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What Human Resources (HR) executive hasn’t longed for a seat at the executive table? But for most, this dream is yet to be realized. And for good reason. If your HR department is bogged down with compliance and transactional activities – and most business interactions with HR end with a resounding, “No, you can’t do that” – then your department cannot and will not be thought of as a strategic business function.

But as companies undergo digital transformations driven by rapid adoption of innovations in enterprise mobility, data analytics, cloud computing, and social media, businesses are being reshaped across every industry. Functions and processes, including HR, are being radically reinvented. And as this occurs, executives will need HR to step up to the plate and assume a new kind of leadership role. As noted by IDC, “The ‘people dimension’ of digital transformation means that HR needs to actively participate in contributing to better business outcomes through improved workforce visibility and effectiveness.

Only with effective management and deployment of the enterprise’s workforce resources can HR contribute directly to achieving positive business results.”

What will the digital transformation of HR look like? At SAP, we foresee deeper, broader collaboration between HR and other business areas to improve talent management – for example, by identifying pockets of excellence and planning for succession. HR will need to link and strategically leverage the entire workforce – both employees and contractors – to power specific business results. We anticipate HR needing to power these results through the strategic use of analytics and technology and by helping employees develop a digital transformation mind-set; this may mean encouraging them to use new digital and social technologies to build relationships and collaboration within the workforce. Managing traditional HR functions will continue to be necessary and important. However, HR executives will also need to participate in long-term strategic planning – and the adjustments of these plans – to help the business address new needs and strengthen profits.

But when HR organizations hold onto older technologies, disregard the value of socially connecting workers, resist BYOD policies favored by prosumers, and are slow to adopt mobile technologies, for example, they can hinder broader business transformations. And that’s not just transformations within their own department. HR needs to not only adopt digital technologies, but also be advocates for them internally. And they need to boldly embrace fully integrated, enterprise-level HR solutions that harness digital technologies that unify data, simplify and accelerate HR analytics and core processes, and provide real-time visibility into operations, the workforce, and costs.

At SAP, we support HR’s transformation through the next wave of innovation for SAP S/4HANA, the next-generation business suite. Now all areas of your business – including HR – can be connected, with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core. This digital core enables digitized, mission-critical processes that interconnect all aspects of the digital value chain. That includes workforce engagement, the customer omnichannel experience, assets, the Internet of Things, and supplier collaboration and business networks such as the Ariba Network. As an HR executive, imagine being able to:

  • Reinforce operational alignment between HR and finance to optimize capabilities and align both teams with the business
  • Enable consolidated access to real-time data to provide insights and measure the business impact of HR
  • Integrate end-to-end processes across financials and HR to help manage budget and headcount planning
  • Provide employees and contractors with engaging user experiences across lines of business

By replacing your patchwork of HR solutions with the digital core, your HR department can:

  • Increase employee engagement by ensuring that all in your organization have what they need, when they need it, to manage their careers and teams to meet business objectives
  • Use HR data to link HR strategies with business strategies
  • Unite HR, business teams, and IT for better business performance
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Increase HR productivity

What’s your plan to drive digital HR transformation? Read the IDC Technology Spotlight, “HR in the Boardroom: Overarching Business Imperatives Call for Digital Transformation” to learn more and start your digital transformation journey.