Posted tagged ‘HROA’

What to Consider When Considering HR SaaS

April 3, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Based on the HR Outsourcing Association’s (HROA) SaaS webinars and my discussion with Ceridian’s senior vice president Howard Tarnoff, who has been instrumental in the successful launch of Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM, here are a few key elements to consider when considering SaaS.

Determine Business Needs

Determine what business, operational, and organizational needs are driving change and if each decision-factor is equal or if there is a rank order as needs often conflict. For example, the need for control and customization will come at a higher cost and takes more time and effort than the configuration and standardization that comes with SaaS.

Sometimes that process is not completed before bringing in potential vendors. Howard has sat in discovery process meetings where the buyer team is having this discussion amongst themselves as much as with the vendor. Maybe that’s a bit late, but better late than never.

Consider Trade-Offs

Consider what trade-offs will be needed to deliver the best solution. HR SaaS can meet many needs and deliver many benefits, but it is a fundamentally different choice than a traditional ERP or other licensed or subscription software products.

Configuration and standardization:  acceptance and understanding of configuration and standardization is growing, as is awareness of the on-going cost of customizing into a corner, according to Howard. Still, it is vital to determine the limits of what can be accommodated as configuration is not infinite.

If compliance is a key factor, then the pain of standardizing policies and processes to fit within a system where the vendor keeps up with the constant changes to complex governmental regulations may be a risk management plus.

IT collaboration: the role of IT changes and becomes more collaborative with SaaS.  The HROA SaaS series reminds us there will still be a role for IT to play, so bring them in early in the process to address:

  • The impact on enterprise technology roadmap
  • Changes to IT workload and budget
  • Integration into the larger architecture (e.g., maintenance of interfaces, implication to other vendors connected to the system)
  • Vendor-driven upgrades on the IT team (e.g., understand the role, workload, and timing).

Customer collaboration: with real SaaS you will be one of multiple clients using a web-based system riding a single code base and that changes the nature of the client-vendor relationship and opens the need and opportunity to collaborate with other customers. You may have more input into the development of system enhancements, but you will be one among others.

Worried about future-proofing your services? Howard says change is coming fast and furiously. SaaS, with a great vendor partner and an active team of client users, can support affordable innovation.

Quickly, the question is becoming not if, but when and where to use HR SaaS.

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HR Analytics and Big Data

March 21, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

I recently had the pleasure of moderating a webinar for HR Outsourcing Association (HROA) members on HR Analytics and Big Data on behalf of the Publications and Practices Committee. This was a natural hot topic for our group of HR service providers, advisors, analysts, and buyers as you can hardly read your email without finding a new batch of blogs, webinars, articles, and conferences on analytics and big data, including for HR.David Bernstein, the head of eQuest’s Big Data for HR / Predictive Analytics Division, and Yvette Cameron, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research, Inc. and founder of NextGen Insights, were our guest experts and both have an extensive background and long-term interest in HR measurement and analytics. The following is a summary from our discussion with Yvette and David.

How are HR Analytics and Big Data different?

When we talk about Big Data what we’re really talking about is slightly bigger than normal but not a huge amount. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done in getting better HR metrics and measures and better ways of communicating results. By bringing in data from a variety of sources from across the enterprise and pairing it with your HR data and looking at patterns, you can start to see correlation, infer causation, and create the ability for forecasting / modeling.

Much of the work we are doing today is measuring the effectiveness of our programs using HR system data – the challenge is getting to the broader business data in order to start making correlations to business value and outcomes and to build understanding of our own employees by mining data in enterprise, productivity, and employee interaction systems.

Are HR clients ready for Big Data?

The desire is there to push beyond the wall we’ve hit with current analytics and metrics. The industry is ready for that helping hand and is looking for service providers to offer help with this.

The struggle isn’t around ‘should I’ but around ‘how do I’ in terms of where to begin. The vendor community can help bring the profession forward in terms of ‘how to make it happen.’  Right now, there is more of a consultative need to fill in missing knowledge and skills; the opportunity for the vendor community is to provide these plus ongoing services that turn the data into insightful information.

Is there a Big Data skills gap in HR?

One of the biggest hurdles and obstacles to implementing a Big Data program, second to having the budget, is the lack of expertise and skills – the HR component of any implementation program can hold companies back. HR divisions struggle between bringing these skills onboard or developing them internally.  This is an opportunity for service providers to help HR become even more strategic as they increase their skills.

The interest in HR analytics is building, but there a gap in actual buying and client abilities to leverage the new capabilities. This provides a growing opportunity for us as an HRO community to make Big Data real in HR and HRO!

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Update on Shared Services and HRO

November 29, 2012

I am on the Human Resources Outsourcing Association (HROA) Publications and Practices Committee and for the November meeting our hot topic was an update on shared services and HRO.

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Value Delivered

All three guest speakers agreed that HR shared services organizations (SSO) remain one of the core transformation trends in HR. Colin Brennan, Aon Hewitt product management and strategy VP, sees that the movement to SSOs and HRO is focusing more on value delivered and less on pure cost.  Clients want to improve both the cost and quality of services like talent management, recruiting, and learning. Clients also want to measure and manage HR issues across the enterprise, whether it is various operating divisions or regions of the world.

Tech Talks

Maribeth Sivak, a principal consultant with ISG, also sees an uptick in interest in SSOs and HRO, but as a follow on to HR technology decisions.  Many companies are facing major and costly upgrades in core HR technology systems, which create the opportunity to consider consolidation into shared services including HRO. Cost is a key driver, of course, but so is a desire to improve the employee experience with mobile and social capabilities as well as improve HR with access to more HR analytics.

Major technology costs also open the door for considering new vendor-provided systems and even SaaS. As SaaS offerings move “up stack” there is and will be a call for BPO service support.

The Chicken or the Egg

What comes first, shared services or HRO? Some start with HRO and others create SSOs first. Either way, clients usually want to get their arms around what they can do first and then look to optimize and increase velocity, often ending up with a blend of both.

At KellyOCG, Kathleen Bienkowski, global shared services VP, sees some organizations that start with shared services continue to evolve into multi-functional general business services as they mature. KellyOCG has its own showcase that demonstrates many of the aspects of a mature SSO: delivery centers, transaction processing, recruitment sourcing, and a knowledge center for global mobility. The contact center is outsourced to another division, Kelly Connect.

What Doesn’t Change

Each of our speakers commented on the continued need to manage major change including:

  • A strong internal sponsor / champion to drive the change
  • A clear vision that articulates the benefits and defines the future state delivery model
  • Change management  in transition and implementation plans
  • A governance structure for performance and issues management.

As both shared services and HRO reach a level of maturity, they are reaching a level of acceptance with less perceived risk in the decision, value is balancing the focus on cost, and pent up technology needs will be opening the door to opportunity. All in all, a great update with plenty of good news!

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