HR Powers Global Growth

March 24, 2014 by Susan Galer 0

Photo: SAP TV

Photo: SAP TV

Technology industry experts agree that cloud-based software applications are in every company’s future – with one caveat. For the near term, most companies will have hybrid systems that include both on-premise and cloud-based software. This trend is most noticeable in the area of human resources (HR) where businesses are increasingly relying on cloud-based software to meet fast-changing workforce requirements. One example is Plan International, a non-profit organization that’s working with SuccessFactors, an SAP company, as its strategic partner to meet growth objectives.

Plan International estimates potential savings of €150,000 across 50 countries by moving at their own pace to replace HR point solutions with cloud-based applications. This growth model will allow the organization to be ready to extend its humanitarian services to new countries over the next five years. As more countries go live on SuccessFactors, Plan International will be able to eliminate many point solutions—and the maintenance fees they bring. “Over the next few years, we plan to grow from an almost €700 million organization to a €1 billion one,” says Mark Banbury, Global Chief Information Officer at Plan International. “SuccessFactors and SAP will be absolutely critical to our ability to execute our mission worldwide.”

Promoting children’s rights in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas

Headquartered in the United Kingdom with over 10,000 employees globally, Plan International works in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas to promote children’s rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. A major priority is attracting, developing, and retaining people who have the specialized skills to build up the infrastructure of the communities in which these children live so they can be self-sustaining.

Next page: Global software rollout provides workforce transparency

Plan International chose to implement a suite of SuccessFactors solutions alongside its SAP HR and financials solutions. The organization is performing a rapid global rollout with the help of implementation partner Atos. “We’re looking forward to the seamless combination of HR and financial data,” says Banbury. “Having a truly cloud-based system enables our field staff around the world to manage talent from anywhere, on any device.”

Until recently, the organization’s paper-based processes made it difficult to manage and mobilize a field staff of 9,000. “During one disaster recovery operation, we found ourselves emailing each other to determine where we employed any French-speaking staff with accountancy skills,” recalls Banbury. “That underscored the need to centralize all of our people-related information so we could view and analyze it with one click.”

SuccessFactors Performance and Goals: replacing paper with centralized, speedy processes

With SuccessFactors Performance and Goals, Plan International has moved its paper-based employee appraisal process online. That helps the organization keep field staff working towards high-level objectives. “Our ‘One Plan, One Goal’ initiative is about aligning our entire organization and driving greater effectiveness and efficiency so that we can change more lives,” notes Banbury. “SuccessFactors lets us cascade goals down from top management to field staff, and to report on execution. We can easily check in mid-year to make sure employees are focused on what’s really important, and the data we generate helps us make smarter decisions around compensating our top performers.”

Next page: SuccessFactors Recruiting makes it easy to reach into the talent pool

Plan International will also use SuccessFactors Recruiting to keep a centralized record of all job applicants, so that it can reach into this talent pool for especially hard-to-fill vacancies in the future.

“On our old system, a really talented person who applied for a job with us in the UK wasn’t visible to our field offices in Africa,” Banbury recalls. “But when a major grant opportunity comes up, we need to find someone with the right subject matter expertise and language competencies immediately—no matter where they live. SuccessFactors makes it easy to identify and contact the right person.”

Cloud-based software increases employee productivity and engagement

Company growth is a worthy endeavour, but when millions of under-privileged children depend on your organization’s services for a better life, a long-term plan for fast workforce scalability is indispensable. These are among the reasons that Mike Ettling, Global Head of Cloud and On Premise HR at SAP, sees HR as the leading organizational function adopting cloud. “The HR profession is going through one of the biggest changes in its history. As demand for improved customer engagement becomes more pervasive and competition for talent grows, organizations from every sector are fighting for the same high performers. Suddenly every company is realizing that they need integrated software to better manage performance, develop their people, and keep them engaged and more productive.”

This is particularly true of non-profits like Plan International that are rated on how efficiently it uses the money it raises. By using SuccessFactors to minimize administrative overhead, the organization is freeing up more money to devote to programs that aid the world’s neediest children. And that’s a worthy cause every organization can relate to.

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