It would be nice just to throw out old processes, terms and conditions and union agreements anytime you like, and simply ignore the inertia that many organisational cultures place in the way of change.
But many of our customers aren’t in that situation. They need to support multiple employment contract rules, grandfathering and sometimes down right odd rules that exist because “thats how it is.”
I once worked on a project at a Railway, and they had different pay rates depending on whether the train route was mainly uphill or downhill. This sounds really dumb, but if you think back to when trains ran on coal and steam, uphill meant much harder work for the stoker and the driver. This rule became enshrined in the union structured plans, and because there were still several 100 guys still on this form of contract, we needed to set this up in the system. Real life business is not all about knowledge workers and clouds and tags, but really complex, messy and often illogical business processes.
What has been interesting over the years is to see how our software as helped a number of government owned corporations shed a lot of their old ways, and become much more competitive. I think of South African Telekom, who have a very innovative shared service model, and have run Employee Self Service for the best part of a decade. We are having tremedous traction supporting ulitities who have deregulated. Transalta, in Canada for instance. Canada Post is another great story of organisation transformation.
It was nice to get the press article about the US Postal project, this morning 700,000 employees with Employee self services (that is more users than the whole Salesforce.com customer base) Change in this size organisation is hard work, business rules are complex. This is enterprisey at its most difficult, but it is where boring ERP can make a tremedously positive impact.
Good to see Don Harris get a mention too. He is the best guy on HR privacy in the US. He is worth getting to know.