Making the Case: How to Get your HCM Platform Investment Approved

Video Transcription

Jason: Yes. Thanks for joining. So, real quick before we jump into the content. LeapGen is an organization that's really focused on helping organizations do exactly what this webinar is talking about, show the value, prove the value, explain the value, and live the values around where the future of work is going, and how to make that case for HR technology. Our goal follows the Leap methodology which is love what you do, which gives you energy to do the audacious and prove value.

How do we prove success?

So, a key component of that proof component just like we're talking about with the business case is how do we prove success, how do we prove success early and often, and how do we prove success ongoing. So throughout the event today, we're going to talk about proof. In order to make a case, we have to prove that what we're doing is actually driving overall business value and that's one of the keys to what we're going to be talking about today.

So the work that we do and why we're qualified to talk about this today is really tied into three areas, and the fourth area is education that ties into all of those.

  • How do we help organizations and help HR departments come up with a strategy around HR and workforce technology? We don't just buy technology and hope it works, we need the strategy and plan.
  • How do we make sure we deploy it in the right way and drive adoption of that technology?
  • How do we make sure that the optimization and innovation components that we need in order to make the platform successful are there? There's that third acronym, ROI. How do we get the ROI out of what have we done. Many times organizations will simply go live and then they'll be done.

Once you go live, that's your go-begin. That's when you should really start to focus on what's my ROI, how do I prove value. One of our fourth components of what we do as a company is teach people to do this. So we don't want to be the consultants that come in and do, we want to teach you how to be, we're going to teach you how to be HR and workforce technology professionals. So looking forward to doing that on this call here.

As we move into making the case what we're going to do, and Mike and I are going to split this up a little bit is, Mike's going to talk about doing the prep work. I'm going to talk about how to get in lockstep with the business, propose a compelling business solution. And then Mike's going to close us up with how to articulate the cost and benefits and present that case. Each one of these steps is crucial, each one of these leaps I should call them is crucial. If you miss one at the end of your story, it's very, very, difficult. So I ask you to pay attention to the five, take screenshot, write them down there in the white paper that you'll get as attending the event as well. But pay attention to the five.

Ask those questions. Please type in on your Q&A panel your questions. I would love to hear some...I would love to have some questions or chat typed in now, if you want to, just say "hello" and let us know where you're coming from or where you're calling from. I happen to be in D.C. today, so I'm typing in D.C. But please let us know where you're from and look forward to...we look forward to taking them. Thank you, Crystal, for participating from Charleston and Doug from Jacksonville. So, Mike, I'll turn it over to you and now let's have some fun.

Michael: Thanks, Jason. Yeah, great to see R.C. graphics squad here. Also want to hear from you too, this polling question before we get started, it'll help Jason and myself gear our messaging a little bit. So the polling question is as follows, where do you need the most help in making your case? So you select one of the following and those related to the steps that Jason just covered. Curious to see where the results come in. Jason, any bets?

Jason: I think that most people...oh, shoot, this one's hard. I think most people are going to have a fine time presenting their case. I think where most people are going to struggle is, and I hate to say this even though it's going to be the case I think, is the cost-benefit analysis, the CBA, because I think people wrongly look for ways only to save money, instrument capital management systems, instead of really thinking about ways to drive benefit. So, I'm guessing that's going to be that, doing cost-benefit analysis.

Michael: I had a sneaking suspicion you're going to be right. So, the results are in. It looks like you are correct, Jason. Far and away, doing the cost-benefit analysis, 44% of participants is the most challenging, so we'll make sure that we spent some time on that later on. Sign for second place was aligning with the rest of the business which Jason will be covering in step two. And right in locksteps aligning with the business by proposing a compelling solution. So, we'll make sure we touch on all of those in some detail and would encourage you, as Jason did, using that questions panel. If there is a scenario as we're going through it that we haven't covered in the content that you're having a challenge with, with respect to providing a cost-benefit around a particular set of business problems, or a particular solution area within human capital management, be it payroll, be it benefit, be it talent, feel free to submit those. We're here for all of you. I just want to make sure it's worth your time.

1. Do the prep work

And with that, I will go ahead and start with number one, doing the prep work, not unlike doing the prep work for a webinar to 200 hr.com members.

So really when you think business case or at least what I do when going to the web and how to build a business case, I often think of artifacts. I think of presentations, I think of documents, I think a spreadsheet to do the cost-benefit analysis that we're talking about. But a lot of the work related to a business case is, doing some of the prep work that you see on the screen here. So, understanding that the players and by players, I mean, who your decision-makers, who are your influencers that are going to weigh in on the business case in terms of its approval. If you've got an influence who's contributing to the decision or you've identified your decision-makers, those folks would actually be involved in the creation of the business case to the best of your ability as well.

