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The 5 Phases of HR Digital Transformation

How to Go from Just Surviving to Transforming the Business

by Gavin Cockayne and Brian Sampson and Jim Newman | SAPinsider, Volume 17, Issue 3

August 3, 2016

As digital businesses become the norm, many HR departments have begun exploring cloud solutions to bring about their transition to digital HR. This transition, however, goes far beyond the implementation of a cloud solution — it’s a journey that needs to be carefully thought out beforehand. This journey begins at the planning stages and does not end until the technology has been fully integrated into business processes. Read on to learn about the five phases of this journey and how you can make each phase a success.

Moving to the cloud is not a single event; it’s a journey that goes well beyond implementation. This is certainly true in HR, where many companies are moving from legacy on-premise systems to more agile, user-friendly, cloud-based SAP SuccessFactors solutions. The transformation journey required to move HR to the cloud goes beyond the mere implementation of software and requires carefully plotting your course for near-term and long-term benefits with the help of a trusted strategic partner.

Transforming HR with the Cloud

The first step in taking this journey is actually identifying where your company currently is in the process. We typically find that organizations are in one of five phases: surviving, standardizing, automating, integrating, or transforming (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 — The five phases of an HR digital transformation

Failing to assess your current technological and process landscape may mean spending unnecessary time, money, or resources when moving to the cloud, thus undermining the entire project. If you ever want to get to the transforming phase — where you achieve a talent-based advantage over competitors aided by a full human capital management (HCM) deployment — you need to know what point you are starting from. From there, you need to progress through the project from start to support — not just consider the implementation itself a success. Successful companies recognize that they need a partner that can lead them through the entire process, including:

  • Planning for on-time and on-budget projects by developing realistic roadmaps based on organizational awareness
  • Advising on leading practices
  • Building solutions that are scalable and aligned with business needs
  • Enabling teams to drive end-user adoption to ensure a successful deployment
  • Supporting customers on operational and system challenges as they unfold
  • Optimizing processes, technology, and analytics in support of the overall business strategy

Partnering for Success

However thorough your planning process, you are unlikely to successfully complete your journey without a trusted partner by your side. HRIZONS can empower organizations to implement the SAP SuccessFactors solution that best aligns with the business needs that matter most, including extensibility through SAP HANA Cloud Platform applications and SAP HANA Cloud Integration solutions. For more information on how to make the most of your cloud HR journey, visit

Moving to an integrated HR system was a strategic initiative for our company to meet the needs of today’s workforce and our unique business requirements. Our SAP SuccessFactors solutions provide a flexible, agile, and extensible HR platform. Thanks to HRIZONS, we were able to not only implement the solutions successfully, but leverage them to meet all of our unique needs.

– Tim McCarthy, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc.

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Gavin Cockayne
Gavin Cockayne

SVP, Services and Consulting, HCM Cloud

Brian Sampson
Brian Sampson

VP, Tech Solutions, HCM Cloud

Jim Newman
Jim Newman

President and CEO

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