CIS Journal

The Computer, Information Theory, and Robotics Society Journal

By Steven Peliotis


Past Presentation: April 25, 2019

Denver IEEE Computer Society Guest Lecturer: Richard George

Presentation: Costs/Benefits of Changing Human Capital, Financial, and Supply Chain Management Systems

Richard George is Vice President of Strategic Services at Sierra-Cedar, a provider of management consulting services across multiple technologies and industries, generally categorized into industry-based consulting services and industry-agnostic shared services. Service and Solution areas include Application Services, Business Intelligence, Host and Managed Services, Infrastructure Services, Integration and Cloud Solutions, Research, and Strategy.

Many organizations have moved or are considering moving from on-premise back office systems such as Human Capital Management (HCM), Financial Management Systems (FMS), and Supply Chain Management systems (SCM) to systems that are available in the Cloud such as Software as a Service (SaaS). Sierra-Cedar performs a systems survey of Human Resource operations. Surveys have been performed for more than 21 years. About 1600 current survey respondents provide detailed information about the HR systems that they use and how they use them.

The Sierra-Cedar 2018–2019 HR Systems Survey represents more than 20 years of continuous data gathering and is the most comprehensive survey in the industry. The survey describes Strategy, Process, and Structure; Administrative and Service Delivery Applications; Workforce Management Applications; Talent Management Applications; BI/Analytics/Workforce Planning Applications; Integration and Implementation; Emerging Technologies and Innovations; Vendor Landscape; Workforce and HR Expenditures; and Workforce Usage and Perception.

Survey results enable Sierra-Cedar to benchmark systems, assess the systems in current use, and to provide the basis for recommendations for changes (configurations, integrations, reporting) to systems used by client companies and adjustments in how those systems are used. Business cases are developed to identify solutions to issues in efficiency, innovation, and change management. Process improvements and cost effectiveness are two primary areas where Sierra-Cedar focuses its efforts in supporting its clients. The management consulting approach enables client companies to make purchasing and integration decisions to maximize quality of service while managing costs.

Time and money issues drive many decisions in Human Resources operations, as in most business settings. The transition to the Cloud (a remote data center that is not owned by a client company) for an on-premise system is motivated by a variety of considerations including improved user experience, mobile experience, reduced IT management and expenses, more consistent update scheduling, growth and scale requirements, and improved security and data storage.

The value of the survey includes long-term planning, enabling client companies to clarify and implement strategies. Developing and maintaining enterprise systems strategies are of critical importance because typically there are 25% higher business outcomes in organizations that have implemented functional enterprise systems strategies. Business outcomes that are quantified in the survey include innovation, market share, profitability, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness.

Because about half of organizations in business have no standard approach to enterprise technology integration, developing an integration strategy gains importance in effecting cogent, cost-effective policies that ultimately affect bottom-line performance. The analyses performed at the survey level provide the data that enables client companies to evaluate adopting Cloud-based systems for finance and HCM applications. Reasons for moving to the Cloud include improved performance, functionality, cost, security and data privacy, improved access to systems and data, improved user experience, more effective integration, configurability, and increased choices among vendors.

Methods of capturing employee data have become more complex, greater in number, and deliver more data than ever before. In finance applications, security and data privacy are the greatest concerns about Cloud adoption. Other concerns about moving to the Cloud include loss of control, integration complexities, cost, performance, and availability, the inability to customize, vendor lock-in, functionality, and decline in user experience.

Vendor satisfaction is an issue that is highly relevant because of the role of vendor systems in use in many companies. Benefits that correlate to high vendor satisfaction include best practice functionality, the ability to customize, integrated solutions, vendor relationship, and service and support. Low vendor satisfaction relates to issues of functionality not specific for the industry, poor service and support, the inability to customize, poor user experience, and high costs.

Decision making is facilitated by survey results that detail total HR technology costs per deployment and average costs by deployment model: All on Premise, Hybrid, All Cloud, and other implementations. Client companies are able to quantify how effectively the technologies that they use meet their current needs. Being able to determine how well systems in use meet company business needs enables business leaders to plan and make cost-effective decisions in a changing technological environment.

The transformation of HR technologies is facilitated through multiple pathways that provide the means to replace legacy systems, take a hybrid approach and move only selected applications to the Cloud, parallel and patchwork methods that combine licensed and Cloud solutions, and the move to hosted and outsourced single-tenant or BPO systems.

Adopting emerging technology applications require companies to adapt to the pervasive transition to mobile devices and social media. IaaS, PaaS, benchmarking databases, predictive analytics, sentiment analysis, machine learning, RPA, and Blockchain all must be considered in planning future integration and implementation to meet customer requirements while adapting to new developments in all areas of technology.

Mobile-enabled technologies require the adoption of processes to manage the transition to devices used by HR personnel and company employees. Policies are being written to control personal devices, their use, and the security of company data. Cyber security strategies are gaining importance as systems diversify, become more accessible to more people, and access more data than in previous generations of HR systems.

In terms of business success, having a system strategy is the number one priority regardless of the system being used. Second, a coherent integration strategy facilitates consistency and higher outcomes in the business. Reducing the number of integration tools contributes to efficiency in integrating solutions. Competitive advantage, as always, is facilitated by good user experience, effective customer service and support, positive vendor relationships, integrated solutions that are functional internally and in the customer-facing scenario, management of costs, and system and data security.