The current changes in the technology industry are palpable, as companies continually announce acquisitions, mergers, restructurings and re-brandings. While analysts and investors worry most about how the public views finances and product portfolio compatibility, human resources (HR) is the organizational department that is most affected internally. In regard to mergers and acquisitions specifically, the new organization will likely be left with multiple HR management solutions to work with and multiple HR policies to sort through; having unnecessary duplicates can be costly, inefficient and downright confusing.
"While analysts and investors worry most about how the public views finances and product portfolio compatibility, human resources is the organizational department that is most affected internally"
With the completion last year of the merger between Cypress Semiconductor Corp. and Spansion Inc., the new company’s HR team faced this very challenge of trying to manage three HR systems (with the third being used by Spansion in Japan as a remnant from a previous merger), dozens of payroll systems and two data warehouse systems. This meant employee data was being tracked across different programs with varying rules based on the country and prior company of the specific employee. As a result, trying to provide a holistic, consistent and accurate analysis and report of employee data became increasingly difficult.
To remedy this and streamline HR data management, analysis and reporting, Cypress set a goal to move to a single, core Human Resources Information System (HRIS). In addition to managing information on a global scale, Cypress needed a solution that could be utilized throughout the full lifecycle of the employee relationship: from the time a manager thinks about hiring for a new position, to the time the employee decides to exit the organization.
Cypress put together a three-phased plan, which kicked off last year to achieve its single-system vision: Phase one-merge the localized Cypress Japan HR system into the global HRIS; Phase two-merge all legacy Cypress employees into the global HRIS; Phase three-migrate the independent recruiting system into the global recruiting/onboarding system. The plan calls for all three phases to be worked on concurrently to minimize total project time.
To ensure a successful transition to a core HRIS, each phase is being executed through a four step process:
Audit which special features we like about our current solutions to determine if and how they will be supported in the new global system. Change management is critical in this step, as poor communication and documentation can cause significant rework in future stages. In our case, we decided that—with the exception of country-specific rules—common global processes will be adhered to by all Cypress locations. By doing so, we are able to simplify the process, while disposing of all the features that required significant time and energy.
2. Define / Test
Defining and testing the system changes is the most technical challenge of the entire process. A significant amount of time is required to get it right. Although it may seem like an easy task on the surface, this step can become an involved project requiring many weeks of extra work. For example, what we considered a simple change of cloning (copying) from one system to another eventually turned into a multi-month effort that almost required a complete redeployment of our systems and a retest of everything. Taking an iterative development approach of breaking the project into smaller chunks, however, makes this less challenging than processes in the past when all requirements had to be defined upfront.
3. Data Migration
Single system is effective only if it has all the historic data from the previous systems. Migrating the data from the old systems into the new one requires the conversion of all of the existing data into the new format, fixing inconsistencies, uploading it and verifying the new data. They say that a system is only as good as the data in it, namely the data accuracy (or lack thereof). In this third step, having inaccurate data can ruin the success of the entire project.
4. System Roll Out
Once the first three steps have been completed, the larger team needs to be trained through a formal roll out of the new system. Again, while this step sounds deceptively simple, if special attention is not paid to providing training and allotting bandwidth to support the initial on-boarding of the team, all the hard work from prior steps may be lost.
Conceptually, the use of a single system will lead a manager to utilize it to manage requisitions and their candidate pipeline. Additionally, the integrated recruiting, onboarding and core HR system allow all candidate information to electronically transfer to the downstream systems (or core HRIS) where it can be managed throughout the employee’s tenure with the company. This architecture ensures data accuracy, as the owner of the information provides the data, eliminates data duplication and, when globally deployed, ensures that the data is managed consistently for all locations.
To date, Cypress has started the “Discovery” step of merging the Cypress Japan HR and integrating recruiting systems into the core HRIS. The team in Japan is identifying the special features to decide if and how they will be supported in the new global system. We are also well into the “Define / Test” step for merging legacy PeopleSoft system employees into the global system.
Though refining our HRIS will be a continual process, we are excited about the progress Cypress has made thus far in the transition toward our single-system vision. Once the transition is complete, we expect to be able to cut HRIS costs by 40 percent, which amounts to a savings of $325,000 per year. Soon, our team will be able to take advantage of the key benefits of using a single system: global visibility into our workforce, consistent and accurate data, employee and manager self-service options, elimination of duplicate data and a reduction in the total cost of ownership.