2015 saw an evolution in the SaaS HR Transformation sector, writes Skillsearch’s Adam Leaver, with the market shifting away from talent with IT-specific skill sets and instead focusing on HR consultants who boast an analytical mind and a deep understanding of the processes and procedures required to make a SaaS system truly shine in the modern workspace.
Using Workday as an example, the cloud-based Finance/ HCM software provider is well known for its model to only allow their Partners to configure the system meaning you must be a Certified Workday consultant to implement. This suggests that the market for contractors is going to be extremely limited as you can’t be Certified as an independent. Over the past 12-18 months there has been proof that Workday and other HCM SaaS Solution (that follow this partner model) projects do offer something to the contractor market. Skillsearch’s clients are now asking for consultants who are able to show deep Technical system knowledge and must be able to demonstrate excellent industry and process knowledge combined with business analytical skills.
Perhaps none of us should be surprised by this shift; SaaS products are becoming ever easier to implement and providers strive to make their software solutions simpler to execute therefore encouraging potential buyers with promises of an upgrade process as pain- and intimidation-free as possible.
Against this backdrop, companies considering purchasing a SaaS system are increasingly looking at engaging with Process Driven HCM professionals.
Their role? To help determine what a company should ask for from any new system to ensure it delivers on its promise; to analyse the processes currently in place at the business and how they should and will be changed by the new system; and to deal with all aspects of Change including Training. It’s essential then that HCM consultants demonstrate they have the ability to analyse the business’ bespoke needs and advise on how to action them, in effect, acting as a bridge between the incoming system and the existing business.
According to our clients, a BA-orientated HCM consultant must also show they are able to communicate clearly and effectively what can often be challenging technical information and present it in a form that is palatable to both the board and employees. Such skills ensure that the platform stands the best possible chance of succeeding, that there is buy-in from across the company, and that adoption rates are high. The introduction of a far-reaching service such as Workday and Fairsail can require a shift in company culture too, one that an HCM consultant can help facilitate via a combination of advocacy and pragmatism.
What this all means for HCM System Analysts and Implementers is that they must re-evaluate their CVs, ensuring it hits all these critical targets. A complaint we often hear from hiring managers is that too often, prospective consultants are still overly focused on implementation, a skill that will be provided by the deployment partner and therefore currently redundant in a freelance market. Instead, they must promote and highlight their business analysis abilities and their experience of effectively dealing with new processes and procedures across the entire range of HR disciplines – from payroll and rewards through to recruitment and performance.
For those who feel that the sector is moving away from their core skill set, it’s best to get involved with a cloud project as soon as possible to glean a true understanding of a SaaS-powered project and the processes involved. Ideally, work on more than one localisation national SaaS project – and if you can go international, even better.
Finally in five years’ time, yes, the focus could swing back to implementation but as any experienced freelance consultant knows, it’s best to cover your back and adapt to new trends in the sector – or risk being sidelined.
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