Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Strategic HCM Suite / 2

I've posted fairly recently on integrated HCM systems, but this post has been getting plenty of traffic so I thought you’d be interested that Leighanne Levensaler at Bersin & Associates has been presenting on Bersin’s new research, focussing on the challenges organisations are facing as they move from disparate, siloed systems to integrated talent management (I would say HCM) systems. I've just caught Leighanne’s webinars delivered via their own site yesterday, and via Plateau tonight.

Like AMR Research, Bersin stress that this is early days for these integrated systems. Only 13% of Bersin’s sampled organisations have an integrated HCM system strategy in place today. The rest use a range of ERP and point solutions with the main point systems in use, more in less in order of their evolution, being recruitment, learning, performance management, compensation, competency management (I found it surprising that this central requirement comes out so low) and succession.

However, 62% of these organisations are in the process of developing an HCM system strategy. 29% expect to build their strategy upon a number of best of breed / point solutions (often requiring the organisation to deal with complex challenges including building a data warehouse, a portal interface etc), but what I found to be a surprisingly high 28% expect to use an integrated HCM approach. Only 13% expect to use the HCM modules of their ERP system. This is lower than I would have expected and as I suggested in my last post (but then I did suggest that organisations might use their ERP – plus – one or more best of breed solutions in areas which are most important for them – depending upon their business and HCM strategy).

Also like AMR Research, Bersin stress that there is no boilerplate system strategy solution – what technology is appropriate depends upon an organisation’s business strategy and should focus on solving critical business problems rather than just simplifying implementation and operations.

Bersin also provide some additional conclusions. Those I have found particularly interesting are:

  1. Organisations should start to develop their HCM system strategy by starting with a business problem and the overall HCM strategy to deal with this problem – but – they should also explore what is possible with integrated technology and let this influence their overall HCM strategy - if their options are not to be limited. (I think Systematic HR had a good post on this earlier this year but I can't find it).
  2. The overall shape of the HR organisation is also increasingly influenced by the possibilities of HCM technologies – with strategic functions being grouped together under an HCM or talent management banner - see picture. (Also see chapter 12 of my book.)
  3. The use of integrated HCM systems does seem to help organisations implement key talent initiatives, for example workforce planning, employee engagement and retaining top performers.

After my last post on HCM technology, Scott McArthur ranted about the number of HR professionals who are aware of these opportunities. I suspect not that many. So it’s disappointing that neither of Bersin’s webinars were attended by that many people. The subject and the research are both important enough to have deserved more.


  1. I'd like to know more about The best Human Resource Management Excellence Model; Can you help me?

  2. Can you give me more information about what you're after?

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  3. First of all, thanks for attention and excuse me for my bad english!

    I'm working as a HR Researchs Specialist for a big industrial corporation in the Middle East. This coporation has been composed from about 15 companies and headquarters company wants to apply a proven HR development model and reward to best sub-company.

  4. Leighanne has contacted me with a copy of Bersin's executive summary to their comprehensive research report.

    We have had an exchange over my remark about the use of competency frameworks to drive intgrated HCM (see

    Bersin note that to implement integrated HCM systems, organisations are increasingly enabling line managers to define more generic profiles consisting of flexible talent attributes such as experience, interests, certifications, licenses, education and special training.

    In one way I'm not surprised that more organisations aren't using competencies to underpin their integrated talent management approaches. After all, Bersin's high-impact talent management report ( found that only 6% of organisations have a world-class competency management process.

    I think I just supposed that given the opportunity, those organisations at the leading edge of HCM technology may have also been those to crack competencies. Some of the best case studies of the use of competencies are certainly technology savvy organisations that have used their IT systems to make the use of extensive lists of competencies less cumbersome. But I guess that I supposed wrong.

    Given this, I think that profile management could be an appropriate fall-back.

    But then, if organisations are implementing integrated talent management to drive success against their talent challenges, it's hard to see how properly constructed competencies wouldn't provide another piece of this agenda.

    On another point, I was also encouraged to learn that Leighanne had over 350 people attend Bersin's presentation at the HR Technology conference in Chicago two weeks ago.


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