Until now human resource managers in New Zealand’s small and medium-sized companies have relied on clumsy tools. If they no longer use paper, they turn to basic desktop applications like Microsoft Word to handle performance reviews and Excel spreadsheets to consolidate employee and payroll information. This leads to static HR databases where key information is hard to track, difficult to update and leaves managers unable to keep up with rapidly-changing conditions.

Nick Mulcahy, CEO of Soltius says that’s changed. Today managers can use the same human resource systems used by some of the world’s largest corporations to attract, develop and keep the most talented workers. He says organisations like Wal-mart have seen dramatic transformations from using SAP’s human resource software. It looks after the mechanics of dealing with people, leaving managers to focus on the human aspects of building workplace culture which in turn can mean huge leaps in productivity.

He says: “Thanks to cloud computing, similar software is coming to small and medium businesses. With SuccessFactors you can have the same integrated human resource functionality that a company like Wal-mart uses, but at a fraction of the cost”.

In an HR system all records are live. Instead of static Word or Excel documents left to gather dust, information can be continually updated. At any stage managers can see a history of an employee’s good work, the successful projects and achieved goals. They can add comments, Linkedin-style, saying the employee did a “great job negotiating a new contract”.

Mulcahy says customers already using the software tell him these recommendations encourage cross pollination of feedback: “It’s no longer just a matter of ticking the boxes, but about moving on to fostering a better workplace culture. It moves the HR role from being largely about process to one where executives can have meaningful conversations and focus on improved business outcomes.”

SuccessFactors is a Software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. It runs in the cloud on remote servers. SaaS means you no longer have to invest large capital sums in computer systems to run sophisticated business management applications. Instead you pay only for the resources you use.

Better still, SaaS is fast to implement, you can be running SuccessFactors in days. Cloud software also means you don’t need to lock into an expensive upgrade cycle as your business grows.

Because SuccessFactors is an SAP SaaS application it integrates smoothly with other SAP products such as SAP Business ByDesign, a SaaS version of the enterprise resource planning software used by large companies, but created for small to medium-sized companies. ERP systems are sophisticated business management tools made up of a suite of closely related applications that automate business processes. A typical ERP suite might include financials, planning, marketing and human resource modules.

The key to ERP is that the component apps share common databases and integrate into a seamless whole. This means information passes smoothly from one app to another keeping everything up to date. Doing this requires considerable computing resources that would put traditional ERP software beyond the reach of smaller organisations.

Read the full article at www.idealog.co.nz/tech/2015/11/culture-workplace-supporting-your-talent

As published in Idealog Magazine, December 2015 Issue