The Information Technology & Services (IT&S) function of this global oil & gas corporation was in the process of transitioning to more agile ways of working, alongside ongoing HR and IT modernisation programmes involving the implementation of Workday HRIS and increased adoption of the ServiceNow platform.
An organisational restructure had led the senior management team to identify a need for better strategic IT workforce planning, to provide a better understanding of future capacity and greater visibility of ongoing resource utilisation and availability.
Workforce Management (WFM) as a service would provide a central point of co-ordination for IT&S, liaising with HR and third party suppliers as required to:
- Provide an strategic view of capacity, capability and utilisation across short, medium and longer-term planning horizons
- Monitor the end-to-end process of hiring and on-boarding permanent resources
- Facilitate the requisition of agency workers, where a need for short-term increase in workforce capacity was identified.
I was engaged as an associate of a managed services provider to
- Mobilise the on-site team
- Complete initial process work
- Conduct analysis on the as-is capability
I began by building relationships with HR and Talent Acquisition personnel, as well as those teams involved in implementing both Workday and ServiceNow.
It quickly became apparent that work had been progressing in silos; there was no clear understanding of the dependencies or hand-off points for deliverables, or how the various parts could fit together to facilitate a workforce management service.
A coherent outcome needed to be defined, so that the various strands of ongoing work could be pulled together as a programme to achieve the desired goals.
First we needed to create a shared understanding and agreement amongst the various stakeholders.
As-Is and To-Be views were created at various levels that enabled:
- a gap analysis to be produced, that was then used to determine the work needed to streamline the processes and clearly identify the handover points
- points to be identified where the new technology could either automate workflows, or provide data that could be used for management information that facilitated decision-making
The focus then shifted towards the data; where it would flow to and from, who was responsible, and whether this would require new or existing inputs and outputs.
The aim was to get to a suite of management information – reports and dashboards that could provide the various audiences with:
- the pipeline of planned work
- headline information about what people were already working on, and when that work was due to end
- snapshots of supply and demand; particularly where mismatches existed or were about to emerge
- where vacancies needed to be filled, and what progress was being made
A large proportion of the tasks were then focused on data quality, and maintaining integrity as it moved through the organisation. As a decision had been taken early on that APIs between the systems were not considered a priority, this meant that several manual processes of uploading and downloading, importing and exporting data would need to be employed. This was by no means ideal, and definitely a major symptom of the siloed work that had taken place so far.
By making apparent the scale of the manual work required – alongside production of an MVP for the management information that exposed many gaps and flaws in the available data – impetus was provided to get the necessary work done.
My work ended once this message had been successfully communicated, and the team then continued towards establishing and embedding the new workforce management service.
Exposing and communicating the scale of manual intervention that would be required was a major turning point, and there were many valuable lessons to be learned about the impacts of siloed working.
The initial lack of defined outcome, along with an absence of overarching business architecture offers a word of caution to those focused on purely technical solutions. Technology is an enabler, but the complexity of work flows that encompass multiple functions must be considered so that it can operate successfully as part of the wider organisational ecosystem.