was impressed with the performance management capabilities and the overall ease of use, which included setting goals, identifying competencies, weighing performance to goals, linking performance to compensation, succession planning, etc. I could easily see how this platform can make an organization’s talent more effective, especially when combined with project management and implementation consultation.
  • Kenexa’s recent announcements that include: launching Social Solutions for Recruiting and its new performance management suite, 2x Perform, which integrates performance management, succession planning, and compensation; a partnership with Skillsoft to integrate its e-learning content and SkillPort platform with Kenexa’s talent management platform and 2x Perform; a partnership with The Brooklyn Group to increase RPO presence in Australia; and a partnership with HR GlobBlog for global talent advice.
  • SourceRight Solutions, whose revenue has been growing from both new contract wins as well as existing clients increasing hiring volumes, with the biggest news that Randstad completed its acquisition of the SFN Group for ~$771m last month. SourceRight will be the RPO arm for Randstad and with combined company revenue of ~$22 bn, of which ~80% are in Europe, expect great opportunities abroad as well as continued success in North America.
  • Mercer’s Human Capital Connect, which combines talent management technology for performance management, succession planning, and compensation. It uses the PeopleFluent platform and a client success team that does a readiness assessment and stays with the client for life. Since its launch in mid-2010, a few major clients have been won, but names cannot be disclosed.

I attended twelve other meetings, demos, and presentations I’ll write more about in a future blog, but for now common themes are that HRO is thriving and that vendors are introducing new offerings for clients to improve talent management. Yes, technology combined with consultation is important and is most effective by organizations trained in how to do performance management.

Gary Bragar, HR Outsourcing 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.

Let’s Not Forget About Learning

August 30, 2011

According to a survey by KnowledgePool, a U.K.-based managed learning services provider, 70% of internal client learning and development (L&D) organizations are too busy doing daily fire-fighting to focus on strategic talent and learning issues in their company. Out of 104 L&D managers, 69% say their training department does not have enough resources and 42% say that training receives inadequate support from senior managers. Yet 80% of L&D managers said they could improve their organization’s training ROI; 77% think new opportunities for improvement could be identified through rigorous analysis of their training spend and evaluation data; and 75% say improvements could be made by using more informal and on-the-job learning methods.

Sound like an opportunity for outsourcing? You bet!  The good news from NelsonHall’s most recent quarterly HR Outsourcing Confidence Index is that learning services, which has been the last of the HR outsourcing service lines to recover, is expected to continue to strengthen as the year progresses. Following several strong quarters of growth within RPO, the need is now shifting toward implementing and optimizing learning programs. Good news in learning since the beginning of Q2 includes:

  • Genpact winning a content development contract by JobSkills in India
  • Raytheon Professional Services winning a contract to develop an e-training program for NATO
  • CIBER’s Federal division winning a 5-year training development contract with a potential value of $30.7m by the Center for Strategic Leadership, an institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Accenture winning an e-learning contract with a major bank that may later add classroom ILT
  • General Physics winning $3m in 5 new contracts from energy companies across Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia
  • Edvantage group winning a safety e-learning contract by Yara International, providing 7 interactive e-learning courses for 3,000 technicians, operators, engineers, and supervisors at 30 plants across 17 countries.

In NelsonHall’s last learning BPO report, top drivers of why companies are outsourcing learning, which support KnowledgePool’s findings, include:

1.        Lowering costs (average client savings of 26%)
2.        Increasing training effectiveness and ROI
3.        Improving the quality of learning for employees
4.        Accessing experts in the industry whose core competency is                       learning
5.        Flexible services, aligning learning with the customer’s                                 strategic objectives
6.        Focusing on strategic work, not transactional activities.

Look for increased learning outsourcing to continue the remainder of 2011, including by the likes of IBM who continue to see increased demand globally. In 2012, I think learning outsourcing will really soar. Although uncertainty in the economy continues to cause delayed decision-making, there is no doubt in my mind that we will see a boost in learning as companies unanimously agree talent management is more important than ever. To improve and engage talent, you have to invest in your people. There is only so long you can just say the words, eventually you have to walk the talk!

