HR Expert: Looking for missing pieces

by Kristen Kohrt

April 16, 2010

By Kristen Kohrt, Associate Editor, HR Expert

I’m so excited to be posting my first blog on Insider Learning Network, and my first blog as the managing editor of the HR Expert knowledgebase! As someone new to HR, I am especially eager to use Insider Learning Network to connect with HR professionals, learn more about the industry, and find out what topics would be helpful for HR Expert subscribers.

Now on to some actual blogging…

As soon as I found out I would be taking over the knowledgebase, I made it my goal to find out what HR Expert is missing. The knowledgebase has always been successful and valuable to customers, however, there’s always room for improvement, right? Fortunately, I’ve had a couple of great opportunities to connect with subscribers. One of those opportunities was through the HR Expert 2010 Reader Survey which we sent out in January. After analyzing the results of this survey, two things stuck out to me:

  • 47% of readers named payroll as the most important HR topic to them
  • 58% of readers are using Sharepoint

I remembered this information when I traveled to Orlando for the HR2010 in March. At the SAP Experts booth, I had the opportunity to speak with dozens of subscribers and ask them many of the same questions we asked in the survey, the most important one being: What is the most important topic you want to see more of on the knowledgebase? Again and again, I heard payroll, payroll, payroll. Oh, and also, payroll. Is this just a coincidence? Do I just happen to only be connecting with payroll-centr ic subscribers? Why is it so important, and why does it seem there is not enough information out there for users? Remember, I’m new to HR, so these questions are not rhetorical, I really want to know!

The Sharepoint thing intrigued me, too. I searched our knowledgebase for articles on Sharepoint and SAP integration and found nothing. So I asked attendees at the conference “Are you interested in articles about Sharepoint and SAP integration?” I received resounding affirmatives and vigorous head nods. Now if only I could find someone who could share their experience with me…

What do you think? Should I keep up my rigorous Sharepoint research or am I wasting my time? What kind of payroll information out there is missing? Even if you’re not a subscriber, I think this is worth a discussion – everyone would benefit from reading other users’ perspectives on these subjects.

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Steve Bogner

9/25/2013 8:41:42 PM

Kristen - Payroll is my specialty, but I'm surprised it is the most-important topic! In the industry, the focus is all about Talent Management, Analytics, and 'strategic' topics.

Payroll is a challenging area - it takes a lot of attention to detail & business process discipline to make a good payroll. It sits between HR and Finance, bringing a good mix of the two areas together. Payroll departments have a lot to get right, though they don't directly control most of the data they need to produce good paychecks. So all in all, a challenging area - so maybe people are looking for help with these challenges? I'll be sure to blog about those challenges and suggest some ways to solve them.

And companies don't want to fail at payroll; that is definitely not a good thing. The best payroll, I always say, is the one you don't hear about.

Steve Bogner

9/25/2013 8:41:42 PM

I agree, Sven - payroll shouldn't be the most popular topic. But evidently it is, and that can only be (in my opinion) because it is not properly implemented so often. When it is done correctly, you never hear much about it.

But then maybe that is one of the problems with SAP HR implementations - we need to get the basic things done correctly so that they don't require so much attention and effort, then redirecting that saved effort to more valuable/strategic activities. Sound familiar?

Sven Ringling

9/25/2013 8:41:42 PM

Hi Kristen,

Steve knows and may forgive me that I would like to disagree with payroll being the most important topic in HR, but my argument it's not even any HR topic, but an accounting one is certainly a small minority vote.

However, this is not the point. The important thing is that payroll is the most asked for topic among our readers. Whilst few execs talk about payroll, they would soon talk a lot, if it failed. So, thousands of operational people in HR and IT are busy making sure it doesn't. Most HR departments routinely **** up on talent management without anybody really realising it, but if you get payroll really wrong, you might well go to jail for it.
And then there's the enormous complexity of payroll, ever driven by non-value-adding, but legally binding changes and the variety of tax and SI laws from some 200 countries.

So, sad as it may be from my point of view, there's certainly some sense in having a lot of payroll related information on HR Expert - and I am glad to have world class PY experts like Steve as fellow advisers, so these articles do not come my way for review :-) The only problem with it being that this building a big barrier of HR Expert being a really global publication. Most payroll stuff is too bespoke to individual countries.

As to sharepoint:
not sure whether it is staying on top in the corporate world. We've abandoned it and use confluence as a collaboration platform, as more of our clients do.
I can't really see the logic of integrating it with SAP as there are some portal / NW features pretending to do similar things and why would you swap one 20th century technology for another?
But then this is a very high level personal opinion. I'm too far away from the technical level on both to really know what could add value,once the decision to have SAP Portal and Sharepoint sitting there and costing license fees anyway.

I am not sure, but I think sharepoint can integrate RSS feeds?
If this is the case, this would certainly be one easy way of integration. Friends of mine built a piece to get RSS feeds out of SAP (e.g. to have job posts from e-rec going into facebook or Twitter) and this could easily be applied to any RSS sharepoint users might be interested in (e.g. new seminars offered?). Let me know, if you want to hear more about that.

take care

Sven Ringling

9/25/2013 8:41:42 PM

I agree, but I don't believe payroll will ever lose much of its popularity in a technical HR magazine. Legislators will always make it so complicated that employers will just be able to cope with it. So, if every employer has a clone of yours to manage their SAP HR system, governments will see the opportunity to dream up some more complex stuff so even those will struggle.
So, no reason to be worried about your pension ;-)