by Simon Schmidt
2022: HR should occupy the position of CEO – Chief Experience Officer
A new solution is on the horizon. Something we have to talk about. Because it is going to set the agenda for many companies whose businesses are supported by SAP. It will set a technical agenda that will make every innocent SAP consultant light up like a Christmas tree (which isn’t that many lights – well I don’t know that many innocent consultants anyway). But what is even more interesting, it will raise major expectations that HR shall take on new and greater responsibility. It can become a catapult for HR businesses, which will more than ever before, take on a strategic, unifying, and central role in the company – if they accept the challenge!
Before we get into the details with regards to what we are facing, let me draw your attention to the article in the blog I wrote two years ago, after SuccessConnect in 2019. Naturally, you all remember it perfectly. But to help our new readers, let’s repeat its conclusion, which is this: we have progressed from HCM to HXM – Human Experience Management. This change in focus was based on the feedback from the CEOs of almost 200 major companies from around the world, who said that “shareholder value is no longer the main objective”. Investing in employees was now at the forefront, which would ensure success in the long term. HXM must take responsibility for the employee’s holistic experience, and it will be the critical success factor for the company. Now the irritated reader will probably be thinking “Yes, okay – what a load of hot air! But what are the implications for HR business? The implications are that the employee’s experience of the company becomes a HR matter. How well are major life events handled at the workplace in terms of how employees experience them? Maternity leave, leave of absence, anniversaries, complaints, employment, dismissal, etc. But also, in general terms of how employees experience their day-to-day interaction with IT? Not just HR processes, but generally. The purchasing process, IT support, travel reimbursement, and canteen services – how are these accessed? In other words, HR has or will gain responsibility for the employee experience. HR should occupy the position of CEO – Chief Experience Officer. This trend, in combination with the development in the workforce, where new and smaller generations become a vital competitive parameter, puts HR directly behind the steering wheel.
While I have prattled on, the phenomenon has moved closer into view and now it’s crystal clear. We can see a solution with the name SAP Work Zone. For some time now, SAP has had a strategy characterised by the purchase of third-party systems, such as SuccessFactors, Fieldglass, Concur and Ariba. At the same time, SAP has along internal lines, built up a comprehensive digital ‘Swiss army knife’ in the form of the Business Technology Platform (BTP). In many ways, it paints a picture of a
veritable patchwork, and the major challenge for customers (and SAP) has been forming easy, user-friendly access to underlying systems and technologies. This is why SAP created SAP Work Zone. The aim of SAP Work Zone is to be a unifying factor, where SAP Fiori, cloud products from SAP and third-party applications such as MS Teams, SharePoint and ServiceNow can be accessed from one unified entry point. In addition to unifying access to the many business applications and processes, the solution contains collaborative tools, mobile support and options for personalised content, based on SAP BTP. The solution is in its early phase, but it is clearly a product that is becoming more and more established and will eventually be a natural part of the SAP landscape and the digital workplace experience for all employees.
In purely technical terms, we expected this solution from SAP. The technology is substantial but will not be the real challenge in an implementation. Because technology is one thing. Business implementation is another. Who is going to receive the solution? Who in the company shall embrace such a wide solution? Who is going to take responsibility? If you’re not sure, then I suggest you start from the beginning again. SAP certainly has no doubt at all, and states that SAP Work Zone is for HR and has a clear priority in making SuccessFactors become a part of SAP Work Zone, which has influenced the latest SF releases. I believe in business development prior to technical solutions and not business development because of technical solutions. That’s why I want people to start thinking about it now.
At 2BM, we believe in SAP Work Zone. We love the technology. However, we predict that it will set new requirements for companies and how they understand an HR organisation and how HR self-perceive. An implementation could be a cultural development rather than a traditional IT project. These are new times, and we must adapt. Both culturally and in relation to technology.