Measurement and Governance Ain’t Easy, but they Will Improve Your Bottom Line

Do you have the following things in your company today?

  • Business processes that are all documented in a central repository with training material and examples.
  • Baseline of all those processes, including number of units, processing time per unit on average, effort hours required to do the work and error rates.
  • On-going measurements of those baselines updated in real time.
  • Service level agreements within your departments or functional areas that are well-defined in writing and include the accountability or consequences of meeting them or not.
  • Company level financial and productivity objectives over a multi-year period attached to process improvement.
  • The answer to this question is why we are in business! We spent years in the HR Service industry in the U.S. and the answer was categorically, “Hell, no.” from our own experience, so don’t worry if you had the same reply.

    It is not uncommon to lack ISO or Six Sigma process expertise in a mid-market HR Services business, nor is it something that can’t be fixed. The reality is that you are lean and mean and your day-to-day work doesn’t allow your key people to invest the time in this level of detail. So kill two birds with one stone!

    That is why you hire a collaborative BPO partner like Cognet. We have already documented hundreds of HR processes that look just like yours, so we know how to get there quickly, if needed. Sure, you may run different software and have some “special sauce”, but more than likely it isn’t something we haven’t seen, done or improved upon before.

    The initial shock of improving your business is based on measurement and transparency. Your company will go from a culture of unrecorded amounts and quality of work to the polar opposite. The numbers and reality will be right there on the table, well actually, on your custom customer portal, and in real time.

    There are bumps along this path, but we know how to guide you. We can see the “us vs. them” mentality coming and know it all too well. The difference is that we only join with collaborative partners, and even though we have to bring some team members along from time-to-time, it is a long-term solution and search for excellence.

    You can’t improve a process that isn’t documented, or worse has no historical measurements of units and errors to show what is good or bad. Once you have it, the emotions get involved and that is where good governance takes hold. We govern through those periods by making sure that we all understand that recorded errors are a good thing, they lead to process improvement. You can’t improve a process without errors, they define it.

    Cognet has a wealth of “hands on” HR Services industry experience and has transitioned many processes in the last five years. We can see the bumps and cultural challenges before they happen. We inject governance as the tool to constantly monitor and improve your company’s back office to excellence. We become part of your team on many levels and strive to meet your company’s long-term goals, not just a lower cost of transaction.

    If you are interested in bringing documentation, measurement and process improvement into your company without hiring another person, call us today.

    Data Entry or Domain Expertise

    Once you made the decision to go BPO, how do you select the right partner?

    That starts with what your requirements are, and is no different than many of your every day decisions as a consumer. You get what you pay for!

    Let’s consider that VoIP phone you want to put in your home office for a moment. Sure, you can go on Amazon and find a refurbished model of phone at a bargain, and so you do. How hard can it be to hook that bad boy up to a router and follow some instructions?

    Well, you find out after waiting on hold with everyone involved and an entire Saturday is gone forever. The phone manufacturer blames your router, the router company only services people with maintenance contracts and tells you to go to their web site and the internet company runs for the hills the moment you mention that four letter word.

    In contrast, you find someone online who sells, installs and services the same system. Heck, he will even tell you which service providers are best and for what application. Do you want a call center or just an extension? The minute he gets to your house he notices that your router is not the most compatible with the phone you selected. But no problem, he’s got one in the truck that works fine and will hook it up. Result, Saturday fishing with that important prospect or college football with the family, not frustration.

    Why would this be any different with a BPO? It isn’t!

    There are two types of vendors in this realm. There are manufacturers and specialists.

    Manufacturers do just that with your data and processes. Sure, you get a similar level of documentation and process work, but there is a reason for it. The focus is on data entry and repeatable tasks that can be defeated by throwing bodies at it, not experience. Nothing wrong with it, by the way, and it may be your model. But it comes with limitations, and as we said before, you get what you pay for all of the time.

    Cognet is a specialist! We employ many of the same practices as our large friends in the BPO business. Of course, we want to build proper process documentation and training material to ensure long-term success! However, we are also interested in applying our deep subject matter expertise to ensure that we provide you the most value add possible, not just cut your cost of data entry. We are interested in building sustainable business models that increase customer experience, shareholder value and productivity over time.

    We share our industry knowledge and build custom solutions to support our clients’ business models. We provide a holistic model with a unique combination of BPO, finance and accounting outsourcing and the right information technology support. We are not a one-size-fits-all vendor of all things, but a part of your company. So let us know if you are interested in learning more at

    HR Service Providers:Technology is Not the Problem; Outsourcing is the Best Long-Term Solution

    Have you ever bought software? You remember, there was that PowerPoint presentation that they proudly presented with the 410 percent ROI you will receive by purchasing their “game changing” technology. Oh sure, there may be millions of dollars up front for licensing, set-up fees and an endless stream of consultants to get your initial install up and running. But, think of how cool your company will be when you get to replace all of your employees with software. That will lower health care costs more than Congress, for sure!

    We have all had that conversation only to wake up the next day to reality. While the technology did improve your marketing position and maybe cut a head or two, it did not yield the massive savings promised in the initial pitch.

    There is also another hitch – the infamous “Five-Year Cost of Ownership” analysis that your finance nerd did for you on the side. Funny, it was right-on as far as IT assets and costs go, but it never mentioned the manual work you picked up importing time or sending direct deposit files to the bank. Oops!

    You made that ten-year investment in a core technology solution to be in the HR services business, that is a given. Here are a few more that come to mind from experience of our own:

  • Processing Payroll is as simple as steps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9…
  • They must have forgotten the magic Benefits Recon toolsets in the initial version of the software. You know, the one that allows you to download billing data from the carrier site and automatically do a recon like balancing a checkbook in QuickBooks.
  • Report writers are obviously not the focus or forte of some software vendors. Sure, maybe they bolted on Cognos, JasperSoft or something cool but that requires additional skills and work to get your clients what they really want.
  • Workflow to a service bureau is like AA batteries on Christmas morning, they are not included.
  • Thought that Cash Management module they threw in for free would aid you in pushing batch files to banks and easily knowing which client paid you. Think again, my friends!
  • So the harsh reality of a well thought out, long-term decision is that there are consequences that lead to work being performed by people. Your sales representative is at least three jobs along now that you figure that out, but the dinner at Capital Grille was pretty awesome at the closing party.

    The most valid long-term solution to improving your business beyond technology is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). It is the gift that keeps on giving. Technology will come and go, be added upon with third-party tools that fill the gaps and continue to amuse your IT folks ’til the cows come home. But the application of cost effective assets who know their stuff and will increase productivity no matter what software you run is where it is at, people.

    You can’t replace good process, no matter how much technology you buy! So you do what you do when a complex legal situation arises? Bring in the experts.

    The right BPO will help you identify, document, measure and improve the process gaps in that technology. Those are the hidden costs of technology. Rather than fixing them at a high price internally, you can get it in writing and guaranteed from Cognet. We will plug those black holes of process with ISO expertise, deep industry knowledge and governance to ensure accountability.

    Once we collectively find those gaps, we will cut your costs in half and continue to improve them with measurement and allow you to focus on service and sales, not transaction-based tasks.

    The best path to shareholder value is the long one, which combines technology and process at the right cost. Talk to us to learn more.