A Bril­liant But­ler for Global Giants

Forbes - - FORBES 100TH ANNIVERSARY -

With their ever-grow­ing pres­ence on the China mar­ket, over 620 global giants rely heav­ily on the hu­man cap­i­tal man­age­ment plat­form of CDP Group for man­ag­ing their mil­lions of white col­lar work­ers. The long list in­cludes J.P. Mor­gan, Deutsche Bank, BMW, Con­ti­nen­tal AG, No­var­tis, Merck, LVMH, Her­mes, Delta Health, just to name a few. A lowkey com­pany with a high rep­u­ta­tion in its in­dus­try, CDP has pi­o­neered unas­sum­ingly the in­dus­trial in­no­va­tions with a fo­cus on cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies. Af­ter 13 years of re­lent­less de­vel­op­ment, it has es­tab­lished a dom­i­nant po­si­tion in HCM ser­vice for global com­pa­nies, and is al­ready a Top 3 player in HR BPO in China. Now, steered by Wang Wei, founder and chair­man of the com­pany, CDP is speed­ing on a new jour­ney, in­tro­duc­ing Ecosys­tem+saas to the HR ser­vice in­dus­try, with a vi­sion to em­power Chi­nese com­pa­nies to make their mark on the global stage.

Dream Big for Suc­cess

1992, a key year for China’s eco­nomic re­form, saw the first en­trepreneurial boom in the coun­try when an enor­mous wave of well-ed­u­cated Chi­nese start up their own busi­nesses. The sec­ond one, led by tech-savvy elites re­turn­ing from de­vel­oped coun­tries af­ter ad­vanced ed­u­ca­tion, came around the mil­len­nium.

And Wang was one of the best among them. Hav­ing lived and worked in Sil­i­con Val­ley for 16 years, Wang was the third em­ployee of SAP in North Amer­ica, the largest busi­ness app com­pany in the world, where he led the de­vel­op­ment of its first HR man­age­ment mo­d­ule in the re­gion. Some of the tech­nolo­gies cre­ated by him then are still in ac­tive use at Amer­i­can Air­lines for sys­tem ap­pli­ca­tions of their HR mo­d­ule. In 2000, as China wel­comed the re­turn of a drove of IT elites, Wang came home too, in the hope of bring­ing ad­vanced busi­ness con­cepts and tech­nolo­gies back to the coun­try where the IT in­dus­try was on the cusp of ex­plo­sive growth. The Sil­i­con Val­ley­honed en­tre­pre­neur tried some highly In­ter­ne­tre­lated ar­eas, such as E-com­merce and hu­man cap­i­tal man­age­ment. And it was the lat­ter one that brought suc­cess to him, and vice versa.

Match­ing his own strong suits with the mar­ket de­mand and in­dus­try life cy­cle in China, Wang in­tro­duced Saas to the HR ser­vice in­dus­try based on the con­cept of “boost ef­fi­ciency and save cost for busi­nesses”. An avant-garde in fus­ing HR ser­vice with IT tech­nol­ogy, he aimed to build a HR BRO plat­form to drive for­ward the en­tire HR in­dus­try in China, and the re­sult: CDP.

“It was a pro­gres­sive process for me to go from IT to busi­ness man­age­ment con­sult­ing, which en­abled me to de­velop a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the whole busi­ness process, op­er­a­tion sys­tem and HR man­age­ment of a com­pany, es­pe­cially a global com­pany, “said Wang, who joked that he was a tech-man. “I truly agreed with the con­cept that no mat­ter how fab­u­lous an idea or a tech­nol­ogy is, it won’t work with­out the core as­set of a com­pany, which is peo­ple.”

Over the course of time, the in­no­va­tive and dis­rup­tive con­cept, “HR + IT”, born out of a highly ad­vanced plat­form and HR ser­vice prin­ci­ples, be­came rec­og­nized as a mar­ket stan­dard and a sweep­ing trend. Now CDP, with less than a thou­sand em­ploy­ees, helps over 620 global com­pa­nies in 35 in­dus­tries man­age al­most a mil­lion white col­lar work­ers, a truly cost-ef­fec­tive feat.

Lead with In­no­va­tions

As one of the hottest in­no­va­tions nowa­days, Saas is widely used in a range of in­dus­tries, from fi­nance, ed­u­ca­tion, to soft­ware de­vel­op­ment, re­tail­ing and con­sult­ing. Saas providers of­fer busi­nesses on-de­mand in­ter­net in­fra­struc­ture along with soft­ware and hard­ware plat­forms, where busi­ness pro­cesses, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, mar­ket­ing, fi­nanc­ing, HR, etc., are han­dled largely with the as­sis­tance of apps in­stead of man­u­ally. In this way, busi­nesses can greatly boost their ef­fi­ciency while be­ing spared the cost of build­ing and main­tain­ing IT in­fra­struc­tures on their own. It is like water sup­ply. All the clients have to do is turn on the tap, and they will get what they need.

CDP pi­o­neered in us­ing Saas to in­no­vate HR ser­vices and has made it an over­whelm­ing trend. Led by the com­pany, the tra­di­tional HR ser­vice in­dus­try has em­braced in­no­va­tions one af­ter an­other, like soft­ware so­lu­tions, cloud com­put­ing and Saas, and in con­se­quence rein­vented it­self.

“In the past, al­most all HR data were han­dled man­u­ally and stored on pa­per, which was re­ally in­ef­fi­cient. When the num­ber of em­ploy­ees got big­ger and big­ger, the man­age­ment cost would in­crease a lot. So I reck­oned we could do some­thing about it,” re­call­ing how he started the busi­ness over a decade ago, a light of pas­sion for in­no­va­tion broke over Wang’s face. We are re­ally lucky that our am­bi­tion to re­shape the in­dus­try with soft­ware has been achieved in a way, he said.