Gary Bragar,  HR Outsourcing Research Director, NelsonHall

Top Topics at Last Week’s HRO Europe Summit

November 22, 2010

Although a working trip for me – as a learning session co-presenter with Raytheon, and on two panels, one on learning and one on RPO – I can easily say last week’s HRO Summit Europe got great marks in my book. About 40 percent of participants were buyers – a rare occurrence at conferences these days – with the balance being presenters, providers, analysts, press, researchers, staff and others. Discussions were lively and engaging, and…need I say anything about the beauty of Amsterdam, especially its architecture and canals?

My co-presentation with Raytheon, a learning outsourcing session called, “Bridging the Customer-Provider Divide,” was immediately followed by the learning panel, and witnessed buyer questions including: 1) What role does the retained HR learning organization play, including the role of the retained learning director, HR business partners and governance team?; 2) What lessons learned should a buyer that has just implemented a learning BPO contract incorporate?; 3) Why we are seeing more selective LBPO contracts and less full LBPO contracts?; and 4) What role does LBPO play in retaining knowledge as more employees will inevitably begin to retire? 

While tracks and presentations covered the HRO gamut, two of the major focuses were talent issues and RPO. Dr. Peter Cappelli, Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business, opened the conference with a keynote entitled, “A Question of Talent.” He began by discussing that, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 24 years of service with just one company was the average tenure per employee. At the time, companies invested heavily in continuous training, and believed in lateral and upward mobility. He then moved to the sobering stats of today’s workforce. Companies of course still want loyal employees, yet very few do little to give their employees in-turn loyalty, and only one in four of succession plans are utilized. The result is organizations spending thousands of dollars in employee development, only to lose them to competitors.

It almost feels as if organizations accept this as a looming cloud norm in today’s workforce environment. But I vehemently oppose that viewpoint. If you look at the pure financials alone, conservative estimates are that it costs one and a half times as much of an employee’s salary to replace that individual due to the cost of recruitment, development, learning curve, etc. How can that possibly be perceived as good business? I am feeling like an evangelist as I’ve written about it so many times in my blogs, but employee satisfaction and robust initiatives focused on talent retention are vital to competitive advantage and business growth.

One of the largest and most well attended tracks at the conference was on RPO. I was also a member of an RPO panel discussion entitled, “Deep Dive: Driving the Future State of RPO,” along with Alexander Mann Solutions, SourceRight Solutions and a professor from Lancaster University. One question posed by a buyer member in the audience was how RPO has evolved. Each panelist, of course, had its own answer. Mine, not surprisingly as an industry analyst, is that by providing what I call “value-added services” or what I consider to be the “richer RPO services,” you are a true end-to-end RPO provider. This means: 1) services on the front end in workforce planning, talent strategy and employment branding to ensure the right employees with staying power are hired; 2) services in the middle to manage internal recruiting/mobility; and 3) services on the back end, including robust onboarding and ongoing, bi-directional employee engagement.

There are other shifts occurring, including interest in global RPO, and I will cover more on that and learning outsourcing issues discussed at the conference in upcoming blogs!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Learning BPO Market Morphing by M&As, Partnerships and Organics to Meet Evolving Client Needs

November 11, 2010

Per the findings from NelsonHall’s recently published “Targeting Learning BPO” report, we saw only a modest growth rate of 2.5 percent in this HRO segment in 2009 – 2010, but predict a global compound average annual growth rate of 8.4 percent through our 2014 forecast period. So what’s driving this growth from the buy-side, and how are providers responding?

Buyers’ top driver for learning BPO (LBPO) remains reducing the cost of the learning function, followed by increasing the effectiveness and improving the quality of learning for employees. Other drivers include gaining a better return on the learning investment, right-time/right-level access to specialist trainers, obtaining a well-defined process from a provider with the ability to deliver higher quality, aligning learning with strategic objectives, contract flexibility and utilizing cutting-edge technologies for learning services delivery.

To meet these buyer needs, providers must step up their game in a range of areas including the ability to manage a global network of delivery suppliers, and providing access to the technologies required to effectively deliver and manage all aspects of the learning function via learning management systems, Web 2.0., virtual instructor-led training, e-learning, m-learning, virtual world technologies, gaming and learning analytics. Providers also need to have global learning capabilities across all four learning towers: Learning Administration, Content Development, Learning Delivery and Technology.

