Not so long after the dawn of the Internet, consumer companies realized they had to upgrade their technology to meet new customer demands. They gave users easier ways to shop, more intuitive paths to find information, and seamless mechanisms to communicate with customer service. On the flip side, employees were provided with smarter tools to improve data transparency, analytics, insights, and decision making.
It’s time for government agencies to replicate that model. After all, consumers who buy electronics and furniture online are also constituents and employees at city, state, and federal government offices. They have the same expectations from a user experience standpoint. And those expectations can only be met when agencies enhance their technological systems to meet 21st century standards.
This is especially critical for Human Resources and Finance functions. Because of complex processes involving multiple user groups and large quantities of data, government agencies must re-imagine antiquated infrastructures, systems, and workflows. Doing so will not only deliver information in a quicker, more cost-effective manner, it will also improve decision making. From AR and AP to recruiting, benefits, and payroll, many of these cost centers provide an opportunity for innovation and improved efficiency.
While many agencies still operate on-premise systems like Peoplesoft to manage these functions, newer solutions like Workday deliver measurable operational efficiencies. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to choose between one or the other. With the right analysis, a hybrid approach can meet the needs of government entities looking to improve their enterprise systems. Some business functions can transfer to the cloud, while others can remain on-site.
For example, often agencies decide to move end-user centric Human Capital applications to Workday and retain back-office applications, like Finance, Budgeting and Supply Chain using on-premise PeopleSoft. This approach provides for a more modern and relatable user experience for the casual government user who needs to perform weekly or periodic tasks, such as Benefits Enrollment, Paycheck review and time entry in Workday. In comparison, back-office Finance functions can remain on-site with PeopleSoft, enabling super users with deep system exposure and knowledge to continue their daily activities with minimal disruption. With this hybrid solution, system changes are designed to benefit the needs of different user groups without the need for sweeping change across all processes.
Before taking action, you first have to determine the scope and readiness for migrating your Human Capital and Financial Management systems. Here’s how:
Determine the best time for implementation or migration:
How long will implementation take? And will that timing fit with your fiscal calendar? Remember that year-end close or budgeting cycles will be impacted by any transition, so you must understand the potential risks if implementation occurs outside of major business calendar milestones.
For example, if you assume a project will take 12-18 months, and you don’t want to implement at the start of a fiscal year, how do you ensure the project timeline is scoped and managed accurately to avoid disruption? Whatever you decide, be sure to have a Plan B to account for contingencies in project scope.
Evaluate resource needs and gaps: Agencies are often struggling to recruit the right talent for new initiatives. On top of that, in organizations with well and long established roles, training personnel on new systems and processes can be challenging, and is often wrought with hidden costs. As a solution, consider performing an audit to assess where there are gaps in your team’s technical expertise, and then supplement staff with experts in specific areas.
While modernizing your systems has shifted from a “nice-to-have” choice to an institutional imperative, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, you can confidently manage the process when you take a methodical, step-by-step approach. And when you do that, you’ll have systems that meet user expectations, reduce costs, and give staff more time to attend to constituent needs.