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Many Small and Midsize Enterprises (SMEs) want an all-in-one HR solution that is simple to manage. But they do not know where to start -- or they face myriad options.

Christoph Gerhold is not only LearnChamp’s Managing Director, but also responsible for the HR and Talent Management department. As an expert for Human Capital Management and the SuccessFactors HCM Suite, Christoph has extensive experience and spends his time supporting a multitude of international companies in how to best achieve modern HR-processes.

Q: How do you best support SMEs in achieving modern HR processes?

A: For SMEs, time, money and user adoption are the biggest constraints. They are looking for an HR solution that is not only cost effective, but can be delivered in minimal time and ensures that admins and users can all use the tool. We learnt that simple is better. This includes not only the way the software operates, but also in what it can deliver.

In our experience, the priority areas most SMEs are looking for include: Core HR, Performance and Goals, as well as Learning and Recruiting Management personnel processes. If you find a solution that ticks all of those boxes, you are onto a winning formula to best support SMEs.

Q: What are the benefits to customers of pre-packed HR solutions versus bespoke?

A: We see four real key benefits of ready-to-use packaged solutions over bespoke:

Firstly, it gives customers much shorter project runtimes. We’ve seen SMEs have an HCM solution fully operational in less than twelve weeks per module. This is a massive reduction on a normal implementation. Our customers tell us that the minute they start paying for a solution they want to start using it, so lengthy implementation times are not acceptable.

Secondly, they tend to include only the tried and tested, best of breed configurations. Interestingly, many companies are not always clear on what they need and find it difficult to define, so a packaged offer is a superb starting point.

Thirdly, it is very cost-effective implementation. Packaging the solution enables providers, like Learnchamp as an example, to pass on these cost benefits to customers.

So what you see is what you get.

And finally, customers want to see their investment come to life. That’s why lasting user-acceptance is at the core of pre-packaged solutions. From the initial implementation, to admin and user training, and post-go live support, it’s imperative that the HCM specialists you appoint are there for you throughout to help customers to generate high user adoption rates.

Q: What’s the best way to kickstart a human capital management (HCM) solution for an SME?

A: Speed really is of the essence. SMEs don’t want lengthy workshops and pre-meetings that a bespoke offer will entail. They want to get operational very quickly. So imperative to any project with an SME is a short delivery timescale with a clear plan of action.

From our experience, this can be kickstarted with an initial questionnaire and a checklist to get as much information as we can about their business, what their needs and wants are, and the types of functionality they need. This enables us to create a suitable test environment based on these needs.

Q: How do you define the benefits of a packaged HCM solution to SMEs?

A: The benefits of a packaged solution are endless, not just for our customers but also for our company. I summarise these in four main categories, but there are many more:

  1. Predefined: There is a predefined scope and time period enabling better planning of resources and costs – so the customer knows exactly what they’ll get from day one

  2. Payment terms - Customers pay per user per month, so they can scale as they need/want

  3. Less pre-implementation planning - Based on the feedback we get from customers after the initial demo test, we only do one round of configurations before they go live – this makes it much faster and so much more cost effective to us and to the customers

  4. Shorter implementation - the customer is up and running in around 12 weeks – a massive reduction from a bespoke project

Q: What impact has introducing this new SAP Partner Packaged Solution had on customers and vendors alike?

A: The SME market has traditionally been pretty tough to reach, but launching a packaged solution has been a real door opener for us into the mid-market. With every project that we implement, we are learning from our experiences and standardising our processes even further. Our productivity is increasing, we can maintain the same resources, and reduce our costs.

In the future, I see us further enhancing our best of breed offering, keeping refining and tweaking our solution to SME customers. I also see us introducing even more add-ons to the package to meet the growing needs of growing businesses.

Know What You Want

Organizations that have a clear idea of what they want -- and can outline specifications -- benefit most from implementation packages, according to Gerhold. Now SMEs looking for core functionality that is cost effective, delivered quickly and easy to manage know exactly where to start.