Whether we like it or not, every employer competes with the major tech giants.

While many employers compete directly with these companies for top talent, all employers compete with the consumer expectations these organizations set. What employees once tolerated as the cold realities of inefficient internal processes is no longer acceptable. Some employers came to this conclusion over the last decade, but the "fix" is still elusive for even many of the world’s leading companies. Moving to the "new" in human resources requires a fundamental shift in HR’s role and how HR services are delivered—a move away from the rigid, inefficient ways that stereotype HR functions and processes toward a more agile, service-driven human resources function underpinned with technology that supports efficiency, data-driven decision making, and innovation.

Reflecting on the Path to Today
Between 2000-2010, efficiency and effectiveness were all the buzz in the HR transformation space. Large companies executed HR transformation projects that standardized and consolidated back-office activities through shared services, focused functional capability within centers of expertise, and supported HR business alignment through HR business partners. What was a sound concept misaligned with reality—employees, managers, and particularly HR were not ready for this change. Perhaps more importantly, the capability and usability of HR technologies insufficiently supported the expectations set forth in "best practice" HR operating models.

Toward the second half of that decade, HR enterprise cloud software became popular as organizations recognized the limited functionality of their static, clunky, on-premise systems. Investments in point systems from cloud technology vendors became popular across recruiting, onboarding, compensation, talent, and learning functions. With promises of slick interfaces and leading functionality, these tools were sold to HR experts and left IT with the task of integrating them with legacy, on-premise applications. As organizations invested in these tools, the lack of common data and reporting became an issue while diverse system interfaces created disjointed user experiences. Soon enough, the larger cloud vendors acquired smaller players and rolled out full “talent suites” to provide integrated hiring, talent, and compensation functionality.

By 2010, led by Workday’s market disruption, the next HR trend was sunsetting legacy, on-premise systems and "moving to the cloud." By providing a truly unified system and user experience, Workday’s appeal was rooted in simplicity and transformation being inherent in its business process framework.

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@Workday’s appeal was rooted in simplicity & #transformation being inherent in its business process framework.

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As organizations increasingly flocked toward Workday as their go-forward cloud HR system, HR transformation took a sharp turn. Buzzwords like "time to value" drove deployment strategies heavily focused on process standardization.

As cloud capabilities matured and deployment methodologies stabilized, so did organizations’ deployment strategies. Because employees expected a seamless experience across a full array of digital and physical channels, delivering on that expectation required more than just technology. Rather than focusing solely on methodology and vendor-defined “best practices,” organizations began leading deployments with an employee experience lens, defining key HR moments that matter and subsequently defining signature processes specific to their own HR functions. We’re seeing many companies move to the cloud for HR with business cases ranging from cost containment, to enabling a data-driven HR organization, to providing consumer-grade technology experiences for applicants, employees, and managers. In fact, more than 175 organizations from the Fortune 500 have already selected Workday as a technology provider.

Charting HR’s Future Through Technology
Where does that leave us? Is it a case of the "haves" and "have nots?" The answer is not that simple. Regardless of an organization’s HR maturity, history, or level of investment in HR cloud technologies, the C-suite is asking the same questions:

  • How can HR add value by driving innovation and improved performance while supporting organizational agility?
  • What skills and capabilities are needed from the HR function and its leadership?
  • How should HR organize itself to deliver on new expectations?
  • What are the technology accelerators and key interactions with the ecosystem that will support the HR transformation?

Leading organizations are looking at how to “solve” these new HR demands differently, while capturing value through technology investments like Workday. It’s no longer HR transformation, a Workday deployment, and an employee experience effort: it’s Workday-powered HR transformation, enabling:

  • HR-as-a-Service: Moving to demand-driven HR services—supported by a shift in how HR operates and organizes itself to deliver services and associated experiences—to meet the diverse requirements of the modern workforce
  • Agile HR: Providing foundational HR services in ways that are responsive to the ongoing changes of the strategy, culture and work style—and associated talent changes—of the organization to help achieve expected business outcomes at speed and scale and with certainty
  • Data-Driven HR: Driving continuous improvement through HR Analytics and data-driven insights to help maximize the return on talent investments

This is the new in HR and it is how Accenture and Workday are leading in the “new” with our joint customers. We’re enabling business outcomes through Workday-powered transformation.

Stay tuned for my next blog in this series to learn how Workday-powered transformation is helping businesses to drive change. In the meantime, learn more about how Accenture and Workday are helping organizations master the employee experience while transforming HR’s role.

Ed Miller

Managing Director – Workday Business, Advisory Services Lead

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