Overcoming Struggles with Human Resources IT Needs

Turns out struggles with human resource departments and IT departments are headaches for lots of CIOs. It seems to be the norm more than the exception according to a recent survey.

According to PriceWaterhouseCooper, “While the shift from on premise Human Capital Management (“HCM”) to cloud HCM based applications is significant, many HR business and technology leaders are finding the move requires a transformational mind-set – one that many seem to undervalue and oversimplify.”

Here are how the findings breakdown, according to PWC:

  • More than 50% our respondents cite high satisfaction with their core HR cloud offerings. Yet nearly one-third say their implementation took longer or cost more than they anticipated.

  • More than 40% of respondents who have moved to the cloud shifted, in part, to take advantage of software innovations.

  • More than 55% of respondents either didn’t create a business case, or weren’t sure if they had one. Of those that did create one, 47% never went back to validate ROI.

Do those findings have you pulling your hair out as the CIO? Can you imagine justifying software purchases without making a business case? Or validating the return on investment from the decision?

CIODashboard.com reported on the research. It observed that many human resource executives are turning to cloud-based solutions as a way to find better employees and to also empower employees already working for their companies.

The problem? HR executives are doing this without any input from their IT departments. It’s the ongoing problems of businesses being fragmented when it comes to software purchases. “Unfortunately, HR executives are finding the migration isn’t as easy and breezy as they expected,” the article said.

Among the issues are not being able to translate their needs into comprehension. “For example, 51% of the 107 companies who responded with at least one product in the cloud said they were ‘not fully prepared for the process transformation required.’ Further, 23% of respondents said their implementation took longer and/or cost more than they anticipated.”

What went wrong? Those surveyed said:

  • 45% of the 107 companies who responded with at least one product in the cloud cited a “readiness to give up customizations and embrace a SaaS mindset” as an implementation challenge.
  • Respondents indicated 70 times that “product defects/bugs slowed our progress.” (Keep in mind that many of the process areas and modules are still fairly new in the market).
  • Respondents indicated 71 times that “a lack of internal resources to assist with the project” was an implementation challenge.

Does that last one puzzle you? Probably not because most CIOs know what that means. The offending department says, “We can’t get any support from IT on this software we bought.” Um, how can IT help with a software it probably knows nothing about?

Some more interesting research from PWC finds 70 percent of organizations with human resources and payroll in the cloud have less than 5,000 employees. Your organization not there yet? It soon could be. Be proactive and lead the efforts instead of repairing the misdirected efforts.

How can a CIO take advantage of this study to boost his department’s position within a company? This tidbit is a good one: nearly one-third of human resource departments do not have a formal technology roadmap to assess whether a move to the cloud for their needs is the right one.

A proactive CIO could help them make that decision. Help your human resources department assess their needs and create a technology roadmap. It’s all about making your department more relevant while making HR more effective. There is also the added benefit that your department ultimately doesn’t need to work as hard because it’s not putting out fires started by other parts of your company.

One particular aspect of the roadmap you need to focus on is implementation. That seems to be a top complaint consistently with any organization when it comes to working with the cloud. Conquer that battle going in ahead of time and the rest of the work should flow easily.


Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.