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HRs Goldrush to Digitise, Unify & Extend HR with SAP SuccessFactors

“There’s gold in them there hills” – with HR Executives around the world racing to digitise, unify and extend their HR capabilities with innovative, relevant and compelling new HR services.

The rush is on, as the prize is to tap the rich seams of the very best talent from Colleges and Universities around the world.

And once this talent has been attracted to join the ranks  – HR needs to execute the delivery of an ever increasing array of services to develop, engage and ultimately retain this next generation of leaders.

But there is a problem. There is a very big problem – the same problem that HR has had for the past twenty years or more.

IT simply cannot keep up with HR – and as much as IT would like to deliver the platforms to empower HR – they simply can’t keep up with the pace of change.

With many organisations, HR services are delivered as discrete services through siloed Centres of Expertise and a small army of local HR Administrators and HR Business Partners.

This leads to complex HR Operating Models that are inefficient and ineffective.

So the question is this. What are the new breed of HR platforms providing that will simplify the HR landscape?

Is there really a modern HR platform available today, that is truly capable of enabling us to deliver the majority of HR Services across the CoEs in a unified way, with one set of employee data and history?

But importantly, a platform fit for the future that HR CoEs can easily extend with new services in a secure and truly integrated way?

A Platform for HR – that has the potential – to do what the App Store has done for the iPhone.

This post aims to:

  1. Illustrate how CoEs are currently challenged in the delivery of their services.
  2. Summarise what the new breed of HR Platforms aim to deliver.

How HR CoEs are currently challenged

The Talent Acquisition CoE is challenged by having to maintain and integrate multiple systems such as the Applicant Tracking System, tools to post jobs, the careers website(s) to maintain, the external online assessment providers, the employee referral tools and then the requirement to deliver most if not all of these on a mobile device.

Over time, this has led to a complex landscape of systems that are costly to maintain and update – and ideally these capabilities should be unified on one platform – with the ability to extend new services, such as the ability to spin up specialist careers sites within hours.

The Development CoE operates a complex mix of content authoring tools, intranet sites to promote learning and career paths, learning management systems, examination services and more recently social learning with links into corporate collaboration platforms.

Many of these services are often separate systems and many of them should be delivered as services that are unified and delivered from one HR platform.

They should be extended to incorporate on the job assessments and extended to deliver bite size learning that’s perhaps even hooked into gamification engines, that are used to incentivise learners to learn more, be recognised and even rewarded for it.

The Performance CoE have been challenged by trying to effectively administer the goal setting and performance processes. Then there are the 360 feedback tools – and the requirements from HRBPs and Senior Managers to provide all of the data required for succession planning.

Now there is the evolution toward check-ins and continuous performance management. This requires a completely new approach and to execute the management coaching programs to train managers, this also requires links into the learning and social collaboration tools. And of course – all of these services should be delivered on the mobile device.

There’s also the requirement to deliver Apprenticeship, Academy and Mentoring programs. All of which should be simple for the COEs to configure and deploy as services to the business. Easily extended from one unified HR platform.

One HR platform that operates from one set of employee data. One set of data that is accurate and easier to report and analyse.

The Reward CoE have now employed an army of Excel PhDs who have developed a complex system of spreadsheets with macros and visual basic and complex lookups from external benchmarking providers – it works but no one really knows how, and god forbid any of them decide to leave and build rockets.

We still don’t know if the reward decisions are necessarily fair, because the managers have to access twenty different systems, to build a true 360 view of the employee’s performance and accomplishments.

Then there are the LTIP schemes and benefits providers. All often requiring separate systems that need to be maintained – that should in today’s world, be delivered through one unified HR platform that is easily extensible as new services are required.

The HR Administration or Shared Services teams are still operating their separate core HR and case management services. The joiner, mover, leaver processes have been extended to employees in limited self service – updating change of address, personal details like dependants and marriages – but it’s still clunky in parts and not available on the mobile device.

The role changes and promotions are still pretty complex and time consuming and often require assistance from local HR administrators guiding managers through the process – especially the new managers – it’s a real pain for them.

Again – often on separate systems along with payroll and with yet another set of data. More complexity – increasing inaccuracy of data – and a small army of HR analysts required to administer and build the reports and handle the exceptions.

All of which should be automated and available within seconds at the touch of an icon – from one unified HR platform on one set of data.

The Organisation Effectiveness CoE responsible for reporting headcount actuals and forecasting headcount are also running off a series of highly complex spreadsheets. More PhD rocket scientists!

Forecasting future headcount is an art and a science apparently, with forms and spreadsheets sent out to Business Unit Managers, who often hand this off to local analysts who enter the data and then work with HRBPs to ratify the data. Then after lots of reminders, they roll spreadsheets up locally, regionally and then globally. And to be frank, no one really knows if they’re accurate or not.

It can take weeks, even months to get the final figures and we’re no where near as agile as we could be, if we had a single source of data and the proper modelling tools.

More separate systems that would be much more effective on one Unified HR platform.

Whilst some of these examples might not apply to every organisation, they are typical examples of what real life HR is like.

It’s complex, inefficient and nobody dares turn the light off.

What do the new breed of HR Platforms deliver?

The new breed of HR Platforms deliver two capabilities.

Firstly they provide a broad range of HR services across the hire to retire process – services that are all effectively unified and operating on one set of core employee data.

Whilst they don’t deliver every single process today – they’re making incredible progress towards that goal, and they are a damn sight more efficient than what you will have today.

Secondly the platform provides tools which makes it simple for HR to create new small applications that are natively integrated onto the platform – just as iPhone apps are available from the App Store for the iPhone.

These small apps can be spun up very quickly and can be very simple or can be very complex. Here are some examples from a company called Enterprise Jungle.

So, the new breed of HR Platforms unify disparate CoE services and enable HR to extend the platform, to deliver new, innovative services.

Only an Extensible Unified HR Platform will increase self-service by employees and managers and will reduce the need for HR support – in turn reducing the number of HR resources required.

Only an Extensible Unified HR Platform will enable CoEs to become more efficient and provide tools that make it easier for the to work together, to improve HR services across the Customer’s Journey.

Only an Extensible Unified HR Platform will enable HR to quickly develop, test and deliver new HR services and enhancements within days and weeks without any intervention from IT.

Only an Extensible Unified HR Platform will reduce the transactional burden of HR Service Delivery on HRBPs and will enable them to focus more time proactively on strategic decision making with Business Leaders.

Maybe an Extensible Unified HR Platform will reduce the cost of HR for you.

HR teams have justified savings of up to 20% of the HR Operating Cost – through the increased digitisation and centralisation of HR Services on a SAP SuccessFactors Extensible Unified HR Platform.

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