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What’s the Price of Doing Nothing?

Your HR Department might not be a profit center, but spending money on the care and feeding of your HR system is pertinent to your business’s sustainability.  Good business leaders make fact-based decisions on how to allocate scarce resources — including cost versus benefit analysis.  In the HR space, it’s often tough to justify the expense of implementing the latest and greatest software solution.  And, so HR projects may lag behind other more business critical ventures that help to enable profitability, sales, or new product development. 

That can be a short-sighted outlook to sustaining a key resource.  Technology is moving rapidly.  Continued productivity – continued cost management that is in line with your competitors – will require understanding the latest technology options to enable success.   

If you are not working in a Shared Services environment and your competitors are, you are losing money.  If you have not enabled your employees to work more productively by using mobile solutions, but your competitors have – you are losing money.  For every cent you spend on HR administrative services that your competitors don’t spend, you ultimately, eventually lose money.  You lose money because you are running in a higher cost environment. . . and sometimes even because the best talent is attracted to more technically adept employers.   

Consider the impact of not allowing your employees to share information about themselves internally – in a “Linked In” sort of way.  In global companies or in virtual work environments where “face-time” is limited, employees may feel invisible to decision makers and to management in the company – their skills and accomplishments largely unknown to others.  But give employees an environment in which their immediate job goals, what they are working on and what they have accomplished can be readily shared, and the possibilities for that employee become enormous.  An environment like that can be essential for employee retention.   

SAP has been exploring solutions required to meet the new world requirements of retaining your most valued asset:  your employees.  Their Shared Services solutions are poised to help HR departments reduce administrative costs and enable increased employee productivity.  Innovative products like Career on Demand are being developed to meet today’s appetite for social media type platforms.  Mobile applications to more quickly enable employee self service activities are being deployed.  Business Objects is solving the puzzle of “how do I get my data out of the system and make it consumable by managers.” 

Some of solutions are already sitting on your shelf. 

It might pay for you to explore the possibilities. 

As I prepared for the SAPPHIRE-ASUG Annual Conference, this weekend – looking across the more than 500 sessions that are being offered, I could not help but be impressed at what SAP and SAP Partners are doing to enable better management of Human Capital.  More intriguing were the customer stories of how they used SAP to solve their own dilemmas.  

 I thought you might be interested in this too.

What I do know is that we are working in a world where the old answers just won’t work for successful businesses today.  I’m anxious to explore the possibilities that might be sitting on my shelf.  If you are too, take a look at my session grid which summarizes all the opportunities I will be trying to explore across 4 short days in May.  Maybe I’ll see you there. 

Find my list of “Don’t Miss” HCM sessions on –


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  • The developers are mostly the guilty ones IMHO.

    This is also a side-effect of bad project management and fluctuating remote developers.

    Tough call...


    • Interesting thought, Julius.  I'm not sure we know how to do project management OR people management where the resources are remote! 
      • I also enjoy working from home, but it requires a lot of "common understanding" about what needs to be communicated and what not.
        My experiences with remote PM and QA is that the folks realize the ability to do the job well is approximately the necessity to write the code yourself.
        Perhaps with stricter developer guides and syntax checks / tools to force it, this problem will also eventually back off.

        Cheers, Julius
        ps: I misunderstood you blog the first time read.

  • I'm trying to get an article finished for the MQ publication about working from home.   This is a very combustible topic.  And I'm having a hard time writing that article.

    You've touched a few topics:

    As we move into the future.  Work at home becomes very desirable.  You could hire an employee from anywhere, get the best that you can, and allow remote access!  Amazing.   There is technology available now including HCM to help find the correct resource that you need for your project.  Project management becomes harder.

    Working with off shore resources - it all becomes a challenge!   Our off-shore resouces change amazingly quickly.  Our on-shore resource are stretched to the limit trying to keep up with them.  A day delay is normal with time zone changes.

