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Managing Your Growth

January 31, 2001
Related Topics: Growth, Featured Article
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In 1904, Dr. Joseph Dean opened hismedical practice in an office on Capital Square in Madison, Wisconsin. In theearly 20th century, this small office needed little in the way of human resources administration.

    But a funny thinghappened on the way to the 21st century. Dr. Dean had children, and they becamedoctors. Other Dean relatives also became doctors. Offices sprang up in Madisonand beyond, and the web of Dean doctors extended itself throughout the state ofWisconsin, evolving into Dean Health System. Today, nearly 100 years later, DeanHealth System operates 22 clinics, employs nearly 3,500 people, including 450doctors, and serves more than 200,000 patients.

    Dean Health Systemoperates its own health maintenance organization, one of the largest and mostdiverse in the state, contracting with nearly 1,000 physicians, 21 hospitals and200 pharmacies in a 17-county area. It also operates its own research andeducation foundation.

    All of which meansthat Dean Health needs fast, reliable human resources data, from a solution thatcan grow quickly. To meet these requirements, they turned to mySAPHuman Resources.

    "Our challengewas, how do we provide increased human resources services without significantgrowth in staff," said Dan Seering, Vice President for Human Resources.

    "We had humanresource software we purchased 10 years ago that wasn't holding up well as wegrew. After some upgrades we found ourselves with lots of system downtime, andincreasingly unreliable data.

    "It's the jobof my department to administer the benefits to over 3,000 employees. We recruitphysicians and non-physicians to our business. And we make sure we comply withfederal laws and regulations.

    "We essentiallyserve the employees and physicians from date of hire until they no longer workhere. So we needed an HR solution that was reliable, expandable, and couldhandle a diverse and multi-operational health care system."

    Dean Health Systemswent live with SAP HR in July of 1999 with help from consulting firms, GrantThornton, Modern Business Technology and Nexus.

    Dean Health Systemselected SAP HR in part due to the Accelerated HR implementation methodology.

    "We wanted totake a very aggressive approach. In fact, we did the implementation in 14 weeks,and kept everything else running in the meantime." Accelerated HR, whichprovides best business practices and settings already configured in thesoftware, enabled Dean Health System to get HR benefits functionality up andrunning quickly and accurately.

    Testing the systemlasted only one week, although the implementation plan had called for a longertest phase.

    "We decided wedidn't need to test for an extended period. We went through one week where wetested all the basic functions. We entered employee data, transferred the data,and went through all the motions as if we were signing someone up for benefits.SAP HR worked fine."

    Now that SAP HR isup and running, Seering says, "the system reliability is wonderful. Before,we were not able to move our recruiters off-site, because the computers couldn'tsupport remote access. Now we have the capability to send recruiters to remotesites and receive their information directly into the system.

    "Also, there ismore reporting capability than we had before, and with better data. What Ireally like about SAP HR is that it's an exacting solution. You have to put inaccurate data or it won't take it. Before we could make mistakes in data entryand not know it. But the SAP solution doesn't allow that.

    Dean Health Systemis already reaping the benefits from SAPHR. For the first time, the company has computerized benefits documentation.Instant data access has sped service to Dean's doctors. Questions that oncerequired numerous phone calls and manual reviews of employees' files now getanswered following a few keystrokes. Integrated information storage lets Deankeep better track of data through its many branches.

    Overall, SAP HR hasenabled Dean Health System to accomplish its goal: providing better and fasterhuman resources services, to an ever-expanding number of employees, withoutsignificantly increasing HR headcount.

    In the future, Deanplans to provide computer access to all of its employees, bringing a number ofprojects online, including extensive satisfaction surveys for physicians,employees and patients; employment applications and performance reviews.

   "Weare definitely looking to grow our presence in the market," Seering said,"and we are appropriate to diversify. It's hard to calculate return oninvestment in our business; but I will say that there is significant improvementin our operations. SAP has made us internally stronger. We have improved ourdata security and access to reliable information.

    "Overall, weare very happy with SAP HR."

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