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  • Writer's pictureArvind Verma


Of all the insights from our High-Impact Human Resources research we have had the opportunity to share with members and clients over the past 18 months, the following finding is a favorite:

*High-performing HR teams break down silos and integrate thoroughly with the business.*

As the following figure indicates, there is a clear difference in the level of integration reported by the highest performing HR organizations and the lowest.

Perhaps nothing represents the potential for HR to make a difference in the organization and in the lives of its workers more than its ability to integrate with the rest of the organization. This integration provides an opportunity to understand, enhance, and redesign how work is done in an organization while delivering a compelling, holistic experience to the workforce and other stakeholders.

The first data point, related to HR’s ability to integrate internally, reflects one of the most painful and difficult realities in HR today. For starters, the HR operating models and structures in place in so many organizations today can sometimes reinforce these silos, rather than break them down. On top of that, HR must take a close look at its own mindsets, behaviors, and relationships internally and make some hard choices to be able to show up as “One HR” to the business. All this while dealing with the most competitive market for talent in memory.

The second data point, addressing HR’s ability to integrate with the business, is well documented if not yet well executed across the field. Not doing so simply diminishes HR’s ability to understand the business, deliver top talent, and foster increased productivity.

The rest of this article will focus on the third data point: HR integrating with other corporate functions to design and deliver workforce experiences that simplify work and enhance productivity, while producing insights and innovations that can only come from cross-functional collaborations. These collaborations with finance, IT, marketing, sales, and operations are currently HR’s greatest point of leverage in transforming the experiences of workers in terms of their interactions with the organization and getting what they need to be productive and motivated in their roles. Each of these functions has an important role in getting work done and helping workers bring their best, every day.

HR technology providers have also recognized the need for greater integration, and are moving to integrate their offerings to facilitate a simplified and complete user experience for their customers. Most workers, when interacting with their workplace through technology, don’t care whether their answers come from finance, IT, HR, or operations. What they want are easy interactions and fast, accurate solutions. Disconnected systems slow people down and dampen responsiveness and accuracy when addressing worker needs. They also create challenges in collecting and understanding the broad sets of data required for the analytics that power personalization and the agile, insights-based decision-making that drives key business outcomes.

Oracle recently catalyzed this industry trend with its Modern Business Experience conference in Las Vegas. A main message of the event was that “an integrated cloud platform uniting finance, human resources, supply chain, and other operational data can optimize end-to-end experiences.” Further, combining this united platform with emerging technologies and cloud-enabled agility can set the stage for continuous innovation and accelerating productivity.

I found one of the most interesting sessions at the Modern Business Experience conference, from the perspective of an HR practitioner and researcher, was titled “Advanced Analytics in HR and Finance: Trends and Best Practices.” This session, delivered by Don Anderson, PhD and Director of Organization & Talent Development at Oracle, covered findings from a study he conducted with Tom Davenport, PhD and Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics, Deloitte Consulting LLP, on how HR is increasing its collaboration with Finance on advanced analytics. Nuggets include insights on rate of analytics adoption, strategies for data integration, and potential cultural implications of such collaboration between HR and finance.

In order to drive productivity, HR needs to connect this data. But it can’t do it alone. Collaboration is needed not only with finance but also with colleagues across the enterprise and throughout the business ecosystems within which we live, work, and find talent. This includes outside expertise and HR technology solution providers.

Almost exactly a year ago, at Oracle’s HR-focused HCM World Conference, I had the opportunity to participate in an open Q&A session with Oracle executives and ask the question: “What is Oracle HCM doing in terms of closing the gap between people data and business performance data?” The implication is that the immense data sets running on Oracle systems could provide a treasure of insights on how to more effectively connect people data and business outcomes on both broad and highly segmented levels.

With its integrated Modern Business Experience approach, Oracle is taking steps to not only make this connection between HR and finance, but to better integrate across the organization to enhance workforce experience and innovation. Are your HR tech providers taking similar steps? Ask them—you may be surprised at their responsiveness.

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