Transforming HR Through Technology

A. Context:

HR Function is being revolutionized through advances in technology and as a result, a large proportion transactional activity is getting automated, which has created space for transformational aspects of HR function. And in the tough times, through which all the Companies world over are now battling through world over, it is the strategic dimension of HR, which is critical for organizational survival in the current times and continued prosperity when good times return. Technology has now become a welcome enabler for this process.
B. Case Study of Transforming HR through ERP: SAP HR Implementation Project

1. The Organization:
The Organization belongs to a leading minerals and metals conglomerate and is its manufacturing arm, partnering with stakeholders to grow across an extended value chain. It is setting up a 1.5 million tonnes per annum fully integrated special and stainless steel plant in Orissa and also plans to set up integrated steel plants in the other minerals rich states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. This Organization commenced its operation in March 2005 and set-up its HR Department in August 2005, with challenging mandate of setting up the HR systems for this green field project. The Organization has since then scaled up its head count rapidly, from less than 200 in 2005 to more than three times now and aims to have a head count of 1000+.

2. Need for SAP:
In order to create a sound template for future organic growth of the Organization, it was decided by Management of that ERP would be implemented in the Organization. SAP was the chosen ERP platform and M/s Price Waterhouse Coopers was the implementation partner. The implementation was planned, on the basis of big bang approach, through simultaneous launch of eight modules covering the entire gamut of the Organizational frame-work: Finance (FICO), Manufacturing(PP), Maintenance(PM), Projects (PS), Sales(SD), Purchase(MM) & Human Resource(HR). For MIS, the module of BIW was also planned for implementation. The SAP implementation project was launched on 1st September 2005 with the help of and the go-live took place on 1st April 2006. The Project was code-named as Project SAPhal.

3. Objectives of SAP HR Implementation:
The following sub-modules were implemented under SAP HR Module:
ü Organization Management (OM)
ü Personnel Administration (PA)
ü Recruitment
ü Personnel Development (PD)
ü Training & Event Management
ü Time Management
ü Payroll

These sub-modules were implemented with a view to facilitate the following HR deliverables in the Organization:
· Service Excellence- Streamline HR operations through automation of routine but essential services offered to employees (such as leave management) while maintaining service-level agreements

· Talent Management- Identify and retain top talent to leverage their strengths for the benefit of the Organization.

· Recruitment and Selection-Optimize the value of human capital through right person on the right job at the right time.

· Training -Accelerate skills development to improve productivity and increase the value add of employees.

· Organization Development- Ensure clarity to individual employees in terms of role and responsibility and develop a frame-work by mapping-out the competencies needed for career progression

· Compensation- Offer integrated pay-roll solutions to all employees across all the locations

4. Some Stages in SAP HR Implementation :

Ø Identification, analysis and envisioning the HR Business Processes of the Organization
Ø Laying down of crystal-clear “to be” processes, leading to development of a well-articulated, structured and comprehensive HR Business Blue-print
Ø Continuous Interactions with the respective PWC consultant for working out the HR module-specific structure and business processes.
Ø Functioning as Process Owner in the HR domain for ensuring quality of deliverables produced
Ø Liasing with Captains and Champions of other modules for developing an integrated understanding of business requirements of the Organization.
Ø Development of thorough knowledge on SAP functionalities of HR module
Ø Compliance with requirements of project timelines and quality standards
Ø Checking the quality of Employee Master data uploaded
Ø Testing the configured HR system: Designing and executing test plans and gap analysis to ensure that business requirements and functional specifications are tested and fulfilled.
Ø Preparation of documentation in detail for benefit of end-users in HR module
Ø Training the end-users in SAP basics/ transactions related to HR module

After go-live in April 2006, Pay-roll is being smoothly run on SAP-HR platform for the entire Organization.
C. Benefits:

SAP HR implementation has been a hugely beneficial exercise for the organization as it has brought the benefits of integrated end-to-end business processes to the stake-holders across the organization, resulting in alignment of operational outcomes with strategic goals.

It has tremendously improved the decision-making process through access to timely, accurate and relevant information, where teams across geographies can collaborate in decision making on basis of real time metrics unified from multiple sources.

It has tremendously improved productivity of day-to-day operational HR, resulting in delivery of better customer value and hence higher internal customer satisfaction within the organization. And all this has been made possible with leaner, more efficient, streamlined HR operations leading to optimal resource allocation and hence, reduced cost of services.

It has brought in the much-needed flexibility in business processes, which can adapt quickly to rapidly changing business conditions and thus capitalize on the opportunities offered.

It has helped to establish clear linkage between strategy and execution leading to not only building of long term Organizational capabilities but also, at the same, short term operational excellence.

And last but not the least, automation of transactional processes through SAP HR has freed up the most critical organizational resource of TIME that can now be spent on initiatives that constitute Strategic, Value-adding HR.
D. Conclusion

The advance of technology into HR domain is a welcome phenomena, creating a plethora of benefits for the Organization and hopefully, in the coming days, we shall be witness to much wider and much deeper applications of technology as an enabler, so that Human Resource can rightfully claim its Strategic role in the days to come.

(Acknowledgement: SAP Software & Solutions | Business Applications & IT | SAP)