But Saas is just a tech­nol­ogy, which is far from enough, Wang points out. The rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept of CDP, known as Ecosaas, in­te­grates all the el­e­ments in the HCM ecosys­tem to build a dig­i­tal plat­form, which pro­vides a range of ser­vices that are richer, more com­pre­hen­sive and more tai­lored to the needs of busi­nesses than Saas. In a nut­shell, a fun­da­men­tal HR so­lu­tion for busi­nesses.

And Saas-based HCM doesn’t stop there. It is ex­pected to grow far more pow­er­ful in the fu­ture, a prospect that di­rects Wang’s CDP and the en­tire in­dus­try on a new jour­ney.

Af­ter all, Wang’s goal is not just help­ing to man­age a mil­lion white col­lar work­ers. “Our fu­ture mar­ket will be much big­ger. Some of our US coun­ter­parts man­age up to 20 mil­lion em­ploy­ees for their clients, while de­mands from Chi­nese com­pa­nies have just be­gun to emerge. ”Wang be­lieves Chi­nese com­pa­nies will in­crease their power and ef­fi­ciency sig­nif­i­cantly in the new round of glob­al­iza­tion.

In Quest of Fur­ther Growth

In re­cent years, Saas-based HCM has taken the spot­light on the B2B mar­ket, as ven­ture cap­i­tal flocks to this boom­ing in­dus­try in China. With its in­no­va­tive busi­ness model, CDP has man­aged to at­tract huge in­vest­ment and re­sources from five renowned in­vestors, in­clud­ing Mor­gan Stan­ley, China Broad­band Cap­i­tal, In­vestorab, Fi­delity In­vest­ment and Su­mit­omo, and as a re­sult achieved pow­er­ful syn­ergy of strate­gies and cap­i­tal.

With its high-fre­quency, mas­sive Saas plat­form, CDP’S HCM so­lu­tion cov­ers a wide spec­trum of ser­vices, in­clud­ing cor­po­rate pay­roll, em­ployee wel­fare, health in­sur­ance, and even flex­i­ble ben­e­fit. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of its ad­vanced sys­tem, valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence of ser­vic­ing For­tune 500 com­pa­nies, and a pow­er­ful, dy­namic global ser­vice net­work to han­dle astro­nom­i­cal amount of high qual­ity data, CDP suc­ceeds in build­ing a win-win ecosys­tem with its busi­ness part­ners and main­tain­ing a cus­tomer base of over one mil­lion with a re­ten­tion rate of up to 99%.

Build­ing on years of ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, CDP is now seek­ing new growth and ex­pand­ing in mul­ti­ple di­men­sions. Cur­rently it is gear­ing up for fi­nan­cial ser­vices and over­seas busi­nesses as well as the em­ployee in­sur­ance mar­ket. “With huge amount of high qual­ity data stored in our sys­tem, we are able to de­velop de­riv­a­tive busi­nesses such as fi­nance ser­vice. For ex­am­ple, there’s a lot of room for ex­pan­sion in terms of the ser­vices that we pro­vide in man­ag­ing the salary, ben­e­fit, and even health in­sur­ance of the em­ploy­ees of global com­pa­nies. As we have se­cured a full in­sur­ance li­cense, fi­nan­cial ser­vice will be one of our key busi­nesses in the fu­ture,” said Wang.

Go Global To­gether

At CDP, two E’s are stressed: Ef­fec­tive­ness and Ef­fi­ciency, which speak for the mis­sion of the com­pany: cre­at­ing cost-ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­ciency-boost­ing tech­nolo­gies and ser­vices for clients.

While ser­vic­ing and sup­port­ing many global com­pa­nies in ex­pand­ing their busi­nesses in China, CDP has ac­cu­mu­lated a wealth of tech­nolo­gies and ex­pe­ri­ence in busi­ness man­age­ment, which will be vi­tal in help­ing Chi­nese in­no­va­tive start-ups and pub­lic com­pa­nies go global. Wang aims to bring the two E stan­dards to Chi­nese com­pa­nies, as they are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly aware of the value of cost-ef­fec­tive­ness in com­pe­ti­tion with for­eign com­pa­nies and op­ti­miza­tion of in­ter­nal busi­ness man­age­ment. Glob­al­ized HR man­age­ment will be key to global am­bi­tions of Chi­nese com­pa­nies.

“We are com­mit­ted to help­ing fu­ture­ori­ented Chi­nese com­pa­nies de­velop global think­ing in their en­deavor to ex­pand over­seas,” said Wang.

He is full of ex­pec­ta­tion for Chi­nese com­pa­nies go­ing global. As a strong sup­port­ing force be­hind busi­nesses, CDP has al­ways been re­garded as a “bril­liant but­ler” for its in­ter­na­tional clients in China. But now it is do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent. As more and more Chi­nese com­pa­nies are tak­ing their busi­ness global, CDP hopes to play the same role and go hand in hand with them in pur­suit of suc­cess on the global mar­ket.

“We are just at the be­gin­ning of it. A com­pany with mixed genes and global per­spec­tives like CDP can pro­vide in­valu­able dig­i­tal ser­vices for Chi­nese com­pa­nies on their global jour­ney, help­ing them take on the world,” said Wang. “As long as one has dreams, sky is the limit.”

Wang Wei, Founder and Chair­man, CDP

CDP Group Global Head­quar­ters

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