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August 23, 2017
Simple Is the New Imperative for HCM, Highlight of the Wharton Study
Ataway SAP Experts

Human resources departments manage a company’s most precious resource — employees — and yet many still use outdated systems that introduce inefficiencies.  Today’s workforce is more connected, collaborative and dynamic than ever before. But these connections have created an unprecedented degree of workplace complexity that’s adversely impacting business success, according to the Simplifying the Future of Work survey from Knowledge@Wharton and SAP SE.

Experts from Wharton and SAP offer their views on the procedural and technological challenges for today’s HR departments in this white paper, which is based in part on their joint survey: “Simplifying the Future of Work Survey.”

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of all respondents cited that process and decision-making complexities have inhibited their ability to meet business goals. This problem becomes more pervasive among top management, as only 27 percent of respondents believe that senior leaders take day-to-day actions designed to simplify business.


“Often, HR is flying blind. They don’t have access to data. They’re making assumptions about the workforce that are out of date or were never correct.

                     Mick Collins, Global Vice President, Workforce Analytics & Planning Solution Strategy, SAP SuccessFactors


The survey found that corporates lack of clear prioritization from top management and underutilized technology solutions are the reasons for a disconnect between what companies say and what they actually do about business simplification. While simplifying business is a growing strategic imperative for today’s companies, many leaders are not aligning their actions effectively with their stated goals of simplifying business processes, decision making, and technology. The study also outlined several ways that companies can make simplification more effective including self-diagnosis, support of senior leadership and driving change from the bottom up with regular updates.


Download the survey : Business Simplification in Human Resources: New Tools for Managing Today’s Workforce from Wharton and SAP Here


The survey shows that HR leaders are beginning to recognize that it is critical to update and simplify processes and decision-making within their departments and in the business overall. Slightly over half of HR leaders and practitioners surveyed believed that their organization’s senior leaders considered business simplification of significant strategic importance. This number climbed even higher — to 71% — when they were asked whether they thought their senior leaders considered simplification of significant strategic importance for the future.

And 72% of the HR professionals in the survey also felt that unnecessary levels of process or decision-making complexity were inhibiting their businesses’ ability to achieve their goals. Complexity in technology, too, was seen as a roadblock by 56% of respondents.

According to the survey, much progress remains to be made. Only 29% of HR leaders said that the day-to-day actions of their senior leaders were “strongly aligned” with business simplification goals. Interestingly, the HR leaders did not fare much better when asked to assess their own departments. Only a slightly larger percentage — 32% — felt the same statement was true of the day-to-day actions of their immediate teams.

Respondents also believe that technology will be a key enabler in reducing complexity. In three years, they expect a 165 percent growth in leaders’ ability to access information through self-service tools, supporting quicker decision making. The most desired technologies to improve simplification include:

More efficient talent management and performance tools
·         Deeper insights and analytics, to assess the effect of leadership
·         Comprehensive learning and development processes
·         Collaboration tools for engaging employees and having leadership discussions


“The first way to reduce complexity is to devote serious time and resources to solving the problem,” said Morris Cohen, a professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School. “These results show the lack of attention that complexity has received. This lack of attention cannot continue any longer.”

The new HR mandate is moving beyond automating processes, reducing costs, and compliance to building value-based relationships with every member of the workforce – engaging permanent and external workers to collaborate in new ways, using consumer-style tools and social HR. Dramatic business and workforce changes show us it’s time to think differently about core HR – not just as “the system of record,” but as the hub where everything in the organization comes together to transform the work experience and how you manage your workforce for business impact and success.SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central goes beyond basic automation to deliver a suite of applications for your most demanding business priorities. The next-generation core HR system (HRIS) is designed for the global enterprise workforce and delivered securely via the SAP SuccessFactors cloud.


Interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of  SAP SuccessFactors cloud and S/4HANA Cloud, Building your Business case or looking for some help on defining your Cloud strategy to support your digital transformation? The Ataway SAP experts team is here to help you and make your digital transformation a success. Consider talking to one of our local Ataway offices. Ataway has worked on several SAP S/4HANA implementations and can help you. Consult with Ataway’s team of experts today to learn more or send us an email:




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