HRO Heaven

India has become home to many outsourced business processes, including human resources functions, with many companies drawn to it because of its lower cost base. The challenge now, as Caroline Brown explains to Jim Banks, is for the country’s outsourcing providers to add value to their services.

The cost case for outsourcing basic administrative processes in the human resources function to India has long been clear. Paying in rupees for services that compete favourably in terms of quality can generate significant savings, hence the rapid growth in the popularity of India’s human resources outsourcing (HRO) providers.

"Paying in rupees for services that compete favourably in terms of quality can generate significant savings."

Traditionally, these services providers have taken on the more standard processes, and have made good business of it, but there is a growing opportunity to provide more sophisticated HRO services, while new entrants to the market have the chance to steal a march on industry incumbents.

Caroline Brown, global HRO practice lead for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) says: ‘TCS has aspired to leap ahead of its major Indian competitors and away from traditional ‘lift and shift’ BPO (business process outsourcing) by moving to transformation HRO, offered by some of the large HRO providers, such as IBM and Accenture, but at a more advantageous cost point.


TCS has built up a strong reputation for IT services, business solutions, consultancy and business process outsourcing (BPO). Its experience spans finance and accounting, knowledge process outsourcing, supply chain management, payroll and benefits administration across a range of industries, and the company has been able to use this a the basis for its latest offering as it moves into HRO.

Over the last year, TCS has devoted significant time, money and resources to the development of its HRO offering, and the return has been surprisingly quick.

‘We have gone in a year from deciding to get into the HRO market space to delivering on our first global deal and finding ourselves down-selected on a number of other global deals,’ says Brown. ‘This has been down to focused investment in people, process and technology. TCS has recruited experienced people with many years' HRO experience from many of the key players, but has also invested heavily in the development of its SAP platform and operational delivery capabilities.'

Leveraging its systems expertise, TCS has built its technology platform to underpin the whole of its full-service HRO offering, which offers clients the cost advantages that any Indian service provider could claim and also allows HR to be managed in a strategic way that benefits the organisation as a whole.


While it cannot point to a long history in the HRO market, TCS is a well-established Indian company that has shown a commitment to BPO, becoming a trusted partner for many multinational companies. Its status as one of India’s preferred employers enables it to attract and retains some of the country’s top talent.

Its stability and high standing in the market have allowed it to target a new market sector with a more sophisticated offering and convince large corporations to sign up to its HRO services.

TCS is currently rolling out a BPO platform for AC Nielsen, which will include end-to-end financial services, as well as HR processes such as workforce administration, global reporting and payroll.

‘We look at an organisation’s total cost of delivering HR globally, and often a significant reduction is possible by letting us host and manage HR applications as well as service the broader needs of an HR department,’ says Brown. ‘We can help an organisation uncover additional revenue and take out cost from the whole business, not just the HR department.

‘We admit that we are new to the market, but that is why we are willing to work more with clients to develop a service that is exceptional. We have a very open, collaborative approach that is more like partnership. We create an environment where both sides can address together any problems that arise. It as important to us to create that cultural fit,’ she adds.

TCS is certainly proving that the growing HRO market has room for sophisticated new entrants.