There are efficiencies all over the place that really benefit the organization overall.
The UK’s largest price comparison website went live with Workday Financials, HR and Payroll systems in September, as part of a general move to the clouds.
These back-office systems were beginning to feel the strain, particularly as the company had different systems for finance, HR and holiday booking and used a bureau for payroll. More and more people were spending time looking after these on-premise systems. In fact, most people bypassed the HR system altogether, which meant there were lots of manual processes around the organization. Ramsay explains:
What we hadn’t done was invest sufficiently in our back office, so a lot of the systems and processes we had in place weren’t fit for purpose and were not fit for our colleagues.
The business is 100% online and like any business that grows really quickly there’s a lot of focus on the front end and what the customer sees and how we service the customer.
We didn’t feel it gave our colleagues the right kind of experience on a day-to-day basis. And it was also not fit for future growth and probably one of the main drivers is making it fit for future growth.
Just a few days after speaking to me, MoneySuperMarket made a £40 million acquisition of UK home communications and mobile phone comparison business, Decision Technologies.
Ramsay says it was also important to make things easier for its employees/colleagues:
Our main driver was not cost reduction when we decided to put in a new system. Our main driver was colleague engagement and satisfaction. We knew there would be efficiencies and we knew we would save time, but we weren’t looking at any headcount reduction as part of our business case.
The UK company employs between 700 to 750 employees, supported by roughly 20 HR employees. Ramsay jokes that it would now be very easy to find out exactly how many people it has now Workday is up and running:
A key benefit is that there’s an org. chart all in one place. You can find a person and look where they fit in the team and also can click on that individual and phone them directly. If I click on an individual, I can email from Workday or call them from there and can do that from my mobile at home. It’s pretty much omni-channel, so what you see from your desktop is what you see from your home.
The company had considered all the usual HCM/ERP suspects up front. Some of those fell at the first hurdle when their demoes failed to work whereas Workday coped with anything the company could throw at it.
Today, it has the full Workday financials and HCM platform except for planning and learning. The implementation began in earnest in January 2017 before going live in September. Ramsay recalls:
We did it the hard way. We went big bang - with a slightly phased approach.
So, the initial launch was to one team in mid-September, who spent two weeks ensuring data accuracy, it was opened up to HR on 2 October. Then a week or so later it was opened up to finance and rest of the business – delayed to accommodate a finance deadline:
So within 10 days of formally opening it up to the wider business we were up and running 100% and that included the apps on mobile devices.
Taking a big-bang approach meant Ramsay and his team needed to ensure that everyone in the business was ready for the changeover. Preparations began the day RFP process began, says Ramsay:
We got the right people involved. I did not select the product, our colleagues did. And we kept them involved all through the nine months of building the system That was the core heavy users of the system, but then from wider business perspective we did a soft launch five or six month on.
Communication was ramped up as the launch date loomed closer. Training took just 15 minutes for general users, but really that was just an opportunity for the team to validate every colleague’s data was correct. So everyone was asked to log in and check details such as date of birth, contact details, holiday and so on were accurate.
Manager training took a little longer to encompass how to use dashboards, but little training was required, says Ramsay, as the system is “incredibly intuitive”.
The company is already beginning to enjoy some benefits. One advantage is a much slicker performance review, says Ramsay:
When we entered the performance review cycle, this had to be done manually with emails flying around. Then senior leadership used to have a get together and there would probably be a few weeks of to and fro around calibration and whether we agree with how our peers have scored their teams.
This two- to four-week process has now been condensed to a day or two.
Ramsay jokes that the person who used to deal with payroll is incredibly bored and needs new tasks. Historically, payroll had to be closed around the 10th to 12th of the month, so that person could get everything together and send off to a bureau. Now payroll can be closed the day before a payment is required, which is a “massive benefit for everyone”, says Ramsay.
From an efficiency and engagement perspective its far more effective…It’s driving consistently in approach and the way we do things.
There’s plenty more to come. Ramsay is keen to take more advantage of the analytics capabilities now that the system has bedded in:
In the first four months we’ve spend a lot of time refining what we’ve put in. In HR we’re 98% where we want to be and we’ve spent a lot of time tweaking and refining what we’re doing.
Now the aim is to help managers to get the most out of their dashboards and help them use the data to inform decisions:
I think it’s made a massive difference to them already, but I think there’s potential to give them more specific information that would be very beneficial to them.
Now he’s out the other side of the implementation, would Ramsay do anything different? He says:
If it was easy it would be boring! The main learning is make sure you focus on data early, think about security and also think about all your integrations. And then change management is obviously key.