Manish's Blog

About SAP HR, Rebuilding HR and other topics

Archive for the tag “bigdata”

HRrenewal- just patching and layering

HRrenewal 1.0 is SAP’s “safe” approach to upgrading SAP HR by adding new UI layer and few functions. It’s just a small upgrade for the on-premise clients. SAP Community Network has detailed information in blogs like HR Renewal FAQs. SAP intrigued me with one of their product, SAP Scouting, in totally different area of football!! I am not an expert at SAP Scouting, but my understanding is that it helps the football team “SF 49ers” build a better team. Team? Isn’t is also important for HR to help build good teams? Instead of draining resources on patching and layering, SAP should review and rebuild HR on newer concepts like SAP Scouting.

SAP should lead in adding new concepts and technology into SAP HR. Workday has tickled SAP by just adding cloud concept. One can only imagine the power of a good HR solution that begins with baking social, mobile and Bigdata concepts into core functionality.

See also:

SAP’s Delightful New HCM User experience

49ers NFL Draft 2013: Team works with SAP to remain ahead of the pack in efficiency

RebuildHR Manifesto- Part A

RebuildHR Manifesto- Part B


Improving meeting effectiveness by crowdsourcing

Meetings take up the most inelastic resource, time. Meetings are important, but they can take up valuable resources if not conducted effectively. I guess everyone has had his or her share of ineffective and time-wasting meetings where either the meeting purpose is not clear or the outcomes are not clear. More importantly, there was no easy way to give this feedback to the organizer. Now, with the help of IT, we can setup a whole new process.

Meeting Process

Meeting Process

  1. Organizer sets up the meeting
  2. Organizer and the participants meet
  3. [New step] After meeting, the participants give feedback with ubiquitous smart phone
  4. [New step] Collect feedback from all meetings
  5. [New step] Rate each meeting using new (to be defined by HR) data analysis algorithms in traditional SAP BW, HANA-powered SAP tools, BigData tools (like Hadoop) or any other tool up for the job.
  6. [New step] This “crowdsourcing” rating will be automatically populated on the employee’s performance report

The rating provides information that will help the company draw up a good solution. One solution could be to offer training. Another solution could be to add a team member who could bridge the skill gap.

IT support is crucial to setting up this solution:

  1. Organizer sets up the meeting. (Existing meeting tools like MS Outlook)
  2. Organizer and the participants conduct the meeting. (Existing process)
  3. [New step] After the meeting, the participants get a brief evaluation on their mobile app. They give their opinion about the meeting (IT needs to develop a smart phone app)
  4. [New step] Collect feedback from all meetings. (IT has to roll out the app to as many users as possible)
  5. [New step]Rate each meeting using data analysis algorithms in traditional SAP BW, HANA-powered SAP tools, BigData tools (like Hadoop) or any other tool up for the job. (IT has to build new backend system to collect meeting data from each user)
  6. [New step] This ‘crowdsourcing’ rating will be automatically populated on the employee’s performance report. (Implement new calculation rules)

‘Improving meeting effectiveness by crowdsourcing’ is just an example of how technology convergence can help ‘RebuildHR manifesto’. We can leverage this concept to other skills that justifies building this infrastructure.

RebuildHR Manifesto- Part B

RebuildHR manifesto is a call for action to the HR community to lead every technological change that involves people and use it to improve employee’s life & productivity, directly impact the company’s goals and help the workers’ world at large. Traditionally employee records administration makes up HR technology. My point of view is that HR technology should include all technology that impact people like smartphones, social media, crowdsourcing, etc… When a new technology effecting people comes to the market, HR should lead experimenting and implementing it in close partnership with their IT people. HR is like a car driver. They doesn’t need to know how the carburetor works but they chose and drive to the destination. HR has to become skilled at finding and initiating the use of new technology in the organization.

Let’s talk about social media. Business leaders like Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk are skillfully using social media, like twitter, to engage people with their thoughts and ideas. Common people effectively used social media during ‘Arab Spring revolution’ as it unfolded. In this broad spectrum of users who wield influence, I looked but couldn’t find HR visionaries and authors actively engaged! Even if I might have overlooked or missed some of them, I still see a gap between how people have started to view and accept technology and how HR leaders and practitioners see it. I am not saying if it’s good or bad, but definitely the road of yellow brick for HR is technology. HR has to start baking today’s popular culture and effective tools like smartphones and social media, into organizational culture and systems. HR also has to start looking at the next technological wave as many of these technologies are going to impact their most important customer and benefactor, the employee.

