Aligning HRIT Delivery and SaaS

By Jacob Soliman, Senior Solution Architect, Cloud Services, Aon Hewitt

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Perhaps no other group within human resources has been as greatly impacted by the adoption of SaaS systems as HR information technology. The landscape fundamentally shifts from a hosted environment with heavy infrastructure, deep technical experts and custom apps to a service where those components are provided in the cloud as a part of a fixed license cost. Moving HR to the cloud brings significant benefits from a financial, security and overall IT footprint for many organizations -- providing the ability to vault service delivery and user experience into the commercial standards that have become table stakes in today's market. For many organizations, though, HR technology teams have been left scrambling to redefine their seat at the table and align their delivery with SaaS methodology.

Ask most HR technology leaders running SaaS HRMS applications what obstacles prevent them from delivering on the business' expectations, and they are bound to fall into the following two primary categories:

1. Level of effort required to maximize investments. Yes, the deep technical components of system hosting are now inherent. However, it is still an application, and applications need to be maintained. The ability to move at the speed of SaaS and deliver quality in this new paradigm includes the management of:

* Day-to-day maintenance and tenant management,

* Analysis, acceptance and configuration of ongoing releases,

* Integration and report development and support, and

* Reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and business enhancements.

2. Scarcity of skilled resources in the marketplace. There is a new skill set required for the delivery of SaaS technology. A hybrid of a functional analyst who knows processes and the "why" with a technologist's mindset to navigate configuration and assess impacts. These resources are challenging to find and even more challenging to retain without the right environment. These challenges include:

* Inability for client resources to receive product certification as vendors do,

* Very active market for knowledgeable experienced resources,

* Ramp time to productivity for new resources, and

* Wide range for product domains and functions.

The resulting outcome has given rise to an evolved application management services market that meets HRIT organizations where they are to deliver these critical services. Vendor-provided solutions are vastly different from traditional technology outsourcing, offering a model that is as flexible and efficient as the applications they provision. Service providers can uniquely offer the ability to supply experienced, certified, and knowledgeable resources aligned specifically with your company's short-term and long-term strategies. Examples of these services include:

One-time Projects. On-demand projects that companies can take advantage of to fill short-term staff augmentation needs, or to support rolling out new functionality, reports or integrations.

Reoccurring AMS. Longer term, a la carte services, using experienced resources that companies can leverage for ongoing, repeatable work activities. A bench of experts aligned to you to support both business as usual and one-time projects on demand. 

AMS plus functional support. Extended reoccurring services with functional support (e.g. customer service) that enable a turnkey HR shared service delivery model, underpinned by service levels.

As HR technology teams mature and business strategies change, how and where AMS plays a role in your overall HR delivery also transforms. From filling the gap on the loss of a key resource, all the way to addressing a failure to achieve anticipated financial or quality expectations --  varying solutions are available to match your business challenge. Success starts with being aware of the possibilities and planning accordingly for your HR technology delivery in the SaaS methodology.

Expectations from end users to senior executives are rapidly changing, and those expectations are focused on speed, efficiency, accuracy and cost-effectiveness. Your HR technology delivery must be aligned and supported properly to deliver on and exceed these expectations. With the rapid progression in the HRMS marketplace, leveraging a service that can ensure you a seat at the table with the validation from a partner who has the experience, knowledge and depth is an exceedingly valuable asset every HR technology leader should have in his or her portfolio. 

Oct 2, 2015
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