With €6 billion worth of deals discussed at this year’s record-breaking event, the Brussels conference drew buyers and providers alike to Europe’s largest outsourcing event.
A record €6 billion in deals discussed highlighted this year’s HRO World Europe Conference held at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels November 15-16. The second-year event also shattered last year’s attendance record with more than 335 participants.
“That probably represents a 40-percent increase from last year’s deal flow at the conference,” according to Harry Feinberg, chairman of Outsourcing Today, the publisher of HRO Today and co-producer of the event.
The second annual event, which featured in-depth presentations by global buyers and providers, was a testament to the rapid growth of HRO and affirmed high interest among human resource professionals in Europe and the U.S. Representatives from companies such as Unilever, ISS Netherlands, Rhodia, British Telecom, Royal Mail Holdings, CSFB as well as numerous service providers packed the Conrad Hotel to network, listen to, and discuss the state of HRO today.
In addition to comprehensive coverage of business process alignment and transformation, the conference has become Europe’s premier venue for buyers and providers to network and share best practices. More than three dozen presenters focused on the value of outsourcing as well as internal shared-services centers (often considered the precursor to outsourcing) to the enterprise. Of particular interest is a highly anticipated announcement by Unilever of its plans to globally outsource its business processes.
“The HR transformation trend reached the ‘tipping point’ at the 2005 conference at the Conrad Hotel. The over-300 participants and the conference content reflected the current status of the HR transformation sector: a huge iceberg ready to emerge as soon as countries like Germany or France become more confident in the advantages offered by HR shared services, outsourcing, and advanced technology,” said Andrew Kris, chairman of the advisory board of Brussels-based Shared Services and Business Process Outsourcing Association (SBPOA), which co-produced the conference.
This year’s conference saw a number of notable firsts. The HRO Association European Chapter held it inaugural board meeting, with Philippe Gluntz, Chairman Emeritus of ADP, heading the meeting as its new chairman. Keynote speaker Tony McCarthy, group HR director of the 200,000-employee Royal Mail, for the first time openly discussed the British postal service’s options for realizing additional business process transformation efficiencies. Unilever’s Guy-Joel de Lhoneux, VP HR shared services development, presented his firm’s first-ever multi-towered business process outsourcing project, which will be one of the world’s largest to be announced in 2006.
First announced at the conference was the world’s largest merger of sourcing advisors, Equaterra and TPI. The combination will create a sourcing advisory superpower, more than double the size of its nearest competitor.
HRO World Europe also featured the coining of new phrases. Mary-Sue Rogers, the human capital management global leader of IBM, called today’s €40 billion HRO market “glocal,” a combination of global and local provider service centers. Jos Sluys, CEO of ARINSO, came up with the “HRO hub-and-spoke” concept, which describes the relationship between a central service-center connection with local service points.
The conference also featured a record number of world-class sponsors. Lead sponsors included Accenture HR Services, Adecco, ADP, ARINSO, ExcellerateHRO, Hewitt, IBM, and SAP. Sponsors included ACS, Borderless Executive Search, Convergys, EquaTerra, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and LogicaCMG. Networking sponsors included Hewitt, PA Consulting, and the HRO Association. Exhibitors included Access, International Herald Tribune, Mr. Ted, and Recruitmax.
The event will be scheduled again at the Conrad, with the date to be determined. For more information about attending or sponsorships, contact Harry Feinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.