In the book, The Dude and the Zen Master, Bernie the Zen teacher, says ‘New shit will always come to light, but it’s hard to welcome something new because we have no idea what it will look like or where it’s going to take us. It’s not easy, but it’s always growth’

Sometimes I wonder what HR, managing people-asset, needs to do to have similar clout as Finance, managing ‘just’ money.

In later blogs, my goal is to redesign HR processes leveraging crowdsourcing, enterprise tweeting, Facebook, Google Glass,, etc… and finding numbers that help build an HR balance sheet.


Wikipedia, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, (‘road of yellow bricks’) (as of May 23, 2013, 18:03 GMT).

RebuildHR Manifesto- Part A

I have implemented global SAP HR projects for almost 15 years. During this time, very little has changed with HR and SAP HR. There were some cosmetic changes (HR to HCM) and some incremental changes (seeing your manager’s goals and setting your own goals for the year). I always felt some gap in HR/ HR systems as compared to consumer technology. For example: Why not email a photo, taken using a ubiquitous cell phone, of required document than faxing? How can the world of HR use the technological innovation? My tipping point came when I watched the movie ‘Moneyball’.

‘Moneyball’ (the movie and the book) is about how Billy Beane, the General Manager of Oakland Athletics’, rebuilt his baseball team on a lean budget using data analysis in selecting his players. He did not believe in the traditional scouting method. Nor did he believe in many of the player statistics as they did not correlate to their real performance. He used new player metrics (Sabermetrics) developed by Bill James that showed the true contribution and skills of the player. The results were astounding. Oakland Athletics created history in 2002 by winning 20 straight games, an accomplishment unheard of but what was fascinating is that his team had the lowest payroll. Boston Red Sox, understanding what Billy Beane had done, copied the approach. They went on to win the World Series in 2004 after a gap of 86 years!

US baseball’s origin can be traced back to 18th century, and the ‘World Series’ started in 1903. Traditional scouting techniques seemed the only way to find baseball talent. Bill James saw the inherent flaws in this technique and started to write about it, but baseball insiders couldn’t see it. Computers became available to do data analysis and crunch number and showed that Bill’s assessment made sense, but still the insiders refused to see the facts objectively. Finally, Billy came and executed on new model using technology. Now, why are we discussing this and what does this have to do with HR or HR systems like SAP HR?

Introduced around 1995, Core SAP HR hasn’t changed much. Since then, Steve Jobs came back to Apple and created iPhone. Mark Zuckerberg left college to create ‘Facebook’. Jack Dorsey lead ‘Twitter’. During this people-centered technological upheaval, SAP HR was just tweaked. I think most of the other systems are very similar and essentially execute the same HR processes, maybe slight differently. It seems that HR itself, as a function, has changed very little. Most data collected by HR drives administrative processes. Statistics and analytics that come from this data can not drive talent management or employee engagement. HR talks about building teams all the time, but how do you measure success of team building programs? How to measure what employees do differently if they become good team players? HR talks about employee engagement. How can it find out the degree of employee engagement? The lack of data and data models prevents HR from measuring key skills of the employees. But the same employees create an unbelievable amount of data when they leave the office. They tweet millions of messages every day post thousands of picture and posts on social media sites like Facebook. How can this phenomenon of creating and sharing data, willingly, be replicated for work, in the context of an office, a company ?

Big data, social media, cloud computing and mobile connectivity are going to help bring about HR transformation. HR has to rebuild itself from the bottom up. HR can analyze social data, provided by employees using their mobile devices, to improve personal productivity and lead the use of wearble computing which leads to higher company profits.

– Mobile devices enable employees to capture data easily and efficiently

– Mobile social apps help capture the relevant data

– BigData/ Analytics helps crunch and analyze this data (collected by crowdsourcing)

– Cloud computing makes this analysis/ feedback available anywhere, anytime

– Wearable computing (like Google Glasses)

The dreams of HR visionaries can become reality as the technologies have converged. It’s time for HR professionals to understand technology to see what moon shots are now possible. It’s time for HR professionals to become the ‘Billy Beane’ of a company. They have to build new HR systems that captures more relevant data, engages employees,  predicts true talent and directly impacts company’s bottom-line. It’s not a time for incremental changes, it’s not a time for just a little transformation. It’s time to rebuild HR from the ground up using all the technology we have. It’s time for a new ‘RebuildHR’ Manifesto.

To be continued…



Wikipedia, Billy Beane, (as of May 13, 2013, 19:11 GMT).

Wikipedia, Bill James,  (as of May 13, 2013, 19:14 GMT).

IMDB, Moneyball, (as of May 13, 2013, 22:00 GMT).

Wikipedia, History of baseball in the United States, (as of May 15, 2013, 02:45 GMT).

Special thanks to Martix Rexroad for his insight and feedback.

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