Posted tagged ‘talent management’

The Parable of IBM and Kenexa: Part I

September 13, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

I have not seen such a range of varied opinions from members of the HRO and HR tech communities as those about IBM’s acquisition of Kenexa. The commentary showed that many were taken a bit by surprise and weren’t sure how to analyze the news that IBM was acquiring Kenexa for $1.3bn.

IBM Bought Kenexa?

The surprise was not the purchase of Kenexa, which was foreshadowed by the acquisition of Taleo by Oracle and SuccessFactors by SAP. It was more about the fact that IBM was doing the purchasing.

A few  thought that ADP might make such an acquisition since it had already expanded its benefits capabilities with Workscape and SHPS and its RPO capabilities with The RightThing, so wouldn’t talent management make sense? Speculation continued, perhaps Mercer, Ceridian, or even ADP would be the target of an acquisition or merger.

IBM itself was considered likely to continue its acquisitive ways with something more in the talent management / HCM space. Likely targets mentioned included Cornerstone OnDemand, SilkRoad, SumTotal, Saba, with a few suggesting Halogen, Peoplefluent, and others. In short, someone is going to buy something else.

The Meaning of the Deal?

What does this mean we all asked, much like the tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant as was suggested by the leading light Naomi Bloom. Early viewpoints on the acquisition included:

  • Continuing IBM’s move into social media and analytics
  • Continuing IBM’s move into professional services including strengthening RPO
  • Disrupting the HCM market and becoming a talent management player
  • Delivering value to the HR executive
  • Delivering value to the C-suite and bypassing HR
  • Primarily being a HRO deal with some software attached
  • Primarily being a software deal with some HRO attached
  • Upping competition with SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and even Workday
  • Selling into Kenexa’s IBM-like customer base of Fortune 500 clients.

IBM’s news crossed many markets including HRO, HCM, HR tech (software, platform, cloud, etc.), BPO, social media, talent management, and financial and market analysts. Each commenter viewed the same information through the lens of their personal perspective and professional interest, much like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant.

With so many options before it, including IBM’s own announced intentions for the addition of Kenexa, the opportunities are new and exciting. Given the inherent complexities, IBM will face many risks as well. Look for more on The Parable of IBM and Kenexa coming in Part II.

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TCS HRO Delivers Certainty

August 30, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

 NelsonHall’s HRO team really enjoys service provider briefings and we recently had one with Tata Consulting Services (TCS).  It was great to have a conversation with the TCS HRO team about their plans and activities. There was a lot to catch up on as they have been very active growing, adding clients, and expanding their global footprint for HRO services and delivery.

TSC offers the following HRO services:

  • Workforce administration
  • Payroll
  • Talent management
  • Resourcing
  • Benefits
  • Employee service center services.

The company is growing its set of global service centers which includes India, China, U.S., U.K., Hungry, Brazil, and Uruguay, its newest center. Supporting a total of ~500,000 employees in 27 languages, it offers options for onshore, nearshore, and offshore service delivery.

TSC HRO clients are spread globally with its largest client base in the U.S., followed by Asia Pacific, EMEA, and Latin America. Currently, the majority of its clients are large market with embedded ERPs to support, and like most MPHRO service providers, TSC supports multiple client ERPs including SAP and PeopleSoft/Oracle. It also supports regional ERPs like Adam and Revolution in Latin America and Chris 21 in Australia. TCS has added its own SAP-based global HR platform for SaaS and SaaS with BPO services.  The SaaS HCM option will support its fastest growing middle market segment, as well as be an option for larger clients ready to consolidate and change outdated systems “lock, stock, and barrel.” For example, for a market research company, TCS consolidated 50+ various HR systems onto its global HR platform across 48 countries in less than a year.  

I frequently comment on the need for buyers to align HRO use with a strategic HR plan that outlines what is needed for what you are doing today, as well what is needed to achieve your long-term objectives. TCS has a client maturity model for its services; it works with potential new clients to assess their current state and helps clients find the “fit and affordability” roadmap that is right for them. The process has been so successful that TCS is retrofitting the tool and assessment for existing clients as well.

A briefing is about the numbers, and it is also an opportunity to learn more about what makes a vendor distinctive and what its approach is to the HRO marketplace. For TCS, a global IT company based in India, one would expect to see an emphasis on technology solutions, IT-support, quality, process standardization, etc. and all that is there. In addition, however, TCS HRO has a focus on “delivering certainty,” not just correct transactions, but improved performance that builds long-term client relationships with the flexibility to meet changing business needs. Having established a solid base of services and customers from which to grow, we look forward to covering the next chapter in TCS’ success.

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Bridging Talent Management and Workforce Management with HRO

August 3, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

One of the hottest topics in HR and HRO has been talent management (TM), including everything from recruiting and RPO to performance management and employee engagement. Major ERP vendors have snapped up TM software leaders to strengthen HR product lines, e.g., SAP and SuccessFactors; Oracle and Taleo. Very good moves and very on trend, but let’s not forget about the less flashy powerhouse: workforce management (WM).

