I remember a friend that had a few big lazy dogs that spent most of their days sleeping on the front porch. If you just glanced at them, they didn’t seem to move much. But, if you watched them for a while, you would see that they would slowly moving around, getting into position for the next thing that would happen in their routine like the kids getting off the bus or someone filling their food bowl when they would spring into a flurry of movement. That slow movement may only be the moving of a leg or shifting this way or that, but as you watched, it became apparent, that they were not only getting ready, but they were jockeying for position, just in slow motion.
Some businesses are ever-changing their products and strategy, and others are those big dogs that sleep on the porch. They aren’t just lying around as they often appear to be. If you watch, they may pick up there heads, look around and then lay it back down moving them an inch or two ahead of the competition. Mercer has been doing just that lately, they’ve been scooting around on the porch getting ready for when health care and economic reform the bus unloads in their front yard.
You may have recently heard that Mercer launched its Human Capitol Connect by partnering with PeopleClick Authroia. They have a nice flash animation on their website that shows how this partnership will merge their intellectual capital as a long-standing HR consulting firm with PeopleClick Authoria’s technology. It will be interesting to watch how they grow and compete in the Talent Management space. What’s interesting though, is that while everyone was watching this big dog move its head, it was quietly moving its legs along too. I have no doubt that Mercer will be well positioned to help companies adapt to the ever-increasing number of contingent workers as we see the results of health-care and economic reforms.
Today, Mercer announced that they have acquired Innovative Process Administration, LLC (IPA). IPA has been powering Mercer’s EasyEnroll product for a while now and it just makes business sense for them to buy the technology instead of renting it now that it’s proven. However, this is more than just buying your vendor so you don’t have to pay them anymore, this is a great move on Mercer’s part to become more dominant in the middle market space for benefits administration. Along with the technology, they picked up over a 1000 new clients. You don’t have to look to far to see that the cost and complexity of benefits administration for everyone, including small and mid-sized companies is about to go through the roof as the reforms take effect. Mercer knows that there is great growth opportunity in the middle market in the coming years and they are inching their way towards it. When the time comes, they’ll be ready to bound off the porch and over that annoying little yip-yip dog.