    Mobile itself - personally I'd rather not work 24X7 unless in an emergency situation.  But the more mobile we are the more it seems like that is the normal way of things.

    And there is the whole - how do you know people are working when they are not sitting in front of you!   No wonder I struggle with an article.

    What is the solution?  It will be interesting to read another blog after you go to ASUG!

    I bet there will be some great ideas on how to integrate HR/HCM with your company to come up with different soltions.  (Not to meantion PLM 🙂  Mobile - yes a lot of mobile solutions.  It's an interesting and fun world we live in.


    • Hello Michelle

      I'm one of those employees that loves to work dynamically and of course also from home.

      How do you know people are working from home is indeed a sensitive topic. I have had some experiences:
      -You obligate a communicator type of tool so you can chat with your employee and watch if he/she is active (big brother is watching you)
      -You give your employee a certain task and a deadline
      -You request your employee to send status updates on regular intervals (once a day or ...) what work he/she has done

      There are a number of possibilities here. What I like best as employee is give me a task and a deadline and let me work when I want to work.

      It stimulates creativity, it keeps me alert and I tend to end up working more hours and booking less hours because to me working like that is great fun.

      Of course working in such a fashion requires a good relationship with the customer or employer.

      Kind regards


      • Hello Tom.  I smiled as I read this....We outsourced our SAP delivery services a year ago.  In that time, I have had to quickly and nimbly change my management style.  And certainly, we do exactly as you suggest above.  One thing still troubles me and that is how we will continue to get the benefit of TEAMwork with everyone working remotely. 
        • Hello SherryAnne

          I agree with Michelle that there are a lot of tools available to help teamwork and the SCN team is a great example of a team with persons who are residing in different geographical locations.

          It can work but of course it is a serious challenge and you need to have equally minded people to be able to pull it off.

          All depends of course, if everyone is residing within a relative short distance (like here in Belgium) getting together beats any tool in my opinion as I always prefer face to face communication when possible.

          I do believe those boundaries are being lowered with new technology and gadgets like facetime on iPad2 (double camera's).

          I love working from home but I still like to be in the office because of social contact with my colleagues.

          Kind regards


    • Hello Michelle.  You understand my point completely.  I'm excited about the technical possibilities out there.  But I also recognize that technology won't solve everything - there's some human behaviors that have to change.  And there will - out of necessity - be new ways to measure how hard we are working, right?  The old 8 to 5 office hour schedule doesn't mean a thing. 
      • Yes - 8 - 5 just doesn't seem to work anymore.  But how to give our bosses warm fuzzies that we are doing what we should.  That is the MILLION dollar question.
  • Hi SherryAnne

    This was a good article and a number of important topics. I think SAP is understanding the importances of shared services and their committment to updated the look and feel of ESS/MSS (WDA in EHP5) along with the Shared Services Framework (EHP5) shows their committment but they have a long ways to go.

    I also have been VERY impressed with the mock up's of the new Career OnDemand as I think it will surprise the SAP HCM community when it is released in Q4.

    I thought your comment "Some of solutions are already sitting on your shelf" was excellent. SAP customers need to look at products like the Employee Interaction Center (EIC), performance management and Enterprise Compensation Mgt (ECM) and other which they already own (included in base user license) as SAP has put a lot of new functionality in EHP1-EHP5 in those areas as the product is quite different than it was 2-3 years back.

    I may be biased but if you are running SAP HCM there are some REAL integration advantages (and cost) to using other HCM products such as EIC, ECM, Perform Mgt and hopefully that becomes more clear during the presentations at the upcoming Sapphire/ASUG

  • Points which are mentioned here are definitely important, but only to an extent when you are taking your first step in seriously thinking your HCM model/strategy. Today organizations operate across various geographical locations and creating a generic model for HCM is very difficult. Second there is always a risk of disparity associated with such initiatives and thus your strategy should be well thought out. Would love to hear about as an example that how these solutions can be modeled for both western and eastern worlds.