Understanding what their needs are, whether it's through meetings that you've attended, whether it's through scheduling additional time with them, whether it's through reading documentation that they've shared, whether it's through publicly available company information, if you're publicly traded or perhaps meetings that they've led, goals that they've submitted and so forth. Everyone on the call here I suspect would call themselves an HR leader if you're looking to be a better business partner, you need to couple with those other leaders in the organization and determine what their needs are, what's driving their variable compensation in order to align to their needs. And then move towards the decision-making process to say, "What do I need to put in front of them in terms of some of the latest steps? Are there threshold from a budget standpoint that will necessitate me to complete different forms for steering committee of some kind, the board, a leadership group, finance perhaps."

So understanding within your own organization, there may already be standard operating procedures for building business cases and delivering them, understand what tools are needed for a couple of reasons. Number one, helps you speak the language of the business. Number two, stops you from recreating the wheel, which I suspect most of you don't have a lot of time to kill. So doing things most efficiently, leveraging tools that have already worked certainly make sense.

Speaking of what's worked, leverage, your colleagues, whether it's inside HR or outside HR and other functions, like marketing to find out what's worked, what has made for a compelling business case that's gotten approved. And it could be in an area completely unrelated, but often times involves some of the staying stakeholders so getting a sense from those that have gone before you, so to speak, and maybe have some of your own examples based on your track record in building business cases, what's working and what hasn't.

So, definitely important when doing the business case, just to set the stage in this way, but also help you plan for the rest of the steps in terms of the level of effort involved. Jason, I'll turn things over to you for step two.

Jason: Hey, Mike, would you mind going back to that one for a second?

Michael: Not at all.

Jason: Thanks. One of the other things I like to add about this component is, when we think about understanding the players, so we say understand the players, and that's the "who they are," but as part of the "who they are," we also want to understand what they are. And so many times...actually, the number one reason why business cases get declined in this space is because people don't speak the language of the person they're talking to.

And I'm going to talk in a second about, speaking the language of the business. Right here I'm talking about speaking the language of the person they're talking to. And whether that language is a language of manufacturing output, or whether that language is a language of sales-generated, or whether that language is a language of customer service inquiries solved, whatever it is, that's the language we need to speak. So when we say understand the players, we're not just putting their names down. We're mapping them, we're saying, "Who are these people? What do they care most about?" And making sure that once I know that, I now know who I'm serving for dinner.

If I don't know who that is, if they're on a special diet, what they like to eat, etc. etc. etc., I don't know what to serve them. And it's really important to understand that before we start cooking. So, I just turn that into a cooking analogy, hopefully no one's too hungry over lunch, but hopefully that made sense. Michael, lets go to the next slide.

Michael: Yeah, it's good sneak-peak to step number five in terms of the presentation, never hurts to bring food, so just a sneak-peak, that's good.

2. Get in lock-step with the rest of the business

Jason: Exactly, so getting in lockstep with the rest of the business. So, what is HR? HR is a department. What are people? People are the business. So when we think about getting in lockstep with the business, we're making the case for HR technology and human capital management technology, but more important, you guys, we're making the case for business technology.

If our number one asset in our organization is our people, shouldn't we be making investment in what drives them? Now, how do we do that? We don't do that by saying, "We need a new HR system," and we don't do that by saying, "We need a new payroll system."

The way we do that is we need to say, "What are the corporate goals and objectives of the company? What are the HR goals and objectives, or the workforce goals and objectives? And then where do I spend my time?" So if you look at the far right of that slide where we got corporate goals and challenges, workforce goals and needs, and HCM initiatives and investments, this is, you know, what I'll call and it's very important for you to call, alignment. This is how you get aligned.

So when you're making your business case...by the way, wrote a blog about this that we can we can put into the chat window that you can...I'll put it in there in a second, so you have the link. I wrote a blog about this yesterday. We're making a business case. We're not making any HR case. We're making a business case for business and workforce technology, not an HR case just to make our job easier in HR. Trust me, if we do this it will make our jobs easier, but we're not selling that we're trying to make our jobs easier. What we're selling is we're putting in place something that's going to drive goals and results, excuse me, drive to meet the goals and results of the organization.

