Advancing from transactional HR to become “data-driven and intelligent.”

“Workday is digital. It’s all in one place. It’s a nice user experience. It’s all those things!”—Merin Dalmo, Head of People Digital Solutions

Faster, more effective data analysis

An end-to-end user experience that’s ‘all in one place’

Progress from transactional to data-driven, intelligent HR

Enhanced ability of HR colleagues to support managers

Swedish technology company Saab AB is a leading defense and security company based mainly in its home country of Sweden but with operations in multiple countries across the world.

Some years ago, Saab was facing significant challenges relating to its HR systems landscape. According to Merin Dalmo, the company’s head of people digital solutions, “We had a single system in place that hadn’t stood the test of time. Many disparate integrations were in place, there was insufficient harmonization, we had no overview, and self-service opportunities for managers were very restricted. Above all, there was also limited potential for any improvement to take place.

Going with the transformation trailblazer.

So, the search began for a new solution which, in Dalmo’s words, “would help us keep up to speed in the rapidly developing transformation of HR, especially in digitizing our processes.” Dalmo adds, “We particularly needed more transparency and the ability to harmonize across different business areas and countries. And we had to ensure that the new solution was properly future-proof, with a clear development path and the ability to support Saab’s own transformation.”

After a detailed RFP process, Saab chose Workday. Dalmo thanks Workday and its  reputation and track record “as a trailblazer within HR transformation, automation, and digitalization. It made us all feel comfortable about making an investment with the future in mind.”

The biggest gain with Workday is having everything in the same Human Capital Management suite, enabling us to keep the end-to-end experience in one place.

Merin Dalmo, Head of People Digital Solutions

Time to focus on adding value. 

Progress was rapid following Saab’s initial Workday deployment. “We experienced many immediate benefits, such as no longer having to carry out merit- or performance-related processes on paper,” Dalmo says “We also had full control over data, meaning we could carry out all analysis and reporting tasks much more quickly and effectively.”

These gains were far from the only ones. “Another massive advantage was the way in which managers—who are our biggest customers—could now directly participate in the processes affecting their employees,” Dalmo says. Deploying Workday also meant that “we no longer had to worry about upgrades, as you do with a traditional on-premises solution. This has given us all the time we need to focus on value-adding areas like digitization and automation.”

Overall, Dalmo feels the biggest single gain from Workday has been the ability to centralize different disciplines and functions on the same Workday Human Capital Management suite. “It’s enabled us to create a truly end-to-end experience for our people, particularly as we add new elements such as the Workday Peakon Employee Voice continuous listening solution and Workday Prism Analytics,” Dalmo says. 

“These clearly show how we can advance from being a largely transactional HR function to one that’s more data-driven and therefore more intelligent,” Dalmo adds.

Easier, more qualitative decision-making for every manager.

Such advances have had a growing, positive impact on day-to-day working practices across the group. Dalmo cites in particular HR’s heightened efficiency,   and better decision-making processes for managers throughout the business.

“Our HR business partners certainly now have a great system for supporting managers across the organization, while access to data and advanced tools is making decision-making both more qualitative and easier for managers at every level,” Dalmo says. 

“We are also working to continue raising adoption levels among managers by involving them in projects such as redesigning our basic benefits packages and continually giving them reasons to visit Workday, including new dashboards and reports,” Dalmo adds.

In terms of impact on the working lives of employees, Dalmo believes that the introduction of Workday Learning in 2021 made all the difference. “That’s when we reached the entire workforce, driving change management through methods ranging from webinars, new instruction materials, and training sessions,” Dalmo says.

We have a roadmap. We have a plan. We know which areas to target. And now we also have a lot of tools to help that journey.

Merin Dalmo, Head of People Digital Solutions

A future driven by automation and intelligent processes.

Looking ahead, Dalmo is excited by the fast-growing potential of AI to be integrated into more and more essential processes. “There are enormous advantages to be had as AI gets more and more widespread and easily used in different areas,” Dalmo says. 

“For example, when recruiting it’s no longer acceptable to have up to 15 steps to go through, especially if you’re a manager with 20 different vacancies to fill,” Dalmo adds. “I can see AI playing a key role in areas like filtering job announcements, candidate profiling, and more that will really streamline the process. I’ve seen what Workday is capable of, and I’m optimistic we’ll have such opportunities very soon.”

Anticipating further gains in automation and intelligent processes across Saab, Dalmo has some straightforward advice for other companies considering a Workday deployment. “Be bold, be smart, and think outside of the box,” Dalmo says. “To get the best value out of a modern system, it needs to ‘hurt’ a little on the way. But remember this: it’s easier to take those tough change-management decisions early on in the process than to try changing the way of doing things later on.”

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