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Getting Started with an HCM Implementation: Defining Stakeholder Goals and Vision

Joint Post by 
Catherine Toriello, Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys  
Reese Dunbar, Human Capital Management Practice Leader, Management Consulting Services, Infosys

At the start of every project, we schedule time with the executives to understand their pain points, opportunity areas, and goals for the HCM organization.  After talking with the leadership, we then have discussions with the teams representing the in-scope process areas.  
At the start of every project, we schedule time with the executives to understand their pain points, opportunity areas, and goals for the HCM organization.  After talking with the leadership, we then have discussions with the teams representing the in-scope process areas.  
The sessions are typically one-on-one so that folks can feel comfortable expressing their opinions.  Through this exercise, we're able to analyze the goals and vision across the company to ensure alignment before the implementation begins.  This is a key first step that we feel should be taken before communicating the implementation strategy and goals to the greater organization.

During recent meetings at a Fortune 50 retail company, the executive leadership expressed to us their concern that the middle management would not be aligned with their goals and strategic vision for the project.  Initially, they were hesitant to let us speak with managers and directors from the HR organization as they were not sure what feedback would be shared.  Imagine their surprise to discover that, in fact, there was significant alignment in terms of what they wished to gain from the engagement: improved process automation, process delegation via broader self service offerings, decreasing non value-added customizations, improving enhancement request cycle times, and reducing operating expenses associated with over-customization.  This was a very important first step that allowed executive leadership to rally the organization around this common set of goals and to build enthusiasm for the implementation.      

At another client about to undergo a global SAP implementation, our interviews included a more diverse set of business and IT stakeholders representing multiple geographic locations.  We found the results of these interviews to be more varied based on the individual's role, process area, and location. Goals for the ERP implementation included global process standardization, reducing the total cost of ownership of the ERP system, increasing leadership and employee retention, defining a scalable architecture, introducing customization governance, and increasing accuracy of data.  

Taken together, these themes represent key steps in achieving the goals of a successful  HCM Transformation:

1. Global HR system consolidation and standardization, coupled with process standardization is needed to establish consistency across the HR organization and reduce process duplication.  This will enable the HR organization to achieve greater process efficiency and decrease manual work, reducing total cost of ownership of the system.  This elemental step will lay the foundation for a greater strategic shift of the HR organization.  Essentially, strong process harmonization across global locations is needed to provide the foundation for greater organizational change.

2. Accurate HR data is required to support not only the HR organization but also enable the success of processes, programs, and initiatives across the company.  Through rigorous system consolidation and process automation, HR data accuracy can be achieved.  

3. HR-specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) need to be identified, tracked, and reported to establish benchmarks and ensure continuous improvement.  HR KPI's should include both strategic/transformational metrics as well process-specific steady state metrics. Metrics should be made easily available to key HR decision makers.  In order for KPI's to be meaningful, accurate master data must first be established.  

4. Once strong foundational processes have been developed or outsourced, strategic processes, including Recruiting, Talent Management, and Succession Planning should receive the focus of HR leadership.  

5. As HR Transformations often involve significant change impacting a globally diverse set of stakeholders, a robust Change Management program is needed throughout the course of the implementation to ensure user understanding and adoption.  

6. Finally, the organization will be able to shift from a transactional focus to that of a flexible, strategic HR organization to change more easily and support global growth.
Based on these findings, the HCM organization was able to define the overarching goals of the transformation, gain funding for the next phase of the engagement, and spark enthusiasm across a global set of stakeholders prior to beginning design.

Although it sounds simple, we feel it is critical to spend ample time with key stakeholders before you begin the implementation, provide an objective forum for them to share their perspective and then take a look at all of the goals, values, and objectives that the organization shares.  You might just get a better, clearer picture of what the organization needs to focus on during the implementation, and in doing this exercise, your employees will feel more involved in the planning phase and potentially more supportive of the big changes ahead.

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