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Managing a HR tech implementation in lockdown

by Jigsaw Cloud

A new way of working – a new way of managing SAP SuccessFactors implementations 

We all know what happened in 2020 and the changes business had to make because of it: To the way in which they worked, how they supported employees and how they managed projects.  

As we start a new year – with many of the same challenges still in place – we wanted to take a look at some of the ways that we, as a HR technology business, have adapted the way we manage SAP SuccessFactors implementations. The lessons we’re about to share will be useful for anyone out there struggling to decide if now is the right time to embark on a big (or small) IT project and how they can go about it. 

Let’s take a look … 

The way its always been 

First of all, who are we and how do we implement projects? We’re an SAP SuccessFactors implementation partner – that’s what we do; implement software, day-in day-out. And we’ve been doing that for more than 15 years. As with many other businesses, we’d typically work on a client site for all key stages of a project: kick-off, scoping, and training workshops. All managed face to face, and typically done over full days. 

So, what’s changed with our SAP SuccessFactors implementation methodology? Well, quite a lot.  

Let’s take a look at how we’ve adapted 3 key stages of a typical project … 

1. We reduced the time spent in kick-off & configuration workshops 

As a business, we’re very familiar with remote working, but this has been a new approach for many of our customers, who are now working from home for the first time and adapting their working practices.  

We gave a lot of thought to how customer attention spans would change online Vs face to face. How would decisions be affected? What impact would it have on motivation – and their desire to keep momentum going? 

We soon realised that full day workshops (which would traditionally be anywhere from two to six days in duration) just wouldn’t work, so we developed a new online series broken up into two-hour chunks and taking place over a couple of weeks. Participants were focused, found it easier to reflect on the previous session and came to the next session fresh and motivated. 

The other thing we did was adjust our working hours to accommodate different time zones. Not only did this this ensure more attendees could join kick-off meetings and training workshops from more locations, but because delegates didn’t have to travel (many of which would fly from across Europe or even the US) the customer was saving huge sums of money. A win-win all round.

2. We introduced a new step: system familiarisation

During a traditional implementation, we would typically move from scoping and configuration, straight into user acceptance testing (UAT). This round of testing was often hampered because the customer would have to learn the system as well as begin testing their HR processes at the same time. This approach was already under review but COVID accelerated us changing our methodology.

Therefore, we introduced a new step prior to the implementation phase – familiarisation. This meant providing users with access to the pre-configured system, so they had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new software before attending configuration workshops and making decisions on how the new solution should be set up to accommodate their processes. 

The new step included ‘surgery’ sessions, allowing customers to ask questions about their system’s basic configuration, so they could get a better understanding of the fundamentals of the software they were going to be using and therefore be better prepared for the next stage of the implementation journey. 

3. We developed blended learning programme 

Most of our SAP SuccessFactors training is done in one full-day session but given the challenges this would pose if we simply swapped it to online learning (no-one can stay focused online for 6 – 8 hours!), we introduced a blended approach: training was delivered in more agile, bite-size sessions of 2-3 hours.  

Our new SAP SuccessFactors online training programme was divided into four sessions: system theory and use cases, homework (where customers would access and test the new software environment), and Q&A (where we would be available to answer all their questions on the solution).  

In summary 

We hope this has provided a valuable insight into how we’ve adapted our ways of working during lockdown and useful tips for your own system implementations.  

We really have seen how just a few small and simple changes can make a big difference to project engagement and adoption, as well as time and cost savings.

For us, we’ll continue to adopt this approach post-lockdown, as it really is the way forward and a win-win for everyone involved.  

Four key points we want to leave with you:  

  • Think in agile, bite-size stages 
  • Introduce blended learning 
  • Keep in touch 
  • Be flexible to save time and money  

If you need help with a new HR platform – or if you have an existing one and the implementation isn’t going well – get in touch to see how we can help. 

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