"Our old system lacked robust database management, so it was very limiting," explains Diane Collins, an Appleton systems analyst. Appleton project manager Dina Nelson adds, "(The system) wasn't Y2K compliant, so we needed a new system now."
For Appleton, the solution was crystal clear.
Their choice, The Solution Series/ST® version 4.0 by Cyborg Systems, naturally is Y2K compliant, but also offers a host of other features to help Appleton improve and expand its HR and payroll capabilities. It features an open architecture, so it can connect with any open systems database, a sophisticated training component and an employee self-service feature.
Cyborg's software is packed full of features.
"We had a very aggressive implementation schedule," says Kerry Arent, employee services director. "We ran the first payroll on the new system October 8 before all the modules were up and running."
Currently, modules are being added and customization work is underway to that will increase the capabilities of The Solution Series/ST. The newest release of the Cognos report generator also will be added when it becomes available. "The functionality is so powerful. There's so much we haven't used yet," declares Nelson.
Cyborg ran Appleton's payroll processing through its processing services division, "tying into our system so our records always are current," Nelson explains. "Before, we'd upload our files, a service would run the payroll, and we'd download their data. Therefore, the systems often were out of sync." With Cyborg, Collins emphasizes, "The payroll processing services division has been excellent."
Training and documentation help keep the process in check.
The success of that first run can be attributed to Cyborg's thorough training and documentation, as well as to the system itself.
Implementation staff participated in two to six weeks of training, depending on their departments, and had extensive backup in the form of thorough, one-stop documentation manuals that combine the system and training information. Because those documents are available both online and on CD, users can perform quick searches to locate specific information, says Nelson. That capability will be as helpful when HR functions are installed as it was for implementing payroll.
Once HR functions are completed, Appleton is contemplating implementation of The ESS Solution to allow employees to access and change their data themselves, bypassing human resources. This would be done via an intranet or the Internet. "Giving employees direct access to the system to maintain their data, rather than hand in forms with changes, will be quicker and more accurate," Arent says. Another benefit of self-service is around-the-clock access to HR for basic administrative services.
"The implementation has been fairly smooth," says Nelson. "To the average person, there's been no effect. For example, out of 4,200 employees, only 10 needed corrections to their payroll files." Such accuracy is the primary success criteria, but attention also will be paid to user feedback, ease of use and the ability to generate complex reports. Results, so far, are excellent.