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3 Benefits of Mobilizing HR

by David Ludlow | SAPinsider

October 1, 2011

As workforces go mobile, HR must meet a growing demand for employees to be able to access employee self-service capabilities and for managers to be able to view key HR KPIs — all without a desktop computer. This article explores how, with SAP's mobile HR applications, SAP ERP HCM customers can mobilize their HR data securely and effectively to maximize their investment in SAP technology and make their employees more flexible, more engaged, and more productive.

 As companies’ workforces become more mobile, the core functions that support these workforces must become mobile as well. In the HR space, this means that a mobile employee should be able to reap the benefits of employee self-service capabilities without being tied to a hardwired desktop computer, or that a manager should be able to view and act on important talent retention key performance indicators (KPIs) from his or her mobile device of choice. Yet, according to a recent Sybase survey, 44% of polled workers stated that they don’t have access to enough mobile applications to ensure they can do their jobs on the road as well as they can from their work computers.1

SAP’s targeted mobile applications can provide this necessary level of access, freeing HR professionals to function more effectively in the field. Here are three great examples of these mobile HR applications in action.

#1: Mobility Aids Employee Retention and Recruitment

As part of many companies’ post-recession growth strategies, monitoring employee turnover and amping up the recruitment process have become top priorities (see top sidebar). HR professionals must work closely with their business peers to strategize on these topics — and the most effective way to do this is to get everyone in the same place and looking at the right data.

Allowing an HR executive to show a business manager relevant KPIs about their employee base while in the business manager’s office can quickly move a discussion from generalities to specifics. The two can talk about the updated KPIs to assess how they impact the business and then develop strategies for improvement.

The SAP Manager Insight app provides access to the information that managers need to productively meet with other managers and employees anywhere and anytime. This app accesses SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) and allows HR business partners, HR specialists, and managers to prepare for and hold informed meetings, while also providing direct, fast access to relevant reports and KPIs right from their iPad. It helps drive fact-based decisions by allowing managers to access reports and employee details at their fingertips. Managers can, for example, compare headcounts in different locations, check the talent ratio, and pinpoint diversity issues. Ad hoc requests can also be addressed.

Tip: SAP ERP Human Capital Management customers have an advantage in mobilizing their HR information because all of the required data is already within their systems. SAP's mobile HR apps are simply a way to access the most important data on a mobile device in a mobile-friendly way.

#2: Mobility Accelerates HR-Related Workflows and Processes

Setting up mobile workflows can expedite many HR processes. For example, leave requests that need manager approval often get stuck in email inboxes because the approver must log in to the appropriate desktop application to approve the request. Yet many of those approvers have become increasingly mobile, and they don’t always have access to their desktops. With SAP HR Approvals, managers can access the appropriate application and approve the request from their mobile device, which drastically cuts down the processing time.

Other examples of HR workflows that can be optimized by mobile access include travel requests, leave requests, and timesheet updates. For example, the SAP Leave Request and SAP Timesheet apps provide access to functionality that supports these kinds of routine, employee-focused tasks.

#3: Mobility Engages Employees

Another benefit of mobilizing a company’s HR functions is the boost it can bring to employee engagement. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 99% of HR executives polled considered employee engagement either “important” or “very important” as competition for talent heats up.2

The survey also found that recognizing employees for their length of service was the most common employee recognition effort. Even something as simple as providing a manager mobile access to their employee anniversary list allows that manager to send a personal congratulatory note to an employee while on the road rather than waiting until they log in to their desktop system. The SAP Manager Insight app provides this kind of access, leveraging the data that SAP customers already have in their systems and layering analytics on top of that. The app also gathers KPIs, such as employee turnover rates, which can be used to gain a better understanding of the business.

When Mobilizing HR Data, Never Lose Sight of Security and Flexibility

By streamlining HR workflows and engaging end users, SAP’s mobile HR apps provide employees with access to high-value, high-use functionality. Of course, enterprise data is often sensitive and employee data is among the most sensitive. Asking employees to send personal data via their mobile device requires a very high level of confidence in the security of the underlying infrastructure.

At the same time, with such a wide internal customer list (for HR, it’s basically every employee), mobile device and operating system flexibility is a must for mobile HR apps. Deploying a mobile app brings little value if only a fraction of its intended audience has the right device needed to leverage it. So second to security, flexibility is a key requirement in mobilizing HR data.

For SAP customers, SAP’s mobility platform, which includes Sybase Unwired Platform and Afaria mobile device management functionality, provides both the security and the flexibility required for a mobile HR environment. This platform offers a stable launch pad for SAP customers to execute their long-term mobile strategy.


With SAP’s mobile HR applications, SAP ERP HCM customers can mobilize their HR data securely and effectively to maximize their investment in SAP technology and make their employees more flexible, more engaged, and more productive. Learn more at

David Ludlow ( is Vice President of Solution Management, focusing on the global human capital management (HCM) solution strategy and direction for SAP. He leads the team responsible for determining the future strategy of the SAP solutions portfolio that enables organizations to attract top talent and manage a borderless global workforce. David has been with SAP for over 10 years and has more than 20 years of experience in the HR/HCM solutions space, holding various positions in product management, product marketing, and product strategy. He holds a degree in business administration from California State University, Chico.

1 A Sybase and Kelton Research survey of Sybase workers (July 2011; [back]

2 Society for Human Resource Management, “SHRM Survey Findings: Employee Recognition Programs” (June 2011). [back]

3 Robert Half Technology, “The CIO Insomnia Project” (July 2011; [back]

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