Posted tagged ‘Oracle’

HRO and a Culture of Analytics

July 13, 2011

Recently, Bersin & Associates held a webinar on HR measurement and the need to create a culture of analytics to get to data-driven decision making. Bersin refers to four levels with HR metrics and workforce metrics as the basics. Integrated talent management metrics and business impact predictive metrics are the advanced levels.  Getting to the advanced levels is not easy to achieve and it will likely take several years for those with the vision and fortitude to make the journey.

Many HR vendors offer HR analytics tools including IBM. I spoke with several IBM’ers to learn more, including Steve Johnson in product management.  IBM’s Workforce Performance application is based on its Cognos platform. It is prebuilt with highly configurable HR analytic content from hire to retire with pre-packaged standard reports. It is available as a licensed product (on-premises or hosted) that has prebuilt connectors for SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle’s e-business suite. To ensure the application functions well at every level from basic to advanced, IBM has added SPSS predictive analytic software.

Designed to map to HR data from many sources, it brings in data internal to the client and from other applications from third party vendors — key in getting consolidated cross functional workforce information for HR’s many processes and subject matter areas.

IBM understands that HR analytics is a journey and measurement is in its own DNA. The application can be used from basic to advanced levels and extended from HR specialists -only to business unit HR partners and on to line managers as readiness matures. Reports vary by user type from pre-set dashboards and scorecards, to detailed operational reporting, and to ad hoc research by power users.

IBM starts from the viewpoint of business workforce questions HR needs to answer and advise such as: do we have the right mix of people to meet business objectives optimally, or what will our workforce age distribution in key jobs look like in 3 years, in 5 years?  After assessing client needs and interest, a discussion of the actual metrics follows and a starting point can be identified.

The Workforce Performance application is available directly from IBM. It is also available to IBM’s HRO clients and to other service providers who want to integrate advanced HR analytics capabilities into its service offerings. A typical client is in the 5K to 10k plus employee range and there is particular interest from high tech and global employers.

IBM has a user forum for its Cognos products and with the HR analytics users interested in learning more from IBM and each other, there may soon be a user group just for them.

Even the best tools and most capable service provider cannot make the whole journey, especially the cultural part, for a client. Do you have the strategy and roadmap for your HR analytics journey and do you have a HRO partner that will help you create a culture of analytics?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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?

Workforce.com’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

HRO is Never Static or Still

October 12, 2010

During every stage of the economic lifecycle, HRO service providers are doing something to either anticipate or react to changes in the marketplace and client needs while simultaneously striving to achieve strategic goals. This week I wrap-up NelsonHall’s review of 3Q 2010 HRO activity with a look at what’s new in offerings, partnerships and acquisitions.

One way to quickly expand a service line or fill-in gaps is to partner with a provider that is already offering the service or operating in the target geography. Last quarter was most active for RPO. Those announcing new RPO-related partnerships included Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), Kelly Services, Kenexa, Pinstripe and The RightThing. Notably, two of the partnerships were to continue to expand RPO services internationally in the Asia Pacific region, with AMS adding reach into India and Kelly in Vietnam.

A more committed path to rounding out or adding new services is to buy it. Making small to large acquisitions is another constant in the world of HRO as players define and redefine their portfolios. In addition to the close of the three game changing major acquisitions in the benefits community (ADP/Workscape, ACS/ExcellerateHRO, and Aon/Hewitt), other folks were also making deals. For example, Mercer acquired IPA and ORC, and Xafinity bought PwC’s pension consulting and administration business in the U.K. Further, Randstad continued its acquisitive ways, this time outside of Europe, with its planned acquisition of FujiStaff in Japan.

Health and welfare (H&W) outsourcing used to be limited to the U.S., and that will remain the major market. But no matter how health insurance and care is funded, H&W concerns are growing globally. In the U.S., Fidelity is partnering with RedBrick Health to offer its clients wellness services, and in the U.K., Capita is acquiring FirstAssist Services to add to its health service offerings.

Finally, if you cannot find what you want in the marketplace, you can build or expand it yourself. Ceridian wants to truly offer a new line of BPO services and has announced it is ready to consult, build and manage the health insurance exchanges that some states will need in a couple of years as part of the U.S. health care reform program. 

Most announcements of “new offerings” are incremental additions. For example, Hewitt is adding Micromedex medical reference information to its advocacy service offering. You can also simply package what you have and call it new. Aditro has done that with a standardized set of payroll services that include preset services levels and implementation process to make a lower cost bundled option.

Yet another variation blends supply chain partnerships with building it yourself to make a new service offering. Take a SaaS HR service from Oracle or Sap and wrap in value added enhancements and services additions and, voila, you have a new HRO service platform. Mercer introduced its Human Capital Direct that uses PeopleClick Authoria’s talent management suite as the core, surrounded by Mercer’s consulting, tools and methodologies such as decision support, competency models and analytics.

In HRO, somebody is always doing something. What have you done lately?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Will Talent Management be the Next Hot Thing in HRO?

