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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Consensus by collaboration: HRMS partners with Finance, others to redefine processes

In any highly decentralized organization, fostering cross-functional collaboration is a challenge -- and a necessity. The HRMS upgrade project is a prime example of an initiative that cannot succeed without cooperation from across the spectrum of University units and functions.

A fresh perspective on core HR data
Restructuring appointment data and reducing multiple appointments required significant cross-functional consultation by the entire appointment data team just to develop a recommendation that would have traction in the broader U community. Gretchen Wolfangel (UMN) and James Ellis (CCI), in particular, conducted at least a dozen consultation sessions with academic and administrative units throughout the University. They also contacted peer institutions facing similar challenges to see how they approach appointment data. The conclusion? Everyone does it differently, and no one would recommend their approach.

Then in mid-July, the team invited the HRMS, Finance, and Reporting and Data Management work streams together for a collaboration session in which they walked through the major challenges posed by appointment data and solicited input.

“The big takeaway from that session was that everyone understood the challenges and said, ‘We’re ready for a consistent approach; come back to us and tell us how we can do this in a better way going forward,’” says Lori Lamb, director of OHR Operations.

The team invited the same people back together in early September to share the final recommendations for restructuring. More than 50 people attended the second session in person and online and gave their consensus endorsement to the new approach. That recommendation was ratified by the Integration Steering Committee at its Sept. 10 meeting and by the Executive Oversight Committee on Sept. 17.

Teamwork key to simplifying payroll accounting 
To redesign the University’s payroll accounting processes and take advantage of delivered functionality, the HRMS and Finance work streams held 26 working sessions this past summer, totaling more than 80 hours on the topic of payroll accounting. The Finance and HRMS Functional Steering Committees also met jointly on this topic, and the Integration Steering Committee reviewed and endorsed the resulting Distribution Entry business process last month. By many accounts, the level of collaboration has been unprecedented; past partnerships have been strengthened and new connections fostered around a process that has previously been challenging at best.

“The changes currently being recommended for the Payroll Accounting process are the result of significant collaboration between HR and Finance professionals,” says Dan Hemauer, project manager for the Finance system upgrade. “The representation for the first two phases of the project has been very broad. … As a result, a number of recommendations have been made that will significantly improve the current business process from a functional as well as technical perspective.”

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