Managing the Replacement of Legacy HR System

Managing the Replacement of Legacy HR System

Nabil Ghalib (Business International Group, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2220-3.ch014
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Application software projects have always been viewed as a massive challenge by companies, particularly when it comes to replacing legacy in-house developed systems with package solutions. Challenges start by the resentment to change typically demonstrated by a good percentage of the user community, followed by the many pitfalls encountered due to the changes that are included / excluded while the project progresses with user hesitance to accept the new system. The project had many challenges that are not typical of a properly managed one and to make matters worse, it had challenges that were related to poor priority settings that were attached to some non-professional aspects. Cultural issues came as a bonus in this project. The challenges and the counter measures taken to ensure the timely delivery of the project with minimum damage possible will be addressed as the chapter progresses, reflecting on how the objective shifted towards the end of its life to a win/win scenario.
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Setting The Stage

The Customer

A multi-site company with operational sites distributed over a wide geographical area. The company employed thousands of employees and contractors under different schemes such as direct hire, contractors, and personnel from shareholding companies. The list of shareholders included some highly reputed international oil and gas giants.

The company had an in-house developed legacy HR system that served its needs during the eighties and early nineties of the twentieth century.

The HR Division (the custodians of the new system) consisted of eight functional areas (Departments) that covered Recruitment, Personnel and Employee Relations, Job Evaluation, Career Development, Training, Payroll, Compensations, and Payroll Budgeting.

The Vendor (Main Contractor)

An IT company reputed as a leading professional services provider in the Middle East. It had a customer base of companies serving a myriad of industries such as Telecommunications, Banking, and Commerce. It represented a number of International IT companies in the Middle East.

The Product

The system was one of the leading HR systems used by a number of companies in Europe. It had functionality exceeding that required by the Customer but had one major challenge since it was a non-English-based system.

There were other challenges that related to the product structure, which imposed limitations on the flexibility needed to deliver customized functional requirements. There were additional complications due to the lack of qualified resources that knew the product and were capable of supporting it in the region.

The Product Owner (Sub Contractor)

A European company based in Pairs, with a huge customer base in Europe. This was their first implementation of the product in the Middle East using English as the system language.

The Project

The Project was a thirteen-month’s project starting from September 1st 1997 with the scope of delivering a new customized HR system in English with one year warranty / support agreement starting from the day of commissioning the new system.

The project team consisted of resources from all stakeholders. The number and skill mix of resources varied at different intervals of the project (depending on the needed skills during the phase).

The work was executed in the Customer HQ on an environment that was specified in the contract with most of the technical support (hardware, network, database, client PCs, and PC tools) provided by the Customer on need basis at no extra cost.

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