Inspirational Leaders SAP UKI Interview: Joanna Murphy At Rizing Discusses Cloud HXM In The Mid-Market


Joanna Murphy is President, HCM EMEA at Rizing. Rizing is an SAP Gold Partner globally headquartered in Stamford, USA but with EMEA HQ in Dublin, that predominantly focuses on Cloud HR for the mid-market.

Joanna talked to us about her career, her take on diversity and inclusion as a female leader in technology, HXM trends in the mid-market, Rizing’s values and how they’re helping their customers to be more inclusive.

SAP UKI: Tell us a little about yourself, Joanna.

I live in Dublin near to the city centre with my husband and our nine-year old son. We’re real foodies and I love to bake. I also enjoy going to concerts, mainly to see indie and guitar-based bands. I already have twenty concerts lined up for this year. That’s a real sign of the times now that Covid restrictions are lifting and we’re all more aware how important it is to live life to the full.


SAP UKI: Could you give us a brief overview of your career?

Landing here as the President of Rizing’s HCM line of business in EMEA was a bit of Irish luck – because I love what I’m doing, the collaboration with customers, digging into different businesses and designing technology solutions to help them grow. I’m doing what I can to ensure that the younger women don’t rely on luck, but have mentors and sponsors to drive their direction. I did an information studies degree in the UK and then came back to Ireland and worked in recruitment. I eventually became an HR business partner in financial services up until the banking crash of 2008. The economy was really bad here, unemployment was off the scale for years, so I tempted fate and I turned my hand to whatever was going at the time.


SAP UKI: How did you come to join Rizing?

Around 2011, I joined this new platform called LinkedIn, and shortly after received an invitation to apply for a new role implementing SuccessFactors. Rizing HCM was setting up their European offices and I became their first employee in Europe. So, I made the leap from the traditionally female career of HR into the brave new world of HR technology and I loved it from day one.

I immediately felt I’d found my calling because I understood the Cloud HR technology from the HR decision-makers’ point of view. I could empathize with their goals and challenges, and could see how the tech could make a big difference to them.


SAP UKI: Could you describe Rizing’s culture and values?

We have our company values which we try to embed into everything we do; integrity, respect, courage, collaboration and excellence. I’ve always had great empowerment and flexibility here because we’re 100% remote, and have been since 2011. As a working mother it’s been incredibly useful for me to choose how I do my work on a weekly basis and have that freedom.

We’re also focused on diversity and inclusion and are creating more opportunities for women and minorities. The recent appointment of Jodi Hayes-Roth as our CEO in the HCM Line of Business is inspiring for us all, and our CHRO Katie Obi is wonderful at promoting DE&I within our company. We’re looking closely at our data and analyzing where we are in terms of our diversity and what we need to address, for example through unconscious bias training.


SAP UKI: How are you helping your customers to be more inclusive?

Data is key. You can’t hide when you have the analysis of the numbers. Without that insight, how can you know where the gaps are, and what needs to be done? That’s true from a diversity and inclusion perspective, but also from a risk perspective when you’re looking at your skills gaps and succession planning.

You need an accurate, real-time picture of where you are in order to plan how to get to where you want to be. You’d be amazed by how many mid-market companies struggle to know their exact employee numbers, to break down the demographics and to report to the board on this.

With these things in mind, we’ve developed an SAP Qualified Partner Package Solution, Synchrony Pay and People, for our mid-market clients. It gives SMEs that core HR global template, with the people analytics they need, and empowers them to implement best practices in their processes and in paying their people. Synchrony is built on SAP SuccessFactors technology, and Rizing enables the digital transformation of their HR function within a fixed scope, price, and timeline. With Synchrony, they can achieve a faster time-to-value with minimal disruption to their day-to-day business.

SAP UKI: Is there a recent project you’re particularly proud of?

We implemented the full SAP SuccessFactors suite for Huntsworth Health, a medical healthcare PR company. They had a lot of different agencies who were using disparate systems, and none of the systems could talk to each other. Huntsworth is on the acquisition trail and needed a system that could help them onboard any new companies they acquire quickly and painlessly. Scalability was huge for them.

They now have one system of truth that speaks across all of those agencies in multiple countries, across different brands. For the first time ever, they’re able to get that holistic overview of all of their different businesses which has been huge for them.

It was the first 100% remote project that we ever did because Huntsworth signed on days before the Covid lockdowns. We adapted quickly and it went extremely well. Since then, all our implementations have been fully remote has been wonderful and it works so well, but I think face-to-face is important at key points in a project. It’s key to understand the company and their culture, especially at a kickoff phase, and that’s much easier and more rewarding for everyone to do that in person. As humans we need to be able to engage face-to-face.


SAP UKI: What is Rizing’s vision for the next few years?

We’re looking to grow and develop the team here in the UK and Ireland. We’re also focusing on the concept of ‘the future of work’. To us, that means empowering companies with meaningful analytics in a digestible format so they can make informed and timely decisions. Our goal is to make business transformation meaningful to organizations –from the time of implementation – so that they can rise above managing transactions to driving the future of the enterprise.


SAP UKI: What HXM trends are you seeing in the mid-market?

With the Great Resignation and high employee turnover rates, mid-market organizations need to attract new talent into the organization and retain what they have. Data is key for this. They want to have the ability to analyze exactly what skill-sets and talent profiles they have and use those insights to offer really exciting career paths. Many companies have lost employees because they didn’t know the talents they had in-house, and because those employees didn’t know what opportunities were available to them either. That’s such a disconnect, right? But it’s all down to data. It’s key to have the information in hand, and the tools to analyze that data, so that they can make better decisions and improve the employee experience.