Article: Leaders on Innovation 2023: Strategic insights from BINUS' HCM and financial transformation Journey

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Leaders on Innovation 2023: Strategic insights from BINUS' HCM and financial transformation Journey

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In conversation with Stephen Wahyudi Santoso and Harry Surya Adam of BINUS, and Anirban Dass of Alight Solutions, we unlock critical insights for designing and implementing a successful HCM and financial transformation.
Leaders on Innovation 2023: Strategic insights from BINUS' HCM and financial transformation Journey

The business landscape offers organisations multiple challenges and growth opportunities simultaneously. What becomes the key differentiating factor for becoming a high-performing organisation is making the right investments in your digital tools and solutions. Digitisation of HR has been a critical action area for enterprises for a long-time, and its value is set to rise as we prepare ourselves for shifting employee expectations, economic uncertainty, and the urgency to thrive in the future of work. Business and financial agility will be the two cornerstones of a successful business transformation journey. Having the right partner and the right insights will be the deciding factor in the outcomes it yields for the organisation.

This brings us to the new episode of the Leaders on Innovation series brought to you by People Matters and Alight Solutions. Pallavi Verma, Senior Editor-Brand Reachout at People Matters, speaks with Stephen Wahyudi Santoso, COO, BINUS (Bina Nusantara Group); Harry Surya Adam, CFO and Human Capital & Legal Director, BINUS; and Anirban Dass, Head of Business-Asia Pacific at Alight Solutions, to explore how organisations can design successful HCM and financial transformation journeys. 

BINUS is one of the leading educational management institutions in Indonesia. Starting from a computer course with just dozens of students, BINUS now has BINUS School (starting from the pre-kindergarten level) and BINUS University, which provides educational services for tens of thousands of students. Set on becoming agile in this fast-paced world of work, the group engaged Alight - a leading cloud-based human capital technology and services provider - to support the company in Workday HCM and Financial Deployment, and this was the beginning of their partnership to steer innovation and become a data-driven enterprise.

Here are some excerpts from this interview. 

BINUS is a well-known and fast-growing institution that has been recognised nationally and internationally. What role have smart HCM systems played in ensuring employees are tuned to being productive? 

Stephen: Workday, in partnership with Alight, had offered us a smart HCM system designed to be cloud-based and integrate all HR functions into a singular end-to-end platform. The focus was hire-to-retire encompassing daily employee tasks and broader HR operations from performance management to payroll. 

This integrative system was critical, especially from a business lens, because it simplified complex tasks, empowered our employees to perform their daily operations, and even take on more strategic roles. Data collection and more robust communication channels within and across teams was an added advantage that improved the productivity of our workforce. Finally, Workday also offered us a powerful mobile application, enabling easier usage and accessibility of their platform which was an important pillar of support as we carried out our day-to-day responsibilities. 

What were some of the key people challenges that you hoped to address through your transformation journey? 

Harry: HCM systems have the capacity to analyse our people matters comprehensively and empower us to find solutions to our key challenges with the required data. The Workday and Alight implementation is a critical turning point in our digital transformation journey and enabled us to achieve business agility. 

By having access to more data, such as employee portfolios, we can get important analytical insights. We are no longer talking just about how many employees we have. Rather, we are analysing their skills and competencies and even their readiness to take on new challenges. This then culminates into strategies where we link performance to rewards and benefits and even to succession planning, where we invest in career development programs and chart out ways to recruit the right people at the right time. 

What critical principles guarantee successful business transformation in the new world of work?

Anirban: BINUS was a massive transformation project both from an HCM and financial lens, and our discussions with Harry started 6-8 months before we onboarded this implementation journey. Some of the key items that guided us were, first, aligning with clearly defined business objectives and goals. This alignment early on around items such as productivity, mobile user experience and data-driven faster decision-making was important. 

Second, given that this was a complex transformation journey involving multiple teams, different modules and domains, having a solid implementation plan was critical for a successful transformation. Prioritising the UX, outlining key milestones, structuring the project plan and defining the timeline of activities were integral components. 

The third critical principle was governance. Monthly governance meetings with the leadership and key stakeholders that assessed roadblocks and risks and came up with solutions and mitigation plans were carried out. This played a valuable role in enabling a faster, streamlined implementation process. 

Finally, you need to focus on change management and user adoption. The right amount of training, communication, gauging readiness and engaging the users early on in the project testing phase will be important to the success of the rollout and yield higher adoption. But implementation is only the start of the journey; transformation begins as we monitor the overall process, make changes on the go and adapt to the employee needs to ensure we give them a system they like. 

Financial transformations today often form the bedrock of future-proofing company success. How have you enabled the same at BINUS along with Alight? 

Harry: To enable financial transformation, we need to support the management in their decision-making processes. By implementing Workday together with Alight, we hoped to give accurate business analysis and insights to our management and suggest business initiatives that can improve our financial performance. As we get access to more elaborate data backed by data science through this system implementation, this becomes easier. After all, in the future of work, financial agility will be as critical as business agility, and data will be vital to help us achieve this. 

What potential do you see in financial transformation helping you unlock the current work ecosystem? 

Stephen: Continuing on what Harry said, Workday and Alight have enabled us to become a more data-driven organisation. Data-driven decision-making is not limited to only the top management but is seen in the functions of our workforce distributed across the company. This opens up several opportunities and helps us make our institution more agile.

With Workday and Alight, we see the integration of processes, critical data insights and the availability of powerful analytical tools. But as a system, there is a unique combination of these powerful tools and its overall simplicity, which is very important and makes it all the more tangible.

What employee trends do you see being critical for institutions to address in the coming year to ensure the success of their transformation in the coming year? 

Anirban: For any large-scale transformation, especially in today's unpredictable and volatile world, I do see a lot of important employee trends. The biggest trend post-COVID was remote work, virtual collaboration and hybrid work models. Organisations today are shifting more to hybrid work models as it becomes important for them to prioritise flexibility, increase productivity and enable their employees to maintain a work-life balance.

The other one would be employee engagement and well-being. In a hybrid, ‘always ON’ work culture, it has become increasingly important for employers to pay attention to burnout, stress, health and well-being and even mental health. 

DEI remains an important trend as we increasingly work within global structures in an organisation, with our teams spread out across geographies. Diversity is also invaluable as it empowers us to achieve better outcomes and business results. 

Lastly, with digital transformation resulting in evolving skill demand, organisational investment in reskilling and upskilling will remain crucial for employees to have stronger profiles and skillsets and become marketable.

Are you keen on knowing more? To catch the complete conversation and unlock more exciting insights, you can access the video here

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Topics: Leadership, #FutureOfWork, #HRTech, #AdaptableHR, #Digital Transformation

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