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Portal Challenges Worksheet

A checklist that will help you forecast some of the big – and small – issues you’ll be facing as you adopt new HR technologies.

August 9, 2002
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Related Topics: Intranets/Extranets
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Review the topics listed below. As you consider each item, use the relevance scale to assess the extent to which the issue or challenge is now (or soon could be) a factor in your organization. Note your thoughts in the area labeled "Implications for Action." You can use this section to form a personal opinion on key issues or use it as a group tool to surface and address emerging issues for your organization.

Different technology in the same organization

Technology may not be consistent throughout an organization. For example, in developing features and tools for a site, designers need to consider that different versions of a Web browser or have access to more or less bandwidth. Should different tools be developed to accommodate all levels of technology or should a standard tool at a more basic level of technology be provided to everyone?

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Organizational complexity and site complexity

Sometimes a Web site is confusing and complex because it reflects a complicated organizational chart. Designing an effective and clearly understood Web site is challenging when site designers realize that their work may prompt reassessment and realignment of organizational roles and responsibilities.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Differences between technical and content people

Technical and content people work in different worlds and often do not understand each other. Yet, it is essential that they work together as true collaborative partners in the development and maintenance of HR technology. Technical people need to understand content well enough to maximize usability. Content people need to understand how content is most effectively presented in a Web environment.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Degree of freedom in site design

Will there be consistent design principles applied to all company Web sites, or will content owners have the freedom to create sites with a different "look and feel" in order to meet the specific needs of their function? If consistent site design principles are used across sites, are there good reasons for consistency? If there is freedom in designing sites, does the variety of approaches create any problems for the organization?

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Site ownership

Some managers who could use the Web profitably are not using the Web effectively or at all. They may view management of Web content as an "add on" to their other duties rather than as a major timesaving benefit.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Access for all

How can access to Web resources be made available to all employees? What about workers in a manufacturing plant, or those who travel frequently or work in the field? What about employees who represent diverse cultures and language groups? What about employees’ dependents who need benefits information?

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Maintaining and increasing utilization

Some employees may not like moving HR processes to the Intranet. And, with the volume of information bombarding everyone today, how do you make HR’s online presence the first thing employees think about when they need HR information and services? The benefits of new features must be "advertised." Content owners must update content regularly and keep sites fresh and interesting. As the site gets bigger, it is even more important that employees can quickly and easily navigate their way to the content, forms and transactions of greatest interest to them.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Meaningful usage and cost saving measures

Number of "hits" may not be the most meaningful measure of a site’s usage or usefulness. Managers need ways to identify who is using a site, what features they use and how much time they spend there. They also want to know how much money is being saved by using the Web for HR processes. This information is critical for evaluating a site in terms of benefits to people and decisions about its future direction.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Information overload

The robustness of Web technology makes it tempting to put nearly everything on the Intranet without giving sufficient attention to how additional information will be coordinated with what is already there, how it will be organized, whether employees will actually use it, and what navigation channels would be most appropriate. As in many things, more is not necessarily better.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Data legislation laws

Companies need to be aware of data legislation laws, which determine and restrict the flow of certain types of information across country borders, and customize their HR modules before deploying them in global subsidiaries.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



Security of personal information

Because employees’ personal information may be delivered via the Web in HR transactions, security is an issue that must be addressed. Letting employees choose their own password may make it too easy to break access codes. On the other hand, a pre-determined password issued to every employee might discourage Web use and increase the calls that HR receives when employees forget or lose their passwords.

Extent to which the Issue/Challenge is a Factor in Your Organization (circle one)
· To a great extent
· To a moderate extent
· To a minor extent
· Not at all

Implications for Action (make notes here)



SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from "e-HR: Best Practices in Human Resources Service Delivery," Watson Wyatt Data Services. For more information, visit www.wwdssurveys.com or call (201) 843-1177.

Workforce Online, August 2002 -- Register Now!

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