How moving strategic HR processes to the cloud helped increase transparency and efficiency

A few weeks ago, our client Automic won an SAP Quality Award in the category 'Innovation' for their SAP SuccessFactors implementation project. This article outlines the challenges Automic was facing, what their requirements towards the new solution were and how SAP SuccessFactors helped them optimize and automate their HR processes.

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Automic  supports the automation of complex business processes, applications and infrastructure. In doing so, they increase productivity, reduce time to market and break down the silos of IT automation.

Like many other organizations, Automic was faced with mostly custom-built HR applications or paper-based HR processes. This led to inefficiency, data inaccuracy and difficult accessibility. A solution had to be found to centrally document and manage employee data, goal management and performance appraisals as well as compensation management.

Automic decided to implement three SAP SuccessFactors modules to make their HR processes more transparent and to lower the operational workload.

  • Employee Central: As the single source for (effective dated) employee data. Including workflows for Employee-Self-Service and Manager-Self-Service scenarios and Position Management for headcount budgeting
  • Performance and Goals: for annual Performance Appraisal and Goal Management
  • Compensation: for annual salary raise process

The goal was to have one source for all data with easy but secure access and the possibility to define permissions by role. Throughout the project, configuration and process workshops, agile project management, “train the trainer” trainings, consultant services and support during Roll-out and after Go-live helped to keep the focus on this goal.

Timely delivery, project methodology and risk management

As documenting employee data was the main business pain point, the implementation process started with the configuration of Employee Central. To save time and generate quick wins LearnChamp´s Ready-to-use methodology was used:

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In the Prepare phase, the project scope was defined. In the Realize phase, LearnChamp configured and adapted their pre-configured best-practice SAP SuccessFactors modules according to Automic´s needs and requirements. In the Verify phase, the "User Acceptance Testing" took place. To ensure proper and focused testing, the Automic core project team received specific enablement training by LearnChamp. After testing, a small pilot group had the chance to field-prove the new application. The feedback of both testing phases was incorporated in two iteration loops. Afterwards all stakeholders were able to sign-off on the configuration.

The Launch phase was split into separate phases to ensure a high user adoption rate:

  1. Employee Central Go-live for HR team– The whole HR team was trained in a two-day workshop. This training was used to clean up data, get used to the system and learn all processes. The old and new HR systems were used in parallel during that phase.
  2. Employee Central Go-live for management– Go-live was announced one week in advance via email by the HR executives. Training videos using the SuccessFactors HCM Suite “Show me” functionality were prepared by the core project team and an English trainer. On Go-live day, an email was sent to the management team announcing Go-live, future timelines for other modules and a brief overview where to find training videos. Also in this phase, the main focus was to get used to the system and to review/update employee data.
  3. Go-live Employee Central and Performance & Goals for all employees– The Go-live was announced in the company magazine about a month prior to Go-live. An announcement similar to that for the managers was sent out on Go-live day. The start of the yearly Goal- and Performance Management cycle was used as a trigger to motivate employees to use the new system. All employees were invited to face-to-face or video trainings held by their local HR manager. The old HR system was retired.
  4. Compensation Go-live- Local HR managers were trained on the process by the project manager herself and took over the manager trainings.
  5. Workflows Go-live– Affected departments were trained to use workflows. Old workflows were retired.
  6. HR project manager took over the role of system admin. - LearnChamp supports Automic with ongoing post-go-live-services.

Change Management and Lessons Learned

Change management was an important topic within Automic, as the switch from paper-based HR administration was necessary but complex. Automic handled change management internally. An important step was to get the buy-in from the executive level. Due to optimized workflows, reduced workload and decreasing the possibility of future mistakes, the buy-in was not too hard to get.

The change was perceived very positively overall due to improvements for everybody. One big advantage of the new system showed few months after Go-live – during a due diligence project. Automic management: "HR was able to deliver necessary HR information in high quality much quicker and with less effort." In summary it can be said that a highly motivated team, as well as the adoption of best practices and the smooth Go-live were crucial to the success of the project.

But as we are perfectionists we have a few points to take away for the future: Like in many other comparable projects the scope should have been defined more precisely and expectations should have been managed better.

Congratulations to Automic on winning an award for their tireless effort to move their strategic HR processes to the cloud!

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