June 29, 2010

One of the challenges for any business, including HRO, is balancing meeting today’s needs while getting ready for the future. I am seeing a positive tone change emerging in HR articles, blogs, service provider and consulting firm research and marketing. Broader workforce issues are starting to get attention again, and will hopefully lead to more business for HRO.

Talent management is one of the topics getting a lot more coverage. After the deep cuts, cost controls and contraction of the labor market of the recent past, employers are now interested in how they are going to shape their talent programs going forward.

HRE Online has a very good article by Tom Starner, Refocusing on Talent Management, that references recent talent management research by Ernst & Young and Mercer. According to Mercer, 51 percent of surveyed employers rated talent management as a top priority, and 76 percent expect it will be a top priority in the next three to five years.

Ernst & Young’s study highlighted three key initiatives: rebuilding the internal talent pipeline; understanding and coordination global talent for key positions; and offering flexible work strategies.

With the expected slow return to growth, employers want to know how well targeted talent management investments are working. Mercer reports that only five percent of respondents were confident in their ability to effectively measure the impact of talent decisions and investments, and 41 percent said they were not at all effective.

Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) research indicates that high-performance organizations were more than twice as likely to emphasize the measurement of talent management (37 percent) than low-performing organizations (16 percent).

A talent management application suite can help organizations manage, track and report on talent management activities, and there many in the marketplace. But some clients have learned that no matter how capable the application, if it isn’t well understood and used, it is no bargain.

Mercer has just launched its new offering, Human Capital Direct, a rewards and talent management consulting and technology service based on software from Peopleclick Authoria. Mercer is embedding its own intellectual capital, and will be implementing and hosting the software and surrounding the whole package with pre- and post-implementation consulting.

Companies can get talent management applications as stand-alone services. The same is true for the broader systems that cover HR, payroll and more; buyers can contract directly from Oracle and SAP for HR SaaS applications. They can also obtain them as fully supported BPO services where vendors such as ADP, Logica, NorthgateArinso, Infosys and others add portals, tools, services and reporting, along with implementation support and hosting.

I always like seeing a full range of available HRO offerings, from client-managed to vendor-managed, from basic cost saving functionality to fully featured transformative vendor relationships. Each type and level of HRO has its time and place.

Can talent management be turned into a full platform BPO service? Is now the time? Mercer is hoping the answer is “yes.” What do you think?

Linda Merritt

NelsonHall

Research Director, HRO 

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

BPO Platforms – a Springboard or a Swan Dive?

August 18, 2009

Last week I attended Infosys BPO’s analyst day and BPO conference in Baltimore, Maryland, overlooking the beautiful Inner Harbor. Platform BPO was one of the big topics, and one of Infosys BPO’s big bets for new avenues of growth. 

Platform BPO is the service delivery model whereby end-to-end processes are offered as managed services on a standardized business platform based on an ERP solution that is hosted, managed and maintained by the BPO provider. Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers bundle operations, integrating management of an end-to-end process with their technology suite and staff. Designed to be configured instead of customized, platform BPO will accelerate mid-market BPO adoption with its lower cost of entry, scalable services, variable pricing and ease and speed of transitions.

Platform BPO service providers will continue to build out their global service delivery footprint with service centers and partnerships, taking advantage of locations with low cost labor and access to skilled talent. These true multi-tenant service platforms will renew the promise of economies of scale the earlier generations of customized client-specialized services did not deliver. It’s an enticing value proposition designed for today’s capital constrained and challenge and change fatigued buyers. If the adoption rate is good, it will be a more economical infrastructure for vendors which can provide a springboard for profitability.

The timing is right. Clients are asking about and for solutions they would have rejected pre-downturn. The advent of new technologies like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and the openness of ERP providers like SAP and Oracle to work with service providers are enablers supporting the degree of needed integration.

There will be challenges, especially for the provider community. In return for moving to a configurable platform, the buyer gets to pass some risk and increased expectations over to the service provider. The provider becomes responsible for managing and integrating specified processes, applications and technology, including the investment in development and upgrades, and the selection, management and fit of any third-party applications and delivery partners. Also, accepting accountability for the increased complexity of integrated IT and operations requires a greater level of skilled staff capabilities and coordination across the expanded value chain. 

Hmm…not hearing any HRO platform BPO cannonball splashes yet? It’s a big leap for HR to make and platform BPO is not expected to fit everyone. Yet it is a viable option for many in the mid-market and even some in the large market. PaaS for HR will be especially appealing to those with openness to new solutions, positive experiences with hosted services and point solution SaaS providers, and those pushed by economic realities.

Single service platforms are not new; think payroll or benefits administration as managed services platforms. What is new is the possibility of multi-client and multi-process HRO on a platform that delivers globally for buyers and providers.

There are already some buyer toes in the water. Infosys reports it has several clients up and running on its new Hire-to-Retire HRO business platform which includes talent acquisition, development, retention and management services. At the conference I spoke with an attendee from a borderline mid-market to large-sized company who was thinking about replacing several current separate HRO provider services and wanted to learn more about the new Infosys HRO offering.

Overall, PaaS sounds great and the water is warm, so jump on in! Not ready? Then watch the pool of platform-based services and providers expand, learn about the challenges and successes, and get ready to test the waters.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall