In my last article Cloud: Smaller the customer, longer the tail, I talked about how customers and implementers should plan for a longer rollout. Now, let us closely look at how process as a parameter play an important role in shaping the success of cloud HCM projects. Often, one would encounter any or all of these four situations with respect to HR process of an organization: Non-availability of processes, loosely defined processes/process inconsistency within the organization, fluidity of processes and inadequate documentation of processes.
These can significantly delay the implementation or force rework of activities such as configuration, development, testing, training and documentation.
Non-availability of processes: These are common in small and medium enterprises or growing organizations. Other than certain basic policies such as leave and perhaps travel, there is a strong likelihood of non-availability of critical processes for recruitment, performance management, training etc. Many a times, customers would expect the implementer to suggest best practices for each of these areas. When the entire project duration is few weeks, there is hardly any room in the project schedule to accommodate for process definitions. If implementers have not factored for this, this might directly impact their bottom-line
Loosely defined processes or process inconsistencies: This is another potential speed breaker in HCM engagements. Much as, many smaller organizations might not have critical processes; large organizations might suffer from loose definitions or process inconsistencies between entities. Process reconciliation amongst them would invariably delay the engagement. Unfortunately these would not be visible during the presales stage and hence budgeting for the same is very difficult.
Process fluidity: This is extremely common in HCM implementations. In any organization finance, procurement and production processes would be more or less stable. You do not see frequent corrections to payable or receivable or procurement processes in an organization. They would remain stable over a period of time. However, you would find HR processes undergoing frequent process improvements/corrections. The performance management process, which was signed off prior to the configuration of HCM solution, could be completely different after you have GONE LIVE forcing a rework of that module. Similarly, organization structure, jobs, positions and grades are subject to frequent changes. If these changes occur in the middle of an implementation or immediately after the project has GONE LIVE, there would be no option but to reconfigure it all over again.
In order to mitigate this, here are some suggestions:
Process documentation and education: Customers are advised to document their processes clearly with responsibilities and educate the relevant stakeholders before embarking on automation. Automating without process definitions is like putting the cart before the horse.
Process workshops: Implementer and the customer could agree on a process workshop to identify as to how each of their processes score against parameters such as Availability, Consistency Stability and Common Understanding. Accordingly customers and implementers could jointly agree upon additional effort required and work on the GO LIVE plan.
Staggered rollout: Customers should ideally delay the roll out of processes that are likely to undergo correction. For example if the organization is reworking on their appraisal process, it does not make sense to implement the performance management module. If there is a reorg happening, it is better to put off the HCM implementation since organization structure would form the basis of the entire HCM implementation
A standardized, well understood, documented process would contribute significantly towards the success of ERP/HCM implementations. However as we saw earlier, process is only one of the critical success factors. We will dwell on other success factors in the subsequent articles…
Stay tuned till then…