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SAP at the Helm of HR

SAP at the Helm of HR 

There are a lot of reasons one would choose the SAP line of HR products. Beginning with product capabilities, Mark highlighted that with SAP, it’s not just the software that sets them apart, but rather the people.

“I think they’re the best in the industry – and the customers that we have, and the results they get. I think our customers and results are the broadest, best set of customers, and the results speak for themselves. I think they’re formidable, both the people and the customers,” he said.

On the software side of things, SAP ERP HCM and the cloud-based SuccessFactors HCM Suite are very different from the competitors, bringing the most breadth and depth. “When we get into talent, we cover every aspect of talent,” Mark said. “Some of our competitors do not.”

This is particularly important in Canada, where the workforce, especially a niche workforce, can be sparse to say the least, thus highlighting the importance of talent acquisition.

On top of that, SAP’s suite of HR products run the full gambit of elements including global payroll functions, the talent suite, and analytics capabilities. Mark stated, “Most of our competitors are missing several of these elements.”

HR Software For Small Businesses?

But would these HR software solutions be a “crucial” tool for small businesses? As Mark explained, HR software is all the more important for a small business. With often one person wearing more than one hat, the more automation, the more security measures and legal checks, the better. Also, there’s not a lot of training burden to learn the software, so even a one-man-band HR department can be up and running in no time.

Prior to being acquired, SuccessFactors’ customer base was largely that of smaller companies, and smaller HR departments. That hasn’t changed, in fact becoming even more the case now. For example, Mark pointed to Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), a not-for-profit responsible for the planning and operation of Alberta’s electric system. “They are just 425 employees. They were facing a number of challenges and chose our talent solutions to help attract and engage talent with highly specialized skills, and we think it’s pretty cool.”

Revolutionizing the HR Industry

Cloud has revolutionized the HR Industry, and as Mark put it: “It’s still doing it.”

He goes on to explain the transformation underway. “SAP has been taking the HR industry and turning it upside down, and shaking really hard. If one is looking at the HR situation only from the side of HR function, they are missing half the point. HR is the enabler or caretaker, but the endpoint is the workforce, the people.”

For instance, the staff in a major hotel chain would have thousands of employees, some of which are on the go and moving all the time. This is where mobile applications and touchpoints in SAP’s product suite for HR really shine their full colors. Ultimately ever since SuccessFactors was acquired by SAP, “it has been aiming to alleviate the strain on the entire workforce, not just the HR department.”

“HR leaders want to become more strategic in nature,” Mark said. “They don’t want to be the form processors and check the box. That’s not where the role is going. We do things like provide analytics around a suite, and help a tremendous amount to get them to that next step.”

The bigger issue in HR today is the want to simplify the various elements of HR, payroll, strategic compensation planning, sharp recruiting marketing to maximize recruiting dollars, job descriptions, and keeping track of employee time off. SuccessFactors and HCM from SAP help to do just that.

Going granular

But what exactly are the analytics that come from the SAP suite of products? Well, Mark commented on how, the “more things you have in a suite, the better your analytics are going to be”

Why is that? “Well, if all you’re doing is doing a performance review once a year, you might have an employee profile with skills and competencies, but that’s all you’ll know. When you expand and say, I’m going to add learning – what were their certifications? Did they improve their skills? Did they improve their competencies?  You start to understand your talent. That’s the actual strategic capital of a business. It’s the biggest investment and you really can begin to understand the talent you have, the virtual DNA of your organization.”

“That’s great,” he continued. “But then it gets really saucy when you start to combine that with other data, like data from finance and data from sales those types of things. For example, if you do a training program for a set of sales employees, did it really help them sell more? What has been the impact of these talent programs and results? Are we actually attracting people? What’s the revenue per full-time employee?”

It’s these operational metrics on the business that are most insightful not only for the HR department, but for every single level of the organization up the ladder.

“That’s the type of thing we provide,” he says.

Coming up

Mark noted several interesting developments coming up in the next year.

“The thing that is really being jostled about right now is in performance management. People are rethinking everything they’re doing around performance.”

If we are all open and honest, it’s clear that nobody is excited about their performance review, and most of the time they are down-right terrible to go through. As Mark pointed out, they don’t just stink for the employee doing them, but also the HR department themselves. Keep an eye out this coming year for new updates and methods revolving around creating a more bearable, enjoyable, and insightful performance review methods from SAP.

Each month ITinCanada Online will highlight technology in the HR industry. An industry that is quickly moving from reactive to proactive. Next month we will highlight HR at Cameco, a Canadian mining corporation.

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