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Bridging the Strategic Human Resources Gap with SAP Cloud Partner HRIZONS

June 11, 2015 by Susan Galer

Ask many human resources (HR) professionals today what they want most, and the answer is simple: to be a strategic business partner.

According to Jim Newman, President and CEO of HRIZONS, an SAP/SuccessFactors partner, achieving that goal requires technology supported by expert advice.

“HR can see the vision but they don’t always know how to get there. They want a single, integrated platform that manages the entire employee lifecycle, standardizing processes, simplifying the user experience and getting real-time, actionable data from the system,” said Newman. “They’re looking for guidance and advice, as much as technology.”

HRIZONS is no stranger to SuccessFactors, having been a partner since 2006. Transitioning to SAP following its acquisition of SuccessFactors has generated even greater opportunities. HRIZONS recently celebrated its second year as an SAP reseller by taking home a 2015 Pinnacle Award in the category of New Cloud Value-Added Reseller of the Year. The recognition was announced at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event in May.

Closing the gap between IT and HR

HRIZONS was created to bridge the gap between technologists and HR. Headquartered in the United States, HRIZONS serves companies across most of the Americas with operations from Canada to the Caribbean. Offering only cloud-based solutions, HRIZONS epitomizes the new SAP partner ecosystem. What’s more, Newman’s background mirrors the ideal skill set of today’s HR professional. He founded HRIZONS after a career in HR, combining his business skills with technology know-how.

The professional background of Jim Newman, President and CEO of HRIZONS, an SAP/SuccessFactors partner, reflects the ideal skill set of today’s HR professional: business skills combined with technology know-how.

The professional background of Jim Newman, President and CEO of HRIZONS, an SAP/SuccessFactors partner, reflects the ideal skill set of today’s HR professional: business skills combined with technology know-how.

“Our vision is to bridge the gap between technology and the function of HR,” said Newman. “We want to be a key ingredient and extension of the client’s HR team, improving their infrastructure, process, content and analytics so they can be more strategic, aligning HR and people to the business.”

SAP HANA Cloud Platform is the future

HRIZONS develops solutions that address HR demands across all industries, including healthcare and other regulated industries. The Job Description Management Solution (JDMS) for SuccessFactors allows companies to unify job content like descriptions and codes in one place. This helps HR provide faster, seamless recruiting, career development, performance management, and succession planning, while meeting regulatory compliance mandates. Newman is particularly excited about the integration that the SuccessFactors platform provides, directly supporting the next generation of HR as a strategic business partner. The next iteration will use the power SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

“Integrated information is critical to HR departments aiming for business alignment. HRIZONS aims to extract and connect relevant insights from disparate systems, taking HR to the next generation past automation for strategic business program execution,” said Newman. “SuccessFactors, eventually built on SAP HANA, will allow HRIZONS to develop and bring complementary, scalable tools to market in a way that no one else does today.”

Advice for the cloud-bound

While every organization is different, Newman advises HR departments considering cloud to begin with self-assessment and take an iterative approach to transitioning to cloud-based software, factoring in change management.

“It’s important to understand the current state of the organization, especially its readiness to tackle a cloud initiative,” he said. “We help clients develop a strategy and road map, and execute the right way with a step-ladder approach. Too often companies have tried to leapfrog with all the bells and whistles, as opposed to understanding what end-users really needed.”

Newman urged HR professionals in search of cloud-based technology to look past snazzy demos and insist on substantive support including pre-sales advice, effective implementation and post-sales services.

“Look for down-to-earth advice from a firm that clearly demonstrates they understand your pain and why they have practical solutions for it,” he said. “Technology is the enabling part of the solution but it won’t solve the problem entirely. You need a partner that brings more than technology to the table. That’s the beauty of SAP’s channel model. We, as a channel partner, have to bring the value-add that also challenges the client so we provide what’s in their best interests.”

Newman said that HRIZONS is taking full advantage of what he sees as SAP’s sophisticated partner enablement.  However, he said that it’s a two-way street. “If you’re willing to invest in marketing campaigns and work closely with the channel to find creative ways to close deals as we have, the support will be there. It’s opened up a whole new business model and to us that was an opportunity.”

Strategic HR is fast becoming the norm at every organization. Companies able to bridge the gap between IT and HR are best-positioned for future success.

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