TM and WM are both critical components of human capital management (HCM) and depending on definitions and models, there can be a lot of overlap. For my purpose here, TM is about the individual and the capabilities for a specific job position and WM is about groups of workers and managing multiple positions.

TM involves attracting, retaining, and developing people with the required capabilities according to requested volumes and performance management. WM involves workforce planning and forecasting the capabilities and volumes needed and day-to-day scheduling and time and attendance. It takes both processes to have the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right places, at the right time.

Let’s consider two more elements, HR analytics and ROI, that will also benefit from seamless HR systems and processes, which our dear HRO community can enable and deliver. Timely and accurate workforce data is a foundation block upon which HR is built. At least part of the drive for multi-country payroll has been to get better employee data, and there is an important feeder into payroll: time reporting. Today’s leading time and attendance systems offer great flexibility in capturing the detailed data needed for payroll plus analyses of productivity, labor costing, pricing, project billing, workforce planning, etc.

Everybody wants to tie HR and HRO to ROI. Lowering the cost of HR operations alone is not enough. We must show real impact in measurable business results. Simplifying a bit, TM supports improved business results through customer satisfaction and revenues generated; WM supports improved business results through optimizing SG&A via operations and reducing losses.

Many HRO offerings come in basic and advanced levels. HRO providers– ensure you offer both levels of time and attendance, scheduling, and attendance management services. Buyers – take the time to determine whether advanced workforce management services will not only provide better data, but will pay for itself through reductions in overtime and the impact of absences. Also, for many positions and industries, ensuring all customer-facing seats are filled at the right capacity, capability, and time has a direct link to productivity and revenues. Finally, don’t forget about compliance with wage, hour, and labor regulations where accurate records and proactive scheduling are a great defense against fines and losses.

HR and HRO in partnership can be the bridge to strengthen TM and WM across the entire human capital value chain.

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The Logic in Logica’s Focus on MPHRO

July 16, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Logica has long been an HRO service provider in the U.K. and Europe. With much of its HRO revenues from payroll, it has been a bit quiet on the multi-process HRO (MPHRO) front. So I wasn’t sure that I saw the logic in Logica’s increased investment in MPHRO capabilities, especially when there are other major MPHRO players already in the economy-constrained market.

The HRO group at Logica recognized the developing opportunity for MPHRO as some buyers, especially second generation HRO users and multi-country businesses, began to want more than just transactional low-cost contracts. This created space for an HRO partner to help clients transform HR to increase business and workforce agility in responding to rapidly changing market conditions.

Logica is emphasizing its transformational HRO capabilities by:

  • Assisting organizations to align their HR objectives and services with those of the wider organization and manage HR against business goals such as increased employee engagement
  • Change management and ensuring that change management is both carried out up-front and carried through to a detailed sub-process level using service simulations to promote operational change as necessary
  • Composing a common HR process taxonomy to be used as a common language across both outsourced processes and the retained HR processes
  • Program management and its real-time PMO tools.

In terms of process design, the company is looking to use a set of standard Logica HR processes for Logica-delivered processes; for client-retained HR processes, it will provide workflow tools. Logica is also looking to encourage innovation beyond minor process improvements by establishing jointly managed innovation funds and innovation groups with its clients.

In technology terms, Logica currently supplements Oracle’s PeopleSoft HCM 9.1 and Oracle’s E-Business Suite with specialist HR applications where necessary. It may also consider SAP-based HRMS implementations downstream.

To date, the investments are starting to pay off. BPO, including HRO, was the fastest growing segment for Logica in FY 2011, up 23.8%. In the last 12 months, Logica has also been awarded several major MPHRO contracts including:

  • BAE Systems:  a six year contract supporting 33,000 participants in the U.K. with a new single-tenant, hosted Oracle HR platform; payroll services; absence and attendance; employee care; and administration services in support of talent management functions including recruiting and learning
  • Ahold, a Dutch headquartered supermarket retailer: a nine year contract supporting ~100,000 participants in the Netherlands, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic with a new Oracle PeopleSoft 9.1 platform; HR administration services; HR service desk; and payroll services, which will be subcontracted to ADP.

Other MPHRO contracts were awarded by a British telecom and a Swedish financial services firm, both for five years.

Logica is well underway working its five year roadmap for services development, which includes strategic new services, increasing its partnership ecosystem, and practical elements like adding more mobile apps. Logica is also a relationship-focused partner, and that trust factor, along with results realization from the new wins, will help it continue to grow in MPHRO. Logical indeed!

