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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Joined-up HR and finance – the move to systems of engagement


This article was written by Laura Schroeder, Director EMEA Product Marketing at cloud-based HCM provider Workday. Laura has more than 15 years of experience designing, developing, implementing, and evangelising global HCM solutions.

Advances in consumer and social technology have created new opportunities to reach customers and forced organisations to adapt their business strategies faster than ever before. If we look at some of the key trends that are impacting global business today, they would include:

  • The rise of the digital consumer is driving increased investment in online sales and marketing
  • The shift of cost and value from products to service makes people more critical to success than ever before
  • Shrinking margins and increased global competition place a spotlight on productivity and cost reduction
  • People are empowered in their consumer lives and expect the same intuitive, personalised experience in the workplace
  • The need to move fast is leading to a growing demand for accurate, real-time business information
  • Organisations are under pressure to respond quickly to business changes but are held back by their business technology

Innovation drives success

The most successful companies today are those that are able to innovate and adapt their business strategies quickly.

  • Pharmaceutical companies must innovate to compete with cheaper generic brands
  • Retailers must innovate to reach online consumers
  • Manufacturers must innovate to streamline processes and reinvent the supply chain
  • Financial services companies must innovate to build consumer trust

Innovation is mission critical to compete in today’s ultra-competitive global market. Being able to refocus your workforce on innovative business strategies is dependent on the flexibility and capability of your business solutions.

At the same time,we are seeing a shift in enterprise technology that’s driven largely by leaps in consumer technology. There is a growing demand for “systems of engagement”—systems everyone in the business can use—rather than traditional “systems of record” that are used by just a few people. 

Systems of engagement

Leading companies are starting to rethink their enterprise technology strategies. They are embracing social and mobile technologies to drive higher levels of business performance. Business leaders are demanding instant access to business-critical information and the entire IT stack is moving to the cloud to meet these demands at a lower cost of ownership.

Systems of engagement are:

  • Simple: To engage users, these systems must be easy to access and provide reliable and accurate data. If people can’t find information or don’t understand it, they won’t use the system.
  • Object-Oriented: Engaging systems are object-oriented because that’s how people work and think. Object-oriented systems are designed to disclose information progressively as it’s needed.
  • Mobile: Mobility is also an important driver of user engagement. People don’t work from nine-to-five jobs anymore. They work when they want and where they want and they expect business solutions to be available on demand.
  • Collaborative: Finally, engaging systems help people network, collaborate and share information about what they’re working on—without having to change applications.

Separate systems stifle innovation

In order to drive innovation, today’s business leaders need solutions that can zero in on business-critical information and serve it up quickly. However, they often lack the basic insight necessary to inform critical business decisions because that business information is often held in multiple systems. In a typical ERP environment, multiple transactional systems feed a spreadsheet or BI tool, and the data may be unreliable or out-of-date before anyone even looks at it. Then, once the information has been examined, the user needs to go back to the transactional system to take action. It’s counterintuitive.

For example, imagine a P&L analysis points to a revenue shortfall for your fiscal quarter. You may be able to identify which organisation, product, or customer is responsible but what if the reason for the shortfall is that you have three open positions in the sales organisation, and have had for six months?

Separately, the finance department could identify where the shortfall occurred, and the HR department—if it knew where to look—could identify the hiring problem, but only a unified HR and finance solution is capable of connecting the dots.

Unified HR and Finance

We are witnessing the birth of a new generation of enterprise cloud applications that are truly unified and work the way people work—collaboratively, on the go, and in real-time. These unified systems give innovative businesses a single, global system for all data and business processes related to HR and finance. And they create a culture of innovation by removing barriers to important business information.

Imagine all your applications in a one seamless system. You’ll gain unprecedented insight delivered at the speed of your business.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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