Celestica’s Move to HR in the Cloud

The more digital our world becomes, the less it makes sense to operate with paper-based processes. With the widespread adoption of mobile applications, cross-system connectivity, real-time processing and reporting, and ubiquitous access to information and analysis, going paperless seems to be a natural evolution.

But as we learned with the adoption of tablet readers, old habits die hard. Some people will always prefer paper over digital experiences. Yet, as Celestica realized, such resistance became counterproductive.


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“The way we previously ran our HR processes, on paper-based forms, wasn’t efficient or in sync with our core values,” says Penny Cavener, senior director of Global HR Solutions for the Global Business Services organization at Celestica.

From On Premise to the Cloud: Journey Toward HR Consistency and Efficiency

Toronto-based electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company Celestica operates with a multilingual workforce of 27,000 across 13 countries. Such a large global footprint is exciting for any business. But from an HR perspective, it is tremendously challenging to manage when burdened with manual, paper-based HR forms.

“Celestica is fast becoming borderless, and our managers have employees reporting to them around the world,” shares Cavener. “It’s important for us to provide a standardized experience, so that managers can execute on HR processes to take care of their talent in a real-time environment.”

By providing HR self-services through a cloud solution, Cavener and her team opened up information to the company’s managers and employees in real time. Business functions are improving talent management practices, eliminating paper-based forms, and getting new hires up and running on their first day on the job. By going paperless, Celestica’s HR organization is saving managers tens of thousands of hours a year on redundant administrative paperwork.

“We moved all of our paper-based forms online and made them workflow-enabled. Managers no longer waste non-value add time trying to understand which form to complete and where to send it, and HR saves hours not having to find, complete, or send forms to the appropriate area,” Cavener observes. “We’ve gained efficiencies, and as we continue stabilizing, enhancing, and improving, we’re going to grow and expand with those efficiencies in place.”

HR Everywhere: Hallmark of Competitive Business Performance

Although often met with skepticism, a cloud migration accomplishes too many improvements to avoid. But don’t be fooled – migrating to the cloud is not just about simplifying and accelerating the ability to access, manage, and execute HR processes. The bigger story about the cloud emerges when the entire business runs more intelligently and productively.

Managing a project of the size of Celestica’s may not be easy, but it can be tremendously worthwhile as everyone benefits.

“At first I resisted the idea of moving our master data from the on-premise solution to the new solution in the cloud,” reflects Cavener. “I couldn’t believe that technology could be seamless and accurate in a real-time environment.”

Celestica empowers its entire workforce to access and manage their own data in real time on any mobile device or through a designated self-service portal. The HR team has also reduced its focus on administrative tasks, enabling them to be more strategic business partners. And even HR operations have transitioned away from mundane, master-data transactions to engage in more analytical services.

Now that Celestica employees are using a unified platform for HR processes and information, confidence in data integrity has never been higher.

“Other functions within the company have come to rely on our information as a sound source for their own purposes,” Cavener reports. “HR is not just providing transactional support to those business partners, they are an equal partner at the table, positioning the right people where they need to be to help our company continue to grow.”

To hear Celestica’s digital HR transformation story live with much more detail and to chat directly with the Celestica team, on-prem SAP ERP HCM customers are invited to join SAP and our partner ADP for the complimentary Upgrade2Success Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on September 27.  Get more information and to register here.

If you can’t make Lisbon, this summit is part of a global roadshow with a live customer case study at every one so check out our Upgrade2Success Global Roadshow Website to discover a date and location that suits you. We look forward to welcoming you!


HR cloud solutions provide companies with faster insights, better user experiences, and the ability to innovate.

Learn more about Upgrade2Success, a comprehensive program from SAP SuccessFactors that guides your move to the cloud with services and tools designed to address your unique needs during your digital HR transformation, here.


Steve Schnoll is global vice president of Strategy at SAP SuccessFactors.