LBPO providers are taking a variety of paths to address these evolving, and in cases daunting, buyer requirements. Some, including Raytheon Professional Services, Expertus, Edvantage Group and RWD, are growing organically, with new service offerings including new technology, content and geographic delivery capabilities. Acquisitions and partnerships are also occurring.

2010 acquisitions in the LBPO space include:

  • Kenexa’s acquisition of The Centre for High Performance Development to strengthen leadership develop and management training
  • Talent2’s purchase of Origin HR and Sugar International to expand vocational training capabilities
  • General Physics’ acquisition of Marton House to strengthen e-learning content development in the U.K., and its purchase of PerformTech to strengthen learning services for the U.S. government

 And 2010 LBPO partnerships include:

  • NIIT and SENA to provide learning services in Colombia
  • Edvantage Group and Mediapharm to offer a pharma online portal

Bottom line is, for the LBPO market to grow and prosper, it is all about meeting client’s learning needs: delivering what they need, where they need it, when they need it and how they need it. Organic is great, but not always feasible, and not necessarily always the best option for the involved parties. Thus, I beleive we will continue to see more acquisitions, and even more partnerships, in the LBPO space in the next 12 months.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO Can Help Stem Absence Management Cost Hits – But There’s More

October 21, 2010

A recent CyberShift survey found that one third of the 1,088 respondents cited absence management as a continuing top priority. Yet 53 percent of the survey participants stated they did not have an automated system in place for absence, leave, vacation and FMLA tracking. This is a pretty scary statistic, especially when, per CyberShift, unscheduled absenteeism can cost businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs alone.

At the same time, forward-thinking buy-side companies over the past couple of years have awarded absence management contracts to HRO providers, and the vendors are beefing up their absence management offerings. Let’s take a look.

Absence Management Contracts

  • MidlandHR was awarded 10 contracts in the last two years for its iTrent HR and payroll software, including its absence management modules, by the University of Exeter, Capel Manor College, Oxford City Council, NetworkersMSB, Pentagon Investments, Preston College, Which? (yes, this is an actual company name), Manchester Fire and Rescue, Kent County Council and Farnborough College
  • Wipro implemented Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise HCM 9.0 for Jammu & Kashmir Bank in India. Modules implemented include absence management and approval workflow
  • NorthgateArinso won a five-year contract with Hastings College for its ResourceLink HR platform, which supports absence management
  • Convergys entered into a five-year contract renewal for multi-process HRO services with a leading business services company; components of the contract include absence management and leave administration
  • Hewitt was awarded several unnamed contracts that include absence management
  • Raet won a 10-year contract with OSG for its online HR portal, which includes absence management

Providers’ Enhanced Absence Management Offerings

Just a couple of weeks ago, Capita acquired FirstAssist Services Holdings Ltd. to strengthen its capabilities in health and workforce management, including absence management. In January, Hewitt added participant advocacy services to its absence management offering. In August, Ceridian added Presagia’s employee leave management software to support its leave management services. And Xchanging announced an alliance with absence management specialist FirstCare through which the two parties will jointly go to market with FirstCare’s absence management and occupational health pre-employment screening services and Xchanging’s portfolio of HRO services.  

Here’s my take. Leveraging software and services for absence management tracking is a great step in the right direction when it comes to stemming costs. But equally, if not more, important is drilling down into the why’s of non-authorized and non-sick absences. This maps to blogs I’ve written over the past year that focus on rampant employee dissatisfaction. Unhappy employees are more inclined to call in sick simply because they don’t want to go to their jobs. Get to the heart of employee dissatisfaction, fix what is truly broken across the enterprise, and absenteeism will decrease. Strong leadership and performance management training is invaluable in helping determine the root of employee discontent. Corporations lacking internal training programs of this type can leverage offerings from both full-scope and pure-play learning services HRO providers.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO (and overall BPO) Total Contract Values up in Q1 – Q3 2010

October 14, 2010

During NelsonHall’s recent quarterly BPO Index Call, our CEO John Willmott stated overall BPO contract values were up for all BPO sectors, including HRO, both on a rolling twelve-month basis from 2009 – 2010 as compared to 2008 – 2009, and up year-to-date Q1 – Q3 2010 as compared to Q1 – Q3 2009. This is all good news, but not a surprise given that we are beginning to see some recovery from the recession.

