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Infosys’ Strategy to Ease HR’s Transition to the Cloud

 

With digital transformation continuing to disrupt and force change across industries, cloud technology is at the heart of that disruption and is providing business leaders with the vehicle to transform operations. And this trend has trickled down to HR, where leaders are challenged with more change and disruption than most can accommodate, given their current legacy HR infrastructure. This includes the need to support the strategic initiatives of the business, compete for top talent, engage and grow a workforce that spans multiple generations, maintain compliance with increasingly challenging regulations, optimize delivery models to support the organization as efficiently as possible, and ultimately reduce operating costs.  

The HR transformation imperative

It’s no surprise that HR leaders are keenly focused on HR transformation and the need for a move to a more “future proof” cloud-based HCM platform – one that can provide the vehicle for achieving the HR transformation and change needed to compete for, retain, and develop top talent.  

But organizations are not exactly abandoning legacy on-premise systems and sprinting to the cloud. In fact, only about half of current HRO deals are being delivered on cloud systems (per NelsonHall’s 2017 Cloud-Based HR Services report). This is also evident in the recent announcement by SAP/SuccessFactors regarding a new solution they have branded Upgrade2Success; essentially an offering targeted at its on-premise customer base that enables a move to the cloud, as and when it makes sense for the business. This essentially utilizes a modular approach as opposed to an all-in shift, allowing the business to reduce risk, and realize ROI with each step along their transformation journey.

As more organizations set out on their cloud journeys, they will need systems integration partners who can guide them through the process of moving to leading cloud platforms like SuccessFactors; these are vendors with proven capability to support organizations, from initial consulting through to implementation, and in some cases, in post-deployment support.  

One such vendor is Infosys, a global SAP services partner since 2008, which established its SuccessFactors practice in 2013, and has conducted over 250 HCM implementations for some of the largest companies globally across a diverse set of industries. 

Infosys leverages SuccessFactors to enable HR cloud transition

Infosys’ approach to SuccessFactors begins with its “consult to operate” model, which is capable of supporting a wide range of customer sizes, industries, and complexity – from initial consulting (e.g. cloud readiness assessments, system selection process, change management, etc.), through implementation of SuccessFactors Employee Central and the various HR modules selected within SuccessFactors, as well as the capability to support the customer with post-deployment managed HR services. 

Through this experience and its partnership with SuccessFactors, Infosys has developed several key enablers that it leverages to make the move to the cloud easier and faster, and provide the transformation and ROI required by its customers. Examples include:

  • Design Thinking is at the core of Infosys’ approach to driving innovation in its SuccessFactors practice, and Infosys sees it as a key enabler for deriving innovative solutions to address challenges in HR transformation
  • Industry-specific process framework for HCM to speed implementation, which includes prebuilt, industry-specific templates for accommodating the various nuances and challenges unique to certain industries. Currently, Infosys has developed templates for Manufacturing, Retail, Finance, and the Automotive industries, with plans to add Railroad, Airlines, Logistics, and Insurance in 2018
  • Accelerated Cloud Transformation (ACT) Methodology is Infosys’ end-to-end cloud implementation methodology, which begins by helping an organization to define its implementation roadmap (including public, hybrid, and private cloud environments), and is inclusive of strategy definition, guided implementation, and training and change management – which are critical elements of any business transformation initiative
  • Value Realization Methodology (VRM) – with ROI key to cloud transformation success, Infosys leverages its VRM methodology, which defines, tracks, and ensures value realization is measured and monitored throughout the conversion and through go-live to ensure value delivery
  • A key risk to any system conversion is data quality and readiness prior to migration. Here, Infosys manages this risk through its Infosys Data Services Suite (IDSS) tool, which prepares, cleanses, harmonizes, and readies customer data for conversion and migration management
  • Leveraging analytics, automation, AI, and machine learning to support the conversion process where possible – a good example of this is the use of NIA (Infosys AI platform) for test script execution.

Future plans & investments

While these tools and enablers are easing the move to the cloud for its customers, Infosys sees opportunities to improve further. For example, it completed an Employee Central conversion for a global auto manufacturer, (~1.6k employees in 19 countries, supporting ~10 languages) in under 14 weeks.  Infosys is now targeting similar conversions in under ~11 weeks and expects to achieve this in the coming year.

To support these improvements and market demand, Infosys will continue to invest in and grow its SuccessFactors practice in the coming year in the following ways:

  • By investing in people. Infosys plans to add 30 certified SAP/SuccessFactors functional consultants per quarter over the next six quarters, with plans for additional consultants with domain expertise to support transformation engagements. This includes plans to extend consultant coverage to support targeted growth regions like APAC and Europe. Infosys has made significant investments in local technology hubs with an emphasis on local talent hiring and training in locations including Indiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Croatia
  • Continued focus on building and enhancing its toolset and capabilities. Historically, Infosys has made several key fold-in acquisitions with emphasis on value-added tools to complement its offering – e.g. Panaya, an automation platform for cloud migration; Skytree, a machine learning application; Noah Consulting, information management consulting for the Oil & Gas sector; and BrilliantBasics, a digital innovation and customer experience studio.

Furthermore, the Infosys Innovation Fund (launched in 2015 and supported by $500m) is focused on investing in startup companies that develop innovative technologies, which Infosys can strategically leverage in its business lines. Infosys will look to continue adding complementary tools and capabilities through acquisition, in the areas of automation, AI, analytics, and niche SuccessFactors tools that enhance the user experience.

Infosys will also continue to invest in applications that are integrated with and specifically designed to enhance user experiences in SuccessFactors; Infosys currently has SAP-certified applications focused on analytics which it intends to continue to expand. Plus, there are planned improvements to various cloud-based tools expected in Q2 2018 for document management, policy definition, vacation bidding (a transportation industry-specific feature), and data migration. Additionally, Infosys plans to expand the use of Infosys NIA to incorporate more AI and machine learning into its process – specifically for testing and data migration.

In summary

Looking ahead, with SAP’s recent announcement that it will extend support for its on-premise solutions through 2030, it’s possible that late adopters of cloud HCM platforms may drag their feet a bit longer, but a move is inevitable and the clock is ticking. Systems integrators like Infosys present a strong case for making the move much more palatable and lower risk, given their proven experience, key enablers and accelerators, low-cost delivery locations, and overall value proposition.  

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