Standard Life moves ahead with its Oracle Fusion HCM deployment

Completing a successful proof-of-concept with IBM and Oracle

Published on 07-Dec-2012

"The continuity of IBM’s role as implementation partner has been invaluable in paving the way for our leading-edge initiative to transform HCM. " - Jacqui Mallin, Group People Director for Operational Excellence, People Function, Standard Life

Standard Life


Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Information Integration, Transforming Business


Standard Life provides life assurance, pensions and investment management services to more than 6.5 million customers worldwide. Founded in 1825 and listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2006, Standard Life has approximately 10,000 employees globally.

Business need:
To maximise the effectiveness of its global business operations, Standard Life needs to be able to identify, reward and retain the best people regardless of location or of technology constraints.

IBM is helping Standard Life make its vision a reality: a new central Oracle-based HCM talent and compensation tool that co-exists with existing operational systems to minimise risk and disruption.

The ongoing global HCM transformation at Standard Life will deliver standardisation and improved insight to enable employees and managers to fulfil their potential globally.

Case Study

Standard Life provides life assurance, pensions and investment management services to more than 6.5 million customers worldwide. Founded in 1825 and listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2006, Standard Life has approximately 10,000 employees globally.

To identify, develop and retain the best people for its global business, Standard Life has a strategic vision of developing the best performing people function in its industry. Recognising that information on employees, roles, remuneration, benefits and related matters was stored and managed differently from country to country, the company decided to investigate new approaches to talent management. The fragmentation of information across various siloed systems and the lack of standardised data on people made it difficult and time-consuming to generate meaningful comparisons or to benchmark staff performance globally.

Senior managers at Standard Life need accurate answers to questions such as: Who are the top performers across the company? Who is the ideal successor for this role? Ultimately, the company wants to have a global view of talent across its organisation, so that it can make the right decisions to help employees and managers fulfil their potential. It also aims to have a world-class people function that is easy to do business with and that adds genuine value to Standard Life. This value will include attracting and retaining diverse, world-class talent – providing great development and career opportunities at all levels and across all locations, and rewarding great performance.

To start putting in place the right technology to support its strategic aims, Standard Life had engaged IBM to help the company to move away from its legacy HR solution and implement Oracle E-Business Suite for its UK and Ireland businesses. This was to be the first step in a process that would culminate in the deployment of a global HCM solution based on Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management software. The deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite improved Standard Life’s ability to manage core functions such as payroll. However, for rewards and talent management, the company wanted a richer, more flexible and more comprehensive solution.

Building on a successful first phase
IBM helped Standard Life to successfully implement the Oracle E-Business Suite for core HR and payroll functions. This project helped to establish trust and a strong working relationship between IBM and Standard Life. IBM proposed a proof of concept as a means of mitigating risk on both sides for the second phase of Standard Life’s transformation. This second phase will see the deployment of Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management, providing new capabilities around people performance, compensation and talent. The proof of concept was also designed as an opportunity for IBM to showcase its credentials and demonstrate its ability to work seamlessly with Oracle.

As the first stage, an IBM team ran workshops at Standard Life to scope out the business requirements for the global HCM solution. One of the key challenges that had been identified by Standard Life was that of differences between systems and data standards in different countries. Standard Life has operations all around the world – the two largest are Canada and the UK, and there are also businesses based in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. For HCM, the UK and Ireland business uses Oracle E-Business Suite, while the Canadian and German businesses use a PeopleSoft solution, and smaller country operations have a variety of custom solutions typically based on spreadsheets. The end-requirement is for a global solution, including processes that recognise local differences around, for example, legislation.

“To deliver a Global platform, we knew that we would be attempting something new: integrating two core HR systems with the Fusion Talent suite,” says Calvin Price, Programme Manager, People Function at Standard Life. “Of course, that meant that there would be technical and data challenges as well as potential issues between the different pieces of software. IBM’s offer to run the proof of concept represented a win win, enabling both of us to reduce the risk using the experience to inform our design and implementation plans.”

Proving the concept
For the proof of concept itself, IBM Global Business Services set up a global delivery team consisting of subject-matter experts for both technical and business topics, and leveraged the IBM Innovation Center in La Gaude, France. IBM and Oracle worked in partnership on the proof of concept, demonstrating that an Oracle Fusion solution provided on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis could integrate information from Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and other sources to create a single global HCM solution.

Steve Finlayson, Head of Business Solutions, People Function at Standard Life, notes that, “IBM’s relationship with Oracle was important to us, as both companies are strategic partners of Standard Life. The vendors worked well together, keeping us informed on their progress and running a workshop to talk through the technical findings in detail. Separately, we gave a business-focused presentation of the output from the proof of concept to our People Leadership Team: the Senior Leaders who represent our design authority for the programme, including the Chief Operating Officer at Standard Life. This enabled us to show that the Oracle Fusion project is the way forward for Standard Life, and to explain the challenges involved.”

The proof of concept was designed to show that data from the various source systems could co-exist – enabling Standard Life to continue using its existing operational systems in each country, while gaining the ability to manage talent globally and without the limitations of geographical borders.

Defining the challenges
The proof of concept enabled IBM to identify the major challenges that would be faced during the ultimate full-scale implementation, helping Standard Life to address these ahead of time in order to reduce project risk. It has also given Standard Life a clear view of the entirety of the challenge it is facing, helping to flag up important issues around the availability and quality of HCM data.

“Creating a single talent solution on top of existing HR systems will mean harmonising our people data,” says Steve Finlayson. “We had some ideas about the integration, and the proof of concept enabled us to test those ideas and work out which to move forward with. It also gave us the foresight to recognise that we might need to deploy additional middleware for the Canadian business.”

On the non-technical side, the three key challenges are: developing a harmonised set of people data to enable meaningful comparisons; measuring talent across borders; and developing a global talent pool. Where possible, Standard Life is harmonising through the agreement of a Global HR record or Global Equivalence in aspects such as job titles and grades.

The fact that Standard Life employees potentially manage or report to other employees across country borders adds complexity to the overall picture. IBM took this into account in its design for the Oracle Fusion solution, which needed to be carefully configured to reflect international hierarchies and dependencies, while preserving the specific national identity of employees, which is important for operational processes such as payroll calculations.

On the technical side, the proof of concept provided valuable insight into: the technical implications for a definition of a common data model for HR (when source systems could not be changed); the definition of the best integration path for each different system; the definition of the best integration technology; the definition of business rules needed to support multiple different platforms; and the definition of an overall governance model for the solution.

Throughout the process, IBM worked as a strategic partner to Standard Life, offering open and transparent advice on the different options available to its client, and ensuring that the required outcomes were met to enable Standard Life to move forward. IBM’s close and effective teamwork with Oracle was a key success factor; the strong strategic alliance between the two companies is firmly grounded in delivering the best outcome for shared clients.

Jacqui Mallin, Group People Director for Operational Excellence, People Function at Standard Life, comments, “Our experience of IBM in the first phase of the project was good – both teams worked together as one. IBM’s investment in the development of our proof of concept helped us to manage the risks attendant on such a unique and leading-edge project. The high-level of trust and understanding that developed between IBM and Standard Life in the first phase helped to ensure a smooth transition between the implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite and the current work to deploy Oracle Fusion, with both teams having a solid appreciation of the project’s history, challenges and goals. The continuity of IBM’s role as implementation partner has been invaluable in paving the way for our leading-edge initiative to transform HCM.”

Taking the next steps
The proof of concept successfully delivered a working demonstration of Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management, co-existing with PeopleSoft and E-Business Suite, and utilising pre-built real-time integration. Further outputs included leading-practice process maps and use cases for the three technologies, together with default configuration values for Oracle Fusion that are expected to accelerate deployment.

“The proof of concept helped inform our business case and reassure stakeholders of our plans for the implementation of Fusion, providing insight on what we should and should not do,” says Calvin Price. “This included valuable ideas on how to bring together our people data; in particular, when to apply global standards and when to accommodate specific local requirements. The proof of concept also produced a variety of useful assets, such as ratified process maps and test scripts that will be used in the implementation.”

Steve Finlayson adds, “The outcome of the proof of concept gave us confidence to move forward with the next phase of the programme. This is a new venture for both Standard Life and IBM, with major investment on both sides, so there is a great deal of value in the trust and teamwork that we have built up during the first phase and the proof of concept.”

When the deployment of the Oracle Fusion solution is complete, Standard Life expects to have a single, integrated source of truth to drive consistent decision-making on all aspects of human capital management, helping managers to make better decisions about how to identify, develop and retain talent. The solution will enable dynamic talent reviews, helping senior management to identify any talent risks and plan the management and development of all the company’s talent. It will also provide intuitive dashboards for monitoring employee performance against personal targets and against the overall goals of the business, helping the company to set appropriate objectives and rewards.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

GBS ISV Community: Oracle - Fusion Applications, IBM Global Business Services

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