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IBM-EY HR Talent Alliance Creates Game-Changer Center of Excellence


Following a year in development, IBM’s Talent Transformation division and EY’s Organization & Workforce, Mobility, Payroll Operate and HR Transformation division have announced a strategic alliance. The alliance enables the two organizations to co-create talent solutions and offers a new Center of Excellence for Talent, which could be a game-changer in terms of the HR scope it offers to the market. The COE will offer solutions with both data-driven AI and hybrid cloud to provide one of the broadest advisory, talent, HR, mobility, outsourcing and payroll transformation services available in the market, as well as offering long-standing domain expertise and delivery credibility.

This alliance cements what was an emerging model of the two organizations working together, and recognises a close cultural alignment. The alliance has naturally evolved from a number of mutual clients in the financial services sector, where the opportunities for synergies across the EY and IBM offerings were clearly demonstrated. Further, the EY and IBM talent businesses are closely entwined with a deep working knowledge and vested interest in each others’ businesses. IBM is already a client of EY for mobility and M&A services and EY is a client of IBM for Talent Acquisition, HR outsourcing services and technology services. This development also follows the formalized Financial Services Alliance that was established in April 2021 between the two organizations.

As part of the alliance, a new teaming agreement is now in place that brings a more formal framework from which to support joint client engagements.

Scope of the EY-IBM Alliance

There are four areas of focus for the EY-IBM Alliance: Talent Technology Services, HR Outsourcing Services, Payroll Services, and HR Cloud Transformation.

Talent Technology Services

The alliance now brings together the EY mobility and people experience technology assets with IBM’s talent microservices and deep expertise in platform strategy, hybrid and multi-cloud architecture.

The alliance roadmap includes transforming HR processes across recruitment, career progression & learning, and employee support. The technology vision of the new Digital HR Operating Model recognizes that technology is moving fast, and so the operational framework must enable technology to be continuously adapted as new opportunities arise; for example, through leveraging microservices and accelerators on the IBM talent platform.

HR Outsourcing Services

IBM already had significant capability running multi-process HR outsourcing contracts, plus capability to deliver talent and skills transformation services (across both recruitment and learning) blended with sophisticated data-driven analytics. Analytics and technology are differentiators of the IBM outsourcing offering,  and this new alliance enables a richer offering extending to mobility and expat services, enhancing its offerings.

Payroll Services

Both organizations have significant payroll service capability and offerings; however, the alliance offers support across 160 countries for payroll services, powered by intelligent workflows and proprietary payroll technology. The alliance means payroll services can be more easily blended between EY and IBM.

HR Cloud Transformation

To support HCM platform change (such as Workday and Oracle), implementation teams will be enabled more easily across the two organizations, with an anticipated 3X speed of deployment leveraging the bench strength, technical capability and data-driven methodologies to help transform and enrich the employee experience.

EY-IBM Alliance Governance & Target Market

The alliance will be governed by EY’s Global Talent Committee and IBM’s Talent & Transformation leadership team. Each organization has appointed a Global Alliance leader as well as regional leaders.

Where offerings overlap between IBM and EY, such as in consulting and change management, the strong client focus and cultural alignment between EY and IBM will help ensure that the client’s interests and needs are prioritized. EY and IBM have a mutual interest in measuring the NPS of the alliance clients and have the goal that the NPS are increased as a result of working closer together.

The alliance aims to target organizations where IBM and EY already have existing joint relationships. For these clients, it offers an opportunity to enhance the services without having to go to the wider open market as the partnership is already established and provider credentials already assessed.

NelsonHall Insight

There is continued pressure on organizations to source talent and support greater mobility at speed, scale and with digital processes; these processes are becoming essential for organizational growth.

Further, as organizations increasingly focus on attracting and retaining staff, they are demanding more integrated solutions. The EY-IBM Alliance can address integration more directly through richer support for both consulting and technology solutions that can embed AI and automation throughout the talent process to help simplify and streamline the end-user experience. No longer is there a rationale to transform just on cost efficiency. Delivering an ongoing superior employee experience that is being continually invested in, offering greater insight, and a roadmap for process and talent innovation over time has become key. At this time of intense competition for professional services personnel, the formation of this alliance couldn’t be more timely.

The alliance cements a new services approach to address more holistic needs across HR using rich analytics and a multi-service adaptable model supporting clients with an ambition to take employee experience and operational excellence to new heights.

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