Posted tagged ‘Strategy’

How Mercer’s HCM Views Impact HRO

June 11, 2012

Would you build a $4.5bn facility in Africa if you were not sure you could find the skilled workers to run it? That was the comment of a real CFO at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. Human capital management (HCM) was one of the hottest topics at the forum drawing C-suite leaders into a full day of discussions. Concern about talent shortages has reached #2 on the risk management list, and top business leaders are recognizing talent as both a key competitive factor in growth and its lack as a risk factor limiting growth, especially in emerging markets.

This was the opening conversation at Mercer’s analyst forum focusing on its Talent, Rewards, and Communications (TRC) consulting practice and its approach to global talent growth. The TRC group is led by Pat Milligan, Senior Partner and President, and it accounts for $600m of Mercer’s $3.8bn 2011 revenues.

The forum was also about Mercer’s approach to its own growth. Mercer has increased its feet on the ground in emerging markets and is adding to its portfolio of services. Having completed seven acquisitions in the last sixteen months, including ORC Worldwide and CENSEO, expect to see more strategic acquisitions in the near future as Mercer leverages its cash on hand to build scale. Mercer’s TRC practice already has a great start with 55% of revenues from outside of the U.S. and 18% growth in 2011, 11% organic.

Mercer is focusing on more than consulting as a standalone service.  It is combining consulting with enabling technology and data to continue to win in its very competitive market space. Along with discussions on talent management, there were demonstrations of technologies and tool kits to gather, monitor, and manage information that helps clients make better people decisions, such as Mercer iknow and Human Capital Connect. 

Most clients cannot afford to immediately “rip and replace” their current tools and technologies, so Mercer will also help clients who say, “make what I have work.”  Its new Belong portal will be the front door to bringing together the information, tools, and applications – whether it’s Mercer’s own or a client’s blend of programs. Offering HR portals is not new, but Mercer is building in data extractors to offer the most needed information, dashboards, and limited functionality within the portal without having to go out to the full application.

There are other critical components to consider. This is where HRO comes in as part of the build and operations team to ensure cost-effective and viable end-to-end HR services for the participants, HR generalists and COEs, managers, senior leadership, and the enterprise itself.

Whether as a single source of consulting, solutions, and services or by using an ecosystem of preferred partners, is your HRO service provider(s) capable of helping you go from strategy to design, build, operate, and improve your HR capabilities and services to deliver full business value?

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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Three Forces Shaping HRO for 2012

December 6, 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, let’s look ahead to 2012 and the three current trends that will continue into the New Year and beyond.

HR SaaS has been around for years. Now that the breadth of cloud coverage is in the HR ERP space it is opening up the middle market for HRO at long last, and is swimming upstream into the large client market. HR mobile applications are proliferating and vendors will be hard-pressed to deal with the rising demand by clients and participants for more on-the-go functionality. What seemed like an innovative differentiator is quickly becoming a competitive requirement.

HRO globalization has long been on the agenda of many HRO vendors, mainly targeted by major multinational companies (MNCs), but there are only so many global MNCs. We are now seeing additional focus on regional service networks for multi-country companies. HRO activity in emerging markets is also picking up for MNCs and for in-country client services. Expect to see HRO acquisitions, partnerships, and new offices for sales and service delivery grow in 2012 as service providers continue to fill-in geographic footprints and service gaps.

The globalization of RPO will continue to be a big story in 2012. RPO vendors are gearing up to meet the demand and two of the largest acquisitions in 2011 included SourceRight (part of SFN Group), which was acquired by Randstad, and The RightThing, which was acquired by ADP.

The growing global RPO demand was illustrated in a big way by Kenexa when it was awarded with a five-year RPO contract by Eli Lilly and Company, which includes recruiting in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas. NelsonHall estimates the deal to be worth more than $50 million, one of the largest RPO contracts to date.

HRO contract awards will continue to increase across Asia Pacific, with some year to year variability due to economic conditions. Three years ago, ~10% of contracts included Australia, with half of those for clients headquartered in Australia. Two years ago, it was ~11%, with about an even split of Australian-based clients. In the past year, the number has jumped to ~16%, with the majority of contracts for clients based in Australia.

China has also emerged as a client base for HRO, including for in-country services. As emerging market companies reach a fast-growth stage and expand their services internationally, the need for HR technology, processes, and delivery capabilities can outstrip the local talent base for HR. For example, Manpower made two acquisitions in China, REACH HR in South China and Xi’ and Fresco in Henan Province.

These are three of the forces shaping the future of HRO. Those HRO vendors that are able to update their portfolio of services and quickly and cost effectively invest in the acquisition or development of new capabilities will gain an advantage in the growing marketplace for HRO.

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.

ADP Puts HRO Strategy into Action

September 15, 2011

Strategy is not a plan, it is action. A strategy defines what actions a company will take to achieve its goals. With the just announced acquisition of Asparity Decision Solutions, a privately-held supplier of patented employee benefits decision support tools (DSTs) and analytics, ADP provides a good example of strategy in action.

It is part of ADP’s strategy for growth to expand the depth and breadth of its benefits outsourcing services. It is also core to ADP to provide clients “insightful solutions that drive business success,” and “turn knowledge into insight.”

ADP’s acquisition of Asparity is an all around win-win. This is an excellent fit for ADP, which continues to expand its value proposition by enhancing its benefits and human capital management business process capabilities in a manner well suited to its strengths. Together, ADP and Asparity will be able to provide knowledgeable insights into managing the rising cost of health care and link its services to creating broader business value.

Asparity provides web-based proprietary technology to Fortune 1,000 companies and public-sector organizations, including the Federal Employee Health Benefits program. Its interactive DSTs include personalized data to engage and assist employees in making complex health care and benefits selections. All the more important given the changes and challenges in navigating health options and costs that are increasing for employees as well as for employers. Employers receive in-depth data to analyze employee health care actions and conjoint analysis is available to determine prioritized employee preferences, both of which can help employers manage total health care costs.

The addition of Asparity is one more in the steady execution of its strategy. In 2010 it acquired Workscape and its enriched benefits capabilities. Also, ADP has just formed the new benefits Strategic Advisory Services Group to help mid- and large-market clients maximize the value of the in-depth benefits data and analysis that ADP will be able to provide.

ADP is moving into the kind of consultative service arena that can create business results well beyond lowering HR operating expenses, and enabling it to establish itself as a strategic business partner in balancing the total cost of benefits with the impact on talent management and the bottom line.

According to NelsonHall’s 2010 benefits market analysis ADP including Workscape is among the top ten providers in both participants and revenues. These new strategic moves, if well executed, should strengthen ADP’s growth in a very competitive benefits outsourcing market.

Other HRO vendors that continue to think of ADP as “only” a payroll provider may well be surprised when it pops up as a serious competitor in their market. How aligned are your actions with your strategy?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall