Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s most sophisticated businesses, at the leading edge of technology in markets as complex as civil aerospace, defence and power systems.
Such scale and diversity comes at a cost, with 42 separate payrolls across the global organisation. This has long caused challenges when analysing true workforce costs, which have historically been based on averages rather than precise data. This in turn has led to significant variances between estimated and actual costs.
But it was when the impact of COVID-19 on the company’s markets brought about a major restructure to reduce costs and drive synergies that the need for exact information became mission-critical. Having to consider “what if” scenarios was no longer enough. Precision was essential.
Workday in Rolls-Royce is much more than an HR system. It’s a business tool to inform the business, to give insights and manage some of our signature processes.
Transformation Director, Global Business Services
Visibility is key to management capability.
According to Marcus Millership, transformation director in Global Business Services, Rolls-Royce’s centralised strategy and finance function, “People represent the largest cost for the business, and having total visibility is key to managing the organisation.” Responsible for finding a solution to the accuracy challenge facing HR, Millership and his team looked at many solutions before selecting Workday Prism Analytics.
Now, fully automated reporting on headcount and total workforce costs is not only delivering complete accuracy and reducing budget variances by millions of pounds. It has also brought about unprecedented collaboration between the HR and finance departments, to the extent that finance has implemented Workday Prism Analytics for its own purposes.
As Millership says, “Our experience to date clearly suggests that we made the right choice when selecting Workday Prism Analytics. Without it, the COVID crisis would have been much tougher to manage. The new capability it brings us is very impressive.”
New precision eradicates budget variance.
The ability to integrate data from multiple payrolls and thousands of workers across many countries has massively reduced variances when calculating headcount budgets. As a result, managers can now trust the data on which they base their decisions.
According to Marcus Millership, “There is no longer any need for the assumptions that have meant our budgeting processes suffered in the past. Now we can bring real costs into Workday, compare them against our organisation levels and use them to be much more accurate and precise. This is particularly important in the current climate, when we are looking to reduce costs.”
Trusted data is essential to restructuring.
The need to trust data used was particularly important in the restructuring process that is seeing Rolls-Royce emerge from the most challenging period of COVID-19 as a more agile organisation, better able to identify and respond to opportunities for future growth.
As Millership puts it, “Gaining a full understanding of our cost base, using accurate information consolidated in one system and being able to update or extract that very quickly and easily, has been really important. Total visibility of our workforce and how we plan a budget is essential, and this is what we now have.”
Finance and HR collaborate on insight and action.
“Finance is now saying, ‘Workday is the single source of truth for people data, and we need to use it to manage the people cost base’”, says Millership.
“That’s great: aligning on that single source is key to progress as we look to build a fully sustainable future based on new technologies, when it will be essential to use data from across the organisation on a single system.
“Our focus is therefore now on bringing the platform to a more strategic level.”