Project 11: Selecting an HCM Without User Requirements

A call center organization had a number of facilities and virtual employees spread across five countries in Latin America. As is common with organizations following rapid growth, the information infrastructure was a collection of antiquated applicant tracking, payroll, and HR systems (loosely defined), all with too many manual processes. An integrated Human Capital Management (HCM) system was desired for years, but conditions were never 'right' for a large, disruptive implementation.

HR leaders would periodically scan the HCM market to get ideas of features that might be possible to add to their existing systems. During one of these market evaluations, conditions became 'right.' The operations and HR leaders finally convinced the executive team of the benefits of an integrated information system. Unfortunately, the group had seen several projects start and stop over the years. So, despite gaining authorization to proceed, there was a fear that future business conditions would stop the project and that only parts of the company would be on a more efficient system. This would leave the company slightly ahead of where it started, with a collection of systems (though with some components significantly better than others)

The decision was made to move with speed. Surprisingly, the requirements definition phase was eliminated. It was believed that due to existing workloads and resource availability it would have taken many months to get an accurate set of user requirements. Instead, the market assessment results coupled with preliminary vendor discussions were used to prioritize HCM systems. Then, the highest ranked vendor was invited to spend a week on-site to conduct product demonstrations. Each module session was attended by key system and process personnel to evaluate the system from the perspective of a given function. Department leads were required to indicate whether or not the system would work for their teams. If the departments rejected the system, the next vendor in ranking would be invited to perform the same activity. The risk with this approach is that if the company had to repeat this process for several vendors it would have exceeded the time and effort needed for traditional requirements definition. Thankfully, the first vendor was selected and the project was initiated in less than eight months.

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