Published on 29-May-2010
"Giving IBM MBPS for HR our administrative functions gives us time to devote to talent management, compensation, developing skills and expertise, and helping the business grow. " - - Barbara Brickmeier, vice president, HR, services delivery and HR delivery
To support the need to capitalize on talent worldwide, IBM’s human resources (HR) organization needed to transform its HR processes so that HR professionals could focus on employee and strategic needs.
Better attract, motivate, transfer and retain talent to support IBM’s transformation to a globally integrated enterprise
End-to-end HR transformation, facilitated by transformation experts, standardized and automated processes, innovative technology, and advanced delivery options
. Enhanced ability to support global business strategies, growth and revenues . Innovative breakthroughs, greater efficiency, reduced errors and speedier service delivery . Improved productivity, service quality and response time . Continuous improvement of processes and services for IBM HR and external clients
IBM HR rises to the transformational challenge
Creating cycles of improvement
Over the past decade IBM has undergone a significant and well-publicized transformation, turning a strong multinational business into a globally integrated enterprise. Such companies integrate production and value delivery worldwide by placing business functions where they are best located, based on the right costs and skills.
To remain aligned with this strategy and support other business needs, IBM’s human resources (HR) organization analyzed its own functions and processes, separating core HR roles, such as designing policy and internal business consulting, from noncore back-office administrative tasks.
“We were spending an inordinate amount of time on processing and administrative aspects, operating technology, and a lot of foundational things that were not adding a lot of business value,” said Barbara Brickmeier, vice president, HR services delivery.
In 2003, HR leaders enlisted IBM Managed Business Process Services (MBPS) for HR to provide a set of noncore back-office services, so HR professionals could focus on employee and strategic needs. The arrangement has helped streamline HR services, increase efficiencies and reduce costs, while improving service quality and flexibility. In
turn, the relationship helped IBM MBPS for HR build a foundation on which to become the market leader in HR business transformation outsourcing it is today.
Learning from each other
IBM MBPS for HR now brings advanced delivery models to companies worldwide, parlaying clients’ input into improvements and innovations that return value to IBM HR. “It’s very much a two-way exchange and very beneficial,” said Brickmeier. “A lot of companies want to benchmark with us, to compare strategies, stories, tactics.”
“We want to be able to focus on getting the right talent at the right time, in the right place. Because if we don’t, someone else is right behind us.”
—Barbara Brickmeier, vice president, HR, services delivery and HR delivery
In turn, IBM HR seeks guidance from other companies. “When it was clear that we would be better served by consolidating process support in some new locations, like Manila, we talked to other commercial clients to understand what they had done, how they had done it, what to watch out for, best practices and so on,” she said. “I think IBM MBPS for HR has learned from us, too. For example, in the beginning, we encouraged them to hire subject matter experts in payroll, mobility, travel and other HR processes—and they did. They hired a lot of very good people.” This symbiotic relationship, together with the breadth and depth of IBM solutions, continues to help transform companies and enhance services across the globe.
Becoming a globally integrated enterprise
As part of our ongoing transformation, IBM focuses on repeatable success, disseminating solutions country by country. Now in more than 170 countries and with 62 percent of our business service based, IBM sees the need to capitalize on talent worldwide. To do that, HR has shifted to a globally based, process-driven model.
Today, country and regional HR line managers work with internal customers to support local needs. Deep subject matter experts focus on key global functions such as payroll to design programs relevant to business goals. Meanwhile, administrative roles are standardized and centralized in cost-effective global employee service centers that offer
international assignment support, payroll processing, travel and expense processing, and employee records management—in multiple countries and languages.
“Giving IBM MBPS for HR our administrative functions gives us time to devote to talent management, compensation, developing skills and expertise, and helping the business grow.” —Barbara Brickmeier, vice president, HR, services delivery and HR delivery
Centralization is key, said Brickmeier: “Having one system for managing international assignments globally, one for travel and expense, one learning system, one compensation system helps reduce costs. It also allows us to move faster. When we need to make changes, we have one technology base, one outsourcing agency. We can say, ‘Here’s the change. We want you to train all your HR support teams.’ Then they do it. We only have to show them one time.”
Adding value to the bottom line
At the heart of IBM MBPS for HR are repeatable technology-enabled, cost-effective and reliable processes, such as a proprietary application for travel and expenses that allows employees to process disbursements quicker, with fewer errors and misappropriation of funds.
“If we had to do those administrative tasks, and deal with technology, we wouldn’t be able to do the things that help push the business forward, like hiring people, upskilling, leadership development and getting the right talent in place,” said Brickmeier.
“IBM MBPS for HR also helps us respond to the dynamics of the business,” she added. “For example not long ago IBM needed to move into sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to the MBPS team, we were able to do that quickly, without HR having to work out how to pay new employees and service their needs. We could devote ourselves to hiring the right people, getting the right skills, making sure everything was ready for IBM to take on new accounts as soon as possible—and increase revenues.”
“On the other hand, some markets are retrenching,” she said. “IBM MBPS for HR can help us handle those markets as well. That’s a major challenge in any HR organization. You need a partner that can help you handle both growth and deceleration.”
Sharing the benefits
The synergy between IBM HR and MBPS for HR opened the door to transformational breakthroughs. For example, leveraging the ability to service IBM’s own large employee base led to process improvements, such as segmentation of work into specialties and the pooling of resources, which boost service quality and increase productivity. And an emergency disaster response program developed for and by IBM allows HR teams to quickly identify and track employees affected by natural and other disasters. Important services like these are now available to other IBM MBPS for HR clients.
As IBM and businesses across the globe navigate a constantly changing marketplace, IBM MBPS for HR and IBM HR continue to refine service delivery. Together, for example, they have introduced a gain-sharing model to encourage increased productivity savings that can help HR channel savings into investments for even greater value.
Through it all, the symbiotic relationship among IBM HR, IBM MBPS for HR, and IBM HR outsourcing clients will remain a significant contributor to the development of new technologies and service offerings—and ever-stronger partnerships.
For more information
To learn more about IBM Managed Business Process Services for HR or human resources outsourcing, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following Web site: ibm.com/services/process.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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