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Live from the SAPinsider Studio: Valero Energy's Strategic Approach to HR Data

April 23, 2014

In this interview recorded live at the HR 2014 conference, Bob Richardson and Sandi Rodriguez of Valero Energy discuss the company's strategy to provide secure access to HR data across its organization. The two also discuss the benefits of having a business-IT partnership in place during an implementation or IT project.

View the video, and read the edited transcript of this conversation here: 

Dave Hannon, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Dave Hannon from SAPinsider, I’m coming to you live from HR 2014 in Orlando this week. Joining me now are Bob Richardson and Sandi Rodriguez of Valero Energy. Welcome!

Sandi Rodriguez, Valero Energy: Good morning.

Bob Richardson, Valero Energy: Thank you.

Dave: Thank you for joining us. I was hoping you could start by just giving me a quick overview of your roles. Bob, why don’t we start with you?

Bob: Good morning Dave, I’m lead SAP security specialist for Valero, and, even though I work with all of SAP, HR is my concentration. And I’m the only person in the shop who handles HR security.

Dave: Wow, okay. And Sandi?

Sandi: Good morning. My title is HRIS specialist, I’m currently the HR security officer, and basically I handle and approve all the HR roles for all the users.

Dave: Ok, great. How long has Valero been using SAP for HR?

Sandi: SAP, we went live with HCM in 2006.

Dave: Ok, roughly how many users do you have these days?

Bob: Because we’re using Employee Self Service, all of our employees are on SAP HR, so right around 10,500.

Dave: Ok. I know security of HR data is an important topic for all companies and I think you had a unique challenge in that area. Maybe you could tell me a little bit about that?

Bob: Well we’re in the process of going through a divestiture, and the divestiture is spinning one of our major divisions into a separate company. The challenge is, they stayed on our system, from May of last year through the end of the year. So the challenge was separating them in place, because they became a separate company, and couldn’t cross over, so it involved playing some tricks with security, and sometimes, it didn’t go that well, or there were people who didn’t think it was the appropriate thing to do, but we had to do it.

Dave: Okay, so overall what was the strategy or how did you address that challenge?

Bob: Well, fortunately we do a lot of our security by personnel area, and that division had its unique personnel areas, so we were able to carve them out and assign them their own security roles and keep them out of corporate.

Dave: Sure. Sandi, I know access to HR data is also an important topic, a lot of folks talking about it this week. Tell me a little bit about Valero’s strategy there.

Sandi: Absolutely. Foremost, I mean we have to make sure certain data stays absolutely confidential, any HR data is considered confidential, but we also don’t want to take away any kind of access to, as far as, so they’ll have any problems with their daily duties. So we do have a little bit of a challenge in regards to, we have several locations, they can only see their data, corporate of course gets to see all the data, and of course by departments and so forth.

Dave: Right, right. And I know across all of this one of the important strategies is having a partnership between IT and HR, and it’s an area that a lot of folks ask us about, that we hear about sort of the challenge, sort of developing that relationship. Tell me a little bit, what advice maybe you have for folks that are struggling in that area?

Sandi: Absolutely, what I find really odd is I think it came so naturally to us. And it really helped us to have—here we are trying to test out, bring this new system on board and so forth, but we had Bob sitting right there with us. So if we had any kind of issue regarding security he could literally make the change right there. So I mean it really helped us working together, literally as a team. And I think Bob and I, we probably talk every single day, several times a day, just discussing and we’re always backing each other up and I mean, I’ve learned so much from him, and he’s definitely been my partner.

Dave: That’s great. So what’s on the roadmap or the horizon for you guys, any projects coming up?

Bob: Well a couple of years ago we acquired some assets in the UK, and they’ve been operating on a third-party payroll, and this summer the plans are to bring them into our HR payroll. And we’re also bringing in OpenText as a replacement for another product, so OpenText is going to be a big project throughout the corporation, but including HR.

Dave: Sure, that sounds exciting. Ok, Bob Richardson and Sandi Rodriguez, thank you very much for joining us today.

Bob and Sandi: Thank you.


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