Planning for Long-Term HR System Success
Dwane Lay
May 16, 2016

Be Prepared Before Change Happens

As a partner for some of the best companies in the world, we get a unique view of talent movement in the business world.  Sometimes, that means seeing system administrators move on to bigger roles, either with their current company or a new one.  While we are always happy to see our friends being successful, it does lead to some difficulties if the proper preparation hasn’t been taken.  If you are a system owner, champion, administrator, or power user, there are a few important things to keep in mind as you go through your daily life.

Ownership Matters

One of the earliest signs of system atrophy is seeing a system owner or champion change roles.  When a system is put in place, no matter the size, it is because someone cared enough to make it happen.  When that someone moves on, that system is going to need someone else to start to care.  All systems will require resources to implement and maintain, usually in hours, capital, process design, and change management work.  Without knowing who will be the next system champion, all of that work is in danger of being forgotten or lost.

The same goes for system administrators, who functionally become system owners, as well.  These are the internal experts who oversee the daily activity, who learn the details and minutia of the system, and who guard the user experience and, hopefully, grow the functionality.  They are also the main contact with our Support team, so they know the history of what has been done over time.  There’s more than a little irony that case management, at least in part, is built to translate individual knowledge for re-use by the whole team, yet the knowledge of the system itself often sits with just one person.

Succession Planning

So what’s an HR department to do?  I’d suggest taking the time to look at your own team and think about who owns each system.  This could be something as simple as a RACI chart to ensure you know where the responsibilities live.  (If you don’t know what a RACI chart is, you can check out this blog post for information.)  Getting everyone to agree who owns the system is an important first step.

Just as important is the second step, which is to know who is next in line.  Every system or project should have a primary and secondary owner.  We live in a fluid professional world, and the cost of not having someone ready to step into a leadership void is too high to ignore.  A small time investment can save literally thousands of dollars in emergency training sessions or loss of system value.

Long-Term Care and Feeding

The bottom line is that while we are always here as partners, ownership means something for your technology platform.  When you invest your time and money in software (or any other resource), it is important to take responsibility for how that system will be adopted long-term.  Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to poor system adoption and performance long-term.  And we think you deserve better than that.  Just saying.

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