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Countdown to the 2012 HR Technology Conference

July 10, 2012

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

This year’s HR Technology Conference is just twelve weeks away. It will be held in Chicago from October 8–10. Be sure to check out the agenda, especially the new outsourcing track, which includes the following presentations:

  • Cisco Uses RPO to Hire Up to 15,000 a Year, presented by Mark Hamberlin, VP of HR Global Staffing at Cisco and Rebecca Callahan, President of Randstad Sourceright
  • Ericsson Outsources Global Payroll in Manila, presented by Mark Howes, HR Director of Asia Pacific at Ericsson and Mary Sue Rogers, Global Managing Director of HR Managed Services at Talent2
  • Benefits in a Time of Uncertainty, a panel discussion including Artell Smith from Aon Hewitt, Brian Johnson from Fidelity Investments, Norbert Englert from Mercer, Gail McKee from Towers Watson, and Tom Maddison from Xerox Corporation
  • Whirlpool Leverages RPO to Transform Talent Acquisition, presented by Lynanne Kunkel, VP of HR at Whirlpool North America and Rudy Karsan, CEO of Kenexa.

I’ve attended the conference the last two years and continue to find it an invaluable investment of my time to:

  • Attend presentations
  • View technology exhibits
  • Network with peers.

Presentations: In addition to Outsourcing, session topics include:

  • Strategic View
  • Talent Management
  • Social in the Enterprise
  • Workforce Analytics and Planning
  • HCM and Workforce Management
  • Recruiting
  • Expert Discussions.

Whether your company has outsourced or continues to do everything internally, there are bound to be several sessions that will teach you how to improve HR in your organization and be a better business partner. When I was on the buy-side prior to joining NelsonHall, I would attend such HR conferences to:

  • Learn about the broader industry
  • Think about how our HR outsourcing contract compared to others
  • Get ideas on improvements we could make.

Technology Exhibits: Since technology is changing so rapidly, it is often difficult to keep up with new applications that are available. The conference is a great way to get exposed to a broad-range of recent innovations, e.g., ADP’s Mobile Application, talent management offerings, etc. You can stop by any booth and see a demo; there is no pressure and vendors are excited about their new products and services and are happy to show you.

So here is your chance to make a difference at your organization; you might stumble onto a better, more user-friendly technology for example. Even if you are not the decision-maker, you can always tell your organization about it when you return and request a customized demo. Alternatively, if you are already outsourcing, you might see something that you don’t have and can bring it to your provider’s attention.

Network: The conference provides an opportunity to expand your network with others including HR practitioners, buyers, providers, analysts, etc. I also like to meet individually with companies I do business with and others I want to learn more about. In addition to the daytime events, there are evening socials too. HR deserves to have fun!

As a reader of my blog, you are entitled to a discount. Register for the conference and enter promotion code HRO12 to save $500.

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Kenexa and Aon Hewitt New Product Offerings Help Clients Hire, Engage, and Retain Talent

June 18, 2012

By Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Kenexa’s RPO business has been growing, including globally as evidenced by its five year RPO contract with Eli Lilly to provide services in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

Kenexa has been expanding its business with new service offerings including those focused on talent management. Two new product offerings that help clients hire, engage, and retain talent include:

  • Fit Compass
  • Career Bull’s Eye.

Kenexa calls these offerings Performance Accelerators.

Fit Compass: helps clients determine the quality of the hire by providing managers with an interview guide to help probe for candidate strengths, work styles, and challenges of how they would fit into the culture of the organization. Fit Compass can also be used for employee development and career planning, team building, and team effectiveness.

Career Bull’s Eye: determines an employee’s level of engagement by assessing their purpose, passion and pay. It then helps business leaders identify where in the organization they need to focus by finding out causes of disengagement so it can make improvements and reduce turnover. It can also be used when onboarding new hires to ensure that they are engaged to avoid turnover. Results are shared during quarterly business reviews with the client. Both products are available as standalone services or can be bundled with other RPO service offerings.

Aon Hewitt provides RPO as both a part of its HR BPO offering and as a standalone service. Aon Hewitt’s RPO business has been growing globally as well. Examples include its HR BPO contract with BP where it provides RPO in North America and EMEA, and its recent contract award with a professional services company to provide RPO as a standalone service in EMEA and North America. Aon Hewitt has two new products that help organizations transform their hiring process:

  • SourceSprint
  • Digital interviewing capabilities.

SourceSprint: keeps applicants in a talent community for possible placement with other opportunities. Often when an organization fills a job requisition, other applicants are lost after the new hire comes on board. While the applicants may not have gotten the job they applied for, they may be good candidates for other opportunities. But, finding them again is problematic. SourceSprint changes that by using social media, optimization of search engines, and mobile communications to keep these prospects in a talent community. It remembers how applicants were originally found and their preferred communication.

Digital interviewing capabilities: improves the efficiency and experience of the hiring process for both candidates and hiring managers. Through its partnership with HireVue, Aon Hewitt clients can use the HireVue Digital Interview Platform to ask candidates scientifically validated questions that will ensure consistency and objectivity across interviews. Candidates then use a webcam to record their answers. Since it is not a live interview, candidates can respond from anywhere at their convenience, and hiring managers can watch and share the recorded interviews with colleagues anywhere.

Given these types of continuous innovative offerings, it’s no surprise to me that RPO has been rapidly growing as clients seek to attract, engage, and retain talent, while improving the efficiency of the recruitment process at the same time!

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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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