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Making HR Fast and Fun: SuccessFactors Takes the Timken Company to the Cloud

November 3, 2014 by Susan Galer 0

Like many organizations not too long ago, the Timken Company wouldn’t haven’t considered putting its human resources (HR) data in the cloud. That’s all changed now.

In this video, Robert Arbogast, Director of Organizational Advancement Deployment at Timken, explains why the company is using SuccessFactors cloud-based software to make sure the right people are in the right place to meet global customer demands.

With 16,500 employees across 33 countries, the Timken Company is well past being able to engage employees by having them come into a conference room, Arbogast notes. Yet efficient, effective learning systems are critical to qualify and certify employees that meet the need of customers in Timken’s heavy manufacturing industries such as aerospace and wind power. This is where SuccessFactors software comes in.

“We can engage our workforce in videos and then utilize the training pieces around it,” said Arbogast. “Instead of having people sitting there in a room staring at a screen or at a conference phone, you can use a mobile device to interact with them on-site at actual machines. SuccessFactors gives us the opportunity to send the same message to people no matter where they are in the world. And we can also manage and track completed training in real-time.”

Digital transformation increases productivity for faster decision-making

Arbogast recently shared the Timken Company’s journey to the cloud at the SuccessConnect 2014 event, where he described how the 100-year old company replaced 42 different Human Resource (HR) systems with the SuccessFactors software suite. “We knew that we had to increase business value with integrated systems that would transform people, process, and tools. Number one was talent management. Every decision we made mapped back to that objective,” he said.

It took approximately 18 months for the company to implement the entire Success Factors suite comprising Employee Central, Performance & Goals, Succession & Development, Learning, Compensation, Recruiting, Workforce Analytics, and SAP Jam. What’s excited everyone the most is the streamlined flow of information across both HR and Finance systems. The move not only modernized the company’s technology, but also aligned teams across the business. Informed decision-making is now the norm as everyone follows the same set of standard, integrated processes, gaining immediate insights from dashboards featuring visualized analytics.

“The integrated HR foundation is absolutely critical for alignment with the business. What took weeks is now accomplished in a minute. Integrated reporting of analytics is where you really start to generate value for the organization, helping HR people in the decision-making process,” said Arbogast.

Bringing in SuccessFactors was a logical extension for the Timken Company, helping expand the value of the organization’s current SAP investment. “We are a long-time user of SAP ERP software. Seeing the values that we had generated from that – satisfying customers, inventory management – we looked at the HR side, so those two pieces are together now, talking and working as one,” Arbogast explained.

Teams can now get real-time answers to questions that every HR professional needs for alignment to the business including attrition rates, salaries by region, and true headcount by business unit and cost center. Anyone working in the HR field knows the value of having this kind of accurate data for snapshot and planning purposes.

HR in the cloud runs simpler

Arbogast said that by using SuccessFactors, employees at the Timken Company now have more time to focus on solving problems that generate more value for the business. “We don’t need a whole bunch of IT people sitting around writing programs to interface things – it automatically happens. The information is already there, allowing us to focus our time on the important pieces, such as figuring out answers for the business to create business value. That’s how we’re running simpler.”

People at this high-growth company rely on SuccessFactors to help identify and develop a deep, rich talent pool. This is crucial to support new lines of business whether organically grown or through acquisitions. Arbogast emphasized how the software helps HR ensure that people with the right skills are in place as business demands shift, whether it involves quickly onboarding new-hires or reskilling current employees.

But it’s the end-users that have the last say. According to Arbogast, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “You can install all the technology that you want, and you can really feel good about it but unless the business is embracing it, it won’t succeed. After implementing SuccessFactors, we’ve received feedback from employees that HR processes are actually almost fun.”

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