Looking specifically at HRO, total contract value (which includes the value of the full term contract plus any renewals) in Q1 – Q3 2010 was up nine percent. The growth came primarily from North America, while Europe declined as it is coming out of the recession a bit slower and clients in that region continue to be more cautious about outsourcing their HR processes. Although its total contract values isn’t as large as in North America, contracts are still being awarded in Europe, e.g., wins in Q3 by Logica, Midland HR, HR Access, Raet and CPH Consulting, as recently cited by my colleague Linda.

HRO growth in Q3 2010 was particularly led by RPO, similar to numerous other points during these tumultuous times. But here, I’d like to take a quick look at why the learning services market is starting to recover (please see Linda’s October 5 blog entitled, “Recapping the Not-so-Dog-Days of HRO’s 2010 Summer” to see a few of the recent learning contract awards.)

In learning, providers are introducing new training offerings largely focused on certified training courses, primarily technical areas including IT. Training is coming back to life, and the initial emphasis is on strengthening direct job-related skills. Making sure IT professionals can keep up with professional certifications can also be a way to build engagement and head off turnover as the employment market improves. There was also some introduction of new leadership development courses, perhaps indicating a return to a focus on the future by investing in management skills development. Finally, social learning is continuing to make inroads, and Expertus introduced its new platform, ExpertusONE, which facilitates communities of practice, expert networks and mentoring, in addition to normal learning system functions. Other new learning offerings introduced in Q3 included those from Raytheon Professional Services, QA and Edvantage Group.

It will be interesting to see, at the end of Q4, which HRO processes, regions and industries are the leaders and laggards. But much, much more to cover before then, including my “Targeting Learning BPO Market Analysis” to be published later this month.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Preparing to Learn Again in 2010

January 14, 2010

The headline of an article in yesterday’s USA Today read, “Economy is growing, but job market remains soft’”. While this isn’t happy news for those still out of work, it bodes well and is a bellwether for companies – and those employed by companies – that place a premium on developing the skills of their existing staff, as well as for providers of outsourced learning services.

As economic fears begin to ease, albeit modestly, I predict buyer demand for outsourced learning will heat up for several key reasons:

• Organizations know they must invest in developing existing talent they want to retain – for example, as I wrote about in a blog last year, approximately 50 percent of employed Americans plan to look for new opportunities when the economy begins to turn around, and dissatisfaction with their current jobs and lack of clear career path opportunities are contributing factors

• Although job growth is slow to come, unemployment has stabilized, and monthly job reductions are nowhere as severe as a year ago and will return to growth. As a result, organizations must be prepared to train new hires

• Training student hours, budgets and staffs were all cut during the downturn. As companies prepare to return training to the forefront, they are unlikely to return to the previous levels of spend and staff in the near term due to continued uncertainty. Learning outsourcing can help bridge the gap

The outsourced learning vendor community is providing indicators of preparation for growth. For example, on December 30, 2009, Sagard Capital Partners, L.P. completed a $20 million investment in General Physics (GP) Strategies, a global learning provider, signaling not only confidence in GP Strategies as a company but also a resurgence in learning services as organizations begin to again invest in their people. And on January 4, 2010, GP Strategies acquired PerformTech, Inc., an eLearning provider of custom training solutions, including content development to U.S. government agencies. As eLearning accounts for more than 50 percent of all learning today given organizations’ need to control costs, this was a highly strategic acquisition for GP Strategies. An indicator of the strength of the eLearning market comes from Edvantage Group, an eLearning provider based in Norway, which recently announced it surpassed one million course completions in 2009.

Based on the inherent benefits to buyers, and increased capabilities and retooled pricing models of providers, I believe we will see solid growth in outsourced learning through 2013. And those buyers and providers making the investment now will be thankful they did…and so will their employees.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall