In a lot of organizations, human resources has very little to do with either humans or the managing of them as resources. For the most part, the denizens of the human resources (HR) department spend most of their time either filling out paperwork that makes sure the organization is complying with any number of regulations or making sure that employee reviews are regularly conducted in a way that creates a body of evidence that is defensible should the organization decide to terminate a particular employee.
Given the sheer volume of paperwork involved, it’s little wonder that HR organizations don’t spend much time actually recruiting and developing talent which, when you think about it, is the actual human resource that most organizations care most about.
To address this issue, Accenture has launched the Accenture HR Audit and Compliance service running on the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform, which as a complement to the SAP SuccessFactors software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is designed to help HR organizations reduce the amount of time needed to manage HR data that today is all too often strewn across multiple applications and spreadsheets.
As a function that is typically underserved by IT, the HR department for the most part makes do with whatever applications are at hand. The good news is that HR applications are among the most popular business applications in the cloud today, largely because they don’t require much in the way of help from internal IT people who are typically busy trying to keep the organization’s mission-critical applications up and running.
According to Nicola Morini Bianzino, managing director for the SAP Platform Solutions Group at Accenture, the end result is that SAP ERP applications will run on premise, while secondary applications aimed at departments such as HR are rapidly moving to the cloud. In fact, Shawn Price, president of SucccessFactors for the SAP Cloud, says SuccessFactors has 23 million users across 3,700 organizations.
SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott contends that talent management in general is one of the most poorly served functions in all of business. And yet, McDermott notes that many businesses today are suffering from both a critical shortage of key talent and a general inability to effectively recruit the kind of people they need to succeed.
In essence, SAP and Accenture are making the case that the time has come for business executives to think a lot more like the general manager of a sports franchise, who is in charge of putting the best possible team on the field. Accomplishing that will require not only more automation across HR, but the addition of analytics applications capable of identifying who the best players really are. Of course, one school of thought is that talent management has become too important a function to leave in the hands of HR. That’s a debatable point. But whatever the approach taken, the more time spent on routine tasks associated with meeting regulatory requirements, the less time is available to manage the talent that ultimately determines whether the business succeeds or, in the absence of that talent, actually fails.