Roadmap for a successful HR technology strategy
What happens when you have a number of legacy systems that need replacing? How do you draft a decision making framework for procurement and rollout? Ari Kopoulos provides his tips
This editorial is first published in Human Capital Magazine Issue 9.9, EXPERT INSIGHT: TECHNOLOGY.
Today’s business environment has become increasingly complex, making choices that were once clear a rather murky affair. There are structural changes, competition, pressure for growth and shareholder return on investment. There is also the technology itself. Forever evolving, it offers unprecedented connectivity, automation and business insight. Make no mistake, rapid change is here to stay, and a successful technology platform depends on your ability to respond and adapt to that change. This makes a well thought out strategy critical in successfully delivering effective and efficient HR technology. In short, you need a plan, global in scope, and somewhat future-proof, linking process, people and technology with year-by-year time and cost estimates.
There are several steps to developing a successful technology strategy.
Using a framework similar to a business case, start by identifying what HR processes are required, for whom and at what transactional cost. Once these are identified, you can define the requirements in terms of workflows, roles, business rules and reports for each HR process. You also need to consider the workplace of the future. Characterised by real time connectivity and extreme mobility, you will probably employ a more diverse demographic, living longer, working longer and more concerned with social responsibility, continual learning and social networking. To make it even more challenging, they will be intolerant of rigid hierarchy and more interested in working on diverse, cross functional teams, at their pace. Take note.
Next, look at your existing IT infrastructure in terms of system and integration requirements, and incorporate these into the plan. This will ensure all parties understand the technical strategies and direction. With this in mind, develop a shared vision and requirements document, between finance, IT and HR, with prioritised deliverables. Using this document, perform a gap analysis against existing technologies and vendor products.
A detailed analysis in the requirements gathering phase will make selection a simpler and more organic process. To ensure finance buy-in, perform a cost benefits analysis of the system or systems, with rationale, for prioritised spend and workload.
The next step is to assess the impact of the strategy on the roles and responsibilities of managers and employees. You will need answers to questions such as: What job and role changes will be required?; How will the existing HR plans and processes change?; What training and change management will be required?; What measurements and controls will be put into place to ensure it’s all going to plan?
Finally, once the strategy has been adjusted and accepted by management, distribute it to all affected parties for their comments and feedback. You now have a solid framework for decision-making and setting priorities on technology acquisition and roll out.
Naturally, there will be some organisational challenges along the way. To assist with these, maintain visibility and continually update management and user base of progress and implications of change. To get support on tough decisions, educate and influence through value and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. To be successful, HR needs to own the strategy and work collaboratively with IT and finance, to enable the strategy. Good luck!
About the author Ari Kopoulos is the national sales & marketing manager at EmployeeConnect. For further information visit www.employeeconnect.com