Posted tagged ‘vendor profiles’

Targeting Payroll BPO, Part II

April 26, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

There is so much in my colleague Gary Bragar’s NelsonHall Targeting Payroll BPO market analysis that I will cover a few more items this week. The payroll market is divided into three parts: payroll software services; service bureau payroll (also called managed payroll, where the vendor manages payroll production and the client manages data input and employee help desk services); and payroll business process outsourcing (where the end-to-end payroll process is outsourced, including tier 1 and tier 2 employee help desk support).

Payroll BPO market share is growing

Payroll BPO is what NelsonHall follows most of all, and it is a growing part of the overall payroll market. Even as SaaS payroll products become more ubiquitous, many clients will still want support for the whole process. We can see some of the reasons why in the changing pattern of client requirements. As I covered in the first Targeting Payroll blog, cost remains the number one priority. However, other needs have increased in importance over time:

  • Standardization of centralization of processes and technology: Instead of defending customization, now buyers are demanding standardization to increase efficiency and reduce costs from maintaining disparate systems
  • Compliance/risk management: Compliance with ever-more complex and changing regulations and work rules needs the time and attention of fulltime experts. For example, in Europe the complexity of regulations combined with employee populations spread over multiple countries adds to the challenges of compliance
  • Better employee experience: Users want access that is easier and simpler, including 24×7 access to data, self-service, and mobile. Payroll self-service is widely available and has become table stakes. The vendors that deliver the most useful mobile applications, the fastest and with the greatest security, will create valuable market differentiation.
  • Payroll subject matter expertise: Clients expect improved quality of payroll with augmented accuracy, which can lower overpayment and off-cycle payroll runs.

Payroll Cost #1 with a new spin

While cost remains the number-one client requirement, there is a new aspect and it is the same one NelsonHall is seeing in other HRO areas; balancing cost with value. Value for price is especially understood by second- and third-generation buyers who indicate their willingness to change vendors to get it!

Payroll Analytics

It has been my view for some time that the focus on improved payroll processes and systems is driven by more than the need to pay employees timely and accurately. It is also driven by the need to manage the total cost of labor with real-time access to data and analytics for decision-making that leads to improved business performance. Payroll is increasingly being seen as a valuable management strategic tool, and clients will be looking to payroll BPO providers to help them access and develop workforce analytics expertise.

It great to see how dynamic the payroll outsourcing industry has become!

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Targeting Payroll BPO, Part I

April 18, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The NelsonHall Targeting Payroll BPO report has recently been released by my colleague, Gary Bragar. Payroll is such a well-accepted mainstay of HR outsourcing that it’s nice to see it still showing steady growth year after year.

Gary regularly produces the payroll market analysis, and profiles leading vendors in this space. Over time you can see how what seems like a basic service has grown, evolved and increased in strategic importance. What has not changed is that buyers are looking for savings by outsourcing payroll. The good news is that payroll BPO delivers: first-time payroll outsourcing can save from 15% to +40% depending on the degree of complexity and variables (like the number of locations, with everything from a single location to more than 100 countries).

The full report includes more on what buyers want from payroll outsourcing and what’s key in vendor selection; including where data needs vary between the mid-market and large market. Here are a few highlights of the report:

Why Outsource Payroll?

Cost saving remains the number-one reason to outsource payroll, and several nuances have been added including:

  • Clients want a more variable cost structure and less fixed costs
  • Savings now often include not having to refresh client technology (cost avoidance)
  • Simplifying payroll after a series of M&As or restructurings reduces cost
  • Reduction in payroll losses from ineligible and overpayments.

Centralization and standardization of process and technology has increased in importance, similar to what has been seen in other HRO areas. Where clients used to want customization, many are now seeing the benefits of standardization to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and to increase timely access to accurate payroll data across the enterprise.

With constantly-changing regulations and taxation across multiple jurisdictions, accuracy, compliance and risk management remain core payroll benefits.

Multi-Country Payroll

For MNCs, multi-country payroll remains a sought-after capability. MNCs want one vendor, one contract, and one payroll platform. Also wanted is visibility to aggregated costs and data reporting, in addition to the flexibility and scalability to add or change geographies.

Payroll BPO vendors have responded to the blended needs of clients for cost savings and global coverage by:

  • Increasing nearshore and offshore service centers
  • Partnering for coverage in some countries
  • Offering multiple technology platforms from SaaS to ERPs.

Pricing Pressure

Given the focus on cost reduction, pricing pressure should be no surprise. This is a market with many mature and capable suppliers, which in itself adds competitive pricing pressure and the need for differentiation to focus on value as well as cost.

As an indicator of payroll service provider capabilities to compete, I earlier mentioned the steady year-over-year revenue growth. That growth has been achieved at the same time as the average price per-payslip has fallen significantly over the last three years!

There is so much more in the Targeting Payroll BPO market analysis, look for more highlights in a future blog.

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