What has been widespread and standardized in IT for a long time in the form of ITSM has only become broadly possible in HR for about a decade. Innovative, integrative technology and software solutions are enabling many organizations to transform their HR departments into digitized HR service delivery models. This transformation results in a variety of potential synergies: For example, HR has only recently become able to provide a high quality of service in the form of cross-functional centralized HR service centers that are largely independent of location. Multi-tiered HR service delivery operating models are replacing inefficient, manual and therefore error-prone silo processes. In many large organizations, this transformation process is already in motion, although many companies are still in the early stages. On the road to HR 4.0, there are a few points to consider to ensure that the digital transformation becomes a success story.
HR now has the technology and the tools, but now it also needs the time
Unlike in the IT(SM) environment, the pure “as a service” approach is still quite young in some parts of HR. What has been established in IT since the 1980s and has developed into a (market) standard now takes just as much time in digital HR transformation. In addition to the pure implementation of software, time is needed to internalize new, agile ways of working together, to adapt service management frameworks, and sometimes also for a sustainable cultural change among HR professionals.
HR as a service means more capacity for strategic work
The synergies that arise from the digital centralization of scalable HR services create capacity for strategic HR work. If, for example, the processes around onboarding, employee lifecycle management or personnel development can be made more efficient digitally, more time remains for the analysis and optimization of recruiting channels or proactive, strategic personnel planning in close cooperation with business units. It is important that these freed-up capacities are retained by the HR departments and are not withdrawn after completion or in the course of a transformation. Those responsible for the change process should communicate this realignment within HR at an early stage and, if possible, shape it collectively. “HR as a service” does not mean the conversion to purely operational ticket processing that is often feared within HR departments, but rather creates space, time and budget for strategic work and action.
HR is about people – technology with people in focus
In the past, HR tools were often not developed for the benefit of all their users. Rather, some tools gave the impression that they were implemented for their own sake. This can be demonstrated particularly impressively with a recruiting example: how often do applicants, even in 2022, come across job portals that neither provide a good user experience nor make a positive contribution to the employer brand: just when you have uploaded your CV and all the required documents, you inevitably have to create a profile in the next step, in which all the information from the CV has to be entered again manually. In times of a shortage of professionals, this is a hurdle that no organization can afford in its application processes. In other contexts, such homemade roadblocks –sometimes in the same companies – are of course unthinkable. Webshops, for example, are optimized with a focus on their conversion rate; application portals, on the other hand, all too often present themselves not as warm invitations but rather as firewalls against motivated applicants. It is important to learn from these mistakes for the upcoming transformation.
Tailored specifically to the needs of HR departments, software such as ServiceNow provides the best prerequisites for successfully setting up efficient and integrative service delivery models. ServiceNow HR applications provide the ideal basis for high service quality, which also creates the capacity for HR professionals to pursue strategic HR goals. Centralized portals bundle intelligently linked topic complexes such as knowledge management, HR service requests and intranet news. In this way, HR professionals are significantly relieved from their administrative work, and users are offered an efficient and centralized point of contact for their concerns that is customized to their needs. The multi-instance software architecture also enables the complete integration of HR and other internal service providers, while at the same time completely separating the underlying databases.