Congratulations! You’ve selected a new HCM SaaS solution and are about to embark on an implementation project.  But wait, are you already behind schedule?  With this newer model, SaaS implementations are extremely fast paced allowing companies to see their return on investment much sooner than in the past with legacy solutions.  However, to do so, companies must be prepared before the implementation begins.  Here are 4 tips to successfully prepare for your HCM SaaS Implementation allowing you to take advantage of your investment sooner rather than later.

People: Identify and Align Your Project Team

Implementations require hard work and experienced resources to be successful.  They require collaboration across various departments including HR, IT, Finance, and Operations.  Projects ebb and flow but you must be prepared to bring resources to the table at the appropriate time to stay on track.  A typical HCM implementation requires Executive Sponsorship, a Project Manager, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in each functional area. Here are some helpful tips to identify and ready your team:

  1. Get Input from Your Vendor/Implementation Partner: Implementation Partners are able to provide an estimate of resources required by functional area along with the expected level of effort required during each phase of the project.   This will allow you to assemble an appropriate team at the start.
  2. Develop Plan for Backfilling Key Roles: Your key employees that own your existing processes MUST participate in the implementation.  They are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and understand your rules and requirements the best.  Their knowledge will be critical to supply those requirements, participate in testing new processes, and validating accuracy and end results.   In addition, their participation ensures they gain understanding of the new system’s configuration and processes moving forward allowing them to take ownership of your new system.  Serious consideration must be given to backfilling their ongoing roles with consultants or temporary employees to allow time to participate.
  3. Consider Having Resources in the Field Participate: Inclusion is a great way to gain buy in and build excitement into the transformation that will, no doubt, take place.   Engage people within the field to participate at certain points within the project.  Their participation will help alert the project team of potential issues with day-to-day operations, ensure messaging to the field will be understood and accepted, and can aid in supporting their fellow employees during the rollout.  Engaging these ‘Champions’ can be highly beneficial in the overall acceptance of your new system and processes.  Identify them early.

Data:  Your New System is Only as Good as the Data Supplied

Data is the lifeblood of any HCM system.  Before your implementation begins:

  1. Identify Your Data Sources: In today’s global environment, it is likely that the required data elements exist in multiple systems.  Your new HCM solution will be your system of record and consolidate your global data elements including HR, Payroll, Workforce Management, Talent, etc.  Current systems that store this data must be clearly identified and where multiple systems store the same data elements, that system of record must be identified.
  2. Data Cleanliness: Once your data sources are identified, the cleanliness of said data must be reviewed, validated, and updated in source systems to ensure your new system receives critical information accurately.  Depending upon the status, data cleansing can require significant effort.  Ensuring your data is clean and accurate prior to conversion will contribute significantly to staying on track with the overall project plan.

Requirements Gathering: Are Your Specific Requirements Documented and Available?

Typically, during the vendor selection process, high level requirements are identified to allow companies to select a vendor that can demonstrate their product is able to comply.  During the implementation, additional specific detailed requirements are necessary to allow the vendor implementation team to configure the system to accurately produce results.  Are these specific requirements documented?

  1. If so, the time it takes to pull them together given the multiple functional areas involved can be extensive.  Create a repository to pull them together in an organized fashion to allow you to provide them to your implementation partner as needed.
  2. If not, your team of SMEs must pull them together.  Provide a template to encourage consistency and a process for submission to once again allow you to provide them easily to your implementation partner.  This can take a tremendous amount of effort and is critical to address before your implementation begins. 

Integrations: What Other Systems Must Your Data Be Shared With?

In today’s modern world of technology, information stored in your HCM solution must be shared with other systems and/or vendors, and vice versa.  Do you understand all of the interactions with your data?

  1. Document Your Current State: It is critical to understand data entering and exiting your current systems to identify automation gaps and opportunities to solve for in your new system.  Visio diagrams of your data flow, whether manual or automated will ensure your implementation team is armed with the appropriate information from the start.
  2. Identify Areas of Opportunity: Once you have your current state documented, focus on identifying areas of opportunity to automate and streamline your data flow.

In conclusion, HCM SaaS implementations move swiftly to allow organizations to realize the value much faster than in the past with legacy in-house solutions.  However, to do so, you must take action before your implementation begins to keep up with the fast pace and complete your project on time and on budget.

Chris Davies
CPP US Executive
September 2023