Mercer Digital Looks to be a Leading Indicator

Consulting firm Mercer has introduced Mercer Digital, which it describes as an “innovative approach to empowering organizations for the workforce and workplace of the future.”

HR Technology at WorkAccording to its web site, Mercer Digital offers “solutions across the full value chain — from digital strategy to organization design and workforce change — helping organizations move effortlessly into a digital future.” It does this by “providing fully integrated digital business and technology solutions across people, process, strategy and the C-suite.” The result will “[redefine] the way organizations are using technology and leveraging analytics — and transforming the way work gets done.”

What’s this mean? To us, the answer lies in breaking down Mercer Digital’s component parts. Essentially, it packages the services of several companies Mercer recently acquired, along with those of a couple of partners.

The Mercer-owned components are:

  • CPSG Partners, which specializes in Workday implementations, integrations and consulting.
  • Thomsons Online Benefits, which offers a benefits management and engagement platform called Darwin that integrates with existing tools.
  • Sirota Consulting, which focuses on assessment, engagement and leadership development.

The other ingredients are Talent Tech Labs, an incubator and advisory-services company focused on HCM technology, in which Mercer has an investment, and CareerArc, a social recruiting and outplacement firm with which Mercer has a strategic alliance.

On July 19, Mercer announced that Rohit Mehrotra will be Mercer Digital’s CEO, reporting to Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s career business. Mehrotra was a founder and CEO of CPSG and remains global leader of Mercer’s Workday business.

It’s also worth noting that within a day, Mercer and PayScale announced a strategic alliance aimed at creating advanced compensation data and software solutions. As part of the deal, Mercer will take an equity stake in PayScale, though terms weren’t disclosed.

In their press release, the companies said the partnership factors in Mercer Digital’s goal of supporting organizations who transition to “new models of work that are enabled by digital technologies.” On a more prosaic note, the deal also gives them a way to leverage each other’s sales channels.

Mercer Digital: A Reasonable Bet on the Future

Despite all the grand talk of the digital future and fully integrated solutions, our initial impression is that Mercer’s basically taking steps toward keeping up with the times, but doing it in a pretty smart way. Mercer’s well-known in the benefits space and, according to Source Media Research, benefits make up a big chunk of planned HCM technology spending during 2017.

So Mercer’s bringing its expertise into the digital world. It’s also taken note of the emphasis many HCM tech professionals put on integration. With Mercer Digital’s package, the company will be able to provide “a seamless experience on the whole chain, from thinking strategically to taking advantage [of] digital technologies without having employers have to go through multiple vendors.” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s career business, in Employee Benefit News.

Jacques Goulet, senior partner and president of Mercer’s health and wealth businesses, sounded a similar note when he said Mercer wants to take client relationships “to the next level by helping clients transition to a technologically-driven environment to streamline work processes and make data analytics, AI and advanced technologies part of the business.”

Bonic told Employee Benefits News that work on Mercer Digital began after the company studied its 2017 Global Talent Trends survey. He said CEOs were focusing on changing organizations, “and as we dug into it, we understood it as an opportunity for digital technologies.”

At the same time, Mercer saw that HR’s priorities didn’t align “with change management of that magnitude. With such significant trends, we started to think there was a substantial need in the market to bring both capability to help organizations make a digital transformation and bring their employees along.”

When you consider that the Talent Trends study was just released in March, you have to give Mercer credit for moving fast. We doubt that any significant technology developments were completed in the last three or so months, but Mercer Digital certainly indicates one of HR’s big guns is taking the growth of HCM and business technology seriously.

Image: Mercer

Updated July 20 to add news of Rohit Mehrotra’s appointment as CEO.

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