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Former Member

I don’t know any leader who believes that spending time creating reports that are instantly out of date drives business results. Yet a recent survey shows that organizations are wasting an average of 17 hours every week -- that’s more than two full working days -- just producing HR reports.

The amount of time spent on HR reporting and metrics has increased over the last five years, according to a survey of 1,300 HR, finance, and IT managers. Released in last month, the research was commissioned by a team here at SuccessFactors, and conducted by the international research firm Vanson Bourne (see below for a link to the report). 

Top-line Survey Findings

  • 72 percent of survey participants identified having a geographically dispersed workforce
  • 51 percent of participants said they face challenges connecting data from a range of structured and unstructured sources – from enterprise databases and applications to social media platforms – because of this geographical-dispersion
  • Only 22 percent of respondents considered themselves to be “very effective” when it comes to workforce analytics

Accurate, on-demand information is business critical, so reporting delays can hurt HR’s ability to deliver strategic value to the business. Today’s rapidly-changing  global environment calls for cloud tools that can enable quick analysis and valuable insights – to help organizations get the right people, with the right strategic focus, in the right roles.

The Effects of Globalization and Mobility

Globalization and the explosion of mobile apps and devices are big reasons behind the drive to streamline HR processes and reduce costs. Just over half (51 percent) of organizations in the survey use a range of HR systems across geographic locations and countries. Managing multiple systems while accommodating local needs presents significant challenges.

At the same time, business users are increasingly mobile in the globalized economy. According to the survey, people want about half of their business applications available on mobile devices.

IT and the Cloud Can Help

New ways of doing business and evolving expectations for tools that allow better collaboration across companies add complexity to HR systems. Organizations have to provide access to applications anywhere, any time, and on any device. And they require collaboration functionality and tools to create high performing, interconnected remote teams.

As 81 percent of organizations surveyed believe, cloud computing has many benefits. Cloud computing gives HR systems more flexibility to react to the business’s requirements. Cloud scales to meet growth needs, reduces upgrade costs, and improves system availability. 

And while the cloud gives HR more independence in technology decision-making, 62 percent of organizations surveyed said HR is increasing its dependence on the IT department. Good analytics and planning tools, however, can give HR more control and help reduce the need for help from IT.

Making HR a Strategic Partner to the Business

The goal is an HR strategy and system that gives each business unit the insights it needs to proactively manage their people. To do this organizations need HR to focus less on reports that give only a view of past performance and more on what’s needed for success tomorrow.

Unified, trustworthy data is crucial. Nearly a third (32 percent) of organizations surveyed said that having a single source of the truth is one of the biggest challenges for running and maintaining core HR systems. And 42 percent believe that finding a single solution that will suit their needs is a challenge.

For analytics to make a positive impact on policy and strategy, data needs to be sufficiently detailed and HR reports have to be aligned with other organization reports. HR systems also need to account for the different analytics needs of departments throughout the enterprise, from financial and accounting reports to inventory predictions.

Enabling Compliance

For distributed organizations compliance can be a complex issue, and making sure HR systems are fully compliant is a real concern for many companies.  Of the organizations surveyed with divisions in different countries, 75 percent allow for local variation on compliance issues. Of these, almost all (93 percent) use their HR systems to enable local variations.

The impact of compliance concerns on HR is clear – 36 percent of organizations consider compliance issues a key reason for reviewing their core HR systems. Download the research report "Driving HR Impact in a Changing World: Connecting a dispersed workforce with Core HR and Analytics" to learn more.