Add e for evolution

e-HR has the potential to transform HR if implemented properly, as Ron
Collard of PricewaterhouseCoopers can testify. He explains how the PeopleSoft
programme has led to cultural change at the company

Much has been written about the development of e-HR and it’s potential for
transforming HR. And while many organisations have taken a tentative look at
the new technology, when it comes to the crunch they find it hard to justify
the business case for a roll-out programme. Indeed, for e-HR to work there needs
to be a clear strategy, a strong business case and structured implementation.

Developing a business case

The main business drivers to consider in any business case should
demonstrate that e-HR and the associated HR transformation is part of a wider
change programme in line with business strategy. To achieve this the following
need to be considered:

– The brand – shape and focus the brand to match business requirements –
ensuring the employment brand visible in the marketplace is in line with the e-business

– Efficiency gains achieved through technology – choose user-friendly
administration that will allow front-line managers and staff to focus on their

– Gaining greater value from HR – what are the main people issues in your

– Return on investment – what cost reductions will be made?

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ approach to e-HR is based on delivering a global
technology platform – PeopleSoft – linked at territory level, with an HR
transformation programme based on full HR shared services.

Installed across 14 of its major sites, covering 100,000 people – 60 per
cent of its workforce – PeopleSoft forms the hub for all people systems and
transactions at the consultancy. It provides the foundation to help manage
recruitment, retention and redeployment of staff consistently and cost

The application for Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) countries, including
the UK, is run from a single data centre, and allows PwC to upgrade
simultaneously across all sites. It also means a single maintenance and support
team can be centrally located, which brings significant savings in operating
and maintenance costs.

The business drivers behind PwC’s e-HR programme

– Facilitating global HR reporting and data storage standards

– Enabling standardisation of HR processes

– Cost saving by centralising system support

– Providing territory management information (including legally required HR
data) within an overall framework

– Replacing legacy systems with limited lifespan functionality

Challenges during the implementation of the technology platform included:

– Managing a global design with the inevitable demands from individual sites
for customisation that had to be resisted to manage costs

– Larger sites wanting much more sophisticated developments on the
PeopleSoft platform than the smaller sites

– Controlling scope drift and costs within the timetable – achieved by
extensive user involvement supported by the top HR territory leaders

– Managing cross-cultural issues where understanding and definitions in
different countries required much investment in regular dialogue

Adding value

Once the technology platform was built and implemented, PwC considered how
it could derive maximum benefit from the investment and significantly change
and improve the delivery of HR in the UK.

The company wanted to transform the way it delivered HR, making full use of
the relevant technology to develop a shared service approach to administrative
tasks. It also wanted to give HR staff the opportunity to concentrate on adding
value, through business-supporting activities

Cultural change

The changes that have been implemented have provided a basis for major
cultural change at PwC, including:

– Employees being given more responsibility for their personal

– A transformed HR function providing a more value added service

– State-of-the-art systems providing a better quality service link to
e-business strategy

– Client-focused professionals adding value to people activities, not

PwC has derived maximum benefits from its e-HR programme. It has enhanced
the external brand while achieving a better quality HR service, and has seen a
return on investment in three years. Its experience has shown HR can deliver
successful employee service technology at global level while ensuring maximum
benefits are gained from local implementation.

Ron Collard is a partner in the human resources consulting practice
at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is responsible for developing HR transformation
solutions for clients and is the project leader both for PwC global PeopleSoft
implementation and the UK HR transformation project.  He will be presenting a Softworld Masterclass: Implementing an HR
System on a Global Scale. 6 February 10-11am.

Softworld HR and Payroll
takes place in Hall N8 ExCel, London 6-7 February
Contact: Emma Harris
Imark Communications 01932 730704

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