So, that's how I get in lockstep. If you don't know the five corporate goals and objectives of the company, you don't know your three to five goals in HR to align to that, buying HR technology is good but it's going to be really, really hard to make the case. Almost every single corporate goal one challenge can be tied back to people, which could be tied to HR and workforce technology. So, this is one of those areas where, please ask questions if you have them because it's really, really important to get out this alignment component.

Mike, anything you want to add there?

Michael: Just a quick tip, we've got "Rest" at the top of the slide and I've been doing this for almost 20 years, whether it's helping to build business cases, or aligning with the needs of the business for other reasons like process design and such. And it kills me every time I hear someone in HR distinguish HR from the rest of the business. So, we've got HR data, and we've got business data. Well, I've never heard a marketing person say, "We've got marketing data and business data." Marketing data is a part, a subset of business data. HR data needs to be thought through the same way. What Jason's covered here in terms of the alignment is, what HR data matters to the rest of the business that HR serves. So just a quick tip for folks, if you're in the mindset of HR and the business, I would just get out of that mindset before even taking the step in engaging the rest of the business, as Jason pointed out, these are business solutions, not HR solutions.

Jason: Hey, Mike?

Michael: Yeah?

Jason: I'm going to do something a little unorthodox here which won't surprise you. For the first question that comes in, I'm sending you a prize. So, someone type in a...not, "What's the weather like," or something like that. Tied to what we're talking about. Type in a question in the questions area and first one that comes in gets a prize. Let's move on to step three. So we're in lockstep, we've prepped. What's next?

3. Propose a compelling business solution

So when we think about proposing our solution, I'm going to spend a little bit of time on this because this is really important, first is defining scope.

What does that mean? When we talk about defining scope, we're saying, what is needed today and what's going to be needed going forward. Now scope, you've all heard of scope creep, scope is really important because this is where I truly get to define what components of a solution are going to get me the value that I need. And we'll talk about phasing in a second, but scope is so key and one of the things people oftentimes do is say, "Well, we don't need this now, we don't need this now, we don't need this now." Well, guess what, when you don't need any of that, you've thrown out your whole case.

So, really, really important from a scoping standpoint to define the scope. Second, what are my resources needed? So if you think about most technology deployments, the model of success, the model of success is 45% of your resource and time should be spent on people. Forty-five percent of your process and time should be spent on process, and 10% of your time and resource should be spent on technology.

Now, that being said, are you putting in place the people, the "who's going to do the work," and spending your time on the processes, "how the work gets done," to make sure that the "what," the technology is in place. And is it a single one-time investment, or is it on going? We're going to talk more about this in a few minutes, but your go-live, that's not when you're done, your go-live, that's or go-begin. That's when you really start to get the value.

What are my processes? So, think about processes in automation or digitization or optimized and transform. Which of my processes that I'm going to truly automate, versus which are the ones I'm going to digitize? Automation is taking your junk and putting it online. Digitization is taking what you have, and truly rethinking it in a way that adds value. Some of the things that you're doing, it doesn't matter if you get truly digitized, a lot of them do. Think about your capabilities and tie the business needs. I met a huge consulting organization today out in Washington D.C. and one of the things we're working on is, "Hey, do you have the data to make decisions on your people?" And guess what? They have the data to make decisions on how to get their people paid. But they don't have the data to make decisions on how their people get their work done. From a business need standpoint, that mapping is key.

So, what we're looking at for the human capital management system is a system that supports payroll. We're not talking about a payroll system that might be able to support a little of HR. What's my role-out approach, you know? Am I going to roll it out in phases? And by the way, I always use this example, an analogy with people, when you download an app from the App Store, if you don't like it, what do you do? You delete it. If phase one isn't successful, what are people going to do? Push back. So my roll-out approach is really, really important.

And then finally, my risks. What are my dependencies? Do I need to have a portal to really get to the solution? Do I need to make sure that I have history coming over from three different places? Am I rolling up five different mergers and acquisitions? And I have process work to get done before I can move into deployments. All of those things truly, truly, truly, important when it comes to, how do I make a compelling solution. And remember, the compelling solution, who am I trying to make a compelling solution to? My compelling solution is not to the HR department, not to the Payroll department. The compelling solution, because I'm making a business case, has to be a compelling solution to the "business." I'll pause there. Mike, we have our award winner.

Michael: We do. Doug.

Jason: Doug, congratulations on your question. I'm going to take his question and then Mike, I'll let you look through a couple of the other questions and see if there's anyone to get to at this point. But, "What concrete data can I use with our executive team to show ROI?" Doug, I'm going to answer your question in this way. I think about ROI, and I think about VOI. ROI is your return on your investment, VOI as the value of your investment. And I think what you're looking to do is both. The concrete data that usually comes from a solution like this is done through looking at some of your activities and understanding how long is it taking you to do things and what is the impact on that.

So how long is it taking to get someone onboarded? How long is it taking to get someone's pay changed? How long is it taking me to actually do rep for pay on people because a change didn't come in, I'm having to do retroactive pay? How long is it taking me to run reports? How long is it taking me to parse Excel files? Etc, etc, etc.

I mean, Doug, I wish I could answer this in more detail which I'm happy to do offline. But the ROI comes from activity-based analysis not detailed, quick, of cost savings. And then value. What's the value of knowing my people better than LinkedIn does?

In most organizations where we're working to create business cases today, LinkedIn knows more about their people than they do. Yet their CEO says, "People are our most important asset." If LinkedIn knows more about your people than you do, it means your competition knows more about your people than you do. What's the value of knowing your people? One might say priceless which I'm going to tell you, Doug, is not concrete. But I just wanted to share two quick examples of how to come up with concrete data around ROI return because of dollars saved. And by the way, another huge concrete data item is compliance issues. And once again, we can go into that in a lot more detail. But how can I focus on the risk avoidance from concrete...making sure the data to be able to meet compliance issues and the value knowing my people, for goodness sakes? Michael, I'll let you jump in.

Michael: Yes. I think you were just kind of answering two questions at once, Jason, both the concrete data question that Doug asked and the question you posed earlier of me in terms of speaking the language of the players in the room, because everything you just stated, Jason, whether it's cost-avoidance, operational efficiency and therefore, cost-savings, risk mitigation, those are metrics that matter to different types of stakeholders. So if the compliance officer or someone in legal isn't part of the decision-making body, well that's worth pointing out. Maybe actually worth bringing them into the fold if they're not, if they could be part of the business case, that is speaking to different types of players that will be involved in making the decision.

The good thing about the HCM Solutions is that, even when you're going to be speaking to, A, an employee and B, more than likely a leader and a manager of people, so when it comes to the value of not only knowing our individual people down to the employee profile level in terms of what their skills and capabilities, their job history, mobility preferences and the like, are knowing things in aggregate. So the same exercise that Jason just mentioned about onboarding, making that more efficient, therefore making new hires more productive, there are dollars and cents arguments that could be made there. Someone has ran through productivity sooner rather than later, that's going to drive top line. If you've got a good onboarding program, you may or may not know it because you don't have an HR system to say, "When are our good people leaving?"

And by using core HCM solution potentially coupled with an engagement solution, you would be able to both diagnose the problem, one of the common points if we're losing people. And then doing a bit of analysis to say, why are we losing them and then rectify the problem. So these are all relatable points for folks, both tangible and intangible and we'll get into this a little bit more as we get into the cost-benefit analysis section.

A couple of other questions that came in, Jason, I think are good ones to address now. "How would you suggest we go about asking our leaders what they care most about when we don't see them typically?" So, for those leaders that you're not in touch with on a regular basis or may work in a different part of the world. He's here to look at documentation they produce whether it's in, you know, large meetings that they've lead for the company that you have the opportunity to attend. It's getting to people on their team that know what is going to make that leader tick when they're in the room, maybe relating some stories from an HCM perspective that have involved that particular leader.

Start with the documentation but obviously get with the influencers and I would say, not to be too bold but it really couldn't hurt. I don't know many CEOs or CFOs that will be offended by someone who's got an investment idea for an HCM solution that will make the place a better place to work. Reaching out and saying, "Hey, I'm thinking about putting together this solution, just wanted to validate a couple of points, with you." Maybe include those points in the email and propose a follow-on discussion if it's easier for him or her to engage in that way.

I mean, we're all people after all, if you work for an organization that makes you fearful or trepidations to reach out to a leader about what's valuable to them, I would say you're either working for the wrong organization or you're in the wrong role. Another question that came in, Jason, would love to get your thoughts on this is, the best way to sell my project. I just don't think you could resist that question anyway, you're probably looking at it and planning to answer it anyway, so I'll fire it at you.

Jason: Yeah, thanks, Mike. So, I mean, the best way to sell my project, I mean, we're going to talk about that in five and how do we package all this up. But you know, selling the project has to be around, like I said earlier, the ROI and VOI. I mean. So, you know, one of the best ways to sell your project is to sell it based on the themes of your key stakeholders. Remember when we talked about earlier about knowing your people, what are your people? So look at the CEO, a CEO has board-cascaded goal. A COO has more productive employees. How am I going to measure those things? Workforce needs, you know, what is my workforce needs?

So one of the most important things about selling your project is knowing your people you're selling it to you. And this goes back to speaking the language of the people you're speaking to. So if I'm talking to a COO, I'm going to sell my project this way. If I'm talking to a CFO, I'm going to sell my project this way. If I'm talking to a CEO, if I'm selling to head of HR, which by the way many people in HR have to sell their projects up into HR. Why would the piece of technology help me? Why would a solution help me? Without going...I'm not going to read this slide, the themes are tied to, you know...As you formulate themes that's tied to those needs of the stakeholders or, you know, another term for that is personas, as you start to use design thinking. Let's go to the next slide, Mike, if we could.

We also want to show as we're doing our solution that we've been diligent to you guys. We do a lot of work with organizations creating maps, and a map is...okay, for my organization,

Jennifer, who's in Boston, what are the attributes that I'm going to look at in whatever solution I'm presenting?

In this case, on the slide right here, it's an innovative road map. They have an Amazon-like user experience, the reporting capabilities are good or great, or I'm judging them, and what's the burden on IT? And I want to be able to show that, hey, through a cloud solution, this is covered. And what I have this is what's covered. So once again, you don't want to just talk road map, you don't want to just talk IT, you don't want to just talk HR benefits. So it's spreading all of that across and saying, "I've been diligent in what it is that I'm looking at and what it is that I'm doing."

Michael: Yeah, you're much less likely to get a devil's advocate in the room if you yourself played your own devil's advocate, and can at least show that level of due diligence.

Jason: And Michael, if we go to the next slide. Then we need to look at the all of the capabilities team and say, "Where are my top priorities?" The organization I'm at today hires 5,000 people a year. Hiring and onboarding is key. I was talking on the phone earlier this morning with a small organization of about 30 employees, we're just trying to figure out how to store benefits information to be compliant. So one of the problems, one of the problems in trying to make a case for HR and HR technology is people will look at a Gartner Magic Quadrant or something like that and they'll say, "Here's the one that's for me."

Well, guess what, all that those tools are telling you is that this is a product that might meet your needs. It's now your job to say, "Based on that product, what's the order in which I'm going to roll this out? How is this going to be phased and how does that align with Bob's priorities, with Jim's priorities, with the fact that we're doing eight acquisitions in the next two years, that I've got a broken process over here?" Etc., etc., etc. So, when you look at your solution, another thing that's really important, as you sell this is for you to say, "Hey, I'm looking at it based on urgency and impact," because if you just show the ROI, you just show the solution without saying, "Hey, we've looked at this," and said, "You know, these things can wait." Or, "This is really important, very, very crucial when it comes to making the solution case."

Michael: And Jason, you mentioned earlier focusing 45% on people, 45% on processing, and just 10% on the technology and that there's a reason this webinar is making a case for an HCM solution, not HCM technology. If you're facilitating a discussion in that room or making it a pitch in the room full of decision-makers and influencers, most of them aren't going to care about the technology. They're going to care about what the technology is enabling. That hiring and onboarding example that you just went over earlier in terms of the COO caring about people being ramped up more quickly and potentially that tying to a CIO who might say, "Well, yeah, if we get this information sooner, we can get the necessary equipment software account, secure accounts provisions to folks in a timely manner and that way they're not sitting around doing nothing when they first joined."

Those discussions are rarely about just the technology. If you look at the topics or the initiatives if you will this on sample two by two, we're looking at things like hiring and onboarding, time and attendance. But it's really about what the technology is doing to support optimizing those processes. Change management in particular, a lot of organization that we tend to work with are those that are looking to make leaps, as we like to say, so looking to make I would say, less evolutionary, more revolutionary changes to the way they do things, and change management is often a huge component of it.

And if you're a leader in an organization you've probably been successful there, change management will come up invariably every conversation related to a business case. I think that I've ever been in even one that's focused mostly on the cost-benefit analysis because when you get to the road map that Jason's referred to, there's often the notion of, "We're we going to be able to digest this? Are employees and managers ready for this?"

And ready or not sometimes, you need to say here we come, but you still need to manage for that in terms of communication, in terms of training, in terms of delivering messages at the point of need and speaking to how you're going to do that, particularly in those cases where someone's looking to make a...or when you, yourself, as the business case sales person, are looking to make transformational changes in the organization, not just little incremental ones.

Jason: Yeah, I completely agree, Mike. That's a great point. I mean, there's the question that came in, "To what percentage of time is needed to spend on people?" And it's really important to answer this correctly so when I say people, we're talking about understanding, by putting in a solution what's the impact gonna be on people. So people in HR, people in payroll, people in finance, people in IT, but also people who you might be saying, "Hey, I want them to use direct access capability to the solution." So what's the impact on my people of putting in this change? So 45% people, who's impacted? Forty-five percent process, how are they impacted, okay? And then 10% technology, what's the solution going to be? And once again, notice we're talking about a solution, a solution is a combination of people, process and technology. The software itself is the technology. Okay, Mike, let's move on.

Michael: All right, as seen here, once again as we transition this step four, polling question is, "Are you building a business case for an HCM solution that you'd like to deploy?" We see that the timeframe, so curious, Jason, even some of the questions that have come in, how many of them are burning questions because someone's putting a business case that needs to be presented tomorrow, versus maybe one that folks have a little bit more runway before presenting.

Jason: So Mike, I think, and this is a question of knowing your audience, I think based on hr.com's viewership and watchership and sponsorship, that this is going to be somewhere around the "two years from now" range. Because in my past working with hr.com, people love to plan, the people that are on these events, they're usually being more strategic, versus just say, "Oh my God, I have to do this tomorrow. I haven't started thinking about it." So I usually find that more strategic group when I talk to this audience.

Michael: Jason, I feel like you're leading the witness on that, if you start providing the guidance too early. The results have indeed come in, most people or half I should say, two-plus years from now which speaks to Jason's point about hr.com members being proactive, strategic, analytical which is good. However, for those of you that answered next year, or maybe this year, you certainly shouldn't feel bad about yourself. Hopefully you've been putting together your business case for a while and this is just one set of data points related to approaches and so forth that have worked in the past that hopefully support your ongoing efforts. That said, you know, Jason, if I was attending this webinar, I'd be amongst the 18% who was preparing for later this year, most likely later this month.

Jason: Okay, good.

4. Articulate Benefits & Costs

Michael: All right, so with that, we're going to move to step four and a lot of what Jason has said really set the stage for articulating the benefits and costs. So, what are the benefits associated with the proposed solution and when will they be realized? Sometimes when you come to the table with a solution with those benefit of top line value add, our people are going to be more productive sooner, therefore we're going to be able to drive more revenue. Or through the training and development that we're rolling out as part of the proposed solution, folks are going to be more productive, and therefore generate more top line. Or we are now going to have reporting available to avoid the types of losses.

I'm actually in New York this week, Jason, and was working with an organization that through their transfer process had missed someone who wasn't supposed to be trading and investing money on behalf of others based on political contributions that they've made, the short version of it is that the transaction of the transfer hadn't been picked up by compliance in time, so the organization has literally been penalized, it was about $10 million the penalty and they are not allowed to represent clients and a fairly large state after the next two years.

So in this case, they got both dinged with a penalty and is going to harm their top line over the next couple of years because they can no longer do business in that particular state who were looking for ways to ensure that things like that don't fall through the cracks in the future. So that would be kind of a burning needs, that you would want to on the urgency and impact matrix that we're looking at a couple of slides ago, that would be up into the right.

Some others, maybe you're building a case for talent management. However, you need to get the core right, not only the core HCM solution and who reports to whom and who's in what job, but maybe defining the job architecture a little bit more clearly than it's currently the case. So you may have some visions and clear measures of success as it relates to something like bench strength in key roles throughout the organization but you need to get the foundation in place which might take a few months, a better part of a year to get in place before you can enable better talent management solutions. So you just want to, in addition to presenting what the tangible and intangible benefits are, clearly lay out particularly if you know you've got some real picky folks in the organization that are logical in their thinking, in other words left-brainers, very likely the CFO and maybe some influencers of the CFO way out to the high level, on a road map, doesn't need to be...as of December 19th, 2018, we'll be able to realize this benefit as simply laying things out in phases, showing when certain benefits will be realized.

The one time cost, this would be anything related to projects and larger programs that are being invested in rolling out something. So Jason, referred to our services earlier, and we covered strategy and plan, we covered deploy and drive adoption, we covered ROI. Those things related to strategy and plan as well as related to deployment and drive adoption around particular solutions those are one-time technology costs, so data migration potentially that need to be built, integrations that need to be built for the first time. They're also costs associated with process transformation, associated potentially with branding a solution that's transformative enough. These are one-time expenses, they can be capitalized in many cases. And they're related to both the technology as well as the other 90%, if we're to use Jason's proportions from earlier, the people and process associated with rolling things out.

The ongoing cost would be things like the software subscription fees if a new organization potentially needed to be created or maybe just a few new roles needed to be created to do things a new way. We're going to be putting a shared service center in place because the concepts around streamlining, how different HR processes are done. We're at a scale in terms of the organization size, the number of employees we now have and the volumes of folks that are either joining, leaving, transferring, moving around the organization dictate that transactional functions can be moved into a shared service center, let's say enabled by core HCM tool, a suite of technologies.

There are maybe some ongoing costs associated with that that you need to account for. And some of those costs might simply be reallocating folks who have capabilities or in certain roles today into new roles. In some cases it's going to be added which should be okay. Jason mentioned earlier, you didn't use the term "pet peeve," but he mentioned the notion of HR sometimes focusing too much on how much money we're going to save in HR and most HR groups that I work with don't have a lot of people kind of standing around, you know, waiting for things to be done or waiting for someone to tell them what to do. In most cases HR is running pretty thin so you don't want to fall into the trap of okay, HR represents, I don't know, half a percent of our income statement. How can we cut those costs even further?

In the grand scheme of things, if you're talking about workforce productivity, if you're talking about risk mitigation, those are the elements that on an income statement that are actually going to make an impact. You know, the question came across earlier about what's the best way to sell a business case and how to align with business leaders. Those are a couple of questions that I came across. They're not necessarily going to care to make HR any more efficient anyway, nor is it a problem at most organizations. So focused on what those top line benefits are going to be, and if you've got some cost to make rental cost to achieve those benefits, well the value on investment should be such that it's worth spending some money making those investments not just adding expenses but making investments into the solution.

In addition to that, you do want to forecast when those costs are going to be hitting the books. If you're doing things in a phase fashion just as you might have benefits that can be realized at a certain timeframe. You may have organizational investment technology, investments that need to be made incrementally. So, in phase one, we're including these three initiatives that tie to these four functional areas within HCM will address these workforce needs. In phase two, we're going to be addressing these three. So just as the benefits will be realized later on, those costs should be documented as such as well.

So typically when building out a business case I'd like to focus at least on a three-year, more likely than not, a five-year time horizon. A lot of finance departments require five years in order to really get a better understanding of how things are going to be treated long term from an accounting perspective, in addition to just showing that you saw things through. So plan on at least three years, most likely five years, when getting into the presentation and putting together the business case and hopefully appendices with spreadsheets, hopefully, are not covering spreadsheets line by line in a meeting with full executives because half of them will fall asleep, and half of them will probably pick you apart. So hopefully you're able to use that time to focus on the higher points but I'm getting ahead of myself to step five presenting the case.

Last point I want to cover here are contingency costs. So, just as Jason showed the pros and cons analysis of different types of solutions to show due diligence, showing, you know, that you've thought about risk or contingency costs related to potentially, "Boy, if we don't get this solution on time, live on time, we're going to need to engage our current provider whose contract is expiring with us for another six months. What's that going to cost us?" So show that you've thought that through. "What if we're not able to achieve the level of automation in phase one that we're hoping for? Well we're going to need to execute that the same old way, it's a little bit less efficient in these areas but that's going to mean we're not going to realize some of these savings until year two, so we're going to need money and be up X budget to account for those types of unforeseen expenses." So really, you know, once again, showing that you can play your own devil's advocate is key when putting together the business case and ultimately making the pitch to your decision-makers. Jason, anything to add?

Jason: No, Mike. I think you hit it home there. I mean, I think that the concept of benefits and costs are key. I think it's most important to make sure that you think about overall, your total cost of ownership. So, what is the total cost of ownership look like, what's it going to be and then be able to spread that out, as you mentioned, over time. I think the other thing that's really interesting though is that as the world of HR technology has changed, we've moved into a world where oftentimes these costs get absorbed differently. So if it is a business solution, is it handled by the HR department versus the IT department even though we're talking about a piece of technology, if it is a business solution how do I take this combined with a portal, combined with some time and attendance stuff, bundle it all together and say, "Hey, we're really renovating how we do our workforce portfolio," versus saying, "Hey, we need a new piece of HR technology."

Michael: Great point. Actually, a question came in, a combination of a question and really some commentary. The comments are, sometimes it can be hard to determine when and where to invest in HR benefits when the organization is largely contracting its workforce. And then it goes on to say that the statement, "But I realized it's important to provide great benefits, capabilities in programs for the remaining workforce. That's interesting, I would actually argue that a lot of the same solution that you would apply to your workforce proper, your employees. You also provide to contingent workers, so contractors and so forth. So certainly not some of the the same core benefits around health and wealth and so forth.

But some of the solutions that, you know, a lot of our clients are putting into place these days have less to do with that. In many cases, there are I mean as a big replacement cycle currently occurring with next generation technologies, which is great. But one of the great things about those next gen technologies is that they're easier to use, sleeker, have a more modern look and feel to them, they're social, they provide ready-access to data when needed. And ultimately in many cases, it's about collaboration. And in terms of the solutions that are being put out there with respect to things like time in attendance, with respect to things like onboarding, it seems to...I'm not sure why we keyed in on that one so much. I guess it's the top of mind for both Jason to me. But a lot of the same capabilities, there was a comment made, some of the same capabilities to the workforce.

One of those capabilities should be leveraged for contingent workers, contractors. So I'd be curious as I know we're going to get to the Q&A and in a few moments, how many folks are building business cases that incorporate the extended workforce if you will, alumni who are potentially coming back as contractors, consultant that you're working with if you're in seasonal or a very project-based work where, you know, essentially gigs, people are coming together and working to solve business problems or address a short-term customer demand before moving on. I mean these are all things that, at least an HR group that I'm working with Jason, I know you too are getting into more and more these days so it would be curious that any questions or comments that remain as we get to the Q&A if you're working with contingent staffs, large contractor bases, I would love to hear more about it.

5. Present Your Case

So in terms of step five, as Jason mentioned, we're going to be sharing the deck, I actually think it's already available on hr.com. And we've got a white paper that details out some of the activities based analysis that Jason mentioned. This is the same way of looking at...or excuse me, four different ways of looking at the same process, so there was a COO example featured earlier of more efficient onboarding. But you've got a bunch of different ways depending on who the players are in the room as we mentioned, as to how to pitch value. So you've got top line value, productivity ramp, on the left we've mentioned that. Cost avoidance, some folks that need to be onboarded probably needs some compliance checks done, potentially training as well. That's another way to tie a value using a different lens to a single solution.

Cost saving, looking at our turnover that seems to be occurring of all our new hires that some we're able to diagnose and remedy. That's another benefit that would be driven by just an onboarding solution. And then the brand perception, you know, that most Glassdoor ratings are given by people that come and go, so to speak. So people leave the organization to have something that...a lot of those folks happen to be new hires. So there are different ways to pull at the levers of different stakeholders in the room.

So, speaking of the room, the table's set, the food is cooked. Now it's time to present it to the customer at the table. In terms of presenting your case, just some quick tips here. In terms of grabbing the attention, that could be done through stories. I mean the story that I just mentioned earlier about compliance costing an organization millions of dollars both, you know, in the near term as well as over the next couple of years. It's a good way to grab people's attention when you, you know, if you've got something as quantifiable as that. Attention grabbing might mean, you know, being more personal, focusing on people's emotions as, you know, folks that get out of bed every morning and come to work and have needs as employees and managers and leaders that, you know, different stories could be used to grab the attention of different types of stakeholders.

In terms of the other points on the slide here, it is largely about storytelling. That said, you do need to prepare logistically. So what if one of the major decision-makers who was supposed to join can't dial in, family emergency or needs to jump on a flight unexpectedly. This has often happened to me when presenting with Jason. I think I've got an hour but he goes before me and I've only got 15 minutes left on the agenda to present something. What do I do then? I still have an executive summary with me in order to address that, and it's not just to leave behind, it's essentially the meat of the presentation at that point. And some of the details that you were planning on going over when you thought you had an hour, you simply are...you're going to need to forgo and maybe propose a follow-on meeting, but you need to plan for some of those types logistical snafus.

Jason, just kidding. I know you would never rob me of minutes on an agenda. Anything you'd like to add to the Present Your Case or the step before it on the cost-benefits before getting to the Q&A?

Jason: No. To me, the Present Your Case component of it you know for everyone on the call is just really making sure that, once again, it's personalized. I mean, if I could, you know, we're talking about presentation here, the "P" word here is personalized. And how do you make sure that that case is personalized to the people that you're talking to. So you know there's the attention-grabber, you know, hopefully they saw it, and they've seen it already ahead of time. You built some change champions in the room who are going to vouch for you at the same time they see it, you know, and I'd say that the, you know, the unexpected. The more work you do upfront in setting the stage, the less it's going to be, you know, "unexpected." So keep that in mind as you're presenting your case.

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