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PeopleSoft project's people issues

Reinsurer Aon Australia has overcome a myriad of people issues which plagued its deployment of PeopleSoft's new human resources payroll software.Aon, which also provides risk management and financial planning services, was one of the first organisations in Australia to adopt the latest version of PeopleSoft's human resources management system (HRMS), 8.
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Written by Steven Deare on

Reinsurer Aon Australia has overcome a myriad of people issues which plagued its deployment of PeopleSoft's new human resources payroll software.

Aon, which also provides risk management and financial planning services, was one of the first organisations in Australia to adopt the latest version of PeopleSoft's human resources management system (HRMS), 8.9.

The company -- in what was a huge technological change for it -- replaced its Sage Micropay system with the PeopleSoft solution.

The rollout, which went live in April, took six months and was not without its problems. Aon's entire payroll team departed during the course of the project.

The PeopleSoft system is more complex than the legacy one, said Craig Dungey, general manager, corporate planning, Aon Australia. The payroll staff, a mix of full-time and part-time workers, decided to find jobs elsewhere.

Adding to the problem, Aon's general manager of human resources also left to take a job with Aon's parent company in the US.

The staff departures were spread over six months, but Dungey told ZDNet Australia the size of the technological transformation the organisation was going through was a likely catalyst.

Aon recovered by using more resources from vendor partner Red Rock Consulting. However, it learned lessons for the future.

"We managed to work through the issue but let me tell you, there were plenty of over-stressed people running around," Dungey said.

"In a perfect world, we could've managed that change better. We could've perhaps hired some PeopleSoft trained people earlier, which we now have on board.

"We also could have also identified people that could have been good replacements in the event that it happened."

Aon implemented PeopleSoft to consolidate employee data, which had been passed through Micropay and multiple spreadsheet systems across multiple departments of the business.

The company has implemented automated employee and staff self-service, meaning employees can access their payslip using the system.

What's my password again?
However, Dungey found the usefulness of this feature was plagued by an age-old IT problem.

"The single most consistent issue still continues to be forgotten passwords," he said.

"And ironically even though the full payroll history's online, that all leave's now automated, that all managers can see all their staff details without one word to HR or payroll, all the good features are stalled by the very fact that people can't login.

"And it's never the staff member's fault. It's the system's fault or the project's fault or HR's fault or payroll's fault; it's someone's bloody fault, OK?"

While 130 management staff had been trained on how to use the system, the password issue was leading some to take shortcuts, according to Dungey.

"If it's a manager [and they can't login] ... and there's a series of leave they need to approve, they say they'll get around to it sometime, [and say] 'ah just take the leave anyway,'" he said.

This meant some leave had gone unaccounted for.

However, Dungey said Aon started to monitor logins, and could identify who didn't approve or monitor leave.

He raised single sign-on as a possible fix that would help staff remember their passwords, and lead more managers to approve leave properly.

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