Barnardo’s saved 150 years of in-house Oracle experience by deploying Applaud to modernise their HR and Finance processes. Here is a video showcasing the work we did:
Barnardo’s is the UK’s largest children’s charity, helping around a quarter of a million children and young people every year. Around 1,000 services are managed and run by 8,100 employees and 22,000 volunteers.
The charity recently implemented Applaud’s HCM solution across the business as part of a larger transformation project to update their people processes and bring IT in line with the growth of the business.
The system now boasts a new look and feel to match the Barnardo’s brand and, in just a few months, has dramatically improved both user engagement and data quality. In turn, the new, streamlined processes are delivering business value by reducing costs and increasing performance.
Barnardo’s Oracle journey began in 1999, when the charity implemented Oracle ERP for all finance and HR functions, adding limited manager self-service in 2008 and business analytics in 2010.
Despite these add-ons, Barnardo’s had recognised for some time that they would benefit from a transformation of their HR and Finance processes, with the overarching aim of delivering major efficiencies. Efficiency is a key part of all Barnardo’s work, helping to ensure that the greatest possible percentage of charitable donations goes to their front line work with children.
The transformation they wanted had three fundamental requirements:
- Improving data quality by capturing HR and Finance data at source wherever possible
- Increasing user adoption by enabling employees and volunteers to interact using mobile technology out of their offices
- Empowering the Barnardo’s staff to become self-reliant on the software with a consistent and clear user experience to ensure ownership of data and drive ‘single-source-of-truth’ systems
The first question that needed addressing was their current system – should they stay with Oracle or was there something better out there? After an extensive consultation process, the decision was made to stay with Oracle and upgrade to Release 12.13 in 2018. At the time, Barnardo’s had around 150 years of experience in Oracle in-house and did not want to throw away that investment.
However, Barnardo’s also understood the need for a modern user experience – on mobile as well as desktop – which was something they felt Oracle’s E-Business Suite did not supply.
Barnardo’s recognised that Applaud’s solution offered a massive business benefit: Oracle EBS could be made to look and feel much more user friendly, while at the same time allowing the charity to stay with their preferred back-end system and without throwing away their existing datacentre investment. In this way, they were not forced to make a significant but unnecessary investment in Cloud in order to gain essential user experience benefits.
The implementation hinged upon two carefully planned processes:
Collaboration – The key success factor was the degree of collaboration achieved between all parties involved, in particular the People department working with the business to deliver myPlace.
- The Digital & Technology and People team all met and talked regularly.
- Applaud worked closely with Michelle Smith, the People Systems Manager to build and implement myPlace into the HR system.
Communication – Barnardo’s spent a lot of time developing the right internal comms strategy to get the message out there.
- Project user groups were consulted for a number of months beforehand
- Applaud Employee Centre was rebranded as myPlace.
The first function to move to myPlace was Annual Leave, a deliberate choice to engage employees and to show them how the new system would benefit their day-to-day lives. In 2017 this went live, it allowed employees to easily submit their time off and accurately predict if their holiday will be approved. This functionality went live in 2018 and has produced many business benefits for the team.
In November 2017, Barnardo’s became the first organisation in the UK to roll out Applaud on mobile and tablet, something that needed far less change communication because the workforce was already up to speed with the new, modern user interface. The next phase was to integrate HTML5 into myPlace – the API ensures that all devices are compatible with the dashboard, fitting the screen to produce increased user experience and user-interface.
Since then, the HRIS and People team have continued to work closely together to identify how they can improve ways of working, empower employees and realise business benefits. In 2018 a project driven by Joe Dorian and Manisha Patel delivered the newest upgrade to myPlace with the Applaud Absence Calendar functionality.
- Google Analytics have been implemented, so Barnardo’s can see where their users are coming from and which pages are most popular
- Since its implementation, Barnardo’s has seen an increase of mobile users, due to the ability to use myPlace out of the office on their mobile devices, and with the execution of HTML5, myPlace renders to any device, increasing the user experience and user-interface.
- Increased productivity on the Absence Calendar, managers can now save time when evaluating whether to approve holiday or not by easily seeing who’s off at the time a new absence approval hits their inbox.
- With the help of Applaud, their HR system has been set up for the future with a future-proofed and modernised E-Business Suite – they no longer need to fret over the decision to move to the Cloud, the Applaud system can support them with any decision they take.
Applaud strategically worked with Joe Dorian and Manisha Patel, Oracle Application Developers, during the calendar upgrade project, empowering them to create the monthly patches for the dashboard as well as run the software on their own once the project was completed.
Applaud has been the enabler to modernise what Barnardo’s already had, their staff are very happy with the improvements and can now manage their own data in a quick and easy way.
Barnardo’s strategy is to run the Applaud solution in-house, keeping up to date with patches and making full use of Applaud’s dedicated support team. They plan to explore more of the functionality within the myPlace studio, adding in more admin functions, making the workflow look and feel really good. This will improve the admin processes currently in place helping to drive employee self-service and embed it sufficiently into the organisation.
“Applaud’s new Absence Calendar functionality has massively improved the internal process when managing leave and absences, saving time and resource for the managers too. The slick user experience has resulted in increased users and a lot of positive feedback from the team. The solution has allowed our Oracle developers become independent and self-reliant, enabling quicker change and updates, we thank the Applaud team for all their help and look forward to the future.”