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Case Study - Streamlining HR Management Reporting

The Scenario: Frustrated HR Managers

The Vice-president of Human Resources was fighting to control his impatience. Every time he asked his Manager of Diversity, “how many people report to this manager” or “how many minorities and women report to that manager”, her reply was, “it will take several days”. The Vice-president didn’t believe it should take that long. Something was wrong. He just spent several hundred thousand dollars on the current HR system. Does he need to replace it or replace something else?

The Manager of Diversity was at her breaking point. She knew her VP believed that the information should be readily available, but it wasn’t. The head count on the Diversity Report never matched the head count on the Cost Center Report. Each time she had to manually reconcile the differences name-by-name. After she reconciled the data, she manually typed the results into 30 Excel worksheets, one per business area. It typically took two calendar weeks of very detailed, time-consuming effort to prepare a diversity report for the quarterly Board of Directors meeting.

The Challenge: Bridging the gap between requirements and technology

Head count information was historically tracked by cost center to ensure payroll data aligned with financial data. As the company grew and evolved the dimensions on how executives wanted to evaluate the company grew more complex. For example, the e-business group reported organizationally to the President because long term the e-business group supported all business units. Short term, however, the e-business cost center was charged to a specific business unit because the initial e-business thrust only helped that business unit. Altogether there were over six different ways the company looked at reporting relationships.

The IT Department wanted to help the Human Resource department. They knew, however, that support costs would grow to an unacceptable level if they continued to implement new HR systems. They already implemented three systems that showed different reporting relationships. How many could the company afford?

HR Managers evaluated head count from diversity, purchasing authority, and personnel management perspectives. They were asking for systems to provide answers to what they believed were very straight forward HR questions. Why couldn’t their new HR system give them the answers?

The Approach: Assess, plan, and implement

We assessed the current state by interviewing HR Managers to understand the underlying requirements and by interviewing the IT department to understand the capabilities and limitations of the current systems. We then worked with HR managers to coalesce high level requirements into specific deliverables. Once the requirements were understood, we pulled together a cross-functional team of IT experts to develop and implement a plan to meet the requirements.

The Result: Cut cycle time by 95%

It took only 4 person weeks to design and implement a creative solution utilizing the existing systems - Oracle database, Peoplesoft, Microsoft Excel, and Lotus Notes. HR Managers could determine: “who worked for whom” by just clicking on a manager’s name in Lotus Notes; “how many people reported to a specific manager” by running a Peoplesoft report; and “how many minorities and women report to a manager” by running an Excel report. We cut the time to produce diversity reports for a Board of Directors meeting by 95%, from two weeks to four hours.

Copyright 2002 Lim, Norris & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.