IMPLEMENTING & USING PEOPLE RELATED INFORMATION SOLUTIONS EFFECTIVELY OR “ WHO'S BEEN SITTING IN MY SEAT AT THE TABLE?” GEOFF FREDERICKSEN MAY 2010
About the author Geoff Fredericksen Geoff has worked over 20 years with HR systems and has specialised in recent years with the delivery of reporting, analytical and information solutions that make a difference and contribute to effectiveness of HR Service delivery. Geoff was responsible for the implementation and success of new revolutionary reporting and information frameworks at both St George Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation. His work has changed the way both banks capture, deliver and use people related information and generated real benefit to the organisations.
Human Resource functions often get locked into expensive and inflexible shared corporate information (“reporting”) solutions. HR is normally well down the priority list behind Finance and customer information. Getting “airtime” to develop an effective “reporting” solution is either impossible or so time consuming and expensive that it never happens. As a consequence HR's ability to automate and use operational and performance information is severely hindered and its' capacity to drive efficiencies, to pro actively understand its own business impact and to effectively develop new business strategies is reduced along with its ability to influence at the executive level. THE PROBLEM
WHAT'S THE ANSWER ? Of course there's not a single one line answer. There are however some key ingredients worth thinking about:- 1. Take control HR functions tend to be submissive in the face of technology and defer decision making instead of weighing advice. This leads to a loss of control and solutions that don't meet the need. Invest in people who know HR and Technology. Play an active role in technology decisions HR Technology is like any other investment decision. You don't have to understand the how the machinery works, but you do have to understand and know what you want, what's possible and get good advice as to how it should be implemented.
2. Understand why Group information models don't work for the majority of HR's reporting needs Simply they are too big and unwieldy and try to do too much. Group data warehouses are necessary for group performance measurement and analysis however they should not be used for operational reporting. Instead of achieving economies of scale they become inflexible and expensive behemoths and cannot cope with the incessant information needs of ravenous and capricious business units. 3. Investigate new alternative models - Look for the following characteristics a. Data marts – small single repositories of HR information b. Cloud based solutions which offer Software As A Service and therefore: - No IT infrastructure impact - No upfront capital investment – recurring operating expense - Rapid implementation - Rapid development and publishing - Low Total Cost of Ownership - Complete application platform (ie not just “reporting”)
b. Flexible, purpose built, inexpensive rapid development and publishing tools c. Development and publishing skills either embedded in the business unit / function or with an external provider using rapid development tools and methods. d. requires a changed view of HR information away from single dimension “reporting” to a multi dimensional view of information “parcels”, encompassing scheduled fixed reports, interactive information, alerts, visualisation, communications, workflow, collaboration.
What problems do the new models solve? <ul><li>Problem 1 – Reporting solutions are typically expensive and have a high risk of not meeting expectations </li></ul><ul><li>The new breed of solutions: </li></ul><ul><li>Offer monthly service rentals covering all costs </li></ul><ul><li>Do not require software licences </li></ul><ul><li>Do not require the client to install or maintain infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Do not require software on the client's user PCs </li></ul><ul><li>Are complimentary to existing warehouses and systems (they do not replace) </li></ul><ul><li>There is no contractual lock in </li></ul><ul><li>Are purpose built for business reporting and information needs. </li></ul><ul><li>They are capable of exceeding expectations </li></ul><ul><li>There are a number of companies successfully using the new model </li></ul>
Problem 2 - Getting hold of accurate and complete data. Source data resides in many places (systems, spreadsheets, on paper, in people's heads. With your own data mart and using the upload and transformation utilities provided by the new solution breed, you can easily gather information from the many disparate sources into one central source. It can all be controlled within the HR function and new data sources or new fields of information can be added quickly and easily. You should also be able to solicit information via intelligent forms embedded in emails. This allows simple collection of data not captured by the main systems (eg Odometer readings for FBT administration) allowing more information to be saved in the data mart
Problem 3 – Data is of variable quality New and properly implemented information solutions improve data quality and protect against bad data by: <ul><li>Automated data integrity reporting (direct to administrator) – catching errors early </li></ul><ul><li>Automated integrity reporting on reportable data – blocking bad information from being distributed </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a data sign-off release mechanism </li></ul>
Problem 4 – Coping with organisation structure changes Trend reporting and analysis can be distorted by organisational structural changes be it reporting lines or cost centre summary structures. New solutions can provide options to handle this, including taking snapshots of the data at designated intervals in order to freeze measurements at a point in time and not change the trend historically or recalculate the history and see the trend recast according to the new structure. New solutions must be able to scale up or down and handle acquisitions or sell offs
<ul><li>Problem 5 – Reporting presentation is low quality </li></ul><ul><li>A good solution must have report output which includes: </li></ul><ul><li>Tables </li></ul><ul><li>Charts </li></ul><ul><li>Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Text / Graphics </li></ul><ul><li>And can be delivered by: </li></ul><ul><li>Web interface </li></ul><ul><li>Email (HTML or PDF) </li></ul><ul><li>SMS </li></ul><ul><li>Fax </li></ul><ul><li>Excel download </li></ul><ul><li>XML </li></ul>
<ul><li>Problem 6 – Report output is static / passive </li></ul><ul><li>Output should be: </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive (drill, sort, link to related reports) </li></ul><ul><li>Typically emailed (push v pull) </li></ul><ul><li>Provide options in emails to link to the web version </li></ul><ul><li>Email reports should be distributed automatically </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution lists must be able to be created by querying the data </li></ul>