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Case Study: Welcome Break Group revamps HR with SuccessFactors

Welcome Break Group is starting a project to deploy SuccessFactors, the cloud-based HR system from SAP.

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Welcome Break Group, which runs UK motorway service stations and hotels, is starting a project to deploy SuccessFactors, the cloud-based human resources (HR) system from SAP.

The SuccessFactors Business Execution (BizX) Suite will provide the main database for all staff information. It will feed the company’s Northgate payroll system, and will be used for talent management.

David Willock, director of IT at Welcome Break Group, said, “We have 4,500 staff across 27 sites, but many of our processes are manual. We wanted to introduce an HR system last year and began looking at requirements from recruitment all the way through to when an employee leaves the company.”

The group previously kept employee data in paper files, training records, and in spreadsheets.

Although its payroll software provider, Northgate, offered its own HR system, he said the company was “wowed over” by SuccessFactors, since it offered more than core HR functionality.

Welcome Break was able to negotiate the four-year contract with SuccessFactors, that allows it to roll out any of the modules it requires without changes to the monthly subscription fee.

The project to implement SuccessFactors will be a major undertaking, so the contract also includes an up-front fee, covering IT integration.

Willock said, “A big part of the project is to put workflow in place. We are looking at all the HR processes and workflow automation. It is difficult to say what we will automate until we start scoping out the project.”

The initiative will be deployed in two phases. Phase one,due to be finished by January 2013, will be a three-month implementation and will involve rolling out some core SuccessFactors modules to all 4,500 employees.

This will provide a central repository of employee information, recruitment functions, plus a collaboration tool called Jam, which Willock hopes will help drive staff improvements by allowing people to share best practices. 

Jam provides social learning and collaboration with features such as user profiles, groups, blogs and file sharing. Other features include recruitment management for a centralised, consistent approach to external recruiting, and SuccessFactors Learning to help transform Welcome Break’s workforce training.

The self-service functionality will allow able staff to amend their own HR information, such as previous work experience, Willock said.

Welcome Break’s HR department is spearheading the strategic business initiative that will enable the company to gain full visibility of its internal talent, insight into individual training and competency requirements, as well as the ability to cross-train and promote staff across different brands and business units.

Willock hopes SuccessFactors will allow Welcome Break to fill more vacancies internally through an internal talent bank.

More features will be rolled out as part of phase two.

Welcome Break Group’s director of people, Karl Jolly, said, “We feel SuccessFactors will help us provide a really strong foundation for where we want our business to go in the future.”

The software-as-a-service product will offer the visibility, analytical data and tools to help Welcome Break develop its staff, he said.

SuccessFactors is now an integral part of SAP’s cloud strategy, since the firm was acquired last year. Willock is positive about the company’s relationship with SuccessFactors and SAP. 

He said, “We know [the project] will be an enormous transition. We’ve never felt SuccessFactors was pushing us down a route we didn’t want to go.” 

Even though SuccessFactors is now part of SAP, he added: “We are quite happy with our existing accounting system. We have no plans to use SAP.”

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