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IT Excellence in HR Service Delivery

Think about your target HR Service Delivery Model and you will immediately think about the IT infrastructure you need to realize a state-of-the-art model. The design of an HR Service Delivery Model describes the way how the HR function provides adequate support to employees and managers and the way how HR services are created and delivered. The objective is to deliver the services in the most efficient and flexible way and to meet customer expectations at the same time.

Typically the HR Service Delivery Model is based on a multi-tier model which helps to distribute the workload accordingly to the complexity of specific processes and inquiries. Tier 0 often includes HR Portal and Self Services, Tier 1 consists of a 1st level helpdesk with HR generalists, Tier 2 and 3 comprise Process Specialists and Experts. This model can only be achieved with HR IT technology, since it is necessary to support the communication between the different tiers, often between different locations. However, what areas have to be covered by HR IT technology and what is “Best Practice” nowadays?

We have seen many customer real cases and we’ve helped our customers to improve their existing HR Service Delivery Models. We think that there are (at least) 9 HR IT areas of excellence to be considered:

1. HR Portal

The HR Portal should be the first ‘point of contact’ for all employees and managers – they should not even think about to call or meet an HR representative initially. Many HR Portals lack of “Best Practices” since they break some important rules:  HR Portals have to be user centric, provide up-to-date content, offer high usability (e.g. navigation structure, search functionalities etc.).

2. Self Services

Self Services should not and cannot replace an HR Portal. For many “Information requests” an HR Portal (content) is sufficient and no additional self services for employees (ESS) or managers (MSS) are required. However, major HR processes should be supported by user-friendly XSS scenarios, and they should be embedded into the HR Portal at the right place with the right amount of (process related) information.

3. Scanning

The HR function will never get rid of paper documents – unfortunately – but paper documents should be managed in a more professional way. The goal must be to digitalize paper documents as early as possible to support the HR Service Delivery Model and multiple remote locations, a tight integration to a case management system and to eliminate manual tasks such as filing. State-of-the-art scanning solution can recognize a document (‘classification’), read it (‘data extraction’) and forward it to the right person. Every document which is produced by HR (e.g. to collect signatures) should contain a bar code, this helps to recognize the document when it returns and to file it automatically.

4. Case Management

The case management system, e.g. the SAP Shared Services Framework, is the new ‘backbone’ for the HR Service Delivery Model. It de-couples processes and activities from underlying transactional systems (such as ERP HCM) and couples loosely coupled systems at the same time, e.g. multi-backend systems. It can reduce the number and amount of manual tasks significantly, e.g. to authenticate an employee who calls the 1st level helpdesk and it provides guidance to generalists and specialists, e.g. with checklists, work instructions, templates, transaction launch bars etc. Last but not least, it creates the clarity to monitor and control all processes within HR – which requests have been delivered, did we meet our SLAs, which request are overdue and need special attention?

5. Knowledge Management

The transformation into a new multi-tier HR Service Delivery Organization normally requires an investment into Knowledge Management for two reasons:

An editorial process and the right KM tools are required to make sure, that employees and managers get the right, enough and up-to-date information from the HR Portal. Therefore many companies choose to implement a Knowledge Management system.

A central 1st level helpdesk has to respond to employee requests from numerous business units and locations or even countries. This means, that the local HR organization or dedicated HR Center of Excellence have to provide the right amount of information in a ‘Solution database’ to enable the 1st level helpdesk to provide answers immediately, at least in 80% of all cases.


Personally I think the value of an integrated ERP HCM system, which takes advantage of its possibilities, is very often underestimated. A critical success factor for any HR Service Delivery Model is to standardize and automate HR processes. When you have a look to the backend system, you immediately can understand a company’s ability to standardize and automize its processes: How many systems/clients are in place? Was the company able to upgrade the system to the latest release and to implement enhancement packages? To which extend ‘Payroll’ is automated or does it still require multiple manual tasks? How many Non-ERP systems are used, how much effort is required for interfaces and data quality improvement?

7. Delivery Tools

Typically, other ‘delivery tools’ are required to complete the HR IT application portfolio: Digital Personnel file, tools to create statements (mail merge with SAP ERP HCM data from the backend) and sometimes other company specific tools.

8. Service Management Tools

The HR Service management needs reporting tools to measure the performance of the HR service delivery and its compliance with underlying Service Level Agreements (SLA). The (pre-defined) KPIs should be created out of the Case Management systems and other tools to measure the process effectiveness, such as customer surveys. Ideally, a dashboard is created automatically and multiple dimensions of service delivery measurements are being considered.

9. Governance, Risk, Compliance

There must be procedures and tools in place to control the access to HR IT systems and its sensitive HR data. The HR Service Delivery Model and its internal processes must be compliant with ICS (internal control system) and/or SOx controls.


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  • Excellent article Patrick as it is a great overview of the HR Service Delivery Model.

    If anyone is looking for information on the Employee Interaction Center (EIC) I have wrote a series of blogs over the past year on it.