Posted tagged ‘multi-process hro’

HRO and Innovation – Getting Practical

May 31, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Innovation in multi-process HRO (MPHRO) has been a topic of discussion, and some contention, since the early mega-deals that created the modern MPHRO market more than ten years ago.

Even in the early days there was a desire for innovation, but there was also a lack of common definitions and mutual understanding, along with difficulty in articulating innovation in contract language.

There was an even greater barrier – systems spaghetti. Early MPHRO clients had highly-customized ERP infrastructure, aging legacy systems, and third-party applications, much of which may have been non-centralized and non-integrated. Each major customer was in their own bubble of services and systems. It quickly became apparent that it would be hard to add new and different innovations within the constraints of the contracts and the technologies.

Platforms for Innovation

Major MPHRO service providers now have global multi-client service delivery and data centers with sophisticated workflow processes. Early clients have been moved bit-by-bit into the common support infrastructure, even if they remain on their own, licensed ERP systems.

Many HRO clients are ready for increased standardization and multi-client platforms to reduce cost and to improve performance. Innovative cloud-based SaaS and services platforms are opening up new services to the mid-market and parts of the large client market:

  • Clients on a shared service platform benefit from ongoing incremental improvements
  • Clients benefit from access to new products and services without paying a significant portion of the R&D needed for a one-off innovation.

Some tension between continuous improvement and innovation is natural, as the line between an “included enhancement” and what is “new and different to be added as an extra charge” looks very different depending on whether you are a buyer or a supplier.

Collaborative Innovation

Client user groups support both HRO improvement and innovation. Vendors were originally reluctant to let clients communicate with each other (partially because the clients might “gang-up” on the vendor – and sometimes they did!).

Companies like IBM and Xerox were leaders in developing client advisory boards. These interactive groups provide feedback on the services, give input into common needs, and even offer guidance on parts of the vendor’s development roadmap. They are not just “the voice of the customer”; they are also a built-in base of beta testers. Willingness to put some skin into the game is also a great way to test market viability and further strengthen relationships.

Infrastructure of Innovation

Buyers can develop their processes for HRO innovation in the following ways:

  • Assess vendors for innovation capabilities as part of the selection process
  • Develop the language and mutual expectations for measurable innovation upfront and include in the terms of contract. Include who pays, and when, determine if there will be vendor incentives, and clarify the client’s role
  • Use the governance process to jointly monitor, manage, and measure improvements and innovations over the course of the relationship.

The good news is that we are beginning to build the HRO infrastructure for future innovation; common language, standardized multi-client platforms, and client user groups.

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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.

RPO Generation 2.0 is Ready to Go

March 28, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is one of the younger HRO service lines and it is both growing and maturing quickly. The March issue of HRO Today recognizes the emergence of RPO 2.0.  NelsonHall’s RPO specialist, Gary Bragar, would certainly agree. Gary’s October 2012 Targeting Recruitment Process Outsourcing market analysis highlighted many of the same developments in this rapidly growing HRO segment.

What is New in RPO 2.0?

The rapid growth and incorporation of social media for recruiting is a big part RPO 2.0, one that keeps pushing RPO to the leading edge of innovation in the HRO space.

RPO services are rapidly moving up the value chain, and changing client expectations is the key. While reducing the cost of service provision is always on the table, it is no longer the number one issue. Flexibility and scalability will always remain important as well, given how quickly hiring needs can change.

Today’s RPO 2.0 clients are looking for more value:

  • Improved quality of hires
  • The latest tools and technologies for social and mobile
  • Expertise in accessing talent pools and passive hires
  • Greater focus on candidate experience
  • Analytics and insights, in addition to metrics and reports
  • Improved retention
  • Access to advanced services including employment branding, talent management, talent engagement, and integration with workforce planning.

Clients Simply No Longer Want To Do It

In the last few years, many buyers reduced internal recruiting staff in line with the reduced volume of hires, and they do not want to rebuild and reinvest in the rapidly evolving technologies and advanced skill sets it takes to succeed in today’s competitive, social, mobile, and global recruitment process market.

Buyer Choice is Broad

For every large staffing company that does RPO including Adecco, Kelly, Manpower, and Randstad, there are smaller vendors that specialize in RPO such as Ochre House and Pinstripe.   Most leading RPO vendors of all sizes can offer services in most of the regions of the world as they have partnered and made acquisitions to make their footprints global.

Not long ago, major multi-process HRO (MPHRO) providers either did not provide end-to-end RPO or saw it taken out of contracts. Now, more MPHRO providers have full RPO services strong enough to be offered as standalone services including ADP, Aon Hewitt, Infosys, and IBM.

With RPO 2.0 You Can Have It All

While having it all may still be a bit aspirational for most of us, we are finding evidence that successful client / provider RPO partnerships can improve process efficiencies (e.g., reduce time to hire 20% to 50%), reduce the total cost of hire (often 20% to 30% or more), along with increasing hiring manager and candidate satisfaction.

Imagine what we can achieve with RPO 2.0!

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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.

The Evolution of TBO Deals: Part I

March 5, 2012

I am deep into research for the next NelsonHall Targeting Benefits Administration market analysis, and I noticed that like multi-process HR outsourcing (MPHRO), total benefits outsourcing (TBO) often stems from a desire to consolidate the number of service providers. The benefits of MPHRO are realized mostly by client employers with self-service convenience provided for the employees. The benefits of TBO extend beyond the client employer to its employees and retirees who get an enhanced participant experience from the services being integrated, which not only offers convenience and ease of use but may also increase the value of the offered benefits to the individual participants. 

While the drivers and benefits of TBO are often similar with clients, how TBO deals have come into existence have greatly varied.  The four different methods we’ll further discuss include:

  • The traditional big bang approach
  • The big bang approach version 2.0 (i.e., converting existing consulting clients)
  • The mass consolidation approach
  • The step-up approach.

The traditional big bang approach: This is the oldest method in existence and is quite recognizable in the market, especially with large multi-nationals. It doesn’t happen often, but it definitely creates a big bang when a large employer outsources defined benefit, defined contribution, and health and welfare program administration for the first time—with all going to one service provider!

The big bang approach version 2.0: The big bang approach version 2.0 differs from the traditional approach in that the client and service provider already have a pre-existing relationship, typically on the consulting side.  Also, the client may or may not already be outsourcing some benefits administration services to perhaps test the waters, but the majority of services remain in-house.

The mass consolidation approach: In this approach, the client has already outsourced all benefits administration services to a variety of service providers and is now seeking one vendor to manage all services. Consolidation is sometimes done by a larger vendor management strategy but is often triggered by mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Client M&A activity is a real two-edged sword for all suppliers including TBO providers. Even if separate benefit vendors are initially kept in place, the danger zone remains open for years—especially during times of contract renewal.

The step-up approach: The step-up approach is the newest method and is exactly as the name implies.  It is where clients begin using a particular service provider for one benefits administration service and then, based on performance and satisfaction, add other services accordingly.

Later this week, we’ll take a look at examples of each type of TBO deal.

 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.

HRO Gets Real in 2012

January 3, 2012

HRO is very much at the beneficence and the mercy of the economy. With slow expectations for recovery continuing into 2012, HRO vendors are moderating their expectations. As the threat of a double-dip recession slowly lessens in the U.S., concerns about the next presidential election increases and worries over the European economy remain high. With a mixed bag of economic indicators, the NelsonHall Confidence Index has lowered to 147 from a peak of 170 in Q1 2010, with unchanged expectations representing 100. Although the Confidence Index is slightly down, 147 is still positive for growth. It is the expectations for high growth over the next 12 months that have changed the most, dropping to 33% from 54% of surveyed vendors. Moderate growth expectations increased to 43%, up from 32% in the prior year quarter.

The anticipation of continued growth is based on the experience of 2011 contract growth and expansion in renewals and existing contracts, where service providers have seen the addition of geographies and new processes. At the same time, there has been no change in the perennial barriers of frozen decision making and unrealistic buyer expectations for pricing and savings.

A sign of the times is that payroll services (4.1 out of 5.0) replaced RPO as the strongest individual HR outsourcing service line in Q3 2011. Multi-process HR outsourcing (MPHRO) activity strengthened to 3.9.  This is great to see given that some organizations have been scared of adopting large-scale MPHRO services due to fears of the associated timescales and investments. Vendor MPHRO capability is once again maturing beyond employee administration and payroll services. Organizations are being asked to add in greater support for a wider range of HR functions; prompted by the strengthening need to achieve maximum cost savings in G&A functions as the economic situation threatens to worsen.

Expectations for RPO 2012 service line growth dropped to second place with a still very strong 4.0, with payroll remaining in the lead at 4.2. MPHRO comes at 4.0, showing continued strength for the latest generation of standardized processes starting out with initially smaller scale and scope. Look for buyer interest in multi-country and regional standardized and platform services to continue for payroll, RPO and MPHRO. North America and the U.K. will remain the target for modest growth in benefits administration at 3.5. Good news, despite a small drop in pipeline activity for learning (3.4), all service lines are healthy and are showing a reasonable amount of activity.

Will there be continued economic and political uncertainty? Sure. The good news is that HRO deals can and are being done when the basics of demonstrating both proven business value and cost justified efficiency are clear. So let’s get real and get on with the business of life and business – and have a Happy New Year!

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.