Why Your HR Department is the Key to Your Digital Transformation Success

Chief Information Officers and Directors of IT are often on the hot seats to make their digital transformations and ERP implementations successful. But it is more likely that your Vice President or leader of your HR department may be the real key to digital transformation success.

Many people think that HR leaders are important only when it comes to successful Workday or SuccessFactors HCM implementations. While it is certainly true that they key roles in these types of HR technology transformations, the reality is that they are also critical – or should be critical – to the success of any digital transformation.

Whether it be related to an SAP S/4HANA implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, or any other sort of digital transformation, here are some of the ways that your Vice President of HR can provide the keys to transformation success:

Your HR department will be able to effectively address the organizational change components of the transformation

VPs of HR and others within your HR leadership team are naturally inclined to think about how changes will impact people. They often have internal resources, skills, and competencies dedicated to learning, development, culture, org design and other areas that can dramatically increase your transformation’s chances for success. Whether it be to drive your change impact assessment, org design, training, or communications workstreams, chances are that your HR department will be able to add some value.

Your HR department may be better equipped to handle the broader organizational improvements required to drive value in your digital transformation

One of the Achilles heels of digital transformations is delivering a sub-optimal technology project rather than a true transformation. Involvement from your HR department can change this. Having this additional skill set on your internal project team can help your overall transformation define the ways that it will drive organizational improvements, business models, and other people-centric strategies that many CIOs and IT departments tend to overlook. In other words, they can help ensure that you don’t overlook organizational change management on your digital transformation.

Your HR department is more likely to pick up on signs of organizational resistance or morale issues stemming from your transformation

Transformation project teams typically get too busy to take the time to identify signs of organizational resistance and anxiety, but HR resources are typically wired to identify these issues. By not getting sucked into the vortex of software configuration, testing, integration and other technical issues, your HR resources will have the bandwidth to play to their strengths while making the project more successful.

HR leaders can make excellent digital transformation project leads

It may sound crazy, but two of the best client digital transformation leaders I have encountered come from HR backgrounds. Neither had any significant technology implementation experience, but they both understood the human components of change – which supports the fact that organizational change management is the key to transformation success. I’ll take a strong HR leader with strong people skills – but weak technical skills – as a client project lead over the alternative any day.

Conclusion: Determine how your HR leadership might be able to help your digital transformation, ERP deployment, or HCM implementation be more successful

Digital transformations have a lot of moving parts and resources as it is, but it’s worth thinking about how your internal HR resources can enable a more effective digital transformation. Once you have the right raw skills on the team, a highly effective consulting team can provide the framework, strategy, and methodology to best leverage these skills.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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