Brian Newcomb, Sr. Director Technology Process and Data Solutions, Ohio State University
Significant project work is underway to improve business processes and systems at The Ohio State University. One focus area in this effort is that of HR Service Delivery with a goal of improving the employee experience by making Human Resources easier to access and more efficient to operate. It was clear early on in our assessment that the current method of interaction and managing work needed to be updated in order to match what employee’s experience in the consumer world.
Human Resources activities happen locally across the five Ohio State campus locations and the medical center. Paper, fax form requests, and emailing ‘who you know’ are not going to support the future vision for The Ohio State University Office of Human Resources.To achieve increased transparency, facilitate coordination, ensure measurability, and to drive standardized processes (thereby ensuring consistency in what customers experience across the university), a modern enabling technology would be required paired with a new approach around service management.
Best practices around service management are not new, but until recently, most of the(IT Service Management/ ITSM) documentation has been extremely IT focused.
As best practice guidance is updated (such as in ITIL version 4), there is recognition that nearly all services offered today are supported by technology and hence ‘Digital Services’. Therefore,best practice to deliver and manage these services is applicable across the entire business. This updated guidance promotes systems thinking and the Service Value System, which is applicable to any service provider/ service consumer relationship. Ohio State began adoption of ITIL best practices in IT around 2007 and started using Service Now as the ITSM enablement platform. As Human Resources looks to begin a similar endeavor, Service Now’s HR Service Delivery functionality was added to the existing license.
Today’s digital services make the line between IT and Business Process very unclear for users. As a result, it is likely many service interactions will require the collaboration between various service providers. This is the reality, but also not something that needs to be visible to our customers. We should present as one service provider to our employees, but we recognize that HR is a group of, in some cases, very independent units sharing a common brand.
There are a growing number of software solutions on the market supporting Service Management for Human Resources. From specific HR Case Management solutions to broader IT Service Management platforms now offering HR functionality, or what they have termed ‘Enterprise Service Management’, you can find several options in the market. For Ohio State, leveraging the solid ITSM foundation and 10 years of institutional experience with Service Now, adding the HR functionality offered several benefits over bringing in new technology.
It is always wise to minimize the overall tool count – making risk management and maintenance easier. In our case the focus on employee experience and the reality of how tightly integrated HR is with IT to provide digital services was a significant factor. This is further emphasized in the systems thinking approach and the desire to understand the end to end value stream.
At the operational level, HR has a closer than ever partnership with IT. Recent additions to the data privacy landscape (such as GDPR), a growing commitment to Information Security, as well as support for the Human Capital Management(HCM)/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and System Access/Single Sign On all make the collaboration between HR and IT a critical link in the value chain. Working out of a common system will foster this partnership while minimizing ‘system to system’ integrations.
The implementation of Service Now’s HR Service Delivery application within the Office of Human Resources is currently under way and part of The Ohio State University Enterprise Project.