Written by: Matt Lafata
HRchitect has been involved in approximately 2000 HR technology related projects for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the world. We have gained tremendous insight that we love to share with you so that you can benefit from the experience, and the lessons learned from others. With 18 years in business behind us in working with many of today’s leading companies, let us best position your company for a successful future with Human Capital Management Systems!
Successfully executing the ITM concept requires a holistic approach that includes embracing ITM as a philosophy, developing a strategy, applying science & measurement disciplines, breaking down process barriers, selecting and implementing enabling technology, and sustaining the new solution over time.
Six previous posts around this subject have given you an overview of our seven-step process for a successful approach to ITM and covered the first five steps – Philosophy, Strategy, Science & Measurement, Process, and Technology Now we move on to step #6, Implementation.
Step 6 – Implementation
Fundamental question: How do we deploy the new technology-enabled processes to achieve desired strategic outcomes?
Now that the technology has been selected, the real work begins. Once the implementation team has been established and preliminary product training is complete, the team should conduct a detailed fit/gap analysis, using the high-level process redesigns developed in the Process phase as a guide. The results of the fit/gap are then used to develop detailed process redesigns that fully leverage the strengths of the selected technology, as well as accommodate product gaps with “creative solutions” (e.g., workarounds). The Implementation phase typically includes a number of additional steps:
- Deployment of development and testing instances or “zones” that can be used for conference room pilots as well as product configuration.
- Design and development of integration to various 3rd party and enterprise applications.
- Configuration of the technology based on the detailed process redesigns, including workflow routing, approvals, and embedded metrics/analytics.
- Development of initial reporting, metrics dashboards, and analytics based on the measurement framework constructed during the Strategy phase.
- Conversion of current and historical data – with the amount of historical data carefully determined based on business need.
- System testing – individual component, process, and full system, followed by user acceptance testing to ensure conformance with detailed design
- User training and change management activities to educate users on the new technology-enabled processes
- Ongoing communication to project stakeholders and an internal marketing campaign to sell the benefits of the new system
- Transition to live production, followed by a stabilization period, as users become accustomed to the new environment.
HRchitect makes the following recommendations to increase the likelihood of a good result during the Implementation phase:
- Avoid the “big bang,” multi-function deployment plan where possible. Instead, pursue a “chunking” strategy over several years that starts with the biggest pain points currently being experienced by the organization. This will enable the proper allocation of project resources, and also help allay fears that the organization will not be able to absorb too much change at one time.
- Project teams almost always underestimate the complexity of integrating the new technology to enterprise applications, 3rd party providers, and existing niche solutions. Therefore, carefully examine any vendor-provided resource templates to determine if additional resources should be added.
- Firms chronically under-invest in change management, internal marketing, training, and application roll-out. Sometimes this is due to an optimistic view of the new application’s user experience (“We shouldn’t need to train managers because the system is so easy to use), and sometimes the budget for these items is plundered due to an overage suffered in an preceding component (e.g., Design, Configure, Test). Whatever the cause for the shortage, budget appropriately for these items and fight to keep the allocation by whatever means necessary!
- Utilize dedicated project resources if possible, particularly for core team members. These are complex projects, and the organization can’t afford for this to be someone’s “night job.”
We’ll address the next and final step in successful ITM execution, Sustainability, in the next blog and please let us know how HRchitect can assist you to get maximum benefit that comes from Integrated Talent Management and as it progresses. E2E HCM.
Matt has over 20 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. He currently serves as President and the firm’s principle HCM analyst. As one of the industry’s leading analysts on HCM Systems Vendors, Matt studies the marketplace and meets with vendors on a regular basis to stay on top of trends in this industry. Matt has moderated numerous HCM shootouts & panel discussions for vendors & HR organizations. He has also been a featured speaker on HCM solutions and workforce trends at various industry & vendor conferences.
As President & CEO, Matt oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including client success, consulting operations, worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, alliances, finance and corporate development. Matt enjoys working with the HRchitect team and the satisfaction he gets from watching our people grow personally and professionally within the organization, and the positive difference our consulting services make in our clients’ organizations.