While there is little doubt that business processes are changing, it’s not the business that’s influencing the shift in operations. It’s prospective and existing customers who are empowered by regular access to information and interactions. Companies that succeed in this new competitive landscape are the ones that realize the power of their customers and reinvent their business models and processes to systematically understand and serve them. However, when such change is concentrated in only customer-facing areas and doesn’t happen quickly enough in behind-the-scenes functions such as HR, it can hold back the business.
During the Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) webcast “Digitize to Delight: How to Engage the Digital Workforce,” hosted by OpenText, the importance of an HR-first approach to digital transformation was examined. The panel discussion featured Claire Schooley, principal analyst at Forrester Research; Marc Bradley, enterprise content and workflow management team lead from the University of Kentucky; and Hans-Gerd Schall, digital information flow coach for OpenText.
Businesses are missing out on the transformational advantages of HR
As HR management applications remain the third-most invested business software and rank fourth in software-as-a-service (SaaS) adoption, core processes – such as recruiting, learning, and performance appraisals – are changing dramatically. However, all too often, HR is one of the last organizations to move along the digital transformation path.
Claire Schooley believes that this is an incredibly short-sighted strategy. “The last part of the business to change, I often find, is HR. Businesses have to modernize HR if they want to attract the right candidates who work digitally and also can help drive the business forward,” she advises.
Hans-Gerd Schall agrees. “It is important to embrace digital technology,” he adds. “Mobile, cloud, analytics, and the Internet of Things will become crucial to delivering new employee experiences and processes that keep talent engaged and growing.”
At the same time, it’s tough to ignore the level of documentation managed in an HR system. Even if HR is fully digitized and automated, processes and the documents that support them do not go away. “Whatever you do in HR, you deal with documents,” Schall points out. “Documentation in every process may no longer be paper-based, but it is certainly, at a minimum, digital. And the volume of structured and unstructured data from these digital documents will significantly increase. Businesses need to think about how they can provide the document management integrity required to handle it all.”
According to Schall, 30 to 50 per employees, on average, are involved in a transaction at least twice a year. Government regulations also mandate that documents should be stored anywhere from 7 to 30 years. For a business with 100,000 employees, this can mount up to approximately 4 million documents each year – leading to more than 6 million annual transactions.
“If HR overcomes the challenges of document creation, discovery, archiving, access, and compliance, the business benefits from a new digital foundation that sets up all employees to transform the business while delivering an engaging experience for all customers,” says Schall.
University of Kentucky: A HR-first approach to enterprise content management
For the University of Kentucky (UK), a framework for enterprise document management is a necessary part of helping its staff of more than 12,000 employees serve approximately 30,000 students. This includes retention policies, authorization, categorization, and mindfulness around the life cycle of every document. The public higher-education institution also needed to improved compliance and control to minimize any risk to authorized access.
“HR is the first organization to adopt content management at the UK,” states Marc Bradley. “Many of the function’s documents are used by a similar group. Plus, we needed to remain compliant with policies and laws governing who can see specific information about employees. There are a lot of overlapping synergies within the UK family when it comes to file access.”
Immediately, the digitization of content management within UK’s HR area improved the quality of its services. Inefficiencies, cost, and risk were significantly reduced as the organization was able to make better strategic decisions with greater transparency and collaboration. Processes are also faster and more effective.
But perhaps the most transformational aspect of this investment is the quality of its content. Now, every employee is guaranteed to access information that is reusable, reliable, and integrated. And with an experience like that, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone will accept anything less in their day-to-day work, prompting a digital transformation of their own department.
Learn more about the potential of HR when it comes to influencing enterprise digital strategies. Check out the free replay of the ASUG Webcast, “Digitize to Delight: How to Engage the Digital Workforce,